Honduras - geography
Large parts of Honduras are mountainous country; more than half of the area
is above 900 m, but only a few peaks reach above 2000 m. A north-south-going
depression divides the country; the westernmost part is the most
mountainous. The rivers that flow north into the Gulf of Honduras have formed
large, fertile plains that in the tropical climate are used for banana
production. The NE trade channel provides large amounts of precipitation on the
north- and east-facing slopes; the lowlands furthest north are covered by
rainforest and to the east by coniferous forest.
The worst natural disaster in the country's history occurred with Hurricane
Mitch in 1998, when 7,000 people lost their lives, and 1.5 million. became
homeless after floods and landslides. Destruction of roads, bridges, water
supply, electricity supply, plantations and factory facilities with estimated
losses of 5 billion. dollars made the already poor country even more dependent
on foreign aid.
Honduras does not give figures for the population distribution by ethnic
groups, but approximately 90% are mestizos (of European-Indian descent), 7% Native
Americans, 2-3% blacks of West Indian descent, and of whites there is a small
group of Spanish descent. The Indians live especially on the border with
Guatemala and in the Mosquito region off the Caribbean coast; they live in small
and often isolated communities, each group with its own language and
culture. The largest group are Mayan Indians around Copán. With annual growth
of 3% in the 1990's, Honduras has had the area's fastest growing population. 45%
of the population is under 15 years of age.
Do you know how many people there are in Honduras? Check this site to see
population pyramid and resident density about this country.
Economy and business
In the late 1800's. US companies acquired large tracts of land along the
fertile north coast and began banana production for the markets of the United
States and Europe. The workforce was sourced from the Caribbean islands. The
banana companies built their own railways and ports and acted as states within
the state. They owned large tracts of land and were able to appoint and remove
presidents. It is largely this development in Honduras that has created the
term "banana republic". The economic success and political influence was
significant, but in 1975, United Brands and Standard Fruit Company were
nationalized after corruption revelations. For many years, bananas accounted for
more than half of exports; in the 1990's, the proportion has been about a third.
Agriculture employs half the population; in addition to bananas, coffee is
grown in the highlands, partly in plantations, partly on small farms. Other
crops are rice, corn, millet, sugar cane and tobacco; cotton production is
increasing. The problems of unequal land distribution were less in Honduras than
in neighboring Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. The great landowners did
not acquire as much land and did not consolidate their power as the ruling
elite. Land distribution became an urgent problem in the 1950's under the
impression of population growth and increased cultivation of export crops. In
the 1960's and 1970's, moderate agricultural reforms were implemented, but there
are still many small farmers with insufficient plots of land. In total, 16% of
the land is cultivated, and 23% is permanent grazing land for the significant
Large parts of Honduras are forested, and half of Central America's
coniferous forests are found here; together with tropical woods, timber from
here accounts for an increasing share of exports.
The industry is of limited scope and is especially associated with
agricultural and forestry products. Mining is versatile, but also of limited
importance; especially American companies break gold, silver, copper, lead
Over half of foreign trade takes place with the United States; imports
consist mainly of food, fuel, machinery and other industrial goods.
Honduras - language
The official language of Honduras is Spanish, which is also dominating among
the Native American groups. Very few now speak jicaque, Mayan chorti and
chibchas paya. Only the garífuna (nearly 100,000) and mískito (nearly
30,000) used by the Native American-black mixed population on the east coast are
growing. English is also spoken on the Caribbean coast and beyond.
Honduras - religion
The country has religious freedom; state and church are
separated. approximately 85% of the population is Roman Catholic; the second largest
group consists of Protestants. Many sects are imported from the United
States. In the indigenous population, Christianity is mixed with features of
Native American religion.