Honduras Flag

20 Fascinating Facts About Honduras

20 Fascinating Facts About Honduras


1. The earliest humans are believed to have appeared in Honduras around 9,000 BC. However, very little is known about them other than they were hunter-gatherers.

2. For several hundred years – from around AD 250 to 900 – Mayans dominated the region until the civilization’s decline during the 9th century AD.

3. One of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization is located in Honduras. Copán, a ruined ancient Maya city, and UNESCO World Heritage Site is believed to have served as the political, civil, and religious center of Mayan territory in the region.

4. Christopher Columbus was the first European to arrive in Honduras in 1502. Spain quickly began to colonize the area, which was completed in 1539 after an intense conflict with the native population.

5. Columbus named the country Honduras, which means ‘depths’ in Spanish, because of the deep waters found off the north coast near present-day Trujillo.

Honduras deep waters Trujillo

6. The region was largely dominated by Spain, although Britain encroached on some coastal areas, until 1821 when Honduras became independent from Spain.

7. Honduras was initially absorbed into the Mexican empire. Then in 1823, Honduras joined the United Provinces of Central America, which also included Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

8. The Honduran flag descends from the flag used by the United Provinces of Central America which consisted of blue-white-blue stripes and a coat of arms in the center. The countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica all use permutations of the design in their modern flags.

9. The current design of the Honduran flag includes five blue stars, representing the original five members of the Central American federation.

10. In 1840 Honduras became completely independent after the United Provinces of Central America was dissolved.

11. Honduras inspired the derogatory term ‘banana republic’. The expression is usually used to describe a small country, often in Latin America, that is poor, corrupt, and badly ruled.

12. The term stems from American involvement in Honduras. The United Fruit Company, along with other US fruit corporations, turned Honduras into an enormous banana plantation at the beginning of the 1900s. The US repeatedly intervened in various military coups to protect its commercial interests. This policy dominated and hindered Honduran economics and politics for much of the 20th century.

13. Honduras fought the ‘100 Hour War’ – sometimes referred to as La guerra del fútbol (The Football War) – with neighboring El Salvador in 1969. Existing tensions between the countries escalated and corresponded with rioting during a 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifier. The four-day conflict cost thousands of lives and uprooted thousands more.

14. Honduras was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. It killed around 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage. 

Hurricane Mitch

15. According to a recent report, Honduras is the world’s worst-affected country when it comes to extreme weather events such as floods, storms, droughts, and wildfires. Only Puerto Rico (a US territory) has been affected more severely.

16. Lying off northern Honduras, the Mesoamerican Reef is the largest reef system in the Americas and the second-largest in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

17. For many years Honduras had the highest murder rate in the world. It peaked in 2011 at 85 intentional homicides per 100,000 people.

18. The homicide rate has fallen significantly in recent years. However, the latest figures (from 2017) still put intentional homicides at 42 per 100,000 people – one of the world’s highest.

19. In a country of 8 million people, there are an estimated 7,000-10,000 street gang members.

20. A 2002 UN report claimed death squads backed by the Honduran police murdered more than 1,000 children in Honduras. A special commission to investigate the deaths of 1,569 street children was later set up.




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