Nicaragua and Venezuela Crises

Closing the Frontier

North America 1895.0514

Nicaragua and Venezuela Crises

The end of the French Intervention in Mexico, Reconstruction, the foundation of Canada, the Indian Wars and the westward expansion of the United States (14 May 1895)

Historical Map of North America & the Caribbean

In 1894, Nicaragua annexed the Mosquito Reserve, violating a previous treaty with Britain. In response, the British occupied Corinto in an attempt to pressure Nicaragua to pay an indemnity. Meanwhile, Britain was also confronting Venezuela over its border with Guiana. Both disputes angered the United States, which insisted on its right to act as arbitrator under the Monroe Doctrine, and eventually the British backed down.

Main Events

Annexation of Mosquito Reserve

In February 1894, Nicaragua occupied Bluefields in the Mosquito Reserve, deposing Miskito ruler Robert Henry Clarence and prompting the Miskito people to appeal for British protection. The British sent a warship to the coast, but the real intervention came on 6 July when the United States landed Marines and bluejackets from the USS Columbia and Marblehead to protect its business interests. The Nicaraguans returned after the US withdrawal on 7 August, abolishing the reservation and incorporating the territory into Nicaragua.

Venezuela Crisis

In response to the encroachment of British settlers into territory disputed between British Guiana and Venezuela, US President Grover Cleveland signed United States House of Representatives Resolution 252 into law on 22 February 1895. Considering British actions a violation of the Monroe Doctrine, the bill recommended Venezuela and Britain settle their dispute over the Guayana Esequiba by arbitration. After some hesitation, the British backed down and the United States Commission on the Boundary Between Venezuela and British Guiana was established on 1 January 1896.

Cuban War of Independence

Cuba began its war of independence against Spain.

Nicaragua Crisis

400 British marines landed and occupied the Nicaraguan Pacific port of Corinto in response to Nicaragua's refusal to pay an indemnity for its annexation of the Mosquito Reserve. In response, Nicaragua withdrew its garrison from the town without conflict but also cut telegraph wires and rejected Britain's ultimatum. The United States considered the action a violation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and pressured the British to withdraw on 15 May without adequate compensation.

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