Straddling the Central American isthmus, Honduras returned to democratic rule in 1984, after a period of military government. Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998.
Geography: Narrow plains along both coasts, with a mountainous interior, cut by river valleys. Tropical forests, swamps, and lagoons in the east.
Climate: Tropical coastal lowlands are hot and humid, with May–October rains. Interior is cooler and drier.
People and Society: The majority of the population is mestizo (mixed race). An English-speaking garífuna (black) community and Miskito Amerindians struggle to preserve their rights to land along the remote Caribbean coast. Women’s status remains low. Hurricane Mitch impoverished 85% of the population. Wealth inequalities are large and poverty is at the root of social tension. The army ousted the president in 2009. Violent crime is a major issue.
The Economy: Garments, coffee, bananas, and shellfish are exported. Remittances account for a fifth of GDP. Debt relief from 2005. Mineral potential. High Under-employment and corruption.
Insight: The Honduran currency is named after a Lenca Indian chief who was the main leader of resistance to the Spanish conquest in the 16th century
Official Name: Republic of Honduras
Date of Formation: 1838
Population: 7.47 million
Total Area: 43,278 sq. miles (112,090 sq. km)
Density: 173 people per sq. mile
Languages: Spanish*, Garífuna, English Creole
Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
Ethnic Mix: Mestizo 90%, Black African 5%, Amerindian 4%, White 1%
Government: Transitional regime
Currency: Lempira = 100 centavos