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Fighting Intervention in Nicaragua in the Age of British-American Conflict 1820-1920: Dr. and General Benjamin F. Zeledón Supreme Chief of Government of Nicaragua in Rebellion 1909-1912


Experts and historians have explored and narrated U.S. interventions from different viewpoints. These academics have relied almost exclusively on documents from the British Foreign Office and the U.S. State Department. These studies have often generalized the events leading to the intervention, failing to discuss in detail the British, U.S., and Nicaraguan conflict and the decision-making and policy formulation processes that caused the U.S. to become drawn into the Nicaraguan conflict.

Furthermore, they have discounted the basis of the conflict: how it developed from a clash between Spain and Britain over the control of the Rio San Juan, into a long struggle between Spain, Great Britain and the U.S. in Nicaragua that lasted more than 500 years; and how and why the U.S. allowed itself, within its own conflict with Great Britain, to be brought into the canal debate and into military interventions in Nicaragua. Although U.S. interventions in Nicaragua have been the subject of works and case studies in Latin American Studies, this dissertation unlike past studies, draws from unpublished sources: personal letters, diaries, telegrams and officials documents between generals/admirals at the war front that uniquely showcase a breakdown of the events and political implications that propelled the U.S. involvement in the region.

This manuscript analyzes not only the British and U.S. interventions themselves, but also the circumstances and catastrophic events that shaped Nicaragua's socio-economic policies influencing the development of a particular submissive political culture in Nicaragua. With the purpose of filling in necessary and essential gaps in history and for a thorough analysis, I gathered and discuss in detail a large comprehensive amount of documents from sources. For example, I conducted research and gathered primary documents and ancillary data from the general archive of Indies in Seville, Spain, the general archive of Simancas in Valladolid, Spain, the general archive of the nation in Mexico, the general archive of Central America in Guatemala, the archive of the nation of Costa Rica, the National Archive of Nicaragua, British Foreign Office Archives, British National Archives, U.S. National Archives, U.S. Department of State Foreign Relations Papers, U.S. Marine Corps historical archives and U.S. military and navy intelligence archives and declassified documents, UC Berkeley Bancroft Library archives, U.S. and Nicaraguan personal archives.

Through the analysis of the research data and documents discussed above, I introduce a key character in the conflict, Dr. and General Benjamin Francisco Zeledón Rodríguez, the Supreme Chief of Government of Nicaragua in 1912. For reasons touched only in this work, Zeledón has often been left out of the history books and not given the recognition he deserves. I therefore, not only honor Zeledón in my dissertation, but also contribute to and fill in an essential and necessary part of Nicaraguan history.

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