Honduras literally means "depths" in Spanish. The name could either refer to the bay of Trujillo as an anchorage, fondura in the Leonese dialect of Spanish, or to Columbus's alleged quote that "Gracias a Dios que hemos salido de esas Honduras" ("Thank God we have departed from those depths").
It was not until the end of the 16th century that Honduras was used for the whole province. Prior to 1580, Honduras only referred to the eastern part of the province, and Higueras referred to the western part. Another early name is Guaymuras, revived as the name for the political dialogue in 2009 that took place in Honduras as opposed to Costa Rica.
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 in Copán. Copán fell with the other Lowland centres during the conflagrations of the Terminal Classic in the 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 Naranjos 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.
On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, in the vicinity of the Guaimoreto Lagoon and became the first European to visit the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras. On 30 July 1502 Columbus sent his brother Bartholomew to explore the islands and Bartholomew encountered a Mayan trading vessel from Yucatán, carrying well-dressed Maya and a rich cargo. Bartholomew's men stole whatever cargo they wanted and kidnapped the ship's elderly captain to serve as an interpreter in what was the first recorded encounter between the Spanish and the Maya.
In March 1524, Gil González Dávila became the first Spaniard to enter Honduras as a conquistador. followed by Hernán Cortés, bringing forces down from Mexico. Much of the conquest was done in the following two decades, first by groups loyal to Cristóbal de Olid, and then by those loyal of Francisco Montejo but most particularly by those following Alvarado. In addition to Spanish resources, the conquerors relied heavily on armed forces from Mexico—Tlaxcalans and Mexica armies of thousands who lived on in the region as garrisons.
Resistance to conquest was led in particular by Lempira, and many regions in the north never fell to the Spanish, notably the Miskito Kingdom. After the Spanish conquest, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. Trujillo and Gracias were the first city-capitals. The Spanish ruled the region for approximately three centuries.
Honduras was organized as a province of the Kingdom of Guatemala and the capital was fixed, first at Trujillo on the Atlantic coast, and later at Comayagua, and finally at Tegucigalpa in the central part of the country.
Silver mining was a key factor in the Spanish conquest and settlement of Honduras. Initially the mines were worked by local people through the encomienda system, but as disease and resistance made this option less available, slaves from other parts of Central America were brought in. When local slave trading stopped at the end of the sixteenth century, African slaves, mostly from Angola, were imported. 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 on the northern, or Atlantic side. They managed to found a few towns along the coast, at Puerto Caballos 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 in the northeast was particularly effective at resisting conquest. The Miskito Kingdom found support from northern European privateers, pirates and especially the British (formerly English) colony of Jamaica, which placed much of its territory under its protection after 1740.
Honduras became independent from Spain in 1821 and was for a time part of the First Mexican Empire until 1823 when it became part of the United Provinces of Central America. It has been an independent republic since 1838 and held regular elections. In the 1840s and 1850s 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 the hardest for a policy of regional unity.
Neoliberal policies favoring international trade and investment began in the 1870s, and soon foreign interests became involved, first in shipping, especially tropical fruit and most notably bananas, from the north coast, and then in building railroads. In 1888, a projected railroad line from the Caribbean coast to the capital, Tegucigalpa, ran out of money when it reached San Pedro Sula. As a result, San Pedro grew into the nation's primary industrial center and second-largest city. Comayagua was the capital of Honduras until 1880, when the capital moved to Tegucigalpa.
Since independence, nearly 300 small internal rebellions and civil wars have occurred in the country, including some changes of régime.
In the late nineteenth century, Honduras granted land and substantial exemptions to US-based fruit and infrastructure companies in return for developing the country's northern regions. Thousands of workers came to the north coast, as a result, to work in banana plantations and other businesses that grew up around the export industry. Banana-exporting companies, dominated until 1930 Cuyamel Fruit Company, as well as the United Fruit Company, and Standard Fruit Company, built an enclave economy in northern Honduras, controlling infrastructure and creating self-sufficient, tax-exempt sectors that contributed relatively little to economic growth. American troops landed in Honduras in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925. In 1904 the writer O. Henry coined the term "Banana republic" to describe Honduras.
In addition to drawing Central American workers north, the fruit companies also encouraged immigration of workers from the English-speaking Caribbean, notably Jamaica and Belize, which introduced an African-descended, English-speaking and largely Protestant population into the country, although many of these workers left after immigration law changes in 1939. Honduras joined the Allied Nations after Pearl Harbor, on 8 December 1941, and signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942 along with twenty-five other governments.
Constitutional crises in the 1940s led to reforms in the 1950s. One reform gave workers permission to organize, and a 1954 general strike paralyzed the northern part of the country for more than two months, but led to reforms. In 1963 a military coup unseated democratically elected President Ramón Villeda Morales.
In 1969 Honduras and El Salvador fought what became known as the Football War. Border tensions led to acrimony between the two countries after Oswaldo López Arellano, a president of Honduras, blamed the deteriorating Honduran economy on immigrants from El Salvador. The relationship reached a low when El Salvador met Honduras for a three-round football elimination match preliminary to the World Cup.
Tensions escalated and on 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack on the Honduran army. The Organization of American 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 war as many as 130,000 Salvadoran immigrants were expelled.
Hurricane Fifi caused severe damage when it skimmed 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 to write a new constitution, and general elections were held in November 1981. The constitution was approved in 1982 and the PLH government of Roberto Suazo won the election with a promise to carry out an ambitious program of economic and social development to tackle the recession Honduras was in. He launched ambitious social and economic development projects sponsored by American development aid. Honduras became host to the largest Peace Corps mission in the world, and nongovernmental and international voluntary agencies proliferated. The Peace Corps withdrew its volunteers in 2012, citing safety concerns.
During the early 1980s the United States established a continuing military presence in Honduras to support El Salvador, the Contra guerrillas fighting the Nicaraguan government, and also develop an air strip and modern port in Honduras. Though spared the bloody civil wars wracking its neighbors, the Honduran army quietly waged campaigns against Marxist-Leninist militias such as the Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement, notorious for kidnappings and bombings, and against many non-militants as well. The operation included a CIA-backed campaign of extrajudicial killings by government-backed units, most notably Battalion 316.
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused massive and widespread destruction. Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores said that fifty years of progress in the country had been reversed. Mitch destroyed about 70% of the crops and an estimated 70–80% of the transportation infrastructure, including nearly all bridges and secondary roads. Across Honduras 33,000 houses were destroyed, and an additional 50,000 damaged. Some 5,000 people killed, and 12,000 more injured. Total losses were estimated at $3 billion USD.
The 2008 Honduran floods were severe and damaged or destroyed around half of the roads as a result.
In 2009, a constitutional crisis resulted when power transferred in a coup from the president to the head of Congress. The Organization of American States (OAS) suspended Honduras because it did not feel its government was legitimate.
Countries around the world, the OAS, and the United Nations formally and unanimously condemned the action as a coup d'état and refused to recognize the de facto government, even though the lawyers consulted by the Library of Congress submitted to the United States Congress an opinion that declared the coup was legal. The Honduran Supreme Court also ruled that the proceedings had been legal. The government that followed the de facto government established a truth and reconciliation commission, Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación, which after more than a year of research and debate concluded that the ousting had been a coup d'état, and illegal in the commission's opinion.
The north coast of Honduras borders the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean lies south through the Gulf of Fonseca. Honduras consists mainly of mountains, with narrow plains along the coasts. A large undeveloped lowland jungle, La Mosquitia lies in the northeast, and the heavily populated lowland Sula valley in the northwest. In La Mosquitia lies the UNESCO world-heritage site Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, with the Coco River which divides Honduras from Nicaragua.
The Islas de la Bahía and the Swan Islands are off the north coast. Misteriosa Bank and Rosario Bank, 130 to 130 to 150 kilometres (81 to 93 miles) north of the Swan Islands, fall within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Honduras.
Natural resources include timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, shrimp, and hydropower.
The climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the mountains. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter and less humid than the northern coast.
The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot because of the many plant and animal species found there. Like other countries in the region, it contains vast biological resources. Honduras 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, of which half are bats.
In the northeastern region of La Mosquitia lies the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, 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 metres or 9,800 feet above sea level), mangroves, savannas and mountain ranges with pine and oak trees, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. In the Bay Islands there are bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, parrot fish, schools of blue tang and whale shark.
Deforestation resulting from logging is rampant in Olancho Department. The clearing of land for agriculture is prevalent in the largely undeveloped La Mosquitia region, causing land degradation and soil erosion.
Lake Yojoa, which is Honduras' largest source of fresh water, is polluted by heavy metals produced from mining activities. Some rivers and streams are also polluted by mining.
Honduras is governed within a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic. The President of Honduras is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the Honduran government. Legislative power is vested in the National Congress of Honduras. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The National Congress of Honduras (Congreso Nacional) has 128 members (diputados), elected for a four-year term by proportional representation. Congressional seats are assigned the parties' candidates on a departmental basis in proportion to the number of votes each party receives.
In 1963, a military coup removed the democratically elected president, Ramón Villeda Morales. A string of authoritarian military governments held power uninterrupted until 1981, when Roberto Suazo Córdova was elected president.
Today, the party system is dominated by the conservative National Party of Honduras (Partido Nacional de Honduras: PNH) and the liberal Liberal Party of Honduras (Partido Liberal de Honduras: PLH). Since 1981 Honduras has had six Liberal Party presidents: Roberto Suazo Córdova, José Azcona del Hoyo, Carlos Roberto Reina, Carlos Roberto Flores, Manuel Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti, and four National Party Presidents: Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero, Ricardo Maduro, Porfirio Lobo Sosa and Juan Orlando Hernández.
Another coup in 2009 removed Zelaya from office and put Micheletti in his place.
Current Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández took office on 27 January 2014.
Two Honduran names that surfaced in the Panama Papers disclosures belong to highly successful businessmen from some of Honduras' most prominent families. Jaime Rosenthal and Gilberto Goldstein are among the elite of Honduras, both successful businessmen and politicians. Rosenthal was a vice-president in the 1980s administration of José Azcona del Hoyo. His son César Rosenthal was, according to the Panama Papers, the sole stockholder of Renton Management S.A., a Panamanian entity created to purchase airplanes.
Honduras and Nicaragua had tense relations throughout 2000 and early 2001 due to a boundary dispute off the Atlantic coast. Nicaragua imposed a 35% tariff against Honduran goods due to the dispute.
In June 2009 a coup d'état ousted President Manuel Zelaya; he was taken in a military aircraft to neighboring Costa Rica. The General Assembly of the United Nations voted to denounce the coup and called for the restoration of Zelaya. Several Latin American nations including Mexico temporarily severed diplomatic relations with Honduras. In July 2010, full diplomatic relations were once again re-established with Mexico. The United States sent out mixed messages after the coup; Obama called the ouster a coup and expressed support for Zelaya's return to power. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, advised by John Negroponte, the former Reagan-era to Honduras implicated in the Iran-Contra affair, refrained from expressing support. She has since explained that the US would have had to cut aid if it called Zelaya's ouster a military coup, although the US has a record of ignoring these events when it chooses. Zelaya had expressed an interest in Hugo Chávez' Bolivarian Alliance for Peoples of our America (ALBA), and had actually joined in 2008. After the 2009 coup, Honduras withdrew its membership.
This interest in regional agreements may have increased the alarm of establishment politicians. When Zelaya began calling for a "fourth ballot box" to determine whether Hondurans wished to convoke a special constitutional congress, this sounded a lot to some like the constitutional amendments that had extended the terms of both Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. "Chavez has served as a role model for like-minded leaders intent on cementing their power. These presidents are barely in office when they typically convene a constitutional convention to guarantee their reelection," said a 2009 Spiegel International analysis, which noted that one reason to join ALBA was discounted Venezuelan oil. In addition to Chavez and Morales, Carlos Menem of Argentina, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and Columbian President Álvaro Uribe had all taken this step, and Washington and the EU were both accusing the Sandanista government in Nicaragua of tampering with election results. Politicians of all stripes expressed opposition to Zelaya's referendum proposal, and the Attorney-General accused him of violating the constitution. The Honduran Supreme Court agreed, saying that the constitution had put the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in charge of elections and referenda, not the National Statistics Institute, which Zelaya had proposed to have run the count. Whether or not Zelaya's removal from power had constitutional elements, the Honduran constitution explicitly protects all Hondurans from forced expulsion for Honduras.
The United States maintains a small military presence at one Honduran base. The two countries conduct joint peacekeeping, counter-narcotics, humanitarian, disaster relief, humanitarian, medical and civic action exercises. U.S. troops conduct and provide logistics support for a variety of bilateral and multilateral exercises. The United States is Honduras' chief trading partner.
Honduras has a modest military with Western equipment.
Honduras is divided into 18 departments. The capital city is Tegucigalpa in the Central District within the department of Francisco Morazán.
- El Paraíso
- Francisco Morazán
- Gracias a Dios
- Islas de la Bahía
- La Paz
- Santa Bárbara
A new administrative division called ZEDE (Zonas de empleo y desarrollo económico) was created in 2013. ZEDEs have a high level of autonomy with its own political system at a judicial, economic and administrative level, and are based on free market capitalism.
The currency is the Honduran lempira.
Economic growth in the last few years has averaged 7% a year, one of the highest rates in Latin America (2010). In 2010, 50% of the population were below the poverty line however. Estimates put unemployment at more than 1.2 million people, or 27.9%. According to the Human Development Index, Honduras is the sixth-poorest/least-developed country in Latin America, behind Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Guyana, and Bolivia. Honduras was declared a heavily indebted poor country by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It became eligible for debt relief in 2005.
The government operates both the electrical grid, Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (ENEE) and the land-line telephone service, Hondutel. ENEE receives heavy subsidies to counter its chronic financial problems, but Hondutel is no longer a monopoly. The telecommunication sector was opened to private investment on 25 December 2005, as required under CAFTA. The price of petroleum is regulated, and the Congress often ratifies temporary price regulation for basic commodities.
Gold, silver, lead and zinc are mined.
In 2005 Honduras signed CAFTA, a free trade agreement with the United States. In December 2005, Puerto Cortes, the primary seaport of Honduras, was included in the U.S. Container Security Initiative.
In 2006 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy announced the first phase of the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI), which built upon existing port security measures. SFI gave the U.S. government enhanced authority, allowing it to scan containers from overseas for nuclear and radiological materials in order to improve the risk assessment of individual US-bound containers. The initial phase of Secure Freight involved deploying of nuclear detection and other devices to six foreign ports:Port Qasim in Pakistan;
Puerto Cortes in Honduras;
Southampton in the United Kingdom;
Port of Salalah in Oman;
Port of Singapore;
Gamman Terminal at Port Busan, Korea.
Containers in these ports have been scanned since 2007 for radiation and other risk factors before they are allowed to depart for the United States.
For economic development a 2012 memorandum of understanding with a group of international investors obtained Honduran government approval to build a zone (city) with its own laws, tax system, judiciary and police, but opponents brought a suit against it in the Supreme Court, calling it a "state within a state". In 2013, Honduras' Congress ratified Decree 120, which led to the establishment of ZEDEs. The government began construction of the first zones in June 2015.
About half of the electricity sector in Honduras is privately owned. The remaining generation capacity is run by ENEE (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 this type of investment
How to re-balance tariffs, cut arrears and reduce losses, including electricity theft, without social unrest
How to reconcile environmental concerns with the government objectives – two large new dams and associated hydropower plants.
How to improve access to electricity in rural areas.
Infrastructure for transportation in Honduras consists of: 699 kilometres (434 miles) of railways; 13,603 kilometres (8,453 miles) of roadways; seven ports and harbors; and 112 airports altogether (12 Paved, 100 unpaved). The Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing (SOPRTRAVI in Spanish acronym) is responsible for transport sector policy.
Water supply and sanitation in Honduras differ 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, but 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 the Servicio Autónomo de Alcantarillas y Aqueductos (SANAA). In 2003, the government enacted a new "water law" which called for the decentralization of water services. Under the 2003 law, local communities have both the right and the responsibility to own, operate, and control their own drinking water and wastewater systems. Since this law passed, 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 the Red Cross, Water 1st, Rotary Club, Catholic Relief Services, Water for People, EcoLogic Development Fund, CARE, the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO-SACO), Engineers Without Borders – USA, Flood The Nations, Students Helping Honduras (SHH), Global Brigades, and Agua para el Pueblo in partnership with AguaClara at Cornell University.
In addition, many government organizations work on projects in Honduras, including the European Union, the USAID, the Army Corps of Engineers, Cooperacion Andalucia, the government of Japan, and others.
Honduras had a population of 8,143,564 in 2011. The proportion of the population aged below 15 in 2010 was 36.8%, 58.9% were aged between 15 and 65 years of age, and 4.3% were aged 65 years or older.
Since 1975, emigration from Honduras has accelerated as economic migrants and political refugees sought a better life elsewhere. A majority of expatriate Hondurans live in the United States. A 2012 US State Department estimate suggested that between 800,000 and one million Hondurans lived in the United States at that time, nearly 15% of the Honduran population. The large uncertainty about numbers is because numerous Hondurans live in the United States without a visa. In the 2010 census in the United States, 617,392 residents identified as Hondurans, up from 217,569 in 2000.
In addition to Spanish a number of indigenous languages are spoken in Honduras, as well as Honduran sign language and Bay Islands Creole English.
The main indigenous languages are:Garifuna (Arawakan) (almost 100,000 speakers in Honduras including monolinguals)
Mískito (Misumalpan) (29,000 speakers in Honduras)
Mayangna (Misumalpan) (less than 1000 speakers in Honduras, more in Nicaragua)
Pech/Paya, (Chibchan) (less than 1000 speakers)
Tol (isolate) (less than 500 speakers)
Ch’orti’ (Mayan) (less than 50 speakers)
The Lenca isolate lost all its fluent native speakers in the 20th century but is currently undergoing revival efforts among the members of the ethnic population of about 100,000. The largest immigrant languages are Arabic (42,000), Armenian (1,300), Turkish (900), Yue Chinese (1,000).
These are the top 10 most populated cities in Honduras as per the 2010 estimates.
Although most Hondurans are nominally Roman Catholic (which would be considered the main religion), 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 51.4% of the population identified themselves as Catholic, 36.2% as evangelical Protestant, 1.3% claiming to be from other religions, including Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Rastafarians, etc. and 11.1% do not belong to any religion or unresponsive. 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 lists Honduras 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, Lutheran, Latter-day Saint (Mormon) 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. Its archbishop, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, is also very popular, both with the government, other churches, and in his own church. Practitioners of the Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Bahá'í, Rastafari and indigenous denominations and religions exist.
The fertility rate 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.
About 83.6% of the population are literate and the net primary enrollment rate was 94% in 2004. In 2014, the primary school completion rate was 90.7%. Honduras has bilingual (Spanish and English) and even trilingual (Spanish with English, Arabic, and/or German) schools and numerous universities.
The higher education is governed by the National Autonomous University of Honduras which has centers in the most important cities of Honduras.
Owing to insufficient law enforcement resources, crime in Honduras is rampant and criminals operate with a high degree of impunity. Consequently, Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Official statistics from the Honduran Observatory on National Violence show Honduras’ homicide rate was 60 per 100,000 in 2015 with the majority of homicide cases being unprosecuted.
Highway assaults and carjackings at roadblock or checkpoints set up by criminals with police uniforms and equipment occur frequently. Although reports of kidnappings of foreigners are not common, families of kidnapping victims often pay ransoms without reporting the crime to police out of fear of retribution, so kidnapping figures may be underreported.
Owing to measures taken by government and business in 2014 to improve tourism security, Roatan and the Bay Islands have lower crime rates than the Honduran mainland.
In the less populated region of Gracias a Dios, narcotics-trafficking is rampant and police presence is scarce. Threats against U.S. citizens by drug traffickers and other criminal organizations have resulted in the U.S. Embassy placing restrictions on the travel of U.S. officials through the region.
The most renowned Honduran painter is Jose Antonio Velásquez. Other important painters include Carlos Garay, and Roque Zelaya. Some of Honduras' most notable writers are Lucila Gamero de Medina, Froylán Turcios, Ramón Amaya Amador and Juan Pablo Suazo Euceda, Marco Antonio Rosa, Roberto Sosa, Eduardo Bähr, Amanda Castro, Javier Abril Espinoza, Teófilo Trejo, and Roberto Quesada.
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, 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 José Francisco Saybe theater in San Pedro Sula is home to the Círculo Teatral Sampedrano (Theatrical Circle of San Pedro Sula)
Honduran cuisine is a fusion of indigenous Lenca cuisine, Spanish cuisine, Caribbean cuisine and African cuisine. There are also dishes from the Garifuna people. Coconut and coconut milk are featured in both sweet and savory dishes. Regional specialties include fried fish, tamales, carne asada and baleadas.
Other popular dishes include: meat roasted with chismol and carne asada, chicken with rice and corn, and fried fish with pickled onions and jalapeños. Some of the ways seafood and some meats are prepared in coastal areas and in the Bay Islands involve coconut milk.
The soups Hondurans enjoy include bean soup, mondongo soup tripe soup, seafood soups and beef soups. Generally these soups are served mixed with plantains, yuca, and cabbage, and served with corn tortillas.
Other typical dishes are the montucas or corn tamales, stuffed tortillas, and tamales wrapped in plantain leaves. Honduran typical dishes also include an abundant selection of tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, plum, sapote, passion fruit and bananas which are prepared in many ways while they are still green.
At least half of the Honduran households have at least one television. Public television has a far smaller role than in most other countries. Honduras' main newspapers are La Prensa, El Heraldo, La Tribuna and Diario Tiempo. The official newspaper is La Gaceta (Honduras).
Punta is the main music of Honduras, with other sounds such as Caribbean salsa, merengue, reggae, and reggaeton all widely heard, especially in the north, and Mexican rancheras heard in the rural interior of the country.
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, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Day of the Soldier (3 October to celebrate the birth of Francisco Morazán), Christmas, El Dia de Lempira on 20 July, and New Year's Eve.
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 beans, tamales, baleadas, cassava with chicharron, and tortillas are offered.
On Christmas Eve 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 piñatas filled with candies and surprises for the children.
La Feria Isidra is celebrated in La Ceiba, a city located in the north coast, in the second half of May to celebrate the day of the 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. 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.
The flag of Honduras is composed of three 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. 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. In the end, it was the poet Augusto Coello that ended up writing the anthem, with German-born Honduran composer Carlos Hartling writing the music. The anthem was officially adopted on 15 November 1915, during the presidency of Alberto de Jesús Membreño. The anthem is composed of a choir and seven stroonduran.
The national flower is the famous orchid, Rhyncholaelia 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, 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 was declared in 1928 to be simply "the Pine that appears symbolically in our Coat of Arms" (el Pino que figura simbólicamente en nuestro Escudo), even though pines comprise a genus and not a species, and even though legally there's no specification as for what kind of pine should appear in the coat of arms either. Because of its commonality in the country, the Pinus oocarpa species has become since then the species most strongly associated as the national tree, but legally it is not so. Another species associated as the national tree is the Pinus caribaea.
The national mammal is the white-tailed deer (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 (Ara macao). This bird was much valued by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Honduras.
Legends and fairy tales are paramount within Honduran culture. Lluvia de Peces (Rain of Fish) is an example of this. The legends of El Cadejo, La Llorona and La Ciguanaba (La Sucia) are also popular.
The Honduran nation, has in its history with two nominations for the Nobel Prize.1971 Argentina Diaz Lozano
1998 Salvador Moncada
Football is the most popular sport in Honduras. Information on all other Honduran sports related articles are below:Football in Honduras
Honduran Football Federation
Honduras national baseball team
Honduras national football team
Honduras national under-20 football team
Honduras U-17 national football team