Facts about Honduras

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HondurasOnce part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage.

Geography of Honduras

Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
15 00 N, 86 30 W
total: 112,090 sq km
land: 111,890 sq km
water: 200 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries:
total: 1,520 km
border countries: Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km
820 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m
Natural resources:
timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower
Natural hazards:
frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast
Environment current issues:
urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and the clearing of land for agricultural purposes; further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands; mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the country's largest source of fresh water), as well as several rivers and streams, with heavy metals
Geography - note:
has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast

More Geography

Population of Honduras

7,639,327 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 39.9% (male 1,491,170/female 1,429,816)
15-64 years: 56.7% (male 2,076,727/female 2,077,975)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 113,747/female 137,061)
Median age:
19.5 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
25.82 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.33 years
male: 67.75 years
female: 70.98 years
Fertility rate:
3.59 children born/woman
noun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority
Spanish, Amerindian dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.2%
male: 76.1%
female: 76.3%


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Honduras
local long form: Republica de Honduras
Government type:
democratic constitutional republic
Administrative divisions:
18 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Atlantida, Choluteca, Colon, Comayagua, Copan, Cortes, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Gracias a Dios, Intibuca, Islas de la Bahia, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Valle, Yoro
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended 1995
Legal system:
rooted in Roman and Spanish civil law with increasing influence of English common law; recent judicial reforms include abandoning Napoleonic legal codes in favor of the oral adversarial system; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Elvin Ernesto SANTOS Ordonez (since 27 January 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Elvin Ernesto SANTOS Ordonez (since 27 January 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 27 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009).
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members are elected proportionally to the number of votes their party's presidential candidate receives to serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges are elected for seven-year terms by the National Congress)


Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income and massive unemployment, is banking on expanded trade under the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and on debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Despite improvements in tax collections, the government's fiscal deficit is growing due to increases in current expenditures and financial losses from the state energy and telephone companies. Honduras is the fastest growing remittance destination in the region with inflows representing over a quarter of GDP, equivalent to nearly three-quarters of exports. The economy relies heavily on a narrow range of exports, notably bananas and coffee, making it vulnerable to natural disasters and shifts in commodity prices, however, investments in the maquila and non-traditional export sectors are slowly diversifying the economy. Growth remains dependent on the economy of the US, its largest trading partner, and on reduction of the high crime rate, as a means of attracting and maintaining investment.

$32.26 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 13.9%
industry: 31.2%
services: 54.9%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
2.54 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 34%, industry 21%, services 45% 
revenues: $1.693 billion
expenditures: $1.938 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 50.2%
hydro: 49.8%
other: 0% 
sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products
bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp
coffee, shrimp, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
Export partners:
US 75.3%, El Salvador 3.5%, Germany 2.6% 
machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
Import partners:
US 54.5%, Guatemala 5%, Mexico 3.9% 
lempira (HNL)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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