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Family that maintained political control of Nicaragua for more than 40 years. The dynasty's founder, Anastasio Somoza García (1896–1956), became head of Nicaragua's army in 1933 and, after deposing the elected president in 1936, ruled the country with a firm and grasping hand until he was assassinated. He was succeeded by his elder son, Luis Somoza Debayle (1922–67), and later by his younger son, Anastasio Somoza Debayle (1925–80), whose corrupt and brutal rule (1963–79) led to his overthrow by the Sandinistas. Somoza looted Nicaragua before fleeing the country; he was assassinated in Paraguay.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Somoza family, visit Britannica.com.
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