Country in Central America, bounded N by the Caribbean Sea, SE by Nicaragua, S by the Pacific Ocean, SW by El Salvador, and W and NW by Guatemala.
The 1982 constitution, which underwent a major revision 1985, provides for a president and a single-chamber 128-member national assembly, both elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. The president is head of both state and government, and may not serve two terms in succession.
Originally part of the Maya civilization, the area was reached by Christopher Columbus 1502, and was colonized by Spain from 1526. Becoming independent from Spain 1821, Honduras was part of the United Provinces of Central America until 1840, when it achieved full independence.
During the first 30 years after independence, power lay with the cattle barons. Violence and banditry prevailed in the countryside. In 1876, the Liberal Marco Aurelio Soto gained power and imposed order on Honduras.
During his presidency, 1876–83, warfare ceased. He introduced the telegraph and supported road building. After 1900 the Honduran economy became increasingly dependent on the export of bananas. US companies established huge banana plantations. By 1930, through the efforts of the United Fruit company and the Standard Fruit company, Honduras had become the world's leading exporter of bananas. From 1939 to 1949 it was a dictatorship under the leadership of the National Party (PN).
The government changed in a series of military coups, until the return of civilian rule 1980. The army, however, still controlled security and was able to veto cabinet appointments and, although the 1981 general election was won by the Liberal Party of Honduras (PLH), and its leader, Dr Roberto Suazo, became president, power remained in the hands of General Gustavo Alvarez, the commander in chief of the army. In 1982 Alvarez secured an amendment to the constitution, reducing government control over the armed forces, and was virtually in charge of foreign policy, agreeing 1983 to the establishment of US military bases in the country. The US Central Intelligence Agency was also active in assisting Nicaraguan counterrevolutionary rebels (“Contras”) based in Honduras.
In 1984 Alvarez was ousted by a group of junior officers and the country's close relationship with the US came under review. In the same year divisions arose in the PLH over selection of presidential candidates and in 1985 the electoral law was changed. Suazo was not eligible for the 1985 presidential elections, and the main PLH candidate was José Azcona. Although the PN nominee won most votes, the revised constitution made Azcona the eventual winner.
tensions with Nicaragua
The presence of Contras on Honduran territory—thought to number 55,000 with their dependents in 1989—provoked tensions with Nicaragua, which filed a suit against Honduras in the International Court of Justice. Nicaragua agreed to drop the suit if Contra bases were dismantled and the fighters demobilized, in keeping with a regional peace plan adopted Feb 1989. Thus the presence of the rebels became a distinct political liability for Honduras. The PN candidate, Rafael Callejas, was elected president Nov 1989. The Nov 1993 elections were won by the PLH and Carlos Roberto Reina was elected president.
border dispute with El Salvador resolved
The century-old border dispute with El Salvador, involving 440sq km/170 sq mi, was settled Sept 1992 awarding two-thirds of the territory in question to Honduras. As a result Honduras acquired the region at the delta of the Goascoran River and about four-fifths of two areas along the Negro-Quiagara and the Sazalapa Rivers.
A republic in Central America.
Država u Centralnoj Americi.