Honduras

Honduras

Overview
Honduras is a republic in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras
British Honduras
British Honduras was a British colony that is now the independent nation of Belize.First colonised by Spaniards in the 17th century, the territory on the east coast of Central America, south of Mexico, became a British crown colony from 1862 until 1964, when it became self-governing. Belize became...

, which became the modern-day state of Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

. The country is bordered to the west by Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, to the southwest by El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, to the southeast by Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca
Gulf of Fonseca
The Gulf of Fonseca , part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf in Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.-History:Fonseca Bay was discovered in 1522 by Gil Gonzalez de Avila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.In 1849, E. G...

, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras
Gulf of Honduras
The Gulf or Bay of Honduras is a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea, indenting the coasts of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. From north to south, it runs for approximately 200 km from Dangriga, Belize, to La Ceiba, Honduras....

, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

.

Honduras was home to several important indigenous cultures, most notably the Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

.
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Encyclopedia
Honduras is a republic in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras
British Honduras
British Honduras was a British colony that is now the independent nation of Belize.First colonised by Spaniards in the 17th century, the territory on the east coast of Central America, south of Mexico, became a British crown colony from 1862 until 1964, when it became self-governing. Belize became...

, which became the modern-day state of Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

. The country is bordered to the west by Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, to the southwest by El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, to the southeast by Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca
Gulf of Fonseca
The Gulf of Fonseca , part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf in Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.-History:Fonseca Bay was discovered in 1522 by Gil Gonzalez de Avila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.In 1849, E. G...

, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras
Gulf of Honduras
The Gulf or Bay of Honduras is a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea, indenting the coasts of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. From north to south, it runs for approximately 200 km from Dangriga, Belize, to La Ceiba, Honduras....

, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

.

Honduras was home to several important indigenous cultures, most notably the Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

. Much of the country was conquered by Spain
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 who introduced its predominant language and many of its customs in the sixteenth century. It became independent in 1821 and has been a republic since the end of Spanish rule.

Its size is just over 112,492 km² with an estimated population of almost eight million. Its capital is Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa , and commonly referred as Tegus , is the capital of Honduras and seat of government of the Republic, along with its twin sister Comayagüela. Founded on September 29, 1578 by the Spanish, it became the country's capital on October 30, 1880 under President Marco Aurelio Soto...

. Its northern portions are part of the Western Caribbean Zone
Western Caribbean Zone
The Western Caribbean Zone is a historic region that formed in the late sixteenth century and includes the Caribbean coasts of Central America, from Yucatán in Mexico to northern Colombia, and also the islands west of Jamaica...

.

It is notable for its production of minerals, tropical fruit, and recently for exportation of clothing for the international market.

Etymology

  • Higueras – a reference to the gourds that come from the Jicaro tree, many of which were found floating in the waters off the northwest coast of Honduras.
  • Honduras – literally "depths" in Spanish. Columbus
    Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

     is traditionally quoted as having written "Gracias a Dios que hemos salido de esas Honduras" (English: "Thank God we have come out of those depths") while along the northeastern coast. However, William Davidson notes that there is no form of this quotation in the primary documents of Columbus's voyage, and that it in fact comes from accounts over a century later.

  • Honduras from fondura, a Leonese language word meaning anchorage which is one of the first words for the region to appear on a map in the second decade of the 16th century applied to the bay of Trujillo. It was not until the end of the 16th century that Honduras was used for the whole province. Prior to 1580, Honduras referred to the eastern part of the province, and Higueras referred to the western part.

History


Pre-Colonial Period


In pre-Columbian times, modern Honduras was part of the Mesoamerican cultural area. In the west, the Maya civilization flourished for hundreds of years. The dominant state within Honduras's borders was that based in Copán
Copán
Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. It was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD...

. Copán fell with the other Lowland centres during the conflagrations of the Terminal Classic, the early 9th century. The Maya of this civilization survive in western Honduras as the Ch'orti', isolated from their Choltian linguistic peers to the west.

Remains of other Pre-Columbian cultures are found throughout the country. Archaeologists have studied sites such as Naco and La Sierra in the Naco Valley, Los Fuckalos on Lake Yojoa, Yarumela in the Comayagua Valley, La Ceiba and Salitron Viejo (both now under the Cajon Dam reservoir), Selin Farm and Cuyamel in the Aguan valley, Cerro Palenque, Travesia, Curruste, Ticamaya, Despoloncal in the lower Ulua river valley, and many others.

Conquest Period


On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 in 1502, Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 became the first European to visit the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras. Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo
Trujillo, Colón
Trujillo is a city and a municipality on the northern Caribbean coast of the Honduran department of Colón, of which the city is the capital. The municipality has a population of about 30,000 . The city is located on a bluff overlooking the Bay of Trujillo. Behind the city rise two prominent...

, in the vicinity of the Guaimoreto Lagoon.

In 1524 the Spanish arrived on Honduras led by Hernan Cortes, bringing forces down from Mexico. Much of the conquest was done in the following two decades, first by groups loyal to Cristóbal de Olid
Cristóbal de Olid
Cristóbal de Olid was a Spanish adventurer, conquistador and rebel who played a part in the conquest of Mexico and Honduras.Born in Zaragoza, Olid grew up in the household of the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. In 1518 Velázquez sent Olid to relieve Juan de Grijalva, but en route a...

, and then by those loyal of Francisco Montejo but most particularly by those following Alvarado. In addition to Spanish resources, the conquerors relied heavily armed forces from Mexico—Tlaxcalans and Mexica
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 armies of thousands who lived on in the region as garrisons. Resistance to conquest was led in particularly by Lempira,and many regions in the north never fell to the Spanish, notably the Miskito Kingdom
Mosquito Coast
The Caribbean Mosquito Coast historically consisted of an area along the Atlantic coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras, and part of the Western Caribbean Zone. It was named after the local Miskito Indians and long dominated by British interests...

. After the Spanish conquest, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala
Captaincy General of Guatemala
The Captaincy General of Guatemala , also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala , was an administrative division in Spanish America which covered much of Central America, including what are now the nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and the Mexican state of Chiapas...

. Trujillo and Gracias were the first city-capitals. The Spanish ruled the region for approximately three centuries.

Colonial Period


Honduras was organized as a province of the "Kingdom of Guatemala" and the capital was fixed, first at Trujillo
Trujillo, Colón
Trujillo is a city and a municipality on the northern Caribbean coast of the Honduran department of Colón, of which the city is the capital. The municipality has a population of about 30,000 . The city is located on a bluff overlooking the Bay of Trujillo. Behind the city rise two prominent...

 on the Atlantic coast, and later at Comayagua
Comayagua
Comayagua is a city in Honduras, some 80 km northwest of Tegucigalpa on the highway to San Pedro Sula at an elevation of 594 meters above sea level. In 2003 the estimated population was 60,000 people. It is the capital of the Comayagua department of Honduras. The city is noted for its wealth...

, and finally at Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa , and commonly referred as Tegus , is the capital of Honduras and seat of government of the Republic, along with its twin sister Comayagüela. Founded on September 29, 1578 by the Spanish, it became the country's capital on October 30, 1880 under President Marco Aurelio Soto...

 in the central part of the country.

Silver mining
Silver mining
Silver mining refers to the resource extraction of the precious metal element silver by mining.-History:Silver has been known since ancient times. It is mentioned in the Book of Genesis, and slag heaps found in Asia Minor and on the islands of the Aegean Sea indicate that silver was being separated...

 was a key factor in the Spanish conquest and settlement of Honduras. Initially the mines were worked by local people through the encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

 system, but as disease and resistance made this less available, slaves from other parts of Central America were brought in, and following the end of the local slave trading period at the end of the sixteenth century, African slaves, mostly from Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 were obtained. After about 1650, very few slaves or other outside workers arrived in Honduras.

Although the Spanish conquered the southern or Pacific portion of Honduras fairly quickly they were less successful in the northern or Atlantic side. They managed to found a few towns along the coast, at Puerto Caballos
Puerto Cortés
-Geography:It is on the Caribbean Sea coast, north of San Pedro Sula and east of Omoa, at 15.85° N, 87.94° W. It has a natural bay.It is Honduras's main sea port and it is considered the most important seaport in Central America...

 and Trujillo in particular, but failed to conquer the eastern portion of the region and many pockets of independent indigenous people as well. The Miskito Kingdom
Mosquito Coast
The Caribbean Mosquito Coast historically consisted of an area along the Atlantic coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras, and part of the Western Caribbean Zone. It was named after the local Miskito Indians and long dominated by British interests...

, located in the northeast was particularly effective in resisting conquest. The Miskitos, in turn found support from northern European privateers, pirates and especially the English colony of Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, which placed much of it under their protection after 1740.


Independence and the nineteenth century


Honduras became independent from Spain in 1821 and was for a time under the Mexican Empire. After 1838 it was an independent republic and held regular elections.

Comayagua was the capital of Honduras until 1880, when it was transferred to Tegucigalpa.

In the decades of 1840 and 1850 Honduras participated in several failed attempts to restore Central American unity, such as the Confederation of Central America (1842–1845), the covenant of Guatemala (1842), the Diet of Sonsonate ( 1846), the Diet of Nacaome (1847) and National Representation in Central America (1849–1852).

Although Honduras eventually adopted the name Republic of Honduras, the unionist ideal never waned, and Honduras was one of the Central American countries that pushed hardest for the policy of regional unity.

Since independence, nearly 300 small internal rebellions and civil wars have occurred in the country, including some changes of government.

Liberal policies favoring international trade and investment began in the 1870s, and soon foreign interests became involved first in shipping, especially tropical fruit (most notably bananas) from the north coast, and then in railway building. In 1888, a projected railroad line from the Caribbean coast to the capital, Tegucigalpa, ran out of money when it reached San Pedro Sula, resulting in its growth into the nation's main industrial center and second largest city.

International influence in the 20th century


In the late nineteenth century United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

-based infrastructure and fruit growing companies were granted substantial land and exemptions to develop the northern regions. As a result, thousands of workers came to the north coast to work in the banana plantations
Banana production in Honduras
Banana production in Honduras plays an important role in the Economy of Honduras. In 1992, the revenue generated from banana sales that year accounted to US$287 million and along with the coffee industry accounted for some 50% of exports. Honduras produced 861,000 tons of bananas in 1999...

 and the other industries that grew up around the export industry. The banana exporting companies, dominated by Cuyamel Fruit Company
Cuyamel Fruit Company
Cuyamel Fruit was a Honduran fruit company founded by Samuel Zemurray in 1910, to export fruit inland from Puerto Cortés, Honduras. Zemurray started as a banana retailer in Mobile, Alabama and moved to Honduras in order to participate in growing and exporting fruit...

 (until 1930), United Fruit Company
United Fruit Company
It had a deep and long-lasting impact on the economic and political development of several Latin American countries. Critics often accused it of exploitative neocolonialism and described it as the archetypal example of the influence of a multinational corporation on the internal politics of the...

, and Standard Fruit Company
Standard Fruit Company
Standard Fruit Company was established in the United States in 1924 by The Vaccaro Brothers. Its forerunner was started in 1899, when Sicilian immigrants Joseph, Luca and Felix Vaccaro, together with Salvador D'Antoni, began importing bananas to New Orleans from La Ceiba, Honduras...

, built an enclave economy
Enclave economy
An enclave economy is defined as an economic system in which an export based industry dominated by international or non-local capital extracts resources or products from another country. It was widely employed as a term to describe post-colonial dependency relations in the developing world,...

 in northern Honduras, controlling infrastructure and creating self-sufficient, tax exempt sectors that contributed relatively little to economic growth. In addition to drawing many Central American workers to the north, the fruit companies also encouraged immigration of workers from the English-speaking Caribbean, notably Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 and Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

, who introduced an African descended, English speaking and largely Protestant population into the country, though many left after changes in the immigration law in 1939.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

, Honduras joined the Allied Nations
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 on 8 December 1941. Along with twenty-five other governments, Honduras signed the Declaration by United Nations
Declaration by United Nations
The Declaration by United Nations was a World War II document agreed to on January 1, 1942 during the Arcadia Conference by 26 governments: the Allied "Big Four" , nine American allies in Central America and the Caribbean, the four British Dominions, British India, and eight Allied...

 on 1 January 1942.

Constitutional crises in the 1940s led to reforms in the 1950s, and as a result of one such reform, workers were given permission to organize, which led to a general strike in 1954
General strike of 1954 (Honduras)
The General Strike of 1954 was a watershed political and economic event in the history of Honduras that ushered in widespread change.When former United Fruit Company lawyer Juan Manuel Gálvez became president in 1954, following the contested election of 1953, he surprised everyone by adopting a...

 that paralyzed the northern part of the country for more than two months, but which led to more general reforms.

In 1969, Honduras and El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 fought what would become known as the Football War
Football War
The Football War , also known as the Soccer War or 100 hour War, was a four-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras...

. There had been border tensions between the two countries after Oswaldo López Arellano
Oswaldo López Arellano
Oswaldo Enrique López Arellano was a two-time President of Honduras, first from 1963 to 1971 and again from 1972 to 1975. He gained power both times via military force....

, a former president of Honduras, blamed the deteriorating economy on the large number of immigrants from El Salvador. From that point on, the relationship between the two countries grew acrimonious and reached a low when El Salvador met Honduras for a three-round football elimination match as a preliminary to the World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

. Tensions escalated, and on 14 March 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack on the Honduras army. The Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 negotiated a cease-fire, which took effect on 20 July and brought about a withdrawal of Salvadoran troops in early August.
Contributing factors to the conflict were a boundary dispute and the presence of thousands of Salvadorans living in Honduras illegally. After the week-long football war, as many as 130,000 Salvadoran immigrants were expelled. El Salvador had agreed on a truce to settle the boundary issue, but Honduras later paid war damage costs for expelled refugees.

Hurricane Fifi
Hurricane Fifi
Hurricane Fifi was a catastrophic tropical cyclone that killed between 3,000 and 10,000 people in Honduras in September 1974, ranking it as the fourth deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Originating from a strong tropical wave on September 14, the system steadily tracked...

 caused severe damage while skimming the northern coast of Honduras on 18 and 19 September 1974. Melgar Castro (1975–78) and Paz Garcia (1978–82) largely built the current physical infrastructure and telecommunications system of Honduras.

In 1979, the country returned to civilian rule. A constituent assembly was popularly elected in April 1980 and general elections were held in November 1981. A new constitution was approved in 1982 and the PLH
Liberal Party of Honduras
The Liberal Party of Honduras is a centre-left liberal political party in Honduras that was founded in 1891. The party is a member of the Liberal International...

 government of Roberto Suazo
Roberto Suazo Córdova
Roberto Suazo Córdova is a former President of Honduras.-Biography:In 1949, he graduated as a doctor from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. After his graduation, Suazo practiced his profession in the general hospital of Guatemala City...

 assumed power. Roberto Suazo won the elections with a promise to carry out an ambitious program of economic and social development in Honduras in order to tackle the country's recession. President Roberto Suazo Cordoba launched ambitious social and economic development projects, sponsored by American development aid. Honduras became host to the largest Peace Corps
Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand US culture, and helping...

 mission in the world, and nongovernmental and international voluntary agencies proliferated.

During the early 1980s, the United States established a continuing military presence in Honduras with the purpose of supporting the Contra guerillas fighting the Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

n government and also developed an air strip and a modern port in Honduras. Though spared the bloody civil wars wracking its neighbors, the Honduran army quietly waged a campaign against Marxist-Leninist militias such as Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement, notorious for kidnappings and bombings, and many non-militants. The operation included a CIA-backed campaign of extrajudicial killings by government-backed units, most notably Battalion 316.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch was the most powerful hurricane and the most destructive of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph . The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the season. Along with Hurricane Georges, Mitch...

 caused such massive and widespread destruction that former Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores
Carlos Roberto Flores
Carlos Roberto Flores Facussé was President of Honduras from 27 January 1998 to 27 January 2002 and President of the National Congress from 25 January 1994 to 25 January 1998.- Biography :...

 claimed that fifty years of progress in the country were reversed. Mitch obliterated about 70% of the crops and an estimated 70–80% of the transportation infrastructure, including nearly all bridges and secondary roads. Across the country, 33,000 houses were destroyed, an additional 50,000 damaged, some 5,000 people killed, 12,000 injured – for a total loss estimated at $3 billion USD.

21st century


The 2008 Honduran floods were severe and around half the country's roads were damaged or destroyed as a result.

In 2009, a constitutional crisis culminated in a transfer of power from the president to the head of Congress.
Countries all over the world, the OAS, and the UN formally and unanimously condemned the action as a coup d'état and refused to recognize the de facto government, though a document submitted to the United States Congress declared the ouster to be legal according to the opinion of the lawyers consulted by the Library of Congress. In any event the Honduran Supreme Court also ruled the proceedings to be legal.

Presidents of Honduras



Honduras has had many leaders from several parties since gaining its independence from Spain and from Mexico
Nineteen served as president during the period when Honduras was a part of the Federal Republic of Central America.
Sixty-seven men have served as president of the Republic of Honduras. The current Honduras president is President Porfirio Lobo.
In addition there have been several joint governments.

Contemporary politics


Honduras has five registered political parties: National Party (Partido Nacional de Honduras: PNH); Liberal Party (Partido Liberal de Honduras: PLH); Social Democrats (Partido Innovación y Unidad-Social Demócrata: PINU-SD), Social Christians (Partido Demócrata-Cristiano de Honduras: DCH); and Democratic Unification (Partido Unificación Democrática: UD). PNH and PLH have ruled the country for decades. In the last years, Honduras has had six Liberal presidents: Roberto Suazo Córdova
Roberto Suazo Córdova
Roberto Suazo Córdova is a former President of Honduras.-Biography:In 1949, he graduated as a doctor from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. After his graduation, Suazo practiced his profession in the general hospital of Guatemala City...

, José Azcona del Hoyo
José Azcona del Hoyo
José Simón Azcona del Hoyo was President of Honduras from 27 January 1986 to 27 January 1990 for the Liberal Party of Honduras . He was born in La Ceiba in Honduras.-Career:...

, Carlos Roberto Reina
Carlos Roberto Reina
Carlos Roberto Reina Idiáquez was a politician of the Liberal Party of Honduras, and President of Honduras from January 27, 1994 to January 27, 1998....

, Carlos Roberto Flores
Carlos Roberto Flores
Carlos Roberto Flores Facussé was President of Honduras from 27 January 1998 to 27 January 2002 and President of the National Congress from 25 January 1994 to 25 January 1998.- Biography :...

, Manuel Zelaya
Manuel Zelaya
José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is a politician who was President of Honduras from January 27, 2006 until June 28, 2009. The eldest son of a wealthy businessman, he inherited his father's nickname "Mel," and, before entering politics, was involved in his family's logging and timber businesses.Elected...

 and Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti Baín is a former de facto president of Honduras who served as a result of the 2009 coup d'état. The Honduran military was ordered by the Supreme Court to forcefully detain President Manuel Zelaya once the Court stated he was violating the Honduran constitution; Zelaya was exiled...

, and three Nationalists: Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero
Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero
Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero was born on 14 November 1943 in Tegucigalpa in Honduras, and was the President of Honduras from 27 January 1990 to 27 January 1994, representing the National Party of Honduras .-Career:...

, Ricardo Maduro
Ricardo Maduro
Ricardo Rodolfo Maduro Joest is a former President of Honduras and Bank of Honduras chairman. Maduro graduated from The Lawrenceville School and later Stanford University...

 and Porfirio Lobo Sosa. The elections have been full of controversies, including questions about whether Azcona was born in Spain, and whether Maduro should have been able to stand, given he was born in Panama.

In 1963, a military coup was mounted against the democratically elected president Ramón Villeda Morales
Ramón Villeda Morales
Ramón Villeda Morales is a municipality in the Honduran department of Gracias a Dios....

. This event started a string of Military Governments
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

 which held power almost uninterrupted until 1981 when Suazo Córdova (LPH) was elected president and Honduras changed from a military authoritarian regime.

In 1986, there were five Liberal candidates and four Nationalists running for president. Because no one candidate obtained a clear majority, the so-called "Formula B" was invoked and Azcona del Hoyo became president. In 1990, Callejas won the election under the slogan "Llegó el momento del Cambio" (English: "The time for change has arrived"), which was heavily criticized for resembling El Salvador's "ARENAs" political campaign. Once in office, Callejas Romero gained a reputation for illicit enrichment, and has been the subject of several scandals and accusations. It was during Flores Facusse's mandate that Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch was the most powerful hurricane and the most destructive of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph . The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the season. Along with Hurricane Georges, Mitch...

 hit the country and decades of economic growth were eradicated in less than a week.

Government ministries are often incapable of carrying out their mandate due to budgetary constraints. In an interview with Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, Minister of Sports & Culture and one of three 'super ministers' responsible for coordinating the ministries related to public services (security and economic being the other two), published in Honduras This Week on 31 July 2006, it was related that 94% of the department budget was spent on bureaucracy and only 6% went to support activities and organizations covered by the mandate. Wages within that ministry were identified as the largest budget consumer.

President Maduro's administration "de-nationalized" the telecommunications sector in a move to promote the rapid diffusion of these services to the Honduran population. As of November 2005, there were around 10 private-sector telecommunications companies in the Honduran market, including two mobile phone companies. As of mid 2007, the issue of tele-communications continues to be very damaging to the current government.
The country's main newspapers are La Prensa
La Prensa (Honduras)
La Prensa is an independent newspaper with the biggest circulation in Honduras. It has a daily circulation average of 60,000 units , with full color and tabloid-sized pages...

, El Heraldo, La Tribuna
La Tribuna
La Tribuna is a Honduran newspaper owned by ex-President Carlos Roberto Flores.-History:La Tribuna was founded on 9 December 1976 by lawyer, writer and journalist Oscar Armando Flores Midence. Subsequently Oscar's son, Carlos Roberto Flores, became president, chief executive officer, and publisher...

 and Diario Tiempo. The official newspaper is La Gaceta.

A Presidential and General Election was held on 27 November 2005. Manuel Zelaya
Manuel Zelaya
José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is a politician who was President of Honduras from January 27, 2006 until June 28, 2009. The eldest son of a wealthy businessman, he inherited his father's nickname "Mel," and, before entering politics, was involved in his family's logging and timber businesses.Elected...

 of the Liberal Party of Honduras
Liberal Party of Honduras
The Liberal Party of Honduras is a centre-left liberal political party in Honduras that was founded in 1891. The party is a member of the Liberal International...

 (Partido Liberal de Honduras: PLH) won, with Porfirio Pepe Lobo
Porfirio Pepe Lobo
Porfirio Lobo Sosa , known as Pepe Lobo, is the President of Honduras, a politician and agricultural landowner. A member of the National Party and a former deputy in the National Congress of Honduras from 1990, he was President of the National Congress of Honduras from 2002 to 2006...

 of the National Party of Honduras
National Party of Honduras
The National Party is a centre-right conservative political party in Honduras and the main right-wing political party in the country. Founded in 1902 the PNH is identified with the color blue as its rival the Liberal Party of Honduras , is red. All the democratic elections in Honduras have been...

 (Partido Nacional de Honduras: PNH) coming in second. The PNH challenged the election results, and Lobo Sosa did not concede until 7 December. Towards the end of December, the government finally released the total ballot count, giving Zelaya the official victory. Zelaya was inaugurated as Honduras' new president on 27 January 2006.

Zelaya precipitated a national crisis by trying to hold a non-binding national referendum to ask the Honduran people: "Do you agree that, during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National
Assembly that will approve a new political constitution?" This possible Assembly then might not or more likely might have proposed constitutional changes to term-limits – as the military and the Supreme Court deemed possible – and other more likely, unrelated and legal constitutional changes.

2009 Honduran constitutional crisis



The 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis
2009 Honduran constitutional crisis
The 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis was a political dispute over plans to rewrite the Constitution of Honduras, which culminated in a coup d'état against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya by the Honduran military...

 resulted in a coup d'état
2009 Honduran coup d'état
The 2009 Honduran coup d'état, part of the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis, occurred when the Honduran Army ousted President Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile on June 28, 2009. It was prompted by his attempts to schedule a non binding poll on holding a referendum about convening a...

 that lasted from 28 June 2009 to 27 January 2010. President Manuel Zelaya
Manuel Zelaya
José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is a politician who was President of Honduras from January 27, 2006 until June 28, 2009. The eldest son of a wealthy businessman, he inherited his father's nickname "Mel," and, before entering politics, was involved in his family's logging and timber businesses.Elected...

 attempted to hold a "non-binding referendum" on the 28 June asking voters if the upcoming November elections should include an additional ballot box. The ballot box would ask if the Honduran people wished to form a Constitutional Assembly in the term of the newly elected president. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that found a prior referendum based on the same issue unconstitutional and prohibited it.

Referendum


Zelaya ignored the Supreme Court and decided to proceed on the referendum, basing his decision on the Law of Citizen Participation, passed in 2006. Zelaya dismissed the head of the military command, General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, for disobeying an order to hold the poll, but the Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement. The Supreme Court then ordered the military (who as a non-civilian force had no jurisdiction over the matter) to detain Zelaya. The vote on the referendum was scheduled for 28 June 2009. In the early morning on that day, the army
Military of Honduras
-pre-1979:During the twentieth century, Honduran military leaders frequently became presidents, either through elections or by coups d'état. General Tiburcio Carías Andino was elected in 1932, he later on called a constituent assembly that allowed him to be reelected, and his rule became more...

 arrested Zelaya at his home.

Zelaya was held in a U.S. airbase outside Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa , and commonly referred as Tegus , is the capital of Honduras and seat of government of the Republic, along with its twin sister Comayagüela. Founded on September 29, 1578 by the Spanish, it became the country's capital on October 30, 1880 under President Marco Aurelio Soto...

 before being forcibly sent to San José, Costa Rica
San José, Costa Rica
San José is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Located in the Central Valley, San José is the seat of national government, the focal point of political and economic activity, and the major transportation hub of this Central American nation.Founded in 1738 by order of Cabildo de León, San...

. Zelaya attempted reentry into the country on several occasions. According to the constitution, it is illegal to expatriate any Honduran citizen. Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti Baín is a former de facto president of Honduras who served as a result of the 2009 coup d'état. The Honduran military was ordered by the Supreme Court to forcefully detain President Manuel Zelaya once the Court stated he was violating the Honduran constitution; Zelaya was exiled...

, the former President of the Honduran Congress and a member of the same party as Zelaya, was sworn in as President by the National Congress on the afternoon of Sunday 28 June for a term that ended on 27 January 2010.

No country recognised the de facto government as legitimate; all members of the UN condemned the removal of Zelaya as a coup d'état. Some Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 members of the U.S. Congress voiced support at the time for the new government. On 21 September 2009, Zelaya returned to Honduras and entered the Brazilian embassy. From its roof, he attempted to incite his supporters in a rebellion. The government disrupted utility services to the embassy and imposed a curfew in an attempt to maintain order in the area when Zelaya's supporters protested around the embassy.

The following day, in Decree PCM-M-016-2009, the government suspended five Constitutional rights: personal liberty (Article 69), freedom of expression (Article 72), freedom of movement
Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human right concept that the constitutions of numerous states respect...

 (Article 81), habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

 (Article 84) and freedom of association
Freedom of association
Freedom of association is the individual right to come together with other individuals and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests....

 and assembly. It closed a leftist radio and a television station. The decree suspending human rights was officially revoked on 19 October 2009 in La Gaceta.

The 2009 election


The general election for President of the Republic of Honduras was won by the candidate of the National Party of Honduras, Mr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa,under a tense state of political turmoil and ongoing coup, the 29 November 2009, beating his opponent the candidate of the Liberal Party of Honduras, civil engineer, Mr. Elvin Ernesto Santos Ordoñez. Porfirio Lobo Sosa, was sworn in office as president in 2010 and declared its tasks to be to bring order to the country and reapply for acceptance of Honduras within the OAS.

Departments and municipalities




Honduras is divided into 18 departments. The capital city is Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa , and commonly referred as Tegus , is the capital of Honduras and seat of government of the Republic, along with its twin sister Comayagüela. Founded on September 29, 1578 by the Spanish, it became the country's capital on October 30, 1880 under President Marco Aurelio Soto...

 Central District of the department of Francisco Morazán
Francisco Morazán
General Francisco Morazán was a Honduran general and a politician who ruled several Central American states at different times during the turbulent period from 1827 to 1842. He rose to prominence at the legendary Battle of La Trinidad on November 11, 1827...

.
  1. Atlántida
    Atlántida (department)
    Atlántida is a department located on the north Caribbean shore of Honduras, Central America. The capital is the port city of La Ceiba.In the past decades the tourism took over to become the most important legitimate economic source for the coastal area. In 2005 it had an estimated population of...

  2. Choluteca
    Choluteca (department)
    Choluteca is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided. It is the southernmost department of Honduras, bordering the Gulf of Fonseca to the west and the Republic of Nicaragua to the east and south.The departmental capital is city of Choluteca...

  3. Colón
    Colón (department)
    Colón is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided. It was created in 1881. The departmental capital is Trujillo, and the other main city is Tocoa...

  4. Comayagua
    Comayagua (department)
    Comayagua is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided.The departmental capital is Comayagua.The department covers a total surface area of 5,196...

  5. Copán
    Copán (department)
    Copán is one of the departments in the western part of Honduras. The departmental capital is the town of Santa Rosa de Copán. The department is well-known for its tobacco and fine cigars....

  6. Cortés
    Cortés (department)
    Cortés is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided. The department covers a total surface area of 3,954 km² and, in 2005, had an estimated population of 1,365,497 people, making it the most populous department in Honduras...

  7. El Paraíso
    El Paraíso
    El Paraíso is a municipality in the Honduran department of El Paraíso. The capital is Yuscaran.The town is the site of a cigar factory operated by Nestor Plasencia, in which cigars are made under a variety of labels, including that of Rocky Patel....

  8. Francisco Morazán
    Francisco Morazán (department)
    Francisco Morazán is one of the departments of Honduras.It is located in the central part of the nation. The departmental capital is Tegucigalpa, which is also Honduras's national capital. Until 1943 it was known as Tegucigalpa department...

  9. Gracias a Dios
    Gracias a Dios (department)
    Gracias a Dios is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided. The departmental capital is Puerto Lempira; until 1975 it was Brus Laguna...

  10. Intibucá
    Intibucá (department)
    Intibucá is a department in Honduras.The departmental capital is the town of La Esperanza.Intibucá department covers a total surface area of 3,072 km² and, in2005, had a population of about 202,140 people....

  11. Islas de la Bahía
  12. La Paz
    La Paz (Honduran department)
    La Paz is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided.The departmental capital is the city of La Paz.The department covers a total surface area of 2,331...

  13. Lempira
    Lempira (department)
    Lempira is one of the 18 departments of Honduras Central America, located in the western part of the country with borders with El Salvador. It was named Gracias department until 1943, and the departmental capital is Gracias....

  14. Ocotepeque
    Ocotepeque (department)
    Ocotepeque is one of the 18 departments of Honduras, Central America, located in the West and bordering both El Salvador and Guatemala. It was formed in 1906 from part of Copán department...

  15. Olancho
  16. Santa Bárbara
    Santa Bárbara (department)
    Santa Bárbara is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided.The departmental capital is Santa Bárbara.The department covers a total surface area of 5,115...

  17. Valle
    Valle (department)
    Valle is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided.The departmental capital is Nacaome. The department faces the Gulf of Fonseca and contains mangrove swamps; inland, it is very hot and dry....

  18. Yoro
    Yoro (department)
    Yoro is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided.The department contains rich agricultural lands, concentrated mainly on the valley of the Aguan River and the Sula Valley, on opposite ends....


Geography



Honduras borders the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 on the north coast and the Pacific Ocean on the south through the Gulf of Fonseca
Gulf of Fonseca
The Gulf of Fonseca , part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf in Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.-History:Fonseca Bay was discovered in 1522 by Gil Gonzalez de Avila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.In 1849, E. G...

. It mostly lies between latitudes 13°
13th parallel north
The 13th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 13 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 17°N
17th parallel north
The 17th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 17 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 (a small area lies south of 13°, and the Swan Islands
Swan Islands, Honduras
The Swan Islands, or Islas Santanilla, are a chain of three islands located in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, approximately ninety miles off the coastline of Honduras, with a land area of .-Detailed location and features:...

 are north of 17°), and longitudes 83°
83rd meridian west
The meridian 83° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 90°W
90th meridian west
The meridian 90° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

The climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 varies from tropical in the lowland
Lowland
In physical geography, a lowland is any broad expanse of land with a general low level. The term is thus applied to the landward portion of the upward slope from oceanic depths to continental highlands, to a region of depression in the interior of a mountainous region, to a plain of denudation, or...

s to temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 in the mountains. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter and less humid than the northern coast.

The Honduran territory consists mainly of mountains, but there are narrow plains along the coasts, a large undeveloped lowland jungle La Mosquitia
La Mosquitia
La Mosquitia refers to the northeastern part of Honduras along the Mosquito Coast. It is an underdeveloped region of tropical rainforest accessible primarily by water and air. Its population include indigenous groups such as the Miskito, the Pech, Rama, Sumo, and Tawakha. The Río Plátano Biosphere...

 region in the northeast, and the heavily populated lowland Sula valley in the northwest.
In La Mosquitia, lies the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 world-heritage site Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve
Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve
The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is 5,250 km² of preserved land in the La Mosquitia region on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Most of the land runs along the Río Plátano. The reserve has a number of endangered species and some of Honduras largest sections of forest. It has been a World...

, with the Coco River
Coco River
The Río Coco, formerly known as the Río Segovia, Cape River, or Yara River, is a river in southern Honduras and northern Nicaragua. To the Miskito Indians that live along the river it is known as the Wanki or Wanks River...

 which divides the country from Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

.

The Islas de la Bahía and the Swan Islands
Swan Islands, Honduras
The Swan Islands, or Islas Santanilla, are a chain of three islands located in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, approximately ninety miles off the coastline of Honduras, with a land area of .-Detailed location and features:...

 (all off the north coast) are part of Honduras. Misteriosa Bank
Misteriosa Bank
The Misteriosa Bank is a submerged bank or atoll in the Caribbean Sea, located at - approximately equidistant from Mexico , Honduras and Cuba . The bank is long and wide. The area is [ftp://rock.geosociety.org/pub/reposit/2001/2001075.pdf]. Immediately south of it is Rosario Bank...

 and Rosario Bank
Rosario Bank
Rosario Bank is a former atoll in the southern Caribbean Sea, located just south of Misteriosa Bank. It is in Honduras' EEZ....

, 130 to 150 km (80–93 miles) north of the Swan Islands, fall within the EEZ of Honduras.

Natural resources include timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

, iron ore, antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, fish, shrimp, and hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

.

Ecology



The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot
Biodiversity hotspot
A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is under threat from humans.The concept of biodiversity hotspots was originated by Norman Myers in two articles in “The Environmentalist” , revised after thorough analysis by Myers and others in...

 because of the numerous plant and animal species that can be found there. Like other countries in the region, Honduras contains vast biological resources. The country hosts more than 6,000 species of vascular plants, of which 630 (described so far) are orchids; around 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 700 bird species, and 110 mammal species, half of them being bats.

In the northeastern region of La Mosquitia
La Mosquitia
La Mosquitia refers to the northeastern part of Honduras along the Mosquito Coast. It is an underdeveloped region of tropical rainforest accessible primarily by water and air. Its population include indigenous groups such as the Miskito, the Pech, Rama, Sumo, and Tawakha. The Río Plátano Biosphere...

 lies the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve
Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve
The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is 5,250 km² of preserved land in the La Mosquitia region on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Most of the land runs along the Río Plátano. The reserve has a number of endangered species and some of Honduras largest sections of forest. It has been a World...

, a lowland rainforest which is home to a great diversity of life. The reserve was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1982.

Honduras has rain forests, cloud forests (which can rise up to nearly three thousand meters above sea level), mangroves, savannas and mountain ranges with pine and oak trees, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System stretches over 1000 km from Isla Contoy at the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula down to the Bay Islands of Honduras...

. In the Bay Islands
Bay Islands (department)
Islas de la Bahía is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided. The departmental capital is Roatan, on the island of Roatán....

 there are bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, parrot fish, schools of blue tang
Acanthurus coeruleus
Acanthurus coeruleus is a surgeonfish found commonly in the Atlantic Ocean.- Description :...

 and whale shark
Whale shark
The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a slow-moving filter feeding shark, the largest extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of and a weight of more than , but unconfirmed claims report considerably larger whale sharks...

.

Economy




The economy has continued to grow slowly, but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized with average wages remaining low. Economic growth in the last few years has averaged 7% a year, one of the highest rates in Latin America, but 50% of the population, approximately 3.7 million people, still remains below the poverty line. It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million people who are unemployed
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

, the rate of unemployment standing at 27.9%. According to the Human Development Index, Honduras is the sixth poorest/least developed country in Latin America, after Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Guyana, and Bolivia.

Honduras was declared one of the heavily indebted poor countries
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries is a group of 40 developing countries with high levels of poverty and debt overhang which are eligible for special assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.- History and structure :...

 by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, and was made eligible for debt relief
Debt relief
Debt relief is the partial or total forgiveness of debt, or the slowing or stopping of debt growth, owed by individuals, corporations, or nations. From antiquity through the 19th century, it refers to domestic debts, in particular agricultural debts and freeing of debt slaves...

 in 2005.

The government operates both the electricity (ENEE) and land-line telephone services (HONDUTEL), as ENEE receives heavy subsidies for its chronic financial problems. HONDUTEL, however, is no longer a monopoly, as the telecommunication sector was opened to private sector on 25 December 2005, as was required under the CAFTA. The price of petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 is controlled, and the Congress
National Congress of Honduras
The National Congress is the legislative branch of the government of Honduras.The Honduran Congress is a unicameral legislature. The current President of the National Congress of Honduras is Juan Orlando Hernández. Its members are 128 deputies, who are elected on a proportional representation...

 often ratifies temporary price regulations for basic commodities.

Gold, silver, lead and zinc are produced at mines owned by foreign companies.

After years of decline against the U.S. dollar, lempira
Honduran lempira
The lempiras is the currency of Honduras. It is subdivided into 100 centavos. The lempira was named after the 16th-century cacique Lempira, a ruler of the indigenous Lenca people, who is renowned in Honduran folklore for leading the local native resistance against the Spanish conquistador forces...

 recently stabilized at around 19 lempiras per dollar. In June 2008, the exchange rate between U.S. dollar and lempira was approximately 1 to 18.85.

In 2005, Honduras signed the CAFTA, the free trade agreement with the United States. In December 2005, Puerto Cortes
Puerto Cortés
-Geography:It is on the Caribbean Sea coast, north of San Pedro Sula and east of Omoa, at 15.85° N, 87.94° W. It has a natural bay.It is Honduras's main sea port and it is considered the most important seaport in Central America...

, the main seaport in Honduras, was included in the U.S. Container Security Initiative
Container Security Initiative
The Container Security Initiative was launched in 2002 by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection , an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. Its purpose was to increase security for container cargo shipped to the United States...

.

On 7 December 2006, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

 announced the first phase of the Secure Freight Initiative, an unprecedented effort to build upon existing port security measures by enhancing the U.S. government’s authority to scan containers from overseas for nuclear and radiological materials to better assess the risk of inbound containers. The initial phase of Secure Freight involves the deployment of nuclear detection and other devices to six foreign ports: Port Qasim
Port Qasim
The Port Muhammad Bin Qasim , also known as Port Qasim, is a seaport in Karachi, Pakistan, on the coastline of the Arabian Sea. It is Pakistan's second busiest port, handling about 35% of the nation's cargo...

 in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

; Puerto Cortes
Puerto Cortés
-Geography:It is on the Caribbean Sea coast, north of San Pedro Sula and east of Omoa, at 15.85° N, 87.94° W. It has a natural bay.It is Honduras's main sea port and it is considered the most important seaport in Central America...

 in Honduras; Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 in the United Kingdom; Port Salalah in Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

; Port of Singapore
Port of Singapore
The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Singapore's harbours and which handle Singapore's shipping...

; and the Gamman Terminal at Port Busan in Korea. Since early 2007, containers from these ports have been scanned for radiation and other risk factors before they are allowed to depart for the United States.

Social conditions


Over the centuries, the territory of Honduras has known a number of social systems, ranging from ancient forager groups through early complex societies to more elaborated ones, such as those of the Maya and Lenca. Spanish conquest built on these, and their traditions carried over into the post independence period. Honduras' emergence in the late nineteenth century as a cash crop producing exporter and then its limited industrialization through the maquiladora system have brought about the conditions of today.

Demographics


According to the CIA World Factbook, relying on national census data, Honduras has a population of 7.48 million; the CIA World Factbook states that the population makeup is: "mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%". However, in Honduras as in Latin American countries in general, racial breakdowns of population conform to local perceptions of race, and also social status which may tend to over represent some groups and under represent others, and thus such statistics must be understood in that light.


Ninety percent of the Honduran population is Mestizo and white (a mixture of Amerindian and European ancestry). About 7% of the Honduran population are members of one of the seven recognized indigenous groups.

About 2% of Honduras's population is black, or Afro-Honduran, and mainly reside on the country's Caribbean coast. Most are the descendants of the slaves and indentured servants from the West Indian islands brought to Honduras. Another large group (about 150,000 today) are the Garifuna, descendants of an Afro-Carib population which revolted against British authorities on the island of St. Vincent
Saint Vincent (island)
Saint Vincent is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is the largest island of the chain called Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located in the Caribbean Sea, between Saint Lucia and Grenada. It is composed of partially submerged volcanic mountains...

 and were forcibly moved to Belize and Honduras during the 18th century. Garífunas are part of Honduran identity through theatrical presentations such as Louvavagu. A final group are workers brought in from the English-speaking Caribbean, primarily Jamaica and Barbados, to work on the fruit plantations started by mostly North American companies such as United Fruit Company in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Honduras hosts a significant Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 community (the vast majority of whom are Christian Arabs). The Palestinians arrived in the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, establishing themselves especially in the city of San Pedro Sula. The Palestinian community, well integrated in Honduras, is prominent in business, commerce, banking, industry, and politics. There is also an East Asian community that is primarily Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 descent, and to a lesser extent Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

. Some Korean
Korean people
The Korean people are an ethnic group originating in the Korean peninsula and Manchuria. Koreans are one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogeneous groups in the world.-Names:...

, Ryukyuan
Ryukyuans
The are the indigenous peoples of the Ryukyu Islands between the islands of Kyūshū and Taiwan. The generally recognized subgroups of Ryukyuans are Amamians, Okinawans, Miyakoans, Yaeyamans, and Yonagunians. Geographically, they live in either Okinawa Prefecture or Kagoshima Prefecture...

, Vietnamese
Vietnamese people
The Vietnamese people are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam and southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population as of the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam...

 and Filipino
Filipino people
The Filipino people or Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines. There are about 92 million Filipinos in the Philippines, and about 11 million living outside the Philippines ....

 peoples also make up a small percentage due to their arrival to Honduras as contract laborers in the 1980s and 1990s. There are also an estimated 1000 Sumos
Sumo (people)
The Mayagna are a people who live on the eastern coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras, an area commonly known as the Mosquito Coast. Their preferred autonym is Mayagna, as the name "Sumo" is a deragatory name historically used by the Miskito people.Their language belongs to the Misumalpan language...

 (or Mayangnas) that live in Honduras, the majority of whom reside on the Caribbean coast.

Since 1975, emigration from Honduras has accelerated as job-seekers and political refugees sought a better life elsewhere. Although many Hondurans have relatives in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, Spain, Mexico, El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 and Canada, the majority of Hondurans living abroad are in the United States.

Religion




Although most Hondurans are nominally Roman Catholic (which would be considered the main religion), according to one report, membership in the Roman Catholic Church is declining while membership in Protestant churches is increasing. The International Religious Freedom Report, 2008, notes that a CID Gallup poll reported that 47% of the population identified themselves as Catholic, 36% as evangelical Protestant, and 17% provided no answer or considered themselves "other." Customary Catholic church tallies and membership estimates 81% Catholic where the priest (in more than 185 parishes is required to fill out a pastoral account of the parish each year.

The CIA Factbook has Honduras listed as 97% Catholic and 3% Protestant. Commenting on statistical variations everywhere, John Green of Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life notes that: "It isn't that ... numbers are more right than [someone else's] numbers ... but how one conceptualizes the group. Often people attend one church without giving up their "home" church. Many who attend evangelical megachurches in the US, for example, attend more than one church. This shifting and fluidity is common in Brazil where two-fifths of those who were raised evangelical are no longer evangelical and Catholics seem to shift in and out of various churches, often while still remaining Catholic.

Most pollsters suggest an annual poll taken over a number of years would provide the best method of knowing religious demographics and variations in any single country. Still, in Honduras are thriving Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

, Lutheran, Mormon
Mormon
The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

 and Pentecostal churches. There are Protestant seminaries. The Catholic Church, still the only "church" that is recognized, is also thriving in the number of schools, hospitals, and pastoral institutions (including its own medical school) that it operates. It archbishop, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, is also very popular, both with the government, other churches, and in his own church. Practitioners of the Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Jewish, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic, Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, Rastafari
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

 and indigenous denominations and religions exist.

Health


The fertility rate
Total Fertility Rate
The total fertility rate of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates through her lifetime, and she...

 is approximately 3.7 per woman. The under-five mortality rate is at 40 per 1,000 live births. The health expenditure was US$ (PPP) 197 per person in 2004. There are about 57 physicians per 100,000 people.

Culture



The most renowned Honduran painter is Jose Antonio Velásquez. Other important painters include Carlos Garay, and Roque Zelaya. Two of Honduras' most notable writers are Froylan Turcios
Froylán Turcios
Froylán Turcios was a Honduran writer, journalist and politician. He is considered one of the most important Honduran intellectuals of the early twentieth century.-Background and political roles:...

 and Ramón Amaya Amador
Ramón Amaya Amador
-Biography:Amaya was born in Olanchito in the department of Yoro. After being educated in La Ceiba he worked on the banana plantations along the Northern Caribbean coast of Honduras. He published his first work in 1939. He became a journalist in 1941 for El Atlántico , a La Ceiba newspaper. In...

. Others include Marco Antonio Rosa, Roberto Sosa, Lucila Gamero de Medina, Eduardo Bähr
Eduardo Bähr
Eduardo Bähr is a Honduran writer, scriptwriter and actor.In 1996, along with Mexico's Octavio Paz, Spain's Rafael Alberti, and Nicaragua's Ernesto Cardenal, he was one of 50 intellectuals awarded the Gabriela Mistral Medal by the government of Chile...

, Amanda Castro, Javier Abril Espinoza
Javier Abril Espinoza
Javier Abril Espinoza , Honduran writer based in Switzerland. He writes for the newspaper The Herald of Honduras and collaborates with various literary magazines of Latin America....

, Teófilo Trejo, and Roberto Quesada. Some of Honduras' notable musicians include Rafael Coello Ramos, Lidia Handal, Victoriano Lopez, Guillermo Anderson, Victor Donaire, Matilde Quan, Moises Canelo,Julio Quan Francisco Carranza and Camilo Rivera Guevara.

Hondurans are often referred to as Catracho or Catracha (fem) in Spanish. The word was coined by Nicaraguans and derives from the last name of the Spanish Honduran General Florencio Xatruch
Florencio Xatruch
Florencio Xatruch , was a General who led the Honduran expeditionary force against William Walker in Nicaragua in 1856.- Life :Florencio Xatruch was born in San Antonio de Oriente, Honduras...

, who, in 1857, led Honduran armed forces against an attempted invasion by North American adventurer William Walker. The nickname is considered complimentary, not derogatory. The main language is Spanish, spoken by 94% as first language. Minority languages are spoken by less than 4%. These are Amerindian languages such as Garifuna
Garifuna language
Garifuna is an Arawakan language spoken in Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize by the Garifuna people. The language is also spoken to a lesser extent in Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast. Historically it was referred to as Carib or Black Carib and Igñeri by Europeans. Garifuna has a vocabulary split between...

, Miskito
Miskito language
Miskito is a Misumalpan language spoken by the Miskito people in northeastern Nicaragua, especially in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, and in eastern Honduras....

, and Pech; Honduras Sign Language
Honduras Sign Language
Honduras Sign Language, also known as "Lengua de Señas Hondureñas" , is the dominant sign language used in Honduras....

; and English on the Bay Islands
Bay Islands (department)
Islas de la Bahía is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided. The departmental capital is Roatan, on the island of Roatán....

 off the north coast.

Honduras This Week is a weekly English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 newspaper
Newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

 that has been published for seventeen years in Tegucigalpa. On the islands of Roatan
Roatán
Roatán, located between the islands of Útila and Guanaja, is the largest of Honduras' Bay Islands. The island was formerly known as Ruatan and Rattan...

, Utila and Guanaja, the Bay Islands Voice
Bay Islands Voice
Bay Islands Voice is an English language monthly publication in Roatan Island, Honduras. It covers news of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja. It has appeared since March 2003...

has been a source of monthly news since 2003.

Honduran cuisine
Honduran cuisine
Honduran cuisine is a fusion of African, Spanish, and indigenous cuisine. Its most notable feature is that it uses more coconut than any other Central American cuisine in both sweet and savory dishes...

 makes extensive use of coconut, in both sweet and savory foods, and even in soups.

The José Francisco Saybe theater in San Pedro Sula
San Pedro Sula
San Pedro Sula is a city in Honduras. It is located in the northwest corner of the country, in the Valle de Sula , about 60 km south of Puerto Cortés on the Caribbean. With an estimated population of 638,259 people in the main municipality, and 802,598 in its metro area , it is the second...

 is home to the Círculo Teatral Sampedrano (Theatrical Circle of San Pedro Sula)

Celebrations



Some of Honduras' national holidays include Honduras Independence Day on 15 September and Children's Day or Día del Niño, which is celebrated in homes, schools and churches on 10 September; on this day, children receive presents and have parties similar to Christmas or birthday celebrations. Some neighborhoods have piñatas on the street. Other holidays are Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

, Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels...

, Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

, Day of the Soldier (3 October to celebrate the birth of Francisco Morazán
Francisco Morazán
General Francisco Morazán was a Honduran general and a politician who ruled several Central American states at different times during the turbulent period from 1827 to 1842. He rose to prominence at the legendary Battle of La Trinidad on November 11, 1827...

), Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

, El Dia de Lempira on 20 July, and New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is observed annually on December 31, the final day of any given year in the Gregorian calendar. In modern societies, New Year's Eve is often celebrated at social gatherings, during which participants dance, eat, consume alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the...

.

Honduras Independence Day festivities start early in the morning with marching bands. Each band wears different colors and features cheerleaders. Fiesta Catracha takes place this same day: typical Honduran foods such as bean
Bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

s, tamale
Tamale
A tamale — or more correctly tamal — is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa , which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating...

s, baleadas, cassava
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

 with chicharron, and tortilla
Tortilla
In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened flat bread, made from finely ground maize...

s are offered. On Christmas Eve, the people reunite with their families and close friends to have dinner, then give out presents at midnight. In some cities fireworks are seen and heard at midnight. On New Year's Eve there is food and "cohetes", fireworks and festivities. Birthdays are also great events, and include the famous “piñata” which is filled with candies and surprises for the children invited.

La Feria Isidra is celebrated in La Ceiba
La Ceiba
La Ceiba is a port city on the northern coast of Honduras in Central America. It is located on the southern edge of the Caribbean, forming part of the south eastern boundary of the Gulf of Honduras...

, a city located in the north coast, in the second half of May to celebrate the day of teh city's patron saint Saint Isidore. People from all over the world come for one week of festivities. Every night there is a little carnaval (carnavalito) in a neighborhood. Finally, on Saturday there is a big parade with floats and displays with people from many countries. This celebration is also accompanied by the Milk Fair, where many Hondurans come to show off their farm products and animals.

Education


In Honduras about 83.6% of the population of the country is literate
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

. The net primary enrollment rate was 94% in 2004, while in 2007 the primary school completion rate was reported to be 40%. Honduras has bilingual (Spanish and English) and even trilingual (Spanish, English, German/Turkish) schools and numerous universities.

The university is ruled by National Autonomous University of Honduras
National Autonomous University of Honduras
The National Autonomous University of Honduras is the national public university of Honduras. It was founded in 1847 and has many campuses throughout the country.-Autonomy:...

 which have centers in the most important cities in Honduras.

Energy


About half of the electricity sector in Honduras
Electricity sector in Honduras
The electricity sector in Honduras is characterized by the dominance of a vertically integrated utility ; an incomplete attempt in the early 1990s to reform the sector; the increasing share of thermal generation over the past two decades; the poor financial health of the state utility Empresa...

 is privately owned. The remaining generation
Electricity generation
Electricity generation is the process of generating electric energy from other forms of energy.The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday...

 capacity is run by ENEE
ENEE
The Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica , is Honduras's government owned and operated electrical power company, operating within the Electricity sector in Honduras.- By the Numbers :* ENEE employs more than 2,500 people....

 (Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica).
Key challenges in the sector are:
  • How to finance investments in generation and transmission in the absence of either a financially healthy utility or of concessionary funds by external donors for these types of investments;
  • How to re-balance tariffs, cut arrears and reduce commercial losses – including electricity theft – without fostering social unrest; and
  • How to reconcile environmental concerns with the government's objective to build two new large dams and associated hydropower plants.
  • How to improve access in rural areas.

Water supply and sanitation


Water supply and sanitation in Honduras
Water supply and sanitation in Honduras
Water supply and sanitation coverage in Honduras has increased significantly in the last decades. However, the sector is still characterized by poor service quality and poor efficiency in many places. Coverage gaps still remain, particularly in rural areas....

 varies greatly from urban centers to rural villages. Larger population centers generally have modernized water treatment and distribution systems, however water quality is often poor because of lack of proper maintenance and treatment. Rural areas generally have basic drinking water systems with limited capacity for water treatment. Many urban areas have sewer systems in place for the collection of wastewater, however proper treatment of wastewater is scarce. In rural areas, sanitary facilities are generally limited to latrines and basic septic pits.

Water and sanitation services were historically provided by Servicio Autonomo de Alcantarillas y Aqueductos (SANAA). In 2003, a new "water law" was passed which called for the decentralization of water services. With the 2003 law, local communities have the right and responsibility to own, operate, and control their own drinking water and wastewater systems. Since passage of the new law, many communities have joined together to address water and sanitation issues on a regional basis.

Many national and international non-government organizations have a history of working on water and sanitation projects in Honduras. International groups include, but are not limited to, the Red Cross
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human...

, Water 1st
Water 1st International
Water 1st International is a non-profit organization helping people in poor countries implement water, sanitation and hygiene education projects. Water 1st works through locally-based partner organizations to support the implementation of projects that include the provision of drinking water,...

, Rotary Club
Rotary International
Rotary International is an organization of service clubs known as Rotary Clubs located all over the world. The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help...

, Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Founded in 1943 by the U.S. bishops, the agency provides assistance to 130 million people in more than 90 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and...

, Water for People, EcoLogic Development Fund, CARE
CARE (relief)
CARE is a broad-spectrum secular relief, humanitarian, and development non-governmental organization fighting global poverty. It is non-political, non-sectarian and operates annually in more than 70 countries across the globe.One of the organization’s primary focuses in its fight to eradicate...

, CESO-SACO, Engineers Without Borders USA, Flood The Nations, SHH, Global Brigades
Global Brigades
Global Brigades is a student-led, nonprofit health and sustainable development organization with varied membership that spans North American and European universities...

, and Agua para el Pueblo
Agua para el Pueblo
Agua para el Pueblo is an NGO that has been working in Honduras within the sanitation and water sector for over 20 years.Through a partnership with the Cornell University APP is managing the construction and technical support for the AguaClara project....

 in partnership with AguaClara
AguaClara
AguaClara is a project in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University that designs water treatment plants using the open source model...

 at Cornell University.

In addition, many government organizations working on projects include: the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, USAID
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

, the Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

, Cooperacion Andalucia, the government of Japan
Government of Japan
The government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the 1947 constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people". Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected...

, and many others.

Transport



Transportation in Honduras
Transportation in Honduras
Transport in Honduras refers to transport in Honduras, a country in Central America.- Railways : El Salvador - no Guatemala - none in use - break-of-gauge / Nicaragua - noFERISTSA Railway would connect Mexico with Panama via Honduras....

 consists of the following infrastructure: 699 km of railways; 13,603 km of roadways; seven ports and harbors; and 112 airports altogether (12 Paved, 100 unpaved).
Responsibility for policy in the transport sector rests with the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing (SOPRTRAVI after its Spanish acronym).

National symbols



The flag of Honduras
Flag of Honduras
This national flag of Honduras was adopted on March 7, 1866, based on the flag of the Federal Republic of Central America.In 1823 Honduras joined the United Provinces of Central America and adopted their flag. In 1866 it was amended; five cerulean stars were placed in the center to represent the 5...

 is composed of 3 equal horizontal stripes, with the upper and lower ones being blue and representing the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The central stripe is white. It contains five blue stars representing the five states of the Central American Union
Federal Republic of Central America
The Federal Republic of Central America, known as the United Provinces of Central America in its first year of creation, was a sovereign state in Central America, which consisted of the territories of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala of New Spain...

. The middle star represents Honduras, located in the center of the Central American Union.

The Coat of Arms was established in 1945. It is an equilateral triangle, at the base is a volcano between three castles, over which is a rainbow and the sun shining. The triangle is placed on an area that symbolizes being bathed by both seas. Around all of this an oval containing in golden lettering: "Republic of Honduras, Free, Sovereign and Independent".

The National Anthem of Honduras is a result of a contest carried out in 1914 during the presidency of Manuel Bonilla
Manuel Bonilla
General Manuel Bonilla Chirinos was President of Honduras from 13 April 1903 to 25 February 1907, and again from 1 February 1912 till 21 March 1913....

. In the end, it was the poet Augosto C. Coello that ended up writing the anthem, with the participation of German composer Carlos Hartling writing the music. The anthem was officially adopted on 15 November 1915, during the presidency of Alberto Membreño. The anthem is composed of a choir and seven stroonduran,that is very long.

The national flower is the famous orchid, Rhyncholaelia
Rhyncholaelia
Rhyncholaelia, abbreviated Rl. in the horticultural trade, is a genus of orchids , comprising 2 species. They are distributed in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. Both species were originally published in Brassavola by Lindley. In 1918, Schlechter erected the new genus Rhyncholaelia and...

 digbyana
(formerly known as Brassavola digbyana), which replaced the rose in 1969. The change of the National Flower was carried out during the administration of general Oswaldo López Arellano
Oswaldo López Arellano
Oswaldo Enrique López Arellano was a two-time President of Honduras, first from 1963 to 1971 and again from 1972 to 1975. He gained power both times via military force....

, thinking that Brassavola digbiana "is an indigenous plant of Honduras; having this flower exceptional characteristics of beauty, vigor and distinction", as the decree dictates it.

The National Tree of Honduras is the Honduras Pine
Caribbean Pine
The Caribbean Pine, Pinus caribaea, is a hard pine native to Central America, Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It inhabits tropical and subtropical coniferous forests, which include both lowland savannas and montane forests...

 (Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis). Also the use of the tree was regulated, "to avoid the unnecessary destructions caused by choppings or fires of forest."

The National Mammal is the White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer , also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States , Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru...

 (Odocoileus virginianus), which was adopted as a measure to avoid excessive depredation. It is one of two species of deer that live in Honduras.
The National Bird of Honduras is the Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
The Scarlet Macaw is a large, colorful macaw. It is native to humid evergreen forests in the American tropics. Range extends from extreme south-eastern Mexico to Amazonian Peru, Bolivia and Brazil in lowlands up to up to...

 (Ara macao). This bird was much valued by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Honduras.

Folklore



Legends and fairy tales are paramount within the Honduras culture; Lluvia de Peces
Lluvia de Peces
Lluvia de Peces or Rain of Fish is a phenomenon that has been occurring for more than a century on a yearly basis in the country of Honduras.-History and background:The Rain of Fish is common in Honduran Folklore...

 (Fish Rain) is an example of this. The legend of El Cadejo
Cadejo
The cadejo is a character from Salvadoran, Belizean, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Honduran, Guatemalan and southern Mexican folklore. There is a good, white cadejo and an evil, black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travelers: the white to protect them from harm during their journey,...

, La Llorona
La Llorona
La Llorona is a widespread legend in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Central America. Although several variations exist, the basic story tells of a beautiful woman by the name of Maria killing her children by drowning them, in order to be with the man that she loved. When the man rejects her, she kills...

 and La Ciguanaba (La Sucia) are also popular.

Sports


Football is the most popular Sport in Honduras. Information on all other Honduran sports related articles are below:
  • Football in Honduras
    Football in Honduras
    -Association:The Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras is the governing body of football in Honduras. The FENAFUTH was founded in 1951 and joined FIFA in the same year. Ten years later it joined CONCACAF....

  • Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras
    Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras
    The Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras is the official football organization in Honduras and is in charge of the Honduran national team. FENAFUTH was founded in 1951 and joined FIFA in the same year. Ten years later it joined CONCACAF.-External links:* at FIFA site*...

  • Honduras national baseball team
    Honduras national baseball team
    The Honduras national baseball team is the national baseball team of Honduras and is controlled by the Federación Hondureña de Béisbol. It represents the nation in senior-level mens international competition. The team is a member of the COPABE....

  • Honduras national football team
    Honduras national football team
    The Honduran national football team, nicknamed Los Catrachos, La Bicolor or La H, is the national team of Honduras and is controlled by the Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras...

  • Honduras national under-20 football team
  • Honduras U-17 national football team


See also


  • International rankings of Honduras
    International rankings of Honduras
    -International rankings:...

  • List of Hondurans
  • List of newspapers in Honduras
  • List of places in Honduras
  • Military of Honduras
    Military of Honduras
    -pre-1979:During the twentieth century, Honduran military leaders frequently became presidents, either through elections or by coups d'état. General Tiburcio Carías Andino was elected in 1932, he later on called a constituent assembly that allowed him to be reelected, and his rule became more...



External links