in the center of Central America, linking the north to the south, Honduras
has a more than interesting and diverse history.
of Mayan communities date back to 1,000 BC and are found throughout
western Honduras. The most densely populated area was around the city
of Copan, which was the most southern outpost of the Mayan world, and
leader among all Maya cities in terms of quantity and quality of stone
sculpture. But like other Mayan cities, Copan was abandoned mysteriously
around 900 AD.
of other Pre-Columbian communities and societies have been found throughout
Honduras. The most famous sites being Los Naranjos near Lake Yojoa,
Talgua Caves in Olancho, and Walpa Ulban Sirpe and Walpa Ulban Tara
petroglphs in the Rio Platano Biosphere.
Columbus set foot on the American mainland for the first time at Trujillo
on the Honduras north coast in 1502. The Spanish settled Trujillo in
1525, but soon began exploring the cooler central highlands where Comayagua
was established as the capital in 1537. It remained the political center
until 1880 when Tegucigalpa became the capital.
communities resisted Spanish colonialism, but with time the Spanish
did gain control of most of the country. The Lencas of western Honduras
lead by their leader, Chief Lempira, would not give in though and finally
led 30,000 Indians against the Spanish. As legend goes, looking at a
possible defeat, the Spanish lured Lempira to peace talks where he was
treacherously murdered in 1538. Less than a year later the Lenca resistance
and silver was discovered near Tegucigalpa in 1570 which attracting
British and Dutch pirates to the Caribbean Coast. During the 1600s
pirates lead many raids on various towns and ships throughout the Caribbean.
Many famous pirates such as Morgan, Coxen, Morris, Sharp and Jackson
spent time in Roatan, which was used as a raiding base.
continued to explore and settle the interior, the British became interested
in the Caribbean coast due to the regions mahogany timber. Slaves
where brought from nearby English Caribbean Colonies to harvest the
timber. Eventually a British protectorate was declared over the entire
Caribbean coastal region from Honduras to Nicaragua, which lasted until
1859, when the British handed the area over to Honduras.
Independence from Spain was granted in 1821. Honduras briefly became
part of Mexico before joining the Central American Federation. Political
conflicts led to Honduras declaring independence as a nation in 1838.
Since then, power has alternated between two political groups and military
has experienced numerous coups, rebellions and its fair share of political
turmoil since independence. One of the most famous coups was lead by
North American filibuster William Walker in 1860, who attempted to take
over Central America for US interests. He was finally defeated and killed
start of the 19th century, large areas of fertile land on the north
coast were purchased by US companies in order to produce bananas for
the US market. Three companies eventually owned over 70% of all Honduran
banana plantations. In 1913 banana exports accounted for 60% of the
countries total exports, hence the familiar term Honduras the
Banana Republic. The banana industry and its influence, though
smaller and less important these days, have shaped the country's politics
for the greater part of the last 100 years.
the brief war known as the Soccer War between Honduras and El Salvador
began. The war took place during a World Cup qualifying soccer match
between the two countries and was sparked by the alleged mistreatment
of El Salvadoran immigrants in Honduras. Though the war lasted roughly
4 days the event has affected relations between the two countries ever
the 1980s, Honduras was surrounded by turmoil. Civil wars and uprisings
raged in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. Due to this, Honduras
became the focus of US policy and operations in the region. Through
political influence, aid money and military assistance the US helped
Honduras remain stable during this period. Money and US troops where
sent into the country to assist in operations to destabilize the Sandanistas
in Nicaragua through covert operations with the country's exiled National
Guard (Contras). The US also trained Salvadoran military in Honduras
to assist in combating the civil uprising in El Salvador.
political instability and the Iran-Contra scandal resulted in huge Anti-American
protests in Tegucigalpa, which made the Honduran Government reassess
their military agreements with the US. In 1990 Chamorro was elected
president of Nicaragua, the Contra War ended and the Contras left.
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras. Three days of heavy rain followed
the hurricane, which caused landslides and floods throughout the country
that destroyed and swept away bridges, towns and a large percentage
of the country infrastructure. International aid agencies rushed into
the country to assist and by 2000 a lot of the Hurricanes damage had
elected President Maduro has vowed to fight poverty, education issues,
corruption and crime. Though his task may be a difficult one positive
change has begun.