Honduras: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country Honduras.



Location--Central America. To the west are Guatemala and El Salvador. To the south, Nicaragua. The Caribbean is on the north and east.

How Created--Columbus touched the eastern tip of Honduras in 1502, and named the area "Honduras" meaning "depths" in Spanish, possibly in reference to the deep coastal waters. The 1st settlement occurred in 1524, and in 1539 the area became part of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala. The rich silver mines of Honduras attracted Spanish adventurers, and both the mines and the Indians (about 500,000 at the time of the conquest, descendants of the Mayas) were ruthlessly exploited. In 1821 Honduras, along with the other Central American Spanish possessions, declared its independence from Spain. In 1823 Honduras joined the Central American federation of republics, which was dissolved in 1838, due to both internal and external factionalism. Honduras has been independent since 1838, but has had persistent border problems with El Salvador, which flared into war in 1969.

Size--43,277 sq. mi. (112,088 sq. km.), about the size of Ohio.

Population--3 million: mestizo, 90%; Indian, 6%; white and black, 4%. 71% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant, 27% other.

Who rules--In theory, a republic with a President and unicameral legislature elected every 6 years. However, constitutional succession is rarely achieved.

Who REALLY Rules--The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Since 1821 there have been over 120 presidential changes, mostly at the instigation of the military.

The U.S. is Honduras' biggest foreign investor (United Brands, formerly United Fruit), and has an active AID program there. AID loans have been for roads, education, agricultural development, and technical assistance. The USIS (U.S. Information Service) administers a cultural and educational exchange program.

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