A Caribbean coastal people known as Los Concheros (the shell collectors) are the first evidence of human settlement on Nicaraguan soil 8,000 years ago. Two thousand years later humans living on the southern shores of Lake Managua left their footprints in drying mud in an archeological site called Las Huellas de Acahualinca . Agriculture began around 5,000 years ago with the cultivation of corn, and pottery making followed 2,000 years later.
Sometime in the 13th century, the Chorotega and Nicarao people, under pressure from the aggressive Aztecs in Mexico, fled south through the Central American isthmus, led by a vision of a land dominated by a great lake. The Chorotegas settled on the shores of Lake Cocibolca and around the volcanic craters of Masaya  and Apoyo , and the Nicaraos farther south.