During the 19th century, American leaders kept an eye on Nicaragua as a potential site for a transoceanic canal. US navy warships periodically arrived at Nicaraguan ports to protect American interests and fostered U.S. business investments under the strong-man rule of President José Santos Zelaya. When Zelaya began courting Europeans for the building of a canal and welcomed European business investments, American leaders called Zelaya a tyrannical, self-serving, brutal, and a greedy disturber of Central American peace. In December 1926, President Calvin Coolidge ordered warships and more US Marines to Nicaragua. He told Congress that “disturbances and conditions in Nicaragua seriously threaten American lives and property, [and] endanger the stability of all Central America.” This resulted in the Sandino War that cost the lives of an estimated 3000 Nicaraguans and 136 US Marines.