Central America; Area Comayagua. I. A Department Of Honduras, 4,800 sq. m.; pop. about 75,000. It occupies the S. central portion of the state, and consists chiefly of the plains of Comayagua and of Espino, both watered by the Humuya river. In the S. E. part are the mountains of San Juan or Gua-jiquero, occupied exclusively by Indians descended from the aboriginal Lencas, who cultivate the cereals and the fruits of the higher latitudes, and raise a fine and hardy race of mules. The soil is rich, and the plains are well adapted for the production of cochineal, coffee, and the other staples of semi-tropical regions. Like the rest of Honduras, it possesses great mineral wealth, which however is neglected from want of enterprise and capital. Eich silver mines exist in the mountains, and copper ores abound. There are also vast deposits of blue and veined marble and inexhaustible beds of ochre of various colors and fine quality. Pine and oak abound on the hills, and mahogany, cedar, lignumvitae, and other useful woods are found in the valleys.
The district is famed for its superior breed of cattle. Among the principal towns are Las Piedras or Villa de la Paz, Villa de San Antonio, Opoteca, Espino, San Antonio del Norte, Goascoran, and Caridad. II. The capital of the department and of the state of Honduras, situated on the S. border of the plain of Co-mayagua, in lat. 14° 28' N., lon. 87° 39' W., on the Humuya river; pop. about 12,000. It is very nearly midway between the two oceans. Previous to 1827 it was a flourishing town, embellished with fountains and monuments, and having many line buildings; but in that year it was taken and burned by the monarchical faction of Guatemala, and it has never since recovered. It is the seat of a bishopric, and has a large cathedral, a university, a hospital, and several churches and convents. Its trade is small on account of the difficulty of communication with the coast; but as it is on the route of the interoceanic railway now building from Puerto Cavallos to the bay of Fonseca, it will probably increase in importance.
Comayagua was founded in 1540 by Alonso Caceres, and originally called Valladolid. The country around it has many remarkable ruins, and bears evidences of having sustained in ancient times a large and flourishing population.