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Honduras Essay, Research Paper

The Republic of Honduras is a comparatively large country in Central America. Its area is at 112,088 km2, and has about 13,000,000 people in which about 60% are literate. Honduras is the 2ed largest country in Central America. Their national holiday is their Independence Day and they celebrate this on the 15th of September, although it is not the only time they gained their independence, it is the only time they celebrate. The nation also escaped from the United Provinces of Central America. The capitol of this mainly Spanish and English speaking nation is Tegucigalpa.

The history of the country begins when Columbus saw the country, but he generally stayed farther north. Spain began to settle the country in 1524. The two men in charge of the colony were Davila and Orid. The country was largely unprosperous until 1536 when Gold was discovered in the city of Gracias. The discovery of gold got new settlers to come and also created more demand for miners to mine the gold. The indigenous peoples were forced into this job. One year later in 1537 an uprising occurred and it was led by Lempira, who the national currency would be later named after. His base was on a hill known as Pe?ol de Cerqu?n and successfully defeated all efforts to subdue him until the year 1538. In 1538 other native groups began following his example and started small uprisings. Lempira was ultimately killed while negotiating with the Spaniards. The fighting was greatly weakened but continued for 3 more years.

The defeat of Lempira?s revolt accelerated the decimation of the indigenous peoples. In 1539 there was approximately 15,000 people and two years later there was approximately 8,000. Most of the remaining peoples were divided into encomiendas, a system that left the native people in their villages, but placed them under the control of Spanish settlers. Under the terms of the system the Spanish were to provide the natives with religious instruction and collect tribute for the crown. In return, the Spaniards were entitled to a supposedly limited use of indigenous labor. The more the indigenous population declined the more ruthlessly they were treated until no one could protect the few remaining.

In the 1540?s silver joined gold as a major resource. The new mines led to the even further decimation of the indigenous peoples and soon led to the introduction of African slavery. By 1545 there were over 2,000 African slaves. Honduras was becoming very prosperous and it continued that way until the 1560?s.

In the 1560?s mining decreased greatly and so did the importance of the small colony. The capitol moved several times to the best city of the time. In 1569 a brief silver strike caused the founding of the town Tegucigalpa. It soon became a rival city to Comayagua, the most important town at the time. The silver boom peaked in 1584 and economic depression returned shortly after.

In the early nineteenth century, the Spanish power went into rapid decline. In 1812 many disturbances broke out in Comayagua and Tegucigalpa. The rivalry helped to destroy the Spanish influence in Honduras. Civil war threatened until it was decided that Honduras would become its own independent nation. This occurred on September 15, 1821, it is celebrated as its independence day.

Immediately afterwards, in 1823, Honduras joined an organization called the United Provinces of Central America. The organization?s goals were to solve the problems of the nation. Instead of creating a sense of unity, the Spanish rule conceived a division of the nation. Soon the UPCA broke up and declared that the Central American nations should establish their own governments. The country was free of the UPCA on November 15, 1838.

Today the country is very underdeveloped and poor. It is one of the poorest countries of the western hemisphere with a GDP of approximately L 2,000,000 or about $227,790. It holds a small military with 20,000 personnel in the Army, Air Force, and Navy. The country?s economy is largely dependent on bananas and coffee. The official currency is the Lempira, named after the renegade leader of the mid 1530?s, and is valued at approximately $0.11.5 or one dollar equals approximately 8.78 Lempiras. The government consists of a unicameral legislative and the judicial branch is headed up by a Supreme Court, which is used as a last resort. It has nine principal judges and seven alternates. The supreme court has 14 major duties to uphold including appointing judges to lower courts declaring laws unconstitutional, and many others like those. The government is, of course, headed up by a president who is elected by a simple majority, and generally has more power than the judicial and legislative departments.

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