Although its name is sometimes applied to the whole eastern seaboard of Nicaragua - and even to Mosquitia in Honduras, i.e.
It may be possible either that these tribes are the autochthonous inhabitants who dwelt in Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua before the immigration of the prehistoric Maya peoples; or else that they invaded this region after it had been deserted by a prehistoric oriental branch of the Maya family.
The geology, fauna and flora of Nicaragua may be studied in connexion with those of the neighbouring countries (see Central America).
The investigations made by Dr Walter Lehmann in Central America (1907-1909), prove that these Mexican elements were extended through Guatemala, Salvador, a small part of Nicaragua (the territory of the Nicaraos) and on several places in the peninsula of Nicoya (Costa Rica) amongst the autochthonous Chorotega or Mangue.
The former is found in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama; the latter in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Under the influence of the intermittent trade-winds Lake Nicaragua rises and falls regularly, whence the popular notion that it was a tidal lake.
It is significant that Mayan civilization cannot be traced in any other part of Nicaragua or Costa Rica.
It is possible that these remains of Mayan pottery came into central Nicaragua as articles of commerce.
Lake Masaya occupies an extinct crater; the isolated volcano of Masaya (3000 ft.) on the opposite side of the lake was active at the time of the conquest of Nicaragua in 1522, and the conquerors, thinking the lava they saw was gold, had themselves lowered into the crater at the risk of their lives.
Honduras now joined with Salvador, and Nicaragua and Costa Rica with Guatemala.