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Honduras Historical and Political Profile

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Honduras Index

  • Honduras-Climate
  • Honduras-Two Traditionally Dominant Parties
  • Honduras-Rural-to-Urban Migration
  • Honduras-Navy
  • Honduras-War with El Salvador
  • Honduras-Domestic Human Rights Organizations
  • Honduras-The Mayan Heritage PRE-COLUMBIAN SOCIETY
  • Honduras-Background
  • Honduras-The Collapse of Spanish Rule THE EARLY INDEPENDENCE YEARS, 1821-99
  • Honduras-Involvement in the Nation's Economy
  • Honduras-The United States
  • Honduras-The Army as Political Instrument, 1838-1922
  • Honduras-Pacific Lowlands
  • Honduras-Agricultural Policy
  • Honduras-Urban Life
  • Honduras-Trade EXTERNAL SECTOR
  • Honduras-Labor and Peasant Organizations
  • Honduras-The Expanded Role of the United States
  • Honduras-Livestock
  • Honduras-Chapter 1 - Historical Setting
  • Honduras-Chapter 5 - National Security
  • Honduras-The Era of Tiburcio Car�as Andino, 1932-54 STRONGMAN RULE, 1932-63
  • Honduras-Population Density and Distribution
  • Honduras-Other Military Units
  • Honduras-Fishing
  • Honduras-Hydrography
  • Honduras-Colonial Society, Economy, and Government
  • Honduras-Central America
  • Honduras-The Lower Class
  • Honduras-The Development of an Independent Nation, 1838-99
  • Honduras-The Initial Explorations SPANISH CONQUEST AND SETTLEMENT
  • Honduras-The Threat of Renewed Instability, 1919-24
  • Honduras-Indigenous Groups
  • Honduras-Other Indigenous Groups
  • Honduras-Composition of Labor Force HUMAN RESOURCES
  • Honduras-Transportation
  • Honduras-Political Parties POLITICAL DYNAMICS
  • Honduras-SOCIETY
  • Honduras-The United Provinces of Central America
  • Honduras-Monetary and Exchange-Rate Policies
  • Honduras-The Middle Class
  • Honduras-The Electoral Process
  • Honduras-Electric Power
  • Honduras-Air Force
  • Honduras-Inflation
  • Honduras-Nontraditional Crops
  • Honduras-Civilian Democratic Rule
  • Honduras-Smaller Political Parties and Movements
  • Honduras-Banking and Financial System SERVICES
  • Honduras-Recent Growth MACROECONOMIC TRENDS
  • Honduras-Tourism
  • Honduras-Construction
  • Honduras-The Struggle of Electoral Democracy: the Elections of 1985
  • Honduras-Topography
  • Honduras-Traditional Crops
  • Honduras-Advocates for Social Change
  • Honduras-The Press
  • Honduras-Accord in Nicaragua
  • Honduras-Military Rule and Reform
  • Honduras-Chapter 4 - Government and Politics
  • Honduras-Introduction
  • Honduras-Legislative
  • Honduras-Rural Life LIVING CONDITIONS
  • Honduras-Judiciary
  • Honduras-Population Growth
  • Honduras-Unemployment
  • Honduras-Preface
  • Honduras-Army
  • Honduras-Regional Emigration
  • Honduras -Country Profile
  • Honduras-Respect for Human Rights
  • Honduras-Defense Budget MILITARY FINANCES
  • Honduras-Other Non-Ladino Groups
  • Honduras-The Growth of the Banana Industry BANANA BOATS AND GUNBOATS: THE RISE OF UNITED STATES INFLUENCE, 1899-1932
  • Honduras-Location and Boundaries GEOGRAPHY
  • Honduras-United States Military Assistance and Training
  • Honduras-Telecommunications
  • Honduras-Boundary Disputes
  • Honduras-Anglo-Spanish Rivalry
  • Honduras-Chapter 3 - The Economy
  • Honduras-Public Security Force
  • Honduras-Business Organizations
  • Honduras-FAMILY AND KIN
  • Honduras-Health
  • Honduras-Foreign Investment
  • Honduras-Forestry
  • Honduras-Labor Unions
  • Honduras-Acknowledgments
  • Honduras
  • Honduras-Energy Sources
  • Honduras-The Restoration of Order, 1925-31
  • Honduras-Domestic Human Rights Organizations
  • Honduras-Ranks, Insignia, and Uniforms
  • Honduras
  • Honduras-Employment Indicators and Benefits
  • Honduras-Honduras and the Nicaraguan Conflict
  • Honduras-The Caribbean Lowlands
  • Honduras-Consolidation and Organizational Maturity, 1963-80
  • Honduras-The Arias Plan
  • Honduras-ETHNIC GROUPS
  • Honduras-THE RETURN TO CIVILIAN RULE, 1978-82
  • Honduras-Land Use AGRICULTURE
  • Honduras-Budget
  • Honduras-Recruitment and Training
  • Honduras-The Suazo Córdova Administration: Caudillo Politics in the Shadow of the Military
  • Honduras-Manufacturing INDUSTRY
  • Honduras-Aborted Reform, 1954-63
  • Honduras-Education SOCIAL WELFARE
  • Honduras-Development of an Independent Military Identity, 1922-63
  • Honduras-The Era of the Conquistadores
  • Honduras-Foreword
  • Honduras-ECONOMY
  • Honduras
  • Honduras-Military Ties with Other Countries
  • Honduras
  • Honduras-Land Reform
  • Honduras-Fiscal Policies ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
  • Honduras-Interest Groups
  • Honduras-Mining and Minerals NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
  • Honduras-GEOGRAPHY
  • Honduras-RELIGION
  • Honduras
  • Honduras
  • Honduras-Local Government
  • BackgroundOnce 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.
    LocationCentral America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
    Area(sq km)total: 112,090 sq km
    land: 111,890 sq km
    water: 200 sq km
    Geographic coordinates15 00 N, 86 30 W
    Land boundaries(km)total: 1,520 km
    border countries: Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km

    Coastline(km)820 km

    Climatesubtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m
    Natural resourcestimber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower
    Land use(%)arable land: 9.53%
    permanent crops: 3.21%
    other: 87.26% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)800 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)95.9 cu km (2000)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 0.86 cu km/yr (8%/12%/80%)
    per capita: 119 cu m/yr (2000)
    Natural hazardsfrequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast
    Environment - current issuesurban 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
    Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - notehas only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
    note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 38.1% (male 1,514,544/female 1,451,862)
    15-64 years: 58.3% (male 2,278,508/female 2,267,527)
    65 years and over: 3.6% (male 125,991/female 154,422) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 20.3 years
    male: 20 years
    female: 20.7 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)1.956% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)26.27 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)5.41 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 48% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 24.03 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 26.97 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 20.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 69.4 years
    male: 67.86 years
    female: 71.02 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)3.27 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Honduran(s)
    adjective: Honduran
    Ethnic groups(%)mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%

    Religions(%)Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
    Languages(%)Spanish, Amerindian dialects

    Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Honduras
    conventional short form: Honduras
    local long form: Republica de Honduras
    local short form: Honduras
    Government typedemocratic constitutional republic
    Capitalname: Tegucigalpa
    geographic coordinates: 14 06 N, 87 13 W
    time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
    Administrative divisions18 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
    Constitution11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended many times

    Legal systemrooted 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

    Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
    Executive branchchief of state: President Jose Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Commissioner Aristides MEJIA Carranza (since 1 February 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; because the president and vice president are elected on the same ticket, the position of "vice president commissioner" was created after Vice President Elvin SANTOS resigned in late 2008 to run for president in the November 2009 election
    head of government: President Jose Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Commissioner Aristides MEJIA Carranza (since 1 February 2009)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 29 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)
    election results: Porfirio "Pepe" LOBO Sosa elected president; percent of vote - Porfirio "Pepe" LOBO Sosa 56.3%, Elvin SANTOS Lozano 38.1%, other 5.6%; note - official results pending; LOBO is scheduled to take office 27 January 2010

    Legislative branchunicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members are elected proportionally by department to serve four-year terms)
    elections: 29 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PN 71, PL 45, PDC 5, PUD 4, PINU 3

    Judicial branchSupreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (15 judges are elected for seven-year terms by the National Congress)

    Political pressure groups and leadersBeverage and Related Industries Syndicate or STIBYS; Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras or CODEH; Confederation of Honduran Workers or CTH; Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations or CCOP; General Workers Confederation or CGT; Honduran Council of Private Enterprise or COHEP; National Association of Honduran Campesinos or ANACH; National Union of Campesinos or UNC; Popular Bloc or BP; United Confederation of Honduran Workers or CUTH
    International organization participationBCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, PetroCaribe, RG, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue, with five blue, five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band; the stars represent the members of the former Federal Republic of Central America - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Nicaragua, which features a triangle encircled by the word REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom, centered in the white band

    Economy - overviewHonduras, the second poorest country in Central America, has an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income and high unemployment. 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. Economic growth remains dependent on the US economy its largest trading partner, and will decline in 2009 as a result of reduction in export demand and tightening global credit markets. Remittances represent over a quarter of GDP or nearly three-quarters of exports. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) came into force in 2006 and has helped foster investment. 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.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$33.8 billion (2008 est.)
    $32.5 billion (2007 est.)
    $30.57 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$14 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)4% (2008 est.)
    6.3% (2007 est.)
    6.6% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,400 (2008 est.)
    $4,300 (2007 est.)
    $4,200 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 13.1%
    industry: 30%
    services: 56.9% (2008 est.)
    Labor force2.991 million (2008 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 39.2%
    industry: 20.9%
    services: 39.8% (2005 est.)
    Unemployment rate(%)3.5% (2008 est.)
    note: high level of underemployment with up to a third of the labor force seeking more work.
    Population below poverty line(%)50.7% (2004)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 0.7%
    highest 10%: 42.2% (2006)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index53.8 (2003)
    56.3 (1998)
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)33.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $2.754 billion
    expenditures: $3.09 billion; including capital expenditures of $106 million (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)11.4% (2008 est.)
    6.9% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$1.633 billion (31 December 2008)
    $1.6 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$5.574 billion (31 December 2008)
    $5.239 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$7.172 billion (31 December 2008)
    $6.298 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
    Economic aid - recipient$680.8 million (2005)

    Public debt(% of GDP)20.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
    74.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
    Agriculture - productsbananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp, tilapia, lobster; corn, African palm
    Industriessugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products

    Industrial production growth rate(%)4.4% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance-$1.977 billion (2008 est.)
    -$1.274 billion (2007 est.)
    Exports$6.046 billion (2008 est.)
    $5.642 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)coffee, shrimp, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
    Exports - partners(%)US 62.1%, Guatemala 5.2%, El Salvador 5%, Mexico 4.1% (2008)
    Imports$10.39 billion (2008 est.)
    $8.82 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
    Imports - partners(%)US 50%, Guatemala 7.6%, El Salvador 5.3%, Mexico 4.7%, Costa Rica 4.2% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.492 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $2.546 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$3.209 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $3.411 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

    Exchange rateslempiras (HNL) per US dollar - 18.983 (2008 est.), 18.9 (2007), 18.895 (2006), 18.92 (2005), 18.206 (2004)

    Currency (code)lempira (HNL)

    Telephones - main lines in use825,800 (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular6.211 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral assessment: the number of fixed-line connections are increasing but still limited; competition among multiple providers of mobile-cellular services is contributing to a sharp increase in the number of subscribers
    domestic: beginning in 2003, private sub-operators allowed to provide fixed-lines in order to expand telephone coverage contributing to an increase in fixed-line teledensity to roughly 10 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership exceeded 80 per 100 persons in 2008
    international: country code - 504; landing point for both the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the MAYA-1 fiber optic submarine cable system that together provide connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
    Internet country code.hn
    Internet users658,500 (2008)
    Airports106 (2009)
    Roadways(km)total: 13,600 km
    paved: 2,775 km
    unpaved: 10,825 km (2000)

    Ports and terminalsLa Ceiba, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela
    Military branchesArmy, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Honduran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Hondurena, FAH) (2008)
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary 2 to 3-year military service (2004)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,868,940
    females age 16-49: 1,825,770 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,397,938
    females age 16-49: 1,402,398 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 92,638
    female: 88,993 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
    Disputes - internationalInternational 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 (OAS) 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; memorials and countermemorials were filed by the parties in Nicaragua's 1999 and 2001 proceedings against Honduras and Colombia at the ICJ over the maritime boundary and territorial claims in the western Caribbean Sea - final public hearings are scheduled for 2007

    Electricity - production(kWh)6.05 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 50.2%
    hydro: 49.8%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)4.696 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)11.8 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)52,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)46,130 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.7% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS28,000 (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deaths1,900 (2007 est.)
    Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
    water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 80%
    male: 79.8%
    female: 80.2% (2001 census)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 11 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 12 years (2004)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.8% of GDP (1991)

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