Long known as La Sultana del Norte (Sultan of the North), Ocotal is perhaps better described by its modern moniker, 'City of Pines, ' a homage to the ocote pines that surround the highland city. This is the capital of the storied Segovias, strewn with wildflowers and bristling with pillars of rock, which once tempted pirates up the Río Coco in search of gold and treasure.
It is more famed, however, for its 1927 liberation by Sandino's 'Crazy Little Army, ' which seized control from federal forces and suddenly earned the undivided attention of its neighbors to the north. Ocotal would become the first city in history to be bombed by fighter planes, courtesy of the United States Marine Corps.
Sandino adapted to this revelation in warfare with surprising ease. He became a pioneer of guerrilla warfare hidden beneath the jungle canopy, and would regain control of Ocotal and all of the Segovias before his death.
Last updated: Oct 1, 2008
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