Granada is a department of Nicaragua. Its departmental head is Granada. The city of Granada was founded between Xalteva, and the Cocibolca or Great Lake of Nicaragua, by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in the year 1524, becoming one of the oldest colonial settlements in Central America. They were living at that time in Xalteva the diariones, a caste of the choretega, warriors and artists who possessed knowledge in various disciplines such as astronomy, botany and medicine and who were part of a cacicazgo where the merchants' class also stood out. Nequecheri was the name of the indigenous province.
As the Nicaraguan historian Jorge Eduardo Arellano maintains, from the historical beginnings of Granada, it is distinguished by the fusion of architectural elements in the construction of the city and as a basis for the explorations of the San Juan River. These explorations led to establish a fluvial route from the lake to the Atlantic Ocean that sealed the destiny of Granada, giving it a port quality that will never lose and that has been part of its splendor and its decline. The poet and journalist calls Granada the city "mermaid" because in reality one part is the urban and the other part, open look at Lake Cocibolca. During the colonial period, Granada became one of the most important commercial ports in Central America at the same time as the construction of the city began, all rigid at first by the Spanish urban architectural tradition of the Plaza Mayor and the Powers, the center from the city.
In the early sixty years of the seventeenth century, the commercial boom makes Granada a major city. The twin city of Granada, León was destroyed in the year 1610 by an earthquake caused by the eruption of Momotombo volcano and this made Granada charge more importance, in addition to growing its tobacco and cocoa plantations, the cattle ranches and mular. The commerce of Granada was carried out with Cartagena, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama and Peru. The increase in trade along the route of the Great Lake and the San Juan River, the rivalries between Spain and England, the Netherlands and France, made Granada a victim of at least three pirate attacks that devastated the city. Thus, in June 1665, Jean David, a pirate from Jamaica, attacked and plundered Granada almost without encountering resistance.
The pirate Gallardito, some years later, in 1670, attacks Granada again mocking the Spanish defenses. Against such attacks, the colonial authorities built El Castillo de la Imaculata Concepción on the San Juan River during the year 1675. The castle served to defend against piracy and the English who claimed to take over the road. Notwithstanding the fortification the French pirate William Dampier looted and burned the city on April 8,1685. The earthquakes that occurred during the year raised the course of the San Juan River in some places of its course in such a way that interrupted communications between the Lake Cocibolca and the Atlantic Ocean causing serious damage to the economy of Granada.
In 1751, Luis Diez Navarro built La Pólvora Fort at the entrance to Granada and in 1789 the Fuertecito was built on the Costa del Lago and El Castillo San Pablo on one of Las Isletas. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the colonial city maintains a regular and profitable trade with the Antilles, this time is also characterized by brief periods of boom amidst armed movements, first against the Spanish empire and then, in 1823, against the Mexican government. The political movements for independence were stifled by the authorities of the Spanish Colony. Then, the criollos who disputed power in the new state took the people of Nicaragua to the civil war that began in 1824 and ended in 1828. Later, in 1854 a new civil war opposed Granada to the city of León that besieged Granada for nine months, at last Fruto Chamorro freed Granada.
The civil war continued until 1857, the Nicaraguan people confronted to lead the country to a real National War. The nationals hired American forces to fight in favor of the liberal side, which they called filibusters because they had landed in Nicaragua in the same way they did pirates and corsairs. On November 22,1856 the filibuster Henningsen ignited the city of Granada causing enormous damage to the buildings, the hosts of William Walker, before leaving Granada they wrote these words "Here was Granada", here was Granada.