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Honduras - The Center of Central America

World  (tags: Honduras. Central America, people, places, travel )

- 1857 days ago -
Tropical rainforests covered much of Honduras, prior to the 1600s. At that time, the Mayans were the only inhabitants.


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Kit B (276)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 11:05 am
Map Credit:

Tropical rainforests covered much of Honduras, prior to the 1600s. At that time, the Mayans were the only inhabitants. Located in the middle of Central America, Honduras sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Spaniards however, conquered the Mayans during 1524. This lasted until 1821, when the Mexicans gained control. Not until 1838 did Honduras win back its' freedom. Sadly, by then the population had become a mix of several nationalities, including African and European. Africans were brought as slaves, to work the land, by the Spaniards. Mayans as a singular race had disappeared.

--5 Facts You Might Not Know

1) From 1946-1969, the rose was the National flower, despite the fact that it was not native to Honduras. In 1996 however, the Honduran Congress decided to replace the rose with their abundantly growing flower, the Orchid. There are 630 species of orchids, found to be thriving in the tropical climate, so far.

2) During the 1600s, the conquering Spaniards brought many communicable diseases to Honduras. This caused a rapid decrease in the population of indigenous Mayans, who succumbed to the new illnesses.

3) Today Honduras is a large supplier of bananas and coffee to the United States and Europe. Tourism in Honduras is growing, and with the last day of the Mayan calendar being December 21, 2012, many people around the world believe major events will take place at the Mayan ruins.

4) The most popular dish in Honduras is the baleada, which is a flour tortilla holding refried beans, cheese and sometimes an egg. There is no yellow corn grown, but white corn is also used to make tortillas. Coconut milk and strong Honduran coffee are the favored non-alcoholic drinks.

5) Since the 1960s, Honduras has cut down much of its rainforest, to make room for large cattle farms. America has developed an insatiable appetite for the fine, lean cattle that U.S. fast-food restaurants import from Honduras. This is how lifestyles in the United States have affected the overall world environment, by importing a commodity that causes destruction of the rainforests.
History and Culture:

Alternative Names

Hondureño catracho (the national nickname; can be amusing, insulting, or friendly, depending on the context. "Catracho" comes from the name of Florencio Xatruch, the general who led the Honduran expeditionary force against William Walker in Nicaragua in 1856.)


Identification. The name of the country means "depths." It was so named by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage because of the deep waters at the mouth of the Tinto o Negro River off the Mosquito Coast.

The major ethnic group include the Chortí, a native people with a population of about five thousand in the department of Copán. There may still be a few people who can speak the Chortí language, which belongs to the Mayan family. The Lenca are a native people in the departments of La Paz, Intibucá, and Lempira, as well as some other areas. The Lenca language is extinct, and culturally the Lenca are similar in many ways to the other Spanish-speaking people in the country. The Lenca population is about one hundred thousand. The Jicaque are a native people who live in the department of Yoro and the community of Montaña de la Flor (municipality of Orica) in the department of Francisco Morazán. Only those in Montaña de la Flor still speak the Tol (Jicaque) language, which is in the Hokan family. The Jicaque group in Yoro is much larger and has been almost completely assimilated into the national culture. There are about nineteen thousand Jicaque in Yoro and about two hundred in Montaña de la Flor. The Pech are a native people in the departments of Olancho and Colón, with a few living in Gracias a Dios in the Mosquitia. They speak a Macro-Chibchan language and have a population of under three thousand. The Tawahka are a native people in the department of Gracias a Dios in the Mosquitia. Tawahka is a Macro-Chibchan language that is very closely related to Sumo, which is spoken in Nicaragua. Most Tawahkas also speak Misquito and Spanish. The Tawahka population is about seven hundred. The Misquitos are a native people with some African and British ancestry who reside in the department of Gracias a Dios in the Mosquitia. Misquito is a Macro-Chibchan language, although most Misquitos speak fluent Spanish. The Misquito population is about thirty-four thousand. The Garífuna are a people of African descent with some native American ancestry. They originated on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent during colonial times from escaped slaves who settled among a group of Arawak-speaking Carib Indians and adopted their native American language. In 1797, the Garífuna were forcibly exiled by the British to Roatán in the Bay Islands. The Spanish colonial authorities welcomed the Garífuna, and most of them moved to the mainland. The Garífuna population is about one hundred thousand. The Bay Islanders are an English-speaking people who are long settled in the Caribbean. Some are of African descent, and some of British descent. The Bay Islanders population is about twenty-two thousand.

Emergence of the Nation.
Francisco Morazán led the fight for independence from Spain (achieved in 1821) and resistance to the breakup of Central America (1830). In 1855, North American soldiers of fortune (filibusterers) led by William Walker tried to convert Central America into a United States colony. They held Nicaragua until they were expelled in 1857 by Nicaraguan regular troops and volunteer fighters.

Food in Daily Life.

Beans and corn tortillas are the mainstays of the diet. The beans are usually fried, and the tortillas are small, thick, and usually handmade; ideally, they are eaten warm. A farm worker's lunch may be little more than a large stack of tortillas, a few spoonfuls of beans, and some salt. The ideal meal includes fried plantains, white cheese, rice, fried meat, a kind of thickened semisweet cream called mantequilla , a scrambled egg, a cabbage and tomato salad or a slice of avocado, and a cup of sweet coffee or a bottled soft drink. These meals are served in restaurants and homes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner year-round. Plantains and manioc are important foods in much of the country, especially the north and the Mosquitia. Diners often have a porch or a door open to the street. Dogs, cats, and chickens wander between the tables, and some people toss them bones and other scraps. There are Chinese restaurants owned by recent immigrants. In the early 1990s, North American fast-food restaurants became popular.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions.

Special and holiday foods are an improved version of the typical meal but feature more meat and perhaps more of an emphasis on cream and fried plantains. Christmas food includes torrejas , a white bread soaked in hot syrup, and nacatamales, which are like the Mexican tamales, but are larger and moister with a more gelatinous dough and are wrapped in banana leaves.

Basic Economy.

Fifty-four percent of economically active people work in agriculture. Most are smallholder farmers who call themselves campesinos . Because the internal food market is irregular, campesinos try to grow their own maize (corn), beans, and plantains. Once they have achieved that goal, they raise a cash crop. Depending on whether they live in a valley, the mountains, or along the coast and on whether they live near a good road, a campesino household may raise a cash crop of coffee, cattle, cabbage, tomatoes, citrus fruit, maize, beans, or other vegetables. Long-term donations of wheat from the United States have kept food prices low but have provided a disincentive for grain farmers. Some large-scale commercial farmers produce melons, beef, coffee, and shrimp for export.


The most important political offices are the national president, members of congress ( diputados ) and city mayors. In addition to the executive branch (a president and a cabinet of ministers) and a unicameral congress, there is a supreme court.

Leadership and Political Officials. Honduras still has the two political parties that emerged in the nineteenth century: the Liberales and the Nacionalistas. The Liberales originally were linked to the business sector, and the Nacionalistas with the wealthy rural landowners, but this difference is fading. Both parties are pro–United States, and pro-business. There is little ideological difference between them.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

The most important social change in the last few years has been the influence of Evangelical Protestant missionaries, who have converted many Hondurans to Pentecostal religions. There are also urban social change agencies, and many that work in the villages. Their fields of activity include soil conservation, gardening, and natural pest control. One of the most important reformers was an agronomist educator-entrepreneur named Elías Sánchez, who had a training farm near Tegucigalpa. Sánchez trained tens of thousands of farmers and extension agents in soil conservation and organic fertilization. Until his death in 2000, he and the people he inspired transformed Honduran agriculture. Farmers stopped using slash-and-burn agriculture in favor of intensive, more ecologically sound techniques.

Medicine and Health Care

Sickness or an accident is a nightmare for people in the countryside and the urban poor. It may take hours to get a patient to a hospital by traveling over long dirt roads that often lack public transportation. Doctors may be unable to do much for a patient if the patient's family cannot afford to buy medicine. If the patient is an adult, the household may have to struggle to make a living until he or she recovers. Some traditional medical practitioners use herbal medicines and set broken bones.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. Some art is publicly supported through the Ministry of Culture, as well as through sales of tickets, CDs, etc. Some artists also have day jobs.

Literature. There is a modest tradition of serious literary fiction. The novel Prisión Verde ( Green Prison ) by Ramón Amaya is perhaps the best known work of fiction. It describes the sufferings of workers on an early twentieth century banana plantation.

Graphic Arts. There is a Honduran school of impressionist painting whose favorite themes include village street scenes. This style was first developed by Antonio Velázquez of the historic mining village of San Antonio de Oriente, department of Francisco Morazán, in the 1950s.

Read more:


Kit B (276)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 11:06 am

The video of Honduras is at the Site.

Sunday February 16, 2014, 11:42 am
Honduras, is a very beautiful country. However, with the sending back of all the gang members from the U.S., it has become a living Hell hole to live in for the people there.

Rana Sinha (50)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 1:03 pm
Very beautiful and fascinating country. Loved visiting.

Vallee R (280)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 1:29 pm
Beautiful - though unsure about the religion part. thanks for doing these - now if I can just remember them all -

Nicole W (646)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 2:04 pm
always a pleasure, ty dear Kit

JL A (281)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 2:21 pm
Beautiful! The health care description made me think of what the US might return to without infrastructure investments and preservation and progress on the health care access front.

Barbara K (61)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 2:41 pm
Thanks, my friend, for another great vacation via video, such beauty, and all the food, wow!

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 2:54 pm
Don't know if i'll get there someday but loved the lil tour! Thx Kit

Angela J (61)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 3:41 pm
Thank you.

. (0)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 4:42 pm
Great video, Kit. Thanks for sharing.

Gloria p (304)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 10:20 pm
Looks like fun!

Past Member (0)
Monday February 17, 2014, 12:22 am
Ty Kit, I love the forests and markets. :-)

Syd H (48)
Monday February 17, 2014, 8:04 am

A great book I've been reading is "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" (in Spanish, "Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina" and available online for free).

It explains how much was taken, how horribly the natives were treated and why it is still an issue. Horrifying but still intriguing to read.

Thanks Kit for the dip into the country.

Robert O (12)
Monday February 17, 2014, 8:45 am
Such a fascinating country with a rich hisotry. Thanks for the tour Kit! I love these.

June Bostock (50)
Monday February 17, 2014, 10:14 am

Marija M (25)
Tuesday February 18, 2014, 12:50 am
Thank you for the wonderful trip, Kit!

Ben O (135)
Tuesday February 18, 2014, 5:04 am
Honduras is the only country in Central America that I haven't visited...

Craig Pittman (52)
Friday February 21, 2014, 5:37 am
Fascinating facts as always Kit to go along with the tour. Merci.
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