User's Guide to This Website: What's In It
& How To Use It
website is designed to be simple & easy to navigate &
use. Please let me know if you find any part
difficult or counter-intuitive, or if you find any
broken links, errors, or anything else that needs
The masthead (top part) of
every page contains 28 links, as follows:
In the far right-hand column are ten links to ten
different document collections ("-DOCS"). Each
DOCS collection is organized chronologically.
These ten links constitute the core of the website.
These are like ten big file cabinets, each devoted to a
separate type of document, and each organized
chronologically. The contents of each of these
DOCS collections are described more fully below.
In the left-hand column (just to the left of the DOCS
collections) are ten links to thematic document
collections (from "Air War" to "Top 100"). Some of
this material overlaps with the "DOCS" material, and
some of it doesn't. For instance, the Thematic
Collection "EAST COAST" contains some PC-Docs, some
M-Docs, etc. So yes, it overlaps with the DOCS
collection to a degree. But there's also a lot of
material housed in the EAST COAST pages that appears
nowhere else. Same with the HONDURAS pages.
Lots of M-Docs deal with Honduras, for instance.
PC-Docs too. I try to reference all this material
on the HONDURAS pages. But there's also a lot of
in the HONDURAS pages that appears only there.
You'll need to explore, experiment, and figure it out
for yourself. The Google
search engine should help.
TIP: In order to
read all the documents relating to any given period or
date (say, August 1928), one needs to consult
all ten DOCS-collections and most of the Thematic
ADMINISTRATIVE (or OTHER):
The horizontal navigation bar at the bottom of the
masthead contains links that might be described as
"administrative" or "other"-- like this User's Guide --
along with "Bib & Lit," "Curricula," etc.
HOMEPAGE: 1 LINK.
The masthead also includes a link to the site's homepage
and a Google
search engine to search throughout the site.
That makes 28 links on every page,
plus an internal Google
Before looking at these collections
and links in greater detail, let me summarize the
citation conventions and abbreviations used here.
Citation Conventions &
document on this website can be identified by a unique
alphanumeric code that follows a simple convention:
means "Patrol and Combat
Report, 17 May 1928."
means "Miscellaneous Intelligence Report, 30 November
1929." In other words, simply take the "Docs" off
the document type, put it in front of the date, and
you've identified the document. When there are two
or more documents of the same type with the same date,
the documents are distinguished with lowercase letters
tagged on at the end (for example,
around two-thirds of this material comes from the
Records of the United States Marine Corps, housed mainly
in the US National Archives (Record Group 127, or
RG127), comprising about 150 linear feet of files.
The citation convention for this material is as follows:
Archives & Records Administration, Record Group Number]
/ [Entry Number] / [Box Number] / [File Number, if
document whose source is cited as
refers to the
US National Archives,
Record Group 127, Entry 206, Box 12.
Other abbreviations used on this
- Alejandro Bendaña,
La mística de Sandino (1994)
- Archivos Nacionales de Nicaragua, Managua
(Nicaraguan National Archives)
- Anastasio Somoza García's book, El verdadero
- Hemeroteca Nacional Rubén Darío, Managua (National newspaper repository)
- General Correspondence of the Secretary of the
Navy, 1925-40, RG 80, US National Archives
- Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua (Nicaraguan
- Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
- Marine Corps Research Center, Quantico VA
- The New York
Sandino's collected writings, in Sergio Ramírez, ed.,
Augusto C. Sandino, el pensamiento vivo, 2
vols., Managua, 1984
- Robert E. Conrad's book, Sandino: Testimony
of a Nicaraguan Patriot, Princeton Univ. Press, 1990
- "Record Group" in the US National Archives, Washington D.C.
- Gregorio Selser, Sandino, general de hombres
libres, 2 vols., Buenos Aires, 1958.
- United States Department of State. Usually
cited using their decimal file system: e.g., USDS
817.00/6634; for a full list of relevant State Dept
records see Bib & Lit.
- United States Marine Corps.
- The first (USNA1) is the United States National
Archives in downtown Washington D.C. (where the original
Constitution & Declaration of Independence are, a
magnificent old building). The second (USNA2) is
the overflow building they built a few years back --
Archives II in College Park, MD.
- Walter C. Sandino, El libro de Sandino: El
Bandolerismo de Sandino en Nicaragua (Managua:
With these conventions and
abbreviations in mind, let us look at each of these 28
links in a little more detail, starting with the core of
the website: the DOCUMENT ("DOCS") collections.
A. DOCUMENT (DOCS)
"EDSN" stands for Ejército
Defensor de la Soberanía Nacional de Nicaragua, or
Defending Army of Nicaraguan National Sovereignty -- the
official name of Sandino's politico-military
organization. At present these pages list every
known extant document produced by (or sent to, or seized
from) members of the EDSN — around 1,340 individual
documents at last count. This includes everything
already published elsewhere, as well as more than 900
hitherto unpublished documents — letters, orders,
diaries, warnings, prayers, poems, songs, sketches,
lists — most seized from dead or captured rebels or
camps. Right now about 242 are published here for
the first time. This extraordinary cache of
material (comprising around 2,000 pages) is
probably the most historically significant collection of
documents on this Website.
for Instituto de Estudio del Sandinismo, or
Institute of Sandino-ism Studies. This collection
includes 82 oral testimonies of elderly Sandinistas,
most produced in the early 1980s by the IES (a branch of
the Sandinista Ministry of Culture based in Managua) as
part of a state-sponsored memory project. An
extraordinary collection, fraught with interpretive
issues, and probably the single most important primary
source on the Sandino rebellion produced since the 1930s
(around 1,000 pages of original documents).
"IR" stands for
"Intelligence Reports" -- in this case, serial
intelligence reports that followed a standardized format
and were produced in the capitals of the military
"Areas" that the Marines & Guardia devised early in the
war: the Northern Area (most of Las
Segovias with its capital at Ocotal), the Central
Area (the Jinotega highlands, with its capital at
the city of Jinotega), the Eastern Area (the
Atlantic or East Coast region, with its capital at
Bluefields), and the Southern Area (most of the
rest of Western Nicaragua, with its capital in Managua).
These serial intelligence reports were produced on a
weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis and distributed to
intelligence officers across Nicaragua — variously
designated the Bn-2, B-2, R-2, and GN-2 Intelligence
Reports (around 1,600 pages).
"M" stands for
"Miscellaneous" and is a catch-all category for
Marine-Guardia reports of various kinds that don't
readily fall into any other category. Into the "M-DOCS"
category I've slotted everything having to do with
intelligence that is not from air patrols, not from
ground patrols, and not from serial intelligence
reports, the State Department, or elsewhere. There
is an enormous amount of valuable information here
(about 2,000 pages of original documents and could grow
"NEWS" stands for "Newspapers" and is
shorthand for various
types of journalistic accounts on this topic -- mainly
Nicaraguan and US newspapers, but also some Honduran,
Mexican, Costa Rican, Argentine, Peruvian, Spanish,
German, and others, as well as magazine articles and
other types of publications intended for mass
circulation (over 1,200 digital images & will grow by
hundreds & perhaps thousands).
"PC" stands for
"Patrol & Combat Reports." These 1,000-plus
reports tell an incredible story of the quotidian,
spontaneous interactions of Segovianos and Marines, and
paint an exceptionally fine-grained portrait of the
messiness, confusion, and complexity of the guerrilla
war, social revolution, and regional civil war that was
the Sandino Rebellion. There is some astonishing
information here (over 2,400 pages at last count).
Right now the first 125 patrol & combat reports are
published here, taking events to June 1928.
"PHOTO" stands for "Photographs" and
is shorthand for all kinds of visual images -- not only
photographs but engravings, etchings, sketches, maps,
and others, from a wide variety of sources: the US
National Archives, the Marine Corps Research Center, the
Library of Congress, the Instituto de Historia de
Nicaragua y Centroamérica in Managua, newspapers &
magazines, and private collections. More than
1,000 visual images.
"RAC" stands for "Rockefeller Archive
Center" in Sleepy Hollow, NY, the repository for the
records of the Rockefeller Foundation," the New
York-based philanthropic organization that carried out a
series of public
health campaigns in Nicaragua from the mid-1910s through
the 1930s. I wish to thank the Rockefeller Archive
Center for its generous Grant-in-Aid that allowed me to
work in its archives in January 2006. I learned a
great deal about the Foundation's public health
initiatives in Nicaragua, and about social and public
health conditions in various parts of the country,
including Las Segovias. The Rockefeller Archive
Center's "Rules Governing the Use of Manuscripts"
stipulate that only the Archive Center can authorize the
publication of materials from its archives. I'll
ask soon. There is
some fascinating information here, about 500 pages.
"USDS" stands for "United States
Department of State," which is another catch-all
category that includes a dazzling variety of materials
-- not only consular reports, but letters from
Nicaraguans, newspaper clippings, photographs, and all
kinds of other things. At least 3,000 pages of
original documents. (See Bib & Lit page for
listing of the various State Department record
collections relevant to this topic.)
"USMC" stands for "United States
Marine Corps"; the USMC-Docs Homepage will offer
links to a wide variety of material having to do with
the Marines -- including materials from the Marine Corps
Research Center (MCRC) in Quantico VA, the Library of
Congress, and other repositories. At least 1,000 pages
unpublished primary documents.
B. THEMATIC COLLECTIONS
11. AIR WAR
A smaller collection on this specific
aspect of the war; mostly completed, as a documentary
annex to my article, "Social Memory and Tactical
Doctrine" (International History Review,
Sept. 2007) focusing on the air war (about 150 documents).
"Contacts" is Marine Corps-speak for
military engagements, or battles. More
specifically, a "contact" refers to an armed encounter
between two opposing hostile ground forces in which
shots were fired by both sides. A "contact" could
thus last from several seconds to several hours.
(The category thus excludes the hundreds of cases in
which the Marines & Guardia shot at people running away
from them, shot prisoners "attempting to escape," etc.;
it also excludes "air war contacts" -- i.e., military
encounters between air and ground forces; these are
included under "Air War".) The "Official List of
Contacts" (produced by the Marines & Guardia at the end
of the war) lists 510 such contacts. My own list
approaches 740. These pages map out in time &
space as many of these 740 military encounters as
possible, along with statistical data derived from the
original combat & patrol reports.
13. EAST COAST
"East Coast" is shorthand for the
Atlantic Coast region of Nicaragua, which had (and has)
a history and culture very different than the rest of
Western or Spanish-speaking Nicaragua. The Sandino
rebellion found its organic social base in the mountains
of Las Segovias, the north-central region of
Spanish-speaking Western Nicaragua bordering Honduras.
But a significant amount of rebel activity and
Marine-Guardia actions took place in the Atlantic Coast
region. The pages provide a place to organize
material having to do with the Sandino rebellion in the
region of the Atlantic Coast.
"EDSN" as we've seen stands for
Ejército Defensor de la Soberanía Nacional de Nicaragua,
or Defending Army of Nicaraguan National Sovereignty.
This is the homepage for a sprawling collection of
documentary references to Sandinista activities,
jefes (chieftains), internal squabbles, motivating
ideology, and related topics having to do with the EDSN.
"Gangs" is shorthand for the
non-Sandinista, non-Guardia, non-Marine
violence-producing groups that abounded in Las Segovias
in the wake of the 1926-27 Civil War -- outlaws,
bandits, and especially political gangs acting in the
service of powerful political patrons. "Gangs" is
thus shorthand for local-regional caudillismo and the
political culture of violence-making. This
specialized collection focuses in particular on the
gruesome actions of Chamorrista gang leader Anastasio
Hernández and his Conservative patrons in Ocotal.
It also examines cases in and around La Trinidad, Estelí,
Sébaco, El Jicaral, and
other places. Sources include newspaper accounts,
State Department records, affidavits of surviving
victims, and other documents dealing with the topic, but
based mostly on RG127 (200 or so pages of primary documents).
"Guardia" is shorthand for "Guardia
Nacional de Nicaragua," the ostensibly "non-partisan
constabulary" created in the May 4, 1927 Espino Negro
Accord (or Treaty of Tipitapa) that ended the Civil War
or Constitutionalist War of 1926-27. These pages
are envisioned as a repository for all kinds of
information relating to the GNN.
"Honduras" is shorthand for not only
Honduras but the borderlands region of Western Honduras
and the Nicaraguan Segovias -- basically the borderlands
zone stretching from Somotillo in the southwest to
Cifuentes and Jalapa in the northeast. These pages
are envisioned as a repository for all kinds of reports
and documents relating to Honduran and borderlands
society, culture, politics, and history.
"Pedrón" is shorthand for (and the
nickname of) EDSN General Pedro Altamirano -- a
fascinating figure who definitely merits his own set of
pages. Pedrón was unique. God-fearing and
utterly ruthless. A simple man and one of the
canniest, shrewdest, and successful of rebel chieftains
in all of Latin American history. The Marines &
Guardia considered him the most dangerous of all
jefes after Sandino.
He was also the only rebel chieftain to remain in
rebellion after Sandino's assassination in February
1934. Remarkably, he and a handful of followers
held out until 1937, when he was betrayed and killed.
My next book (after The Sandino Rebellion) will
be a political & military & cultural biography of
Pedrón. These pages are devoted to puzzling out
who he was, what he did, and how his legacy reverberated
across space and time.
"People" is shorthand for, well,
people -- individuals who merit special attention as key
players in this social revolutionary drama.
20. TOP 100
"Top 100" is
shorthand for the cream of the intelligence-crop:
what struck me as among
the most illuminating documents produced by
non-Sandinistas that offer insight
into the rebels' beliefs, moral codes, values, and
practices, and the cultural, social, and political
landscape of Las Segovias, Nicaragua, and Central
America during this period. These Top 100 were
culled from the records of the US Marines and Nicaraguan
National Guard (RG127), but also from the Nicaraguan
National Archives, newspapers, State Department reports,
ADMINISTRATIVE (OR 'OTHER') LINKS
21. BIB & LIT
"Bibliography & Literature" on the
Sandino rebellion, and more broadly on the golden age of
US imperialism in the circum-Caribbean. Envisioned
as a comprehensive list of all substantial published &
unpublished works on the topic, with many (soon) available via
.pdf files and external links.
K-12 and College-Level Curricular
Guides for teachers and professors who want to use the
materials on this Website but would like a little help
on what to use and interpreting what they see.
23. READERS' FORUM
A space for
questions, comments, insights, reflections,
observations, interpretations, ruminations, informed
speculations, educated guesses & mediated open dialogue
among & between folks who have something they want to
say or ask about this topic or website.
24. SITE MAP
Every self-respecting website has a
site map. When I learn how to build one, it'll be
25. USER'S GUIDE
You are here.
26. CONTACT US
My contact information and curriculum
vitae, which includes links to my published (and some of
my unpublished) material on this topic.
27. ENGLISH / ESPAÑOL
Will eventually serve as a toggle
between English and Spanish versions of the Website.
The goal is to make the site fully accessible to
non-English speakers & readers. In other words,
20,000 pages of documents -- times two.
D. HOMEPAGE LINK & A
Pretty self-explanatory. A
great way to find stuff & also find your way back home.
that, in a nutshell, is what's in this Website
and how to use it. Please contact me if you run
into any broken links or obvious errors or something
that needs clarifying or anything else that's amiss.
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