History of San Juan del Sur
The tranquil fishing village of San Juan del Sur was discovered by Andrés Niño in 1522 while looking for the legendary union of the two oceans, Atlantic and Pacific, by land. He noticed the movement of the local Indians through the Rivas isthmus while they traded ceramics, fish and farmed goods. Nicaragua’s natural trans-oceanic connection has made it an important point in Latin American history.
In 1849 Cornelius Vanderbilt, along with Nathaniel S.H. Wolf, created the “American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company “ and was awarded the concession by the Nicaraguan Government to create a trans-oceanic canal through the Rio San Juan. During 16 years of activity the company moved 75, 079 travelers from New York to San Francisco and vice versa. Mark Twain traveled through the passage and wrote about his experiences.
"Now and then a rollicking monkey scampered into view, or a bird of splendid plumage floated through the sultry air, or the music of some invisible songster welled up out of the forest depths. The changing vistas of the river ever renewed the intoxicating picture; corners and points folding backward revealed new wonders beyond, of towering walls of verdure- gleaming cataracts of vines pouring sheer down a hundred and fifty feet, and mingling with the grass upon the earth - wonderful waterfalls of green leaves as deftly overlapping each other as the scales of a fish - a vast green rampart, solid a moment, and then, as we advanced, changing and opening into Gothic windows, colonnades - all manner of quaint and beautiful figures"
William Walker was an interesting figure in Nicaraguan politics. He had delusions of grandeur even to the point of declaring himself president of the country after winning a few battles. The American filibuster was defeated in an important battle in San Juan del Sur. He was ordered to topple the legitimate government in Rivas and sailed a ship with over 150 men which landed in the beach now known as Gigante on June 27, 1854. From there he began his march to Rivas under torrential rains. Upon hearing of the imminent invasion General Corral sent Colonel Bosque to Rivas with troops. Upon his arrival Coronel Bosque promptly constructed barricades and enlisted the locals to add to his troops. The coronel also commandeered the Costa Rican ship the San Jose to fight Walker and his ship El Realejo.
San Juan del Sur 1856