of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent
nation in 1821. After two and one-half decades of mostly military
rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982.
During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista
contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally
to Salvadoran Government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas.
The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which
killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage.
bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and
bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Nicaragua
in lowlands, temperate in mountains
km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km
shares borders with Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. To
the north lies the Caribbean and to the south the
Pacific Ocean. The interior of the country comprises a central
mountain system, cut by rivers flowing into both the Caribbean
The lowlands in the south form a plain along the Pacific coast.
The large fertile valleys of the northern Caribbean lowlands
with banana plantations. Tegucigalpa, the capital, was originally
founded as a mining camp in 1524. La Ceiba is a major banana port,
looking to tourism as a future major industry. There are good hotels
and beaches, and an international airport, one of the city’s
major assets. Trujillo was once a thriving port but today offers
old Spanish buildings, a fascinating pirate history and superb
tropical beaches. Local dishes include curiles (seafood), tortillas,
enchiladas and mondongo. There are cinemas, nightclubs and some
discotheques in the main cities.