SOMOTO, NICARAGUA -- Somoto is located in the hills of northern Nicaragua,
14 miles (23 km) from the border with Honduras and 134 miles (216 km) north of
Managua. [detailed map of Nicaragua]
In pre-Hispanic times Somoto was populated by Olmecs and Aztecs who emigrated
from Mexico. The name Somoto means "valley of geese."
Somoto was founded as a town in 1867 and since 1936 has been the capital
of the Department of Madriz.
Somoto has a total population of
40,000 -- with 15,000 in the urban area and the rest in 48 nearby communities.
Somoto is an agricultural community. Crops include sorghum, corn, beans, henequen,
tobacco, coffee, and cattle raising.
"Somoteņos" are active in dance, painting, poetry, ceramics
Many well known musicians, including Carlos and Luis Mejia Godoy,
were born in Somoto.
Somoto became an official Sister City of Merced on March 16, 1992.
A group of Mercedians had been building a "friendship"
relationship since 1988.