International literary fame came to Nicaragua with the publication of Azul, a collection of lyric poetry and short stories by Rubén Darío (Félix Rubén Garcia-Sarmiento, 1867–1916). Born in Metapa (renamed Ciudad Darío in his honor), Darío created a new literary style in Spanish, exemplified by "art for art's sake" and a revelry in the senses. Miguel Larreynaga (1771–1845) was an outstanding figure during the colonial period and later an ardent independence leader, teacher, jurist, and author. Santiago Arguëllo (1872–1940) was a noted poet and educator. Three modern poets are Fray Azarías Pallais (1885–1954), Alfonso Cortés (1893–1963), and Salomón de la Selva (1893–1959). Luis Abraham Delgadillo (1887–1961), a writer, educator, and musical conductor, was also Nicaragua's leading composer.
The Somoza family, which ruled Nicaragua from 1934 to 1979, included Anastasio Somoza García (1896–1956), president during 1937–47 and again during 1950–56; his oldest son, Luis Somoza Debayle (1922–67), president during 1956–63; and a younger son, Anastasio Somoza Debayle (1925–80), president during 1967–72 and again from 1974 until the 1979 revolution. The Sandinistas, who overthrew the Somoza dynasty, take their name from the nationalist Gen. Augusto César Sandino (1895–1934). José Daniel Ortega Saavedra (b. 1945) emerged as the leading figure in the junta that governed Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.