Honduras History

Honduras History

The region of today’s Honduras was inhabited even before the beginning of the Christian era. The Cop¨¢n ruins, in particular, indicate that the country was the center of Mayan civilization before it migrated to the Yucatan Peninsula. AD 900 the Mayan sphere of influence extended from southern Mexico to the west of Honduras. The ruined city of Cop¨¢n with temples and pyramids, steles and altars on the Guatemalan border, still preserved today, was an important settlement at that time. The classical Mayan culture had a strong impact on the western Honduran area. In the south of the country, these influences overlapped with those of the Central American Greater Nicoya culture, which is particularly noteworthy for its jade processing and polychrome ceramics.

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In 1502, Columbus was the first European to enter Central America at the Cabo de Honduras. Spanish settlement began in 1524, which was followed in the following year by royal recognition as a Spanish province. The Islas de la Bah¨ªa offshore was briefly occupied by Dutch pirates in the mid-17th century and was administered by Great Britain from 1742 to 1859. From 1704 there was a patronage of the British over the Mosquitia, which was accompanied by skirmishes and warfare between Spaniards and the Misquitos Indian tribe supported by the British until 1786.

In 1821, Honduras declared itself part of Guatemala. The country briefly belonged to Mexico, then to the Central American Federation. But already in the years 1838/39 the region made itself independent as a republic and remained a politically and socially unstable entity in the following decades, which resulted in internal power struggles between liberals and conservatives, as well as in wars with the now also independent country El Salvador was involved. Attempts by individual presidents to reform the country economically and socially failed and the United States intervened in 1911 when social unrest in Honduras changed to civil war-like conditions. The dependence on the occupying power grew and the country’s coffee and banana plantations soon became predominantly owned by the United States. From 1923 to 1947 Tiburcio Carias Andino ruled the country with dictatorial means. He was replaced by M. Galvez, who initiated social and economic reforms, which Ram¨®n Villeda Morales supplemented in 1957 as a new president with overdue land reforms. However, the reforms could not give Honduras lasting stability either. Wars such as the so-called football war with El Salvador in 1969/70 (the trigger was El Salvador’s defeat in a football game), further border conflicts in 1976 and 1979 and three military coups in the 1970s were an expression of this.

After elections to the Constituent Assembly in 1980, Paz Garc¨ªa was elected interim president in 1981, but was replaced by R. Suazo Cordova in the same year after a clear election victory. In 1982 the country had a new constitution and again a civilian government, at the same time the US strengthened its military presence and formed guerrilla groups (contras) against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua on Honduran territory. These activities ended in 1985 when Jos¨¦ Azcona del Hoya became the new head of state and government. El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras signed a peace plan for the region and from 1990 the Contras left Honduras.

According to AbbreviationFinder, President Callejas Romero of the Conservative National Party (PN) set out to improve the state’s economic and social situation. However, despite his reform efforts, the social situation of large parts of the people deteriorated even further and in 1994 Carlos Roberto Reina Idiaquez of the Liberal Party (PL) became the new head of state and government. He also failed to alleviate the poverty of the rural population and in 1998 the liberal Carlos Roberto Flores Facuss¨¦ took office with the declared aim of combating the corruption rampant in the country.

In addition to the existing domestic and foreign policy problems, 1998 was a year of natural disasters. At the end of October it was hurricane “Mitch” that left huge devastation, in early November heavy rains led to landslides and floods throughout the Central American region. Thousands of people died and the economy was severely damaged. In 1999, the Honduran creditor states canceled a large part of its debts; an international aid program should help with the reconstruction. A major setback in October 1999 was renewed storms and heavy rainfall, which led to further deaths and destroyed a third of the fields. In August 2001 there was a famine due to a drought. The low coffee price on the world market also caused a dramatic rise in unemployment in the same year. After Ricardo Maduro’s takeover of the presidency from the National Party in January 2002, however, the number of crimes in cities was drastically reduced. In 2006 Manuel Zelaya Rosales (Liberal) became head of state. In September 2007, hurricane Felix caused great damage. Honduras ranks first in the list of the countries most affected by climate catastrophes by the environmental organization Germanwatch. Nevertheless, President Zelaya has had success in economic growth and in combating poverty and corruption.

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This period of political continuity was interrupted by the civilian coup d’¨¦tat in June 2009, by which President Zelaya was deposed, arrested and taken outside the country. The international community viewed the appointment of President Micheletti as interim successor as unlawful. With the election of Porfirio Lobo Sosa (PN) in November 2009, Honduras returned to its democratic tradition. He promoted national reconciliation after the 2009 coup with a bipartisan “government of national unity”. However, he was unable to keep his promise to curb corruption and crime. Juan Orlando Hern¨¢ndez (PN) has been President since January 2014. Drug and youth gang crime and overcrowded prisons remain unsolved problems; the security situation is still extremely precarious. Honduras is the country with the highest murder rate worldwide.

Honduras President