Nicaraguan society, culture, and history have been molded to a great extent by the country's geography. A land of volcanoes and earthquakes, the frequency of natural disasters in Nicaragua has profoundly influenced its peoples' perceptions of life, death, and fate.
Nicaragua is a divided land, with distinct geographic, cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious zones.
The east coast's geography, economy, and isolation from Managua, the nation's capital city, have created a distinct identity among its people. Many east-coast citizens think of themselves as costenos ("coast dwellers") rather than Nicaraguans.
 Note: About 70 percent of the east-coast population, regardless of ethnic group, are members of the Protestant Moravian Church.
 Sandinistas—who took their name from a guerrilla, Augusto Cesar Sandino, who fought against occupying U.S. forces in the late 1920s and early 1930s— adopted a new policy toward the eastern neglected region.