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Honduras(hŏndo͝or`əs, –dyo͝or`–; Span., ōndo͞o`räs), officially Republic of Honduras, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,975,000), 43,277 sq mi (112,088 sq km), Central America. Second largest of the Central American countries, Honduras is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, on the east and south by Nicaragua, on the southwest by El Salvador and the Pacific Ocean, and on the west by Guatemala. TegucigalpaTegucigalpa
, city (1997 est. pop. 897,000), capital and largest city of Honduras, in a small valley in the mountains of S central Honduras. The city has diverse light industry, including the production of textiles, sugar, and cigarettes.
..... Click the link for more information. is the capital and chief commercial center.
Land and People
Over 80% of the land is mountainous; ranges extend from east to west at altitudes of 5,000 to 9,000 ft (1,520–2,740 m) and limit heavy rainfall to the north. In the east are the swamps and forests of the Mosquito CoastMosquito Coast
, region, east coast of Nicaragua and Honduras. The name is derived from the Miskito, the indigenous inhabitants and remnants of the Chorotega, who were never conquered by the Spanish. Never exactly delimited, the region is a belt c.
..... Click the link for more information. . Two river systems, the Patuca and the Ulúa, drain most of the north. The country's short stretch of southern coast on the Gulf of Fonseca, with San LorenzoSan Lorenzo,
town, S Honduras, on the Gulf of Fonseca. Its satellite, Henecán is the chief Pacific port of Honduras. Henecán's modern port facilities and deepwater harbor and channel approach were constructed in the late 1970s after the old port at Amapala, on
..... Click the link for more information. and the port of Henecán, is the sole Pacific outlet. Honduras has a tropical, rainy climate. The people, of whom about 90% are mestizo, are Spanish-speaking (indigenous dialects are also spoken) and nearly all Roman Catholic.
Economy and Government
Honduras is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere and remains dependent on international economic assistance. The economy is based on agriculture; bananas and coffee are the most important exports. The vast banana plantations, established by U.S. companies, are mainly along the northern coast; the United Fruit Company and the Standard Fruit Company and their successor companies, fiercely resented by many as exploitive monopolies, have had much social and political influence in Honduras. Seafood, gold and other minerals, palm oil, fruit, lumber, and beef are also exported. Other important food crops include corn, beans, rice, and citrus.
Honduras has rich forest resources and deposits of silver, lead, zinc, iron, gold, antimony, and copper, but exploitation is hampered by inadequate road and rail systems, and the country remains underdeveloped. Its only railroads link the banana plantations in the north to San Pedro SulaSan Pedro Sula
, city (1997 est. pop. 417,000), capital of Cortés dept., NW Honduras. It is the second largest city in the country. San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortés are the principal ports of Honduras and serve the northwestern banana and sugar plantations.
..... Click the link for more information. and the principal ports, La CeibaCeiba, La
, city (1997 est. pop. 96,000), N Honduras, capital of Atlántida dept., on the Caribbean Sea. It is the commercial and processing center of a rich agricultural region dominated by the pineapple and banana plantations of the Standard Fruit and Steamship Company,
..... Click the link for more information. , Puerto Cortés, and Tela; they do not penetrate more than 75 mi (121 km) inland. Air transportation, however, has opened up remote areas. Industry, concentrated chiefly in San Pedro Sula, is small and consumer-oriented, including the production of processed food (mainly sugar and coffee), textiles, clothing, and wood products. Machinery, transportation equipment, raw materials, chemicals, fuels, and foodstuffs are imported. The United States is by far the largest trading partner, followed by Guatemala and El Salvador.
Honduras is governed under the constitution of 1982 as amended. The president, who is both head of state and head of government, is popularly elected for a four-year term. The unicameral legislature, the National Congress, has 128 members, also elected for four years. Administratively, the country is divided into 18 departments.
The restored Mayan ruins of CopánCopán
, ruined city of the Maya, W Honduras, in a small river valley of the same name. Copán is noted for its fine sculptured stele and majestic architecture. The ruins were the site of extensive research and restoration from the mid-1930s to the 1950s.
..... Click the link for more information. in the west, first discovered by the Spaniards in 1576 and rediscovered in dense jungle in 1839, reflect the great Mayan culture (see MayaMaya
, indigenous people of S Mexico and Central America, occupying an area comprising the Yucatán peninsula and much of the present state of Chiapas in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of El Salvador, and extreme western Honduras.
..... Click the link for more information. ) that arose in the region in the 4th cent. It had declined when Columbus sighted the region in 1502, naming it Honduras (meaning "depths") for the deep water off the coast. Hernán CortésCortés, Hernán,
or Hernando Cortez
, 1485–1547, Spanish conquistador, conqueror of Mexico. Expedition to Mexico
Cortés went (1504) first to Hispaniola and later (1511) accompanied Diego de Velázquez to Cuba.
..... Click the link for more information. arrived in 1524 and ordered Pedro de AlvaradoAlvarado, Pedro de
, 1486–1541, Spanish conquistador. He went to Hispaniola (1510), sailed in the expedition (1518) of Juan de Grijalva, and was the chief lieutenant of Hernán Cortés in the conquest of Mexico.
..... Click the link for more information. to found settlements along the coast. Comayagua and Tegucigalpa developed as early mining centers. In a war (1537–38) between Spain and the indigenous population, Spain crushed the resistance after the death of the native leader, Lempira.
In 1821, Honduras gained independence from Spain and became part of Iturbide's Mexican Empire; from 1825 to 1838 it was a member of the Central American FederationCentral American Federation
or Central American Union,
political confederation (1825–38) of the republics of Central America—Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Salvador.
..... Click the link for more information. . Thereafter, conservative and liberal factions fought bloody wars to control the republic, and Honduras was subjected to frequent interference from its Central American neighbors. Great Britain long controlled the Mosquito Coast and the Islas de la Bahía; William WalkerWalker, William,
1824–60, American filibuster in Nicaragua, b. Nashville, Tenn. Walker, a qualified doctor, a lawyer, and a journalist by the time he was 24, sought a more adventurous career.
..... Click the link for more information. attempted a "liberation" in 1860. Although Honduras often sought to reestablish Central American unity, the attempts were frustrated by political and personal animosities.
Foreign capital, plantation life, and conservative politics constituted a trio of dominant forces that held sway in Honduras from the late 19th cent. to the end of the regime (1933–48) of Tiburcio Carías AndinoCarías Andino, Tiburcio
, 1876–1969, president of Honduras (1933–49). A strong-handed dictator, his term was twice extended by congress. Some improvements were made in communication and education.
..... Click the link for more information. , when the liberal movement was reawakened. The rights of workers were not effectively defined and protected until a labor code was adopted in 1955 and a new constitution was promulgated in 1957. That year Ramón Villeda Morales became the first liberal president in 25 years.
Shortly before the scheduled presidential election in 1963, Villeda was overthrown and replaced by a military junta under Oswaldo López ArellanoLópez Arellano, Oswaldo
, 1921–2010, president of Honduras (1963–71, 1972–75). An army colonel, he led the violent coup that ousted (Oct., 1963) President Ramón Villeda Morales. In 1965 he was selected as president by a constituent assembly.
..... Click the link for more information. . The illegal immigration of several hundred thousand Salvadorans across the ill-defined El Salvador–Honduras border and the expulsion of many of the immigrants by Honduras led to a war with El Salvador in July, 1969. Although the war lasted only five days, its effects were serious, including the country's withdrawal from and the subsequent collapse of the Central American Common Market as well as continued border incidents. (A peace treaty was not signed until 1980.) In 1971 Ramón Ernesto Cruz was elected to succeed López, only to be ousted by López the following year. In late 1974 the Caribbean coast of Honduras was devastated by a hurricane. In 1975, López was himself the victim of a coup after accepting $1.25 million in bribes from the United Brands company. His successor was in turn ousted in 1978 in a military coup led by Gen. Policarpo Paz García.
As political unrest in the surrounding areas increased in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the United States pressured the Honduran government to hold democratic elections, and in 1982 a new constitution that called for free elections was promulgated and Robert Suazo Córdova became president. During the 1980s Honduras served as a base for insurgent activity against the government of Nicaragua by rebels known as Contras. The country's economy became heavily dependent on aid from the United States, which supported the rebel bases. In 1985, Jose Siméon Azcona del Hoyo was elected president in a disputed election. By 1988 popular discontent with the Contra presence resulted in massive demonstrations and the declaration of a state of emergency. In 1989, Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero was elected to the presidency; the Contra war ended the following year.
In the 1990s Honduras benefited from regional peace and cooperation as it worked to establish economic viability independent of the United States. In 1992 an agreement was signed with El Salvador, largely settling the border controversy between the two countries; the last disputed section of the border was demarcated in 2006. Carlos Roberto Reina, of the Liberal party, was elected president in 1993; Carlos Roberto Flores Facussé, also a Liberal, won the 1997 presidential election. Late in 1998 the country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch, which left 5,600 people dead and thousands missing; much of the country's crops and livestock were destroyed. In 2001, Ricardo Maduro Joest, of the National party, won the presidency.
Manuel Zelaya RosalesZelaya Rosales, José Manuel
, 1952–, Honduran political leader, b. Catacamas. A businessman and rancher, he joined the Liberal party of Honduras (PLH) in 1970.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Liberal party candidate, was elected president in 2005. Zelaya moved leftward during his presidency, aligning Honduras with Hugo ChávezChávez Frías, Hugo Rafael
, 1954–2013, Venezuelan political leader, president of Venezuela (1999–2013). Raised in poverty, he was educated at the Military Academy of Venezuela (grad. 1975).
..... Click the link for more information. 's Venezuela in a number of instances, in part to obtain preferential oil prices. This and his proposal, first broached in Oct., 2008, to revise the constitution, alienated many in his own party, which controlled the National Congress, and in Honduras's conversative political and business elite. Despite the supreme court's ruling his referendum on a constitutional assembly illegal, he proceeded with plans for a June, 2009, nonbinding vote on the assembly, which was seen by many as a first move toward ending the presidential term limit. The resulting power struggle between the president and the supreme court, National Congress, and military led the court to order his arrest in June, and the military then forcibly exiled Zelaya. Roberto Micheletti, the speaker of the congress and a Liberal, was appointed interim president.
Zelaya's ouster was denounced internationally, with United Nations and Organization of American States calling for his restoration. Honduras was suspended from the OAS, and a number of nations imposed economic sanctions; Costa Rica's president, Oscar Arias SánchezArias Sánchez, Oscar
, 1941–, president of Costa Rica (1986–90, 2006–). He was financial adviser to the president (1970–72), minister of national planning (1972–77), and congressman (1978–82).
..... Click the link for more information. , undertook to negotiate a resolution to the crisis, but both sides proved unyielding. Zelaya returned to Honduras clandestinely in September and sought refuge in the Brazilian embassy. An agreement in late October to resolve the situation soon began to collapse, and the congress subsequently refused to restore Zelaya in a vote held (December) after the presidential election.
In the November election, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, the candidate of the conservative National party, was elected president. Lobo allowed Zelaya safe passage into exile after his Jan., 2010, inauguration. The warrants for Zelaya's arrest were dismissed in Mar., 2011, but the charges resulting from his attempt to hold a constitutional referendum were not dismissed until May. Zelaya and Lobo then signed an accord that led to Zelaya's return at the end of May and the subsequent end of Honduras's OAS suspension. In July a truth and reconciliation commission concluded that the ouster of Zelaya amounted to a coup, but that he had broken the law and bore responsibility for having created the situation that led to his ouster. In Dec., 2011, in response to increasing criminal gang and drug-related violence, due in large part to N Honduras having become a significant transit point for drugs moving from South America to Mexico, the Honduran congress voted to permit the military to take on policing duties. The presidential election in Nov., 2013, was won by Juan Orlando Hernández, a businessman and politician who was the National party candidate; he received 37% of the vote. Xiomara Castro, Zelaya's wife and the second-place candidate, denounced the result and accused the government of fraud.
See D. Z. Stone, The Archaeology of Central and Southern Honduras (1957); R. S. Chamberlain, The Conquest and Colonization of Honduras, 1502–1550 (1966); T. E. Wright, Into the Maya World (1969); J. D. Rudolph, ed., Honduras, A Country Study (1984); R. Lapper and J. Painter, Honduras, State for Sale (1985); A. Acker, Honduras: The Making of a Banana Republic (1988).
(República de Honduras), a state in Central America. In the north it is washed by the Caribbean Sea, and in the south by the Gulf of Fonseca of the Pacific Ocean. In the southeast, Honduras borders on Nicaragua, on the southwest with El Salvador, and on the west and northwest with Guatemala. Area, 112,100 sq km (according to data from the United Nations Demographic Yearbook, 1969); population, 2.6 million (1970, estimate). The capital is the city of Tegucigalpa. In 1971, Honduras was administratively divided into 18 departments.
Constitution and government. Honduras is a republic. Its operative constitution was adopted in 1965. In accordance with this constitution, the head of state and government is the president, who is elected for a term of six years on the basis of the general elections; he has broad powers and is the commander in chief of the armed forces. The highest organ of legislative power is the unicameral National Congress, consisting of 64 deputies, who are elected by the population for terms of six years. The right to vote is accorded to all citizens who have reached the age of 18. The departments are headed by officials appointed by the president and controlled by the central government; electoral municipalities enjoy certain limited rights.
The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court (whose members are elected by the National Congress), courts of appeal, and lower courts.
N. N. RAZUMOVICH
Natural features. Most of the territory consists of highlands at an elevation up to 2,865 m, formed primarily by Archean crystalline and metamorphic rocks and in the south by Cenozoic lavas. With tectonic depressions in the valleys of the numerous rivers (such as the Ulúa, Aguan, and Patuca), this highland is divided into separate massifs. In the northeast there is the extensive swampy lowland known as the Mosquito Coast; narrow lowlands also border on the northern coast and on the Gulf of Fonseca in the south. The predominant minerals of Honduras are silver, gold, the ores of nonferrous metals and iron, stibnite, and bauxites. The climate is tropical trade-wind. In the lowlands and valleys it is hot (the mean monthly temperatures ranging from 22° to 26° C), on the highlands it is warm (from 10° to 24° C), in the north and on the windward, northeastern slopes it is very humid (annual precipitation ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 mm), and in the valleys and in the south it is dry. Up to an elevation of 600–700 m in the north, there are evergreen, tropical rain forests growing on mountain laterite, primarily ferrous, soils; in the south there are forests of variable moisture growing on mountain red soils. Higher up, there are evergreen and mixed forests, primarily oak and pine, and in the valleys there is xerophytic scrub growth. The fauna of Honduras belong to the Central American province of the Neotropical zoogeographical region.
E. N. LUKASHOVA
Population. Approximately 90 percent of the population is composed of Spanish-Indian mestizos, about 7 percent are Indians (of the Lenca, Paya, Jicaque, Mosquito, Sumo, and other tribes), about 2 percent are Negroes, and about 1 percent are persons of European origin; there is also a small number of Asian immigrants (Chinese and others). The official language is Spanish (most of the Indians have already lost their own languages), and some of the Negroes speak English. The majority of the population is Catholic; the Negroes are mainly Protestants. The country’s official calendar is the Gregorian.
The average rate of population growth during the period 1963–69 was 3.4 percent a year. In 1968 the work force totaled 844,000, with the following breakdown: agriculture 66 percent, industry 10 percent, commerce 5 percent, services 12 percent, and other fields 7 percent. Farm workers and peasants who rent small plots of land constitute the basic part of the work force. The number of people in the industrial proletariat is less than one-fifth of the number of persons employed in agriculture. Most of the population is concentrated in the valleys in the western part of the highland, the central basin, and the northern part of the Caribbean lowland, where the population density ranges from 10 to 50 persons per sq km. The remaining territory, especially the northeast (Mosquito Coast) is sparsely settled (less than one person per sq km). In 1969 the urban population was 32 percent of the total. The principal cities (in 1969 figures) are Tegucigalpa (218,500), San Pedro Sula (96,300), and La Ceiba (35,200).
Historical survey. In the precolonial period, prior to the 16th century, the territory of Honduras bore the name of Igueras, or Ibueras. A part of the indigenous Indian population—the Lenca, Paya, and Jicaque tribes (belonging to the Paya language group)—lived according to a primitive communal structure; their principal occupations were slash-and-burn agriculture, hunting, and fishing. Another part of the population, the Mayan Indians, created one of the highest early class civilizations in America. They cultivated corn and developed handicrafts and stone architecture, and they had a writing system. Located on the territory of Honduras was one of the major centers of Mayan culture, the city of Copán.
Honduras was under the domination of the Spanish colonizers from the beginning of the 16th to the beginning of the 19th century. The coast of Honduras was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502. The Spaniards named the country Honduras (from the Spanish word hondura, or “depth,” because of the great depths near the shores). In 1524 they proceeded to conquer Honduras. In 1536 the Indians, headed by their leader Lempira, waged a struggle against the colonizers, but it was unsuccessful. Lempira was treacherously killed and his group was smashed. In the middle of the 16th century, Honduras became part of the captaincy general of Guatemala. Large-scale feudal landowner-ship by Spanish landlords began to take shape in Honduras, but the basis of the economy was silver mining. The principal mines were situated in the region of Tegucigalpa. The Indian population was killed off by the unbearable toil on the plantations and in the gold and silver mines. Indian rebellions were cruelly suppressed. The Spaniards then imported Negro slaves from Africa into Honduras.
At the beginning of the 19th century Honduras took part in the liberation movement of the Spanish colonies, and on Sept. 15, 1821, it proclaimed its independence from Spain. During this period, political parties began to establish themselves in Honduras—there were the Conservatives (the party of the large-scale landowners) and the Liberals (the party of the emerging bourgeoisie). A struggle developed between them. The Conservatives managed to succeed in annexing Honduras to Mexico (1821). In 1823, Honduras became a member of the federation of the United Provinces of Central America. However, even in this federation the struggle continued between the Liberals, who advocated a federalist form of government, the abolition of the clergy’s privileges, and the implementation of land reform, and the Conservatives, who defended the retention of privileges by the church and the military and supported the creation of a centralized state. Continuous wars led to the disintegration of the federation. In 1838 the declaration of Honduran independence was proclaimed, and in January 1839 the first constitution of the Republic of Honduras was adopted.
Soon after the creation of the independent state, expansion into Honduras was begun by foreign powers, primarily Great Britain and the USA. The former seized some islands off the coast of Honduras and part of the Mosquito Coast (1849–52). Fearing an increase in British strength, the USA took steps to counteract it, referring to the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, according to which both countries were to refrain from any occupations in Central America. As a result, the British were forced in 1859 to return the territories they had seized. In 1860, with the support of the US government, an American detachment under Walker’s leadership made an incursion into Honduras. However, the Honduran people defeated these invaders. During the second half of the 19th century the constant struggle between the Conservative and Liberal parties, along with the numerous revolts inspired or exploited by foreign powers (mainly the USA), increased the penetration of British and American capital into Honduras. In 1884 the Americans bound Honduras by the so-called Soto-Keith Treaty, according to which Honduras received a shackling loan in exchange for railroad concessions and land for banana plantations. In connection with the great demand for bananas on the world market, the American companies expanded their plantations in Honduras, as well as constructing railroads and highways for transporting the bananas. Honduran industry and foreign trade gradually passed into the hands of the American imperialists. In 1902 the plantations of the American-owned United Fruit Company were created, and in 1905 those of the Standard Fruit and Steamship Company; both of these companies interfered unceremoniously in the political life of Honduras. Because it was completely dependent on the USA, Honduras was turned into a single-crop country. The difficult working conditions on the plantations and the cruel exploitation of the farm workers brought about several disturbances, which were crushed by American troops in 1905, 1907, 1911, and 1912.
The struggle of the Honduran people became especially active under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. In order to suppress popular uprisings, the American imperialists sent their troops to Honduras, in 1917, 1919, 1924, and 1925. In 1927 the first communist groups were established, and the first trade unions (of farm workers) were formed. The crisis of 1929–33 considerably worsened the position of the masses and elicited new uprisings (in 1931 and the beginning of 1932). With the support of the American imperialists, a terrorist dictatorship was set up with T. Carias Andino at its head (president from 1933 to 1949 with some interruptions); this regime prohibited all democratic organizations and granted new concessions to the United Fruit Company (1935). In 1942 the USA occupied the Swan Islands, which belonged to Honduras, and constructed military installations there (an airport, radio station, and so forth). Honduras did not participate in World War II, although in December 1941 it did declare war on Germany and Italy. The defeat of fascism facilitated an upswing in the strike movement in Honduras, along with the development of mass antigovernment and anti-imperialist uprisings (those of 1944 and 1947 were especially powerful). In 1949, Carias Andino retired under pressure from the mass movement; he was replaced by a protégé of the USA, former minister of war J. M. Gálvez (1949–54), during whose presidency the USA carried out an armed invasion of Guatemala in 1954 from the territory of Honduras. The people’s movement became more and more active. In April 1954 an underground conference of Honduran Marxists took place and proclaimed the establishment of a Communist Party. In May 1954 there was a general strike of the workers on the banana plantations, as a result of which the United Fruit Company was forced to make concessions to satisfy the demands of the workers. In the 1954 presidential elections the Liberal candidate, R. Vi-lleda Morales, won, but under pressure from the USA the election results were declared invalid, and the vice-president, J. Lozano Díaz, became provisional president. Disturbances continued throughout the country. The dictatorship of Diaz lasted for two years. In October 1956 army circles carried out a coup d’etat, and for a year a military junta was in power. In the elections of December 1957, Villeda Morales was again victorious. The growth of resentment against American domination compelled the Villeda government (1957–63) in its early days to adopt certain measures for developing the economy: the nationalization of one railroad, the introduction of a code of labor laws, and the preparation of a law on agrarian reform. (This encountered resistance from the extreme right-wing opposition, which was supported by the United Fruit Company.) However, as soon as 1960 a decree was adopted prohibiting democratic publications; in 1961 diplomatic relations were broken off with the revolutionary government of Cuba, and in 1962, at a conference of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of American States (OAS), Honduras demanded the exclusion of Cuba from the OAS. In October 1963 the Villeda government was overthrown as the result of a military coup led by the commander of the armed forces, General O. López Arellano. This coup was carried out under the pretext of the “struggle against the penetration of communism” into the country. The military junta headed by López proceeded to persecute not only progressive political parties but also patriotically inclined representatives of the national bourgeoisie.
In February 1965 the military junta held elections to a national constituent assembly. The Conservatives won, and in March 1965 the assembly proclaimed López Arellano the “constitutional” president. A number of organizations worked actively against the López government. In November and December there was a wave of strikes throughout the country. Continuing to carry out repression against democratic organizations, López banned the activity of all political parties except for the ruling party and the Liberals, and he imposed rigid control over most newspapers. In July 1969 an armed conflict flared up between Honduras and El Salvador, caused by a clash of interests of various US monopolies in Central America, by the contradictions existing between Honduras and El Salvador on economic, social, and territorial questions, and by the anti-popular policy of the governments in power in these countries. The consequences of this conflict, which ceased after the intervention of the OAS, did not solve these problems, and the forthcoming presidential elections of 1971 compelled López to liberalize his regime somewhat. In January 1971 the Liberal and Nationalist (Conservative) parties concluded an agreement, according to which a two-party system would be maintained in the country. In June 1971 the Conservative E. Cruz became president. In December 1972, Cruz was relieved from office after a military coup, and General O. López Arellano was appointed president.
S. A. BORISOV and A. D. DRIDZO
Political parties and trade unions. The Nationalist (Conservative) Party expresses the interests of the large-scale latifundista oligarchy arid the Catholic clergy. The Liberal Party of Honduras was founded as the party of the middle class and petite bourgeoisie. The Communist Party of Honduras was created in 1954. It operates underground.
The Confederation of Honduran Workers (CTH) was founded in 1964 and is under the control of the government. It includes three trade-union organizations: the Federation of Free Unions of Honduras, the Federation of Workers of the North of Honduras, and the National Federation of Workers and Peasants of Honduras. The CTH belongs to the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers.
Economy. Honduras is an agricultural, poorly developed country, one of the most economically backward in Latin America. The principal branches of its economy are controlled by US capital (the production and export of bananas and enterprises of the mining and lumbering industries). The US monopolies own most of the fertile lands, the railroads, the rolling stock, the port facilities, and the coastal fleet. Approximately 50 percent of the value of the gross national product is provided by agriculture and only 14 percent by industry.
AGRICULTURE. Characteristic of the agriculture of Honduras is the concentration of most lands in the hands of the American-owned United Fruit Company and the Standard Fruit and Steamship Company, the predominance of landless peasants and those with very little land, and a low technical level of agronomy. According to the 1965–66 census, more than 67 percent of the farms with plots of less than 7 hectares (ha) occupy 12 percent of the land each. In accordance with the agrarian reform law, about 55,000 ha of the land were distributed among 2,680 peasant families by September 1968. In 1963, 823,000 ha were under cultivation, pastures occupied 3.4 million ha, and forests occupied more than 3 million ha; unused lands and those unsuitable for use constituted about 4 million ha. A major portion of the agricultural crops produced is exported: bananas, the most important crop (68,000 ha, 1.35 million tons in 1969), are grown mainly in the Caribbean coastal area; tobacco, primarily in the interior highland valleys in the west; cotton, in the south and in the Pacific coastal area; coffee (33,000 tons in 1970), in the highlands; and abaca, in the southwest. The following crops are grown for domestic consumption: sugarcane (some sugar is exported) in the northern Caribbean coastal area, corn (415,000 ha, 390,000 tons in 1970), beans, and millet (primarily in the Pacific coastal area).
In the east the highlands provide extensive pastures for livestock breeding. During 1969–70 there was a total of 1.8 million cattle and 980,000 pigs. In the northeast, on the southern shore, and in the interior valleys, lumbering has been developed (mahogany, ebony, and pine). The export of wood amounted to 3.3 million cu m in 1967.
INDUSTRY. Handicrafts are the main industry. The US company New York and Rosario Mining Company mines gold (191 kg for export in 1968), silver (168 kg in 1968), zinc, and lead. The total installed capacity of electric power plants was 91,000 kilowatts in 1968, and they produced 330 million kilowatt-hours in 1969. Foodstuffs, textiles, and garments are well-developed branches of the processing industry. Most of the enterprises are located in the region of San Pedro Sula, which provides one-half of the total industrial output, and in Tegucigalpa. In 1971 a US company was building a large pulp-and-paper mill. In the city of Puerto Cortés there is an oil refinery that belongs to the American Texas Petroleum Company.
TRANSPORTATION. The total length of railroads in Honduras is 1,200 km (85 percent of which belongs to US companies), and there are about 4,000 km of motor roads. The Pan American Highway passes through Honduras. The number of motor vehicles was 26,000 in 1969, including 12,000 trucks. Foreign trade transport is carried out by sea; the principal ports are Puerto Cortés, La Ceiba, and Tela on the Caribbean Sea, and Amapala on the Gulf of Fonseca. There are two international airports, at Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
FOREIGN TRADE. Two-thirds of the value of exports is derived from bananas, coffee, and lumber. Imports are predominantly various kinds of equipment, consumer goods, chemical products, and foodstuffs. About 50 percent of the foreign trade turnover in 1968 fell to the USA, and the remainder was primarily with countries of the Central American Common Market (22 percent), the Federal Republic of Germany (11 percent), Japan (5 percent), and Great Britain. The monetary unit is the lempira; 1 US dollar = 2 lempiras (April 1971).
V. I. BULAVIN
Armed forces. In 1968 the armed forces totaled 4,700 men and consisted of the army (about 3,500 men in two infantry battalions and 20 detached infantry companies), the air force (about 50 airplanes of obsolete American types, including 20 combat aircraft and transport planes, and the rest training aircraft), and the navy (three coast guard ships). The commander in chief is the president, who exercises command through the minister of defense. There is a law in Honduras providing for obligatory military service, but the armed forces are primarily recruited from volunteers. There are also formations of the civil guards (police), amounting to about 2,500 men.
Health and social welfare. In 1968 the birth rate per 1,000 inhabitants was 43.7; the total mortality rate was 9.3, and infant mortality (according to incomplete data) was 41.7 per 1,000 live births. The average life span was 41 years for men and 44 years for women. In the agrarian northwestern medical-geographical region, where the principal portion of the population lives, there is neither a central water-supply system nor a sewage system. Thirty percent of the population are infected with amebiasis, and cases of dysentery, infectious hepatitis, and salmonella diseases are constantly being reported. In the central and eastern livestock-breeding regions of Honduras, brucellosis, anthrax, tetanus, and various types of leptospirosis are widespread. Leprosy is also encountered. In 1968 only 21.5 percent of the inhabitants of Honduras made use of a centralized water-supply system, and 13.6 percent used a sewage system.
In 1969 there were 39 hospitals functioning (including 11 general, two for tuberculosis, one psychiatric, and 16 rural hospitals), with 4,200 beds (1.7 beds for every 1,000 people); of these, 13 hospitals with 3,300 beds were state-run institutions. In 1968 there were 463 physicians practicing medicine (an average of one doctor for every 5,500 inhabitants; one for every 10,500 in rural areas and one for every 770 in the capital), as well as 182 nurses and about 1,200 other medical personnel. About 70 percent of the doctors work in the state health care service. There were 78 dentists. The medical faculty at the National University in Tegucigalpa trains physicians. In 1965. 13 were graduated.
Z. A. BELOVA and V. V. TARASOV
Education and cultural affairs. The earliest units in the educational system are the preschool institutions, which are basically private and designed for children ranging in age from three to six years. In 1965 they had an enrollment of 4,000 children. Compulsory education for children from the age of seven to 15 was established in 1947 but in practice has been poorly implemented. According to 1961 data, 55 percent of the population over the age of 15 is illiterate. There are state-run secular schools and private (primarily Catholic) educational institutions. The term of instruction at a state-run elementary city school is six years; in a rural school it is three years. The secondary five-year school (lycée) has two cycles (of three and two years respectively). The first cycle is general instruction, and the second cycle is subdivided into humanities and natural science sections. During the 1969–70 school year there were 392,700 pupils enrolled in the state-run elementary schools and 33,100 in the secondary schools. Vocational training is carried out at three- and five-year agricultural, technical, and business schools. During the 1965–66 school year the system of vocational education had an enrollment of 2,500. Teachers for the elementary schools are trained at normal schools and teachers colleges. In the 1965–66 academic year there were 3,600 students enrolled in the system of teacher training. Higher education is provided by the National University in Tegucigalpa (founded in 1847), which has the following faculties: medicine, law and social sciences, economics (two departments), chemistry and pharmacology, dentistry, and engineering. In the academic year 1970–71 the university had an enrollment of more than 4,000 students. Also located in Tegucigalpa are the National Library (founded in 1880; 55,000 volumes) and the National Museum.
E. B. LYSOVA
Press, radio, and television. In 1970 there were 14 newspapers and journals published, with a total circulation of 36,000. The most important of these are published in Tegucigalpa: La Gaceta, a daily founded in 1906, with a circulation of 2,500, the official government organ; El Dia, a daily founded in 1948, with a circulation of 15,000, a semiofficial government organ; El Nacional, a daily with a circulation of 5,000, the organ of the Nationalist Party; El Pueblo, a daily founded in 1949, with a circulation of 4,000, the organ of the Liberal Party; and Trabajo, a bulletin founded in 1954, the organ of the Communist Party.
In 1970 there were 58 radio stations in operation. The most important radio stations are in Tegucigalpa: the National Radio, the official state radio station, and the Voice of Honduras, the largest commercial station. Broadcasts are conducted in Spanish.
There is a commercial television station in Tegucigalpa, which operates on two channels. (It belongs to a stockholding company known as the Honduran Television Company.) Telecasts are conducted in Spanish. There are two relay stations.
S. A. BORISOV
Literature. After the proclamation of independence in 1821. literature arose and for a long time it was imitative. The priest J. T. Reyes (1797–1885) wrote poems of a religious and patriotic nature, based on classical Spanish images. These were imitated by the dilettante poets of the 19th century— T. Aguiluz (1827–83), J. Cisneros (died 1908), who in his epic poem Lempira depicted the conquest of Honduras by the conquistadors, and J. A. Domínguez (1869–1903), who cultivated the philosophical lyric. The country’s first novel. Angelina (1898), by C. Gutiérrez (1861–99) was written in the spirit of naturalism. At the turn of the 20th century, modernism became widespread; this was a tendency in which an attraction toward national originality was combined with the influence of symbolism. The most important figure in this trend was F. Turcios (1878–1943), the author of several books of poems interspersed with prose and of the novels Annabel Lee (1906) and The Vampire (1910). The representatives of the following generation of poets, the “postmodernists,” sought ways to comprehend reality. A. Guillen Zelaya (1878–1947) posed social problems in his poems; R. H. Valle (1891–1959) wrote books of poetry and prose that were full of love for his native land— The Aroma of My Native Land (1917) and Thirsting Amphora (1922).
After World War II, during the period of the national liberation movement, a group of writers moved to the fore who dedicated their creative work to the basic problems of the life of the people. The prose writer A. Mejia Nieto (born 1900) depicts the everyday life of Hondurans. Social protest resounds in the poems of C. Barrera (born 1912) and J. Cárcamo (1917–59). P. Ortega used folklore motifs in creating his books Spirits of the Fatherland. In his novel Under the Cloudburst, C. Izaguirre (1894–1956) unmasked the imperialist exploitation of the laborers. R. Amaya Amador (1916–66) wrote in his novels Dawn, Green Prison (1950). Builders, and Operation “Gorilla” (1966; Russian translation, 1968) about the people’s struggle against domination by the monopolies.
L. S. OSPOVAT
Architecture and art. During the first millennium A.D. the Mayan culture developed on the territory of Honduras. (Its principal center was the city of Copán, with its pyramids, temples, and stone stelae.) Traditional characteristics of Indian art have been retained in the colored masks of the Pipil and Lenca tribes, and especially in the polychrome vessels of the Sumo tribe. Since the 16th century, cities (such as Com-ayagua and Tegucigalpa) have been built according to regular plans, with brightly colored, one-storied houses made of adobe. Basilica churches of the 17th and 18th centuries with towers and mostly with clearly divided facades were decorated with glazed ceramics, statues, and carvings on the facades and paintings on the wooden artesonado ceilings. During the 19th and 20th centuries architecture has followed the traditions of the colonial period, as well as the eclectic and neoclassical models of Europe and the USA; in the mid-20th century, separate buildings and complexes were built in the contemporary style (for example, the parliament building in Tegucigalpa, hotels, schools, hospitals, and the buildings of the American fruit companies, mostly in the port cities of Tela, La Ceiba, and Trujillo). But on the whole, the planning and construction of cities are behind the times in character.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, local masters of historical, genre, landscape, and portrait painting emerged (for example. P. Z. Sierra and C. Zúñiga Figeroa). Present-day painting (M. A. Ruiz and J. A. Velázquez) realistically depicts the life of the people and the appearance of the cities and villages of Honduras; the most important realistic painter, A. Canales, reveals the dramatic aspects of life among the workers and peasants.
REFERENCESNarody Ameriki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959.
Marinas Otero, L. Honduras. Madrid, 1963.
Thomas, A. B. Istoriia Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow. 1960. (Translated from English.)
Gonionskii. S. A. Ocherki noveishei istorii stran Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1964.
Carnero Checa. G. Ocherki o stranakh Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from Spanish.)
Bonilla. C. Honduras en el pasado. San Pedro Sula, 1949.
Stokes. W. Honduras: An Area Study in Government. Madison, Wis., 1950.
Becerra, L. Honduras. [Havana, 1966.]
Amaya Amador, R. “V dukhe natsional’nykh traditsii.” Inostrannaia literatura. 1960, no. 12.
Durón. R. E. Honduras literaria, vol. I: Escritores en prosa. Tegucigalpa, 1896.
Durón, R. E. Honduras literaria, vols. 1–3: Escritores en verso. Tegucigalpa. 1957.
Rivera Morillo, H. “La literatura hondurena en el siglo XX.” In Panorama das literaturas das Americas, vol. 2. Nova Lisboa (Angola), 1958. Pages 673–736.
Solá, M. Historia del arte hispanoamericano. Barcelona. 1958.
Official name: Republic of Honduras
Capital city: Tegucigalpa
Internet country code: .hn
Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with five blue, five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band; the stars represent the members of the former Federal Republic of Central America - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
National anthem: “Your flag is a splendor of sky” (first line in English translation); lyrics by Augusto Constancio Coello, music by Carlos Hartling
National flower: Orquid Rhyncholaelya Digviana
Geographical description: Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Total area: 43,278 sq. mi. (112,090 sq. km.)
Climate: Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
Nationality: noun: Honduran(s); adjective: Honduran
Population: 7,483,763 (July 2007 CIA est.)
Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, African 2%, European 1%
Languages spoken: Spanish, Amerindian languages
Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%