Land area: 43,201 sq mi (111,891 sq km); total area: 43,278 sq mi (112,090 sq km)
Population (2009 est.): 7,792,854 (growth rate: 2.0%); birth rate: 26.2/1000
infant mortality rate: 24.0/1000; life expectancy: 69.4; density per sq km: 68
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Tegucigalpa, 1,436,000 (metro. area), 1,248,300 (city proper)
Honduras in the north central part of Central America, has a Caribbean as well as a Pacific coastline. Guatemala is to the west, El Salvador to the south, and Nicaragua to the east. The second-largest country in Central America, Honduras is slightly larger than Tennessee. Generally mountainous, the country is marked by fertile plateaus, river valleys, and narrow coastal plains.
Democratic Constitutional Republic
Honduras during the first millennium was inhabited by the Maya. Columbus explored the country in 1502. Honduras with four other Central American nations, declared its independence from Spain in 1821 to form a federation of Central American states. Honduras in 1838, left the federation and became independent. Political unrest rocked Honduras in the early 1900s, resulting in occupation by U.S. Marines. Dictator Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino established a strong government in 1932.
Honduras in 1969, was invaded by El Salvador after Honduran landowners deported several thousand Salvadorans. Five thousand people ultimately died in what is called “the football war” because it broke out during a soccer game between the two countries. By threatening economic sanctions and military intervention, the Organization of American States (OAS) induced El Salvador to withdraw.