Empire and Natural Disasters: The 1931 Earthquake and American Occupation of Nicaragua

Event Sponsor
Center for Latin American Studies

Before Managua was destroyed by an earthquake in 1972, it had been demolished by a previous quake in 1931.  At the time, Nicaragua was under US occupation and the Marines were fighting Augusto Cesar Sandino, the future hero of the nation.  The primary question posed in this presentation is: what difference did the occupation make with regards to the 1931 earthquake? And what does it mean to take an environmental history approach to the answer?

Myrna Santiago is Professor of History at Saint Mary’s College of California, where she is also the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and teaches Latin American environmental history in the Environmental Studies Program.  She received her PhD from Berkeley in 1997.  Her published work has focused on social and environmental aspects of the Mexican oil industry and extractive industry in general.  Her current project focuses on two earthquakes that destroyed the capital city of Managua, Nicaragua, in 1931 and again in 1972.  Originally from the deserts of Tijuana, Mexico, Professor Santiago considers herself “naturalized” Bay Area resident.