Officially known as the Republic of Honduras, the Central American country is one that lies amongst the strip of countries that connect Northern and Southern American states. The country has a rich history that dates back to the Mayan era before the Spanish colonized the country. It gained independence in 1821 and still holds significance as a tourist destination offering some amazing sights, both natural and man-made that make for an amazing time for anyone visiting.
The official language of Honduras is Spanish. It covers an area of 112,494 km2 with a population of 9.5 million people. The country is also home to a vast array of natural resources like coffee, minerals, sugar cane and tropical fruit. It is also home to an extensively growing textiles industry which enables exports from the state to support the local economy in an effective way. Still, Honduras is not a well-off country with more than half the population living under the line of poverty.
Want to know more? Here are 15 interesting facts to pique your interest about the country.
Fascinating Facts about Honduras
1. Honduras means ‘great depths’
Since the country has a long-standing Spanish influence with these people being the first to colonize the land, Honduras takes its name from the same language. The name means ‘great depths’ in the Spanish language due to the clear blue waters and the ecology that thrives under it. A lot of things about Honduras reflect through its name like the rich cultural, ethnic and population diversity that the land hosts for people to explore and be amazed by.
2. It is said that the country was discovered by Christopher Columbus
The name ‘Honduras’ is actually given by Christopher Columbus. After days of travel through sea he landed on the country and historians note that his first words were; “Thank God we got out of these great depths” and so the name stuck. After landing at Puerto Castilla, near Trujillo, Honduras, Columbus spent two months exploring the coast going to other neighboring countries like Nicaragua and Costa Rica before he finally arrived in Panama at the end of 1502.
3. The country was referred to as a banana republic at one time
Banana Republic was generally an economic term coined to describe a country that relies on the export of one product primarily to support its local economy. American writer O. Henry was the first person to use this term when describing the country of Honduras. After a coup in 1911, Honduras truly became a banana republic in the literal sense as well because the country’s sole export became limited to the fruit. Still, by 1929, Honduras had become the largest exporter of bananas in the world.
4. Five Stars on the Honduras flag represent Central American nations
The flag of Honduras has a white stripe between two cerulean blue stripes. It also features ‘five stars’ arranged in an ‘X’ fashion. The five stars represent the five former countries that constituted the now defunct Federal Republic of Central America. These nations were El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. The nations now stand independent on their own but the flag of Honduras stands as a notion that at some point in time, the countries may form a union again.
5. It is the only country that shares borders with three nations in the region
Honduras holds a central stage in the Central American region and is the only one that shares a border with four out of the seven countries that form the area. Guatemala is situated to the west of Honduras while El Salvador is to the Southwest. It shares the Southeast border with Nicaragua while the rest of the country is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and a small patch of the Pacific Ocean also falls along the coast of Honduras.
6. Honduras has two capital cities
Many countries have had multiple capitals throughout their history but very few currently have two or more capital territories at present. Honduras has had three capital cities in the past with the first being the oldest city that is known by the name of Gracias today. The two current central cities at present are Tegucigalpa and Comayagua.
7. It is a sight to behold if you love natural wonders
The natural terrain that Honduras has is worth mentioning. From beautiful beaches to lakes and mountains, there is everything for the avid traveler to enjoy. The likes of Cayos Cochinos which is a group of tropical islands, the Luna Jaguar Hot Spring in Copan Ruinas, Catartas Pulhapanzak, which is the largest waterfall in the country, La Tigra and El Picacho Parks, Half Moon Bay, Utila Cays, Yojoa Lake and Cusuco National Park are just some of the attractions where people can feast their eyes on what mother nature has to offer.
8. There is a huge collection of Mayan ruins in the country
Mayans were one of the most important Mesoamerican cultures that existed during the early days of civilization. Between 426 and 820 AD, the region that is now known as Honduras was one of the most important cities and densely populated areas in the Mayan world. The site was discovered in 1570 after it was abandoned in the early 10th century. The ruined citadel and imposing public squares still provide a mesmerizing sight for the traveler that takes interest in these marvels.
9. It is home to the oldest clock in the world
Constructed in 1634, the Comayagua Cathedral is one of the oldest in Central America. Fortunately, it is home to the oldest clock on the continent and the second most ancient anywhere in the world. It was constructed in 1100 AD. The history of the clock is disputed with some saying that the clock was gifted by the Duke of Consentania while others say that King Philip II of Spain was the one who gave it to citizens of the country. The ancient construction is still windy and strikes a quarter hour.
10. Honduras had the first cinema in Central America
Another ancient building to be constructed in Honduras that became iconic was the first cinema. It became the first of its kind to be constructed in Central America and laid the foundation for the modern iteration of these buildings that we know today.
11. The country’s coral reefs are mesmerizing to say the least
A fascinating fact that many people don’t know about Honduras is that the coral reef that lies along its coast is the second largest in the world. The largest collection of corals is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia but Honduras comes in a close second. This provides some mesmerizing sights and opportunities for diving in the country, allowing travelers to indulge in a scintillating adventure that is unique.
12. Honduras is a bird-watchers’ paradise
The country is home to over 700 aviary species and this is the reason why even the national animal of the land is a bird. The Scarlet Macaw, a bird known for its distinctive red, blue, and yellow plumes was designated the national bird by the Congress in 1993. The population for the bird is declining continuously due to poaching for various reasons. There are only about 600 birds that inhabit the Gracias a Dios where just one family protects 38 nests housing these endangered birds.
13. The nation was the first to ban smoking inside homes
Honduras was the first country in the world to enforce a ban on smoking in public and private spaces. This restriction came into effect in 2011. Smoking within your own home is not actually banned but if someone, even a family member complains regarding the activity, you can expect a visit from the cops and a $311 fine. Although 30% of the population smokes, they have to do so in designated areas but still be careful to stand at least 1.8 meters away from non-smokers.
14. A lot of bat species are found in the country
Besides birds, Honduras is also home to a diverse variety of bat species. They make up more than 50% of the country’s mammal species. They live in protected spaces with both cute and more fearsome varieties inhabiting the nation. The Honduran White Bat, which can grow between 3.7 to 4.7 meters with tiny orange wings, ears, faces and nose, is the signature species to be found in the country.
15. The country takes football very seriously
And we mean “serious” in the most literal sense. In July 1969, a 100-hour war broke out between Honduras and El Salvador that was due to a football match. Although there were other reasons behind the escalation of tensions, the ensuing conflicts are still known as ‘The Football War’. A 3 km demilitarized zone still exists between the two countries and it was negotiated by the OAS.
Walking Down the Streets of Honduras
If you want to get an idea of what the country looks like today and what goes on on a daily basis within the nation, this is a comprehensive video that details various aspects. The nation of Honduras is widely regarded as a dangerous nation as the given video foretells.
Honduras is a beautiful nation that provides amazing contributions to the world in terms of history, traditions and nature. The country is unique in various aspects and there is a lot to explore within the borders. Not many people travel to the nation out of fear but if you can find a way to surpass that, you will be surprised at what you find in terms of man-made wonders and natural elements.
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!