Date

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

History

First Adviser

Saeger, James S.

Other advisers/committee members

Zepeda, Barbara; Hernandez, Bonar

Abstract

Despite the popular conception that Nicaragua is a Catholic, Spanish speaking country with minimal racial, linguistic or religious divisions, the Miskitu and English speaking Moravians of the Atlantic Coast challenge this notion. These Nicaraguans of the east have been ignored by an academic scholarship, which explores themes relevant to the more populous history of the Pacific Coast but not the Atlantic Coasts. Interactions of the two regions are missing from the historiography. This dissertation seeks to rectify this gap in the literature by discussing the history of the Moravian Church on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua from 1918-1974. Moravian historians and secular academics portray the Moravians as isolationist and removed from involvement with the government. Yet, the Moravians were more than an isolated religious community on the Coast. They were a minority church interacting successfully in a country that was not their homeland. And they became pillars of the community who networked with presidents, governors, Marines, American businessmen and sukias. By using the Moravian Church as a case study, this work will speak to the larger issues of: how minority religions relate to the state; how minority religions relate to the dominant religion; state affiliations with religious entities; and the role of foreign nationals in evangelization. The dissertation explores how one minority, foreign led church, interacted with a variety of interest groups and the populations they intended to convert in Nicaragua’s frontier, the Atlantic Coast, for more than 125 years.

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