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Honduras formed the south-eastern tip of the Mayan Indian empire, which spread south via Guatemala to the city of Copán in western Honduras. This great Mayan Indian civilisation had already disappeared by 1502, when Christopher Columbus arrived on Honduran soil. Honduras was colonised by the Spaniards after the resistance of the Lenca Indians was broken. The fallen Lenca chief, Lempira, still lives on as a folk hero and is honoured by the national currency, which is named after him. Honduras gained its independence from Spain in 1821, with Francisco Morazán as its first president. Honduras joined the Central American Federation. However, as a result of a peasant revolt in 1839, this federation broke up into four separate states, one of which was Honduras. Until the 1870s, civil wars and unrest followed one another. Finally, in 1876, with the help of other Central American states, the liberal Marco Aurelio Soto was appointed president. From the end of the 19th century, the first 'banana concessions' were granted, mostly to American companies.

The period 1932-1982 was characterised by military coups and dictatorial governments. The political struggle was mainly between two parties, the Partido Nacional (PN) and the Partido Liberal (PL). Presidents were provided by both the army-backed PN (Tiburcio Carias Andino, from 1933-1949, Juan Manuel Galvez, from 1949 to 1957) and the army itself (General Oswaldo López Arellano, from 1965-1975). With the elections in November 1981, the military regimes seemed to have come to an end. Roberto Suazo Córdova won the elections and took office as president in January 1982. However, especially in the early 1980s, the army was still very influential and political opponents were suppressed on a large scale. The President's role at that time was mainly ceremonial. Democracy had a hard time because of the economic crisis and the US-financed "counter-war" in Nicaragua (the attacks on Nicaragua took place from Honduras). However, by the end of the 1980s, the power of the army was slowly waning, mainly as a result of investigations into human rights violations and corruption. The political power of the President increased.

On 25 November 2001, PN candidate Ricardo Maduro Joest was elected President of Honduras. However, his Partido Nacional, with 61 seats, did not obtain a majority in parliament. The inauguration took place on 27 January 2001.2.

In December 2005, PL candidate Manuel Zelaya won the presidential elections. In 2006, an agreement was reached about the border with El Salvador. Both countries were still at war over this issue in 1969. In October 2007, the International Court in The Hague settled the territorial dispute between Honduras and Nicaragua. In August 2008, Honduras sought support from the "Alternative for the Americas", which is dominated by Chavez of Venezuela. Manuel Zelaya says he feels forced to do so because of the lack of support from the international community for the fight against poverty. In June 2009, Manuel Zelaya was forced to leave the country by the military. After many political struggles, Porfirio Lobo became the new president in January 2010. Zelaya went into exile in the Dominican Republic, returning in May 2011. In January 2014 Juan Orlando Hernandez becomes president. In June 2015 there are large demonstrations, the opposition accuses the president of using money from the country's health system for his campaign. In February 2016, an international commission is appointed to tackle corruption in Honduras. In November 2017, incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez is re-elected. In the November 2021 elections, Xiomara Casrto wins and is sworn in as president in January 2022.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
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