Nicaragua is located in Central America and has a total area of 158,310 square kilometers. It shares borders with Honduras to the north, Costa Rica to the south and east, and El Salvador to the west. The country also has a maritime border with Guatemala. Nicaragua has a population of approximately 6.4 million people and its capital city is Managua. Nicaragua was originally inhabited by the indigenous Mayan people. The Spanish arrived in the 16th century and started colonization efforts. In 1819, Nicaragua became an independent republic. The United States occupied the country from 1912 to 1933, during which time it was known as the protectorate of United States of America Nicaraguas. Nicaragua gained its independence in October 1929. Nicaragua has been a republic since then.