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About Honduras

Click on questions to learn more

Where is Honduras?
Honduras is in Central America, the narrow strip of land connecting North and South America. It borders Guatemala in the west, El Salvador in the southwest and Nicaragua in the southeast, and it touches the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
How big is Honduras?
Honduras is 43,433 sq miles (112,492 sq. kilometers), or about the size of the state of Virginia. Its population is about 7.9 million as of 2009, also about the same as Virginia’s.

What is the capital of Honduras?
Tegucigalpa

Who lives in Honduras?
90% of Hondurans are Mestizo, which is a mixture of Native American and European ancestry. 2% are Black, 1% are White and 7% are fully Native American, members of a recognized indigenous group. The names of those groups are: Ch’ori’, Garifuna, Pech, Tolupan, Lenca and Miskito.

Indigenous groups in a country are groups of people whose ancestors were native to that country.

What does the flag look like?
The Honduras Flag has three horizontal bands of equal size and two colors blue and white. The two outer blue bands represent the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on either side of the country. The inner white band represents the land between the ocean and the sea, and the peace and prosperity of its people. The five blue five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band represent the five nations of the former Federal Republic of Central America (El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala) and the hope that the nations may form a union again.
What language do people speak?
The official language of Honduras is Spanish. Other recognized languages are English, Garifuna and Miskito, and other indigenous languages.

Indigenous languages are languages that are spoken only by the native people of a certain region.

What is Honduran money like? And the economy?
The currency of Honduras is called the lempira. About 19 lempiras equal one US dollar.

Honduras is the second-poorest country in Central America and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. It exports, or sells to other countries, products like bananas, coffee, shrimp, gold and fruit. About 70% of these products are sold to the United States.

The economy was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which destroyed many industries, farms and roads and caused about 2 billion dollars of damage. It has been slowly recovering ever since as the people rebuild their country.
What do people wear?
Most people dress casually, with the men wearing loose trousers and shirts and the women wearing one-piece calico or cotton dresses or loose blouses and skirts. Open sandals are a common form of footwear.. Traditional costumes are worn only on special occasions like fiestas. On these occasions, the women may wear silk dresses or cotton dresses embroidered with silk, using old Mayan patterns and designs. The Tolupanes Indians are the only group in Honduras whose dress is distinctive. The balandrán is a one-piece, sleeveless male article of clothing. Women wear brightly colored dresses and silver necklaces with brightly painted beads made of dried seeds and thorns.

What do people do for work?
Between 1/3 and ½ of the people in Honduras are farmers. Many of them grow foods for their own families first, including maize (corn), beans and plantains. Once a farmer has provided a secure food source for his family, he might also raise products like bananas, coffee, citrus fruits, beef and timber to sell. Or he might work on someone else’s plantation. Other jobs are in manufacturing, making or processing sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing or wood products; or in mining for gold or fishing.

What does the land look like?
Honduras has lots of hills and mountains, but along its coasts, there are narrow, flat plains. In the northeast, there is a lowland region of tropical rainforest, which also contains lagoons and swamps. The Coco River is the border between Honduras and Guatemala.

Honduras also includes the Islas de la Bahia and the Swan Islands, which are off its north coast in the Caribbean Sea.

What do people eat?
The main Honduran diet is beans and tortillas. One of the most popular dishes is the baleada, which is a flour tortilla folded and filled with refried beans, cheese and sour cream, sometimes with roast meat or scrambled eggs added. Other popular dishes include grilled meat with chimol (diced tomato, onion and bell pepper), carne asada (roasted meat), chicken with rice and corn, fried fish with pickled onions, fried or baked plantains, montucas (corn tamales filled with meat and vegetables), stuffed tortillas and tamales wrapped in banana leaves.

Hondurans enjoy soups, including bean soup, sopa de montongo (tripe soup), seafood soup and beef soup, which would all be served with corn tortillas. Tropical fruits are also popular, including papaya, pineapple, plums, passion fruits and bananas.

On the coast, many foods, including seafood and meats, are prepared with coconut milk.
What’s it like to grow up in Honduras?
80% of Hondurans over age 15 can read and write, but only about 40% ever complete primary school. At age 18, Hondurans are able to vote, as well as to serve in the military for 2-3 years – a national requirement.

On Children’s Day on September 10th, children receive presents and have parties similar to Christmas or birthday celebrations. Some neighborhoods celebrate with piñatas on the street. Other major holidays include Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Independence Day (September 15th) and La Feria Isidra, or “The Friendship Carnival,” which is a week-long celebration.

Children hear many legends and fairy tales passed down from ancestors or the elders in the community, like the story Lluvia de Peces, or Rain of Fish.

Few students have access to the internet – less than 10% of the country are internet users! But they all play a lot of soccer, called “football,” the most popular game in Honduras.

What is the history of Honduras?
Honduras was home to part of the Mayan civilization until around 1200 AD. Christopher Columbus explored Honduras in 1502 and it became part of Spain’s vast empire in the New World as part of the Kingdom of Guatemala. Honduras became independent from Spain in 1821 on September 15, today a national holiday. After several decades of military rule, a freely elected democratic government came to power in 1982.

Who’s in charge in Honduras?
Now that there is a democratic government in Honduras, the people elect a president who is the chief of state and the head of the government. Porfirio Lobo Sosa has been president since January 2010. There is also a legislative branch of government, a National Congress of 128 members, and a judicial branch, the Corte Suprema de Justicia (Supreme Court of Justice).

What kinds of plants and animals live in Honduras?
Honduras is home to many varieties of plants and animals. There are about 6000 species of plants in Honduras, 250 species of reptiles and amphibians, more than 700 species of birds, and about 110 species of mammals. Of the mammal species, half of them are bats!

In the waters off of Honduras, there are bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, parrot fish and whale sharks. The birds of Honduras include petrels, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, herons, egrets, storks, flamingos, swans, eagles and hawks.

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