HONDURAS

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Honduras

Map of Honduras

Republic of Honduras

President: Porfirio Lobo (2010)

Land area: 43,201 sq mi (111,891 sq km); total area: 43,278 sq mi (112,090 sq km)

Population (2012 est.): 8,296,693 (growth rate: 1.838%); birth rate: 24.66/1000; infant mortality rate: 19.85/1000; life expectancy: 70.71

Capital and largest city (2009 est.): Tegucigalpa, 1 million

Monetary unit: Lempira

National name: República de Honduras

Current government officials

Languages: Spanish (official), Amerindian dialects; English widely spoken in business

Ethnicity/race: mestizo 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%

National Holiday: Independence Day, September 15

Literacy rate: 80% (2001 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $36.15 billion; per capita $4,400. Real growth rate: 3.6%. Inflation: 7%. Unemployment: 4.8%. Arable land: 9.53%. Agriculture: bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp. Labor force: 3.461 million; agriculture 39.2%, industry 20.9%, services 39.8% (2005 est.). Industries: sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products. Natural resources: timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower. Exports: $6.839 billion (2011 est.): apparel, coffee, shrimp, automobile wire harnesses, cigars, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber. Imports: $10.04 billion (2011 est.): machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs. Major trading partners: U.S., Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala (2011).

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 669,500 (2009); mobile cellular: 9.505 million (2009). Broadcast media: multiple privately-owned terrestrial TV networks, supplemented by multiple cable TV networks; Radio Honduras is the lone government-owned radio network; roughly 300 privately-owned radio stations (2007). Internet hosts: 27,074 (2010). Internet users: 731,700 (2009).

Transportation: Railways: total: 75 km (2009). Roadways: total: 14,239 km; paved: 3,159 km; unpaved: 11,080 km (2009 est.). Waterways: 465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2012). Ports and harbors: La Ceiba, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela. Airports: 104 (2012).

International disputes: International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras border in 1992 with final settlement by the parties in 2006 after an Organization of American States survey and a further ICJ ruling in 2003; the 1992 ICJ ruling advised a tripartite resolution to a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca with consideration of Honduran access to the Pacific; El Salvador continues to claim tiny Conejo Island, not mentioned in the ICJ ruling, off Honduras in the Gulf of Fonseca; Honduras claims the Belizean-administered Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize in its constitution, but agreed to a joint ecological park around the cays should Guatemala consent to a maritime corridor in the Caribbean under the OAS-sponsored 2002 Belize-Guatemala Differendum.

Major sources and definitions

Geography

Honduras, in the north-central part of Central America, has a Caribbean as well as a Pacific coastline. Guatemala is to the west, El Salvador to the south, and Nicaragua to the east. The second-largest country in Central America, Honduras is slightly larger than Tennessee. Generally mountainous, the country is marked by fertile plateaus, river valleys, and narrow coastal plains.

Government

Democratic constitutional republic.

History

During the first millennium, Honduras was inhabited by the Maya. Columbus explored the country in 1502. Honduras, with four other Central American nations, declared its independence from Spain in 1821 to form a federation of Central American states. In 1838, Honduras left the federation and became independent. Political unrest rocked Honduras in the early 1900s, resulting in an occupation by U.S. Marines. Dictator Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino established a strong government in 1932.

In 1969, El Salvador invaded Honduras after Honduran landowners deported several thousand Salvadorans. Five thousand people ultimately died in what is called “the football war” because it broke out during a soccer game between the two countries. By threatening economic sanctions and military intervention, the Organization of American States (OAS) induced El Salvador to withdraw.