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The basic population of the Republic of Honduras, numbering more than 2.4 million (1970, estimate).
Hondurans speak the Spanish language. The majority of them are Catholics. Most are employed in agriculture. Before the opening of America, the only inhabitants of Honduras were minor Indian tribes (the Lenca, Jicaques, and Payas) who lived by primitive agriculture. The penetration of the Spaniards into Honduras from Guatemala and their partial mixing with the Indians, especially with the Lenca, began in the 1530’s. At first there were only a few Spanish colonists. Later, beginning in the late 1500’s, the Spanish-speaking population of the country was expanded mostly by the arrival from Guatemala of immigrants of mixed Spanish-Indian origin. They settled mainly in the southwestern part of the country and formed the nucleus of the population of contemporary Honduras. (The history, economics, and culture of the Hondurans is covered in the article HONDURAS.)
I. F. KHOROSHAEVA