Destination: Honduras

Official Name: Republic of Honduras
Established: 15 September 1821 (Independence from Spain),  1 July 1823 (Independence from Mexico)
Population: 9,587,522 (2018 estimate)
Religion: 46% Catholic, 41% Protestant
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Tegucigalpa 
Order of Visit: Forty-Seventh 
First Visit: 14 January 2013
Last Visit: 20 January 2013 
Duration: 7 Days
Visit Highlights:
 Copán: Relaxing and sweating in hot springs, piñata fun, impressive Maya Copán Ruins
 Roatan Bay Islands: Snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea, sea life up close, brilliant sea food, wild and spectacular weather keeping us on the Island.
Places Visited: Copán, Roatan Bay Islands 
Honduras Journal Entries  

History and Geography 
Covering 112,492 square kilometres Honduras is a country in Central America bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea. 

Honduras was home to several important Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya in the west, and the Isthmo-Colombian cultures in the east.   Maya civilization flourished for hundreds of years. The dominant, best known, and best studied state within Honduras’ borders was in Copán, which was located in a mainly non-Maya area, or on the frontier between Maya and non-Maya areas. Copán declined with other Lowland centres during the conflagrations of the Terminal Classic in the 9th century.

On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, near Guaimoreto Lagoon, becoming 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 the cargo they wanted and kidnapped the ship’s elderly captain to serve as an interpreter in 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.  Much of Spanish conquest of the Maya and Honduras took place in the following two decades.  After the Spanish conquest, Honduras became part of Spain’s vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala.

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.

Honduras gained independence from Spain in 1821 and was a 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 and has held regular elections since 1838. In the 1840s and 1850s Honduras participated in several failed attempts at 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.

In the late nineteenth century, Honduras granted land and substantial exemptions to several 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 by the 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. USA troops landed in Honduras in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925 to support this industry, a major reason why some locals in Central America are not fans of the USA.

In 1963 a military coup unseated democratically elected President Ramón Villeda Morales. In 1960, the northern part of what was the Mosquito Coast was transferred from Nicaragua to Honduras by the International Court of Justice.

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, the president of Honduras, blamed the deteriorating Honduran economy on immigrants from El Salvador. El Salvador played Honduras in an World Cup elimination match  that inflamed tensions further. 

On 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army invaded Honduras. The Organisation of American States (OAS) 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

In 1979, the country finally 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. 

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 airstrip and modern port in Honduras.

Maya Ruins – Copán, Honduras (Taken 15 January 2013)

Maya Ruins – Copán, Honduras (Taken 15 January 2013)

Beautiful Sunset – Roatan Bay Islands, Honduras (Taken 16 January 2013)

Going snorkelling – Roatan Bay Islands, Honduras (Taken 17 January 2013)

Wild weather – Roatan Bay Islands, Honduras (Taken 18 January 2013)

What I experienced
I was lucky enough to visit a stunning Maya Ruin in Copán and enjoy the sea life in Roatan Bay Islands area during my visit to Honduras which were enriching experiences.  However I will never forget the wild weather that stranded our group for two extra days.  Watching ships and boats been knocked about was amazing to see up close, especially since they was little danger to life for this particular storm but I could easily see how bad it could become.  I loved eating the fresh seafood and following a sea turtle while snorkelling was a brilliant experience.

I didn’t really get to interact with locals outside of the tourist service but the local guides were excellent story tellers and very good at their job.  I come away from Honduras appreciating the environment, what it has to offer and it’s dangers.  

Countries Visited List

About Nathan

A World traveller who has so far experienced 71 countries (76 by June 2023) in this amazing world.
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