Honduras, a republic of Central America, lies between Nicaragua and San Salvador and Guatemala, and is bounded on the N. and NE. by the Bay of Honduras and the Caribbean Sea, having here a coast-line of some 400 miles ; while on the S. the Bay of Fonseca, over 50 miles long and about 30 wide, opens to the Pacific. The area is calculated at 46,500 sq. m. ; the population at 750,000. Except for a narrow strip of swampland along either coast, the country is a tableland, its series of elevated plateaus broken by broad and fertile plains and valleys, or rising to mountain-ridges that culminate in the Montana de Selaque (10,120 feet). The Cordilleras proper traverse the country irregularly in a north-west and south-east direction. Honduras is watered by innumerable (seldom navigable) streams; the Wanks or Segovia, part the boundary with Nicaragua, has a length of 350 miles. Roatan and the other fertile Bay Islands (q.v.), off the north coast, belong to Honduras. The climate is hot on the coast, where also fever prevails; but the highlands are cool, and frost is not unknown. The flora and fauna are like those of Guatemala. Cattle-raising is an important industry. Honduras is the richest of the Central American republics in minerals - silver, gold, iron, copper, antimony, platinum, zinc, tin, lignite, and opals. The exports, mostly to the United States, include cattle, fruits and cocoa-nuts, india-rubber, sarsa-parilla, timber, and indigo.
Honduras (Span., 'depths') was discovered by Columbus on his fourth voyage, in 1502, and named from the difficulty of anchorage. There are numerous pyramids and other remains of the ancient inhabitants. Honduras threw off the yoke of Spain, with the rest of Central America, in 1821, and became independent on the dissolution of the confederation in 1839. Revolutions and frequent wars with Guatemala and San Salvador have been almost constant. The whites are very few in number, the Indians (including Caribs), negroes, and mixed races including all but some 6000 or 7000 of the population. The capital is Tegucigalpa, with 35,000 inhabitants. The ports are Amapala, on the Bay of Fonseca, Puerto Cortez or Puerto Caballos, Omoa, and Truxillo. See works by Squier (1870), Soltera (1884), and Lombard (New York, 1887).
Honduras, British. See Belize.