a Very Stable Government
In the Americas
HONDURAS is the second largest country in Latin America - Nicaragua being the largest. It has coast lines located on both the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. The Caribbean Sea Coast being, by far, the longest.
About 3,000 years ago, ancestors of the great Mayan culture had settled within the present-day country of Honduras. At its peak, around 200 to 800AD, the Mayan culture stretched from the Yucatan Peninsula in modern Mexico through what are now Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.
For many reasons, most lost to the ages, the Mayan culture of Honduran history suffered a sudden and tremendous decline. Although descendants of the Mayans survive in Honduras to this day, the native Honduran culture had completely collapsed by the time European explorers "discovered" Central America.
The Mayan culture flourished in the centuries before Columbus arrived. The Copan Ruins, about 100 miles north of the eastern coastal city of San Pedro Sula, is an excellent example of Mayan architecture. The Copan Ruins are also known as the 'Mayan Cultural Center'. Copan is one of the best-preserved Mayan cities and a popular destination for anyone on a Honduran Vacation.
On his 4th, and last, voyage from Spain, Columbus sailed to Central America, arriving at Guanaja (Island of Pines)on 30 July, 1502. Guanaja is located about 10 miles due east of Roatan, in the Bay Islands, off the east coast of Honduras. On 14 August, he landed on the continental mainland at Puerto Castilla, near Trujillo. He named the land 'Honduras' (Spanish for "depths"), after the deep waters off the coast. He spent two months exploring the Mainland Coasts and the Coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, before arriving in Almirante Bay, Panama on 16 October. On 20 May 1506, at about age 55, Columbus died.
The years of Spanish conquest devastated the native Honduran culture, as they were forced as slaves to work the rich gold and silver mines discovered in the 1530s. The native peoples did not submit willingly to their enslavement. In the late 1530s Lempira, a young Honduran chief, led an army of thousands against the Spanish occupiers. Lempira's brave resistance ended when he was tricked and murdered at peace talks, but his memory left its mark on Honduran history. Today, the national currency is named Lempira, as are many Honduran towns.
Honduras remained a part of the vast Spanish New World Empire until the early 19th century.
The modern Honduran history began on September 15, 1821, when the country declared independence from Spain, finally getting full independence in 1838.
U.S. influence in Honduran affairs marked the 20th century history of the Country, most prominently in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration helped prop up the democratic government as neighboring Central American countries succumbed to communist insurrection.
In 1982, a freely elected civilian government came into power, ending decades of dictatorships and military rule. HONDURAS is the oldest Democratic Constitutional Republic in Latin America.
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