HONDURAS



Republic of Honduras

República de Honduras

CAPITAL : Tegucigalpa

FLAG : The national flag consists of a white horizontal stripe between two blue horizontal stripes, with five blue stars on the white stripe representing the five members of the former union of Central American provinces.

ANTHEM : Himno Nacional, beginning "Tu bandera es un lampo de cielo" ("Thy flag is a heavenly light").

MONETARY UNIT : The lempira ( L ), also known as the peso, is a paper currency of 100 centavos. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavos, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 lempiras. L 1 = $0.05807 (or $1 = L 17.22) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard; some old Spanish measures are still used.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Day of the Americas, 14 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 15 September; Birthday of Francisco Morazán, 3 October; Columbus Day, 12 October; Army Day, 21 October; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

TIME : 6 AM = noon GMT.


ETHNIC GROUPS

The vast majority (90%) of the Honduran people are mestizo, a mixture of white and Amerindian. About 7% of the population is Amerindian, the largest proportion being in the Copán area near the Guatemalan border. Blacks, about 2% of the population, live mostly along the north coast. Perhaps 1% of the population is white, chiefly of Spanish origin.

LANGUAGES

The official language is Spanish. However, English is used widely, especially in northern Honduras. The more important Amerindian languages include Miskito, Zambo, Paya, and Xicaque.

ARMED FORCES

The Honduran military maintains an active force of 8,300 with 60,000 registered as reserves. In 2002 there were 5,500 in the army, 1,800 in the air force, and 1,000 in the navy, including 400 marines. Paramilitary public security forces numbered 6,000 personnel. The United States maintains a small military presence in Honduras. The defense budget in 1999 was $35 million, or 0.6% of GDP.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Honduras is a charter member of the UN, having joined on 17 December 1945, and it participates in BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO and WTrO.

INSURANCE

The oldest insurance company in Honduras is Honduras Savings (Ahorro Hondureño), established in 1917. Five other companies deal with life insurance and other types of policies. The number and the role of foreign companies in the insurance sector have decreased because of government incentives to domestic underwriters. In 2001, there was $47 million in life insurance premiums written.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 1999 Honduras's central government took in revenues of approximately $607 million and had expenditures of $411.9 million including capital expenditures of $106 million. Overall, the government registered a surplus of approximately $195.1 million. External debt totaled $5.6 billion.

DEPENDENCIES

Honduras has no territories or colonies.

Read about the Culture of Honduras. More about Honduras's Culture.

Read about the Geography of Honduras.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barry, Tom. Honduras: A Country Guide. Albuquerque, N.M.: Inter-Hemispheric Education Resource Center, 1990.

Binns, Jack R. The United States in Honduras, 1980–1981: An Ambassador's Memoir. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co.,2000.

D and B's Export Guide to Honduras. Parsippany, N.J.: Dun and Bradstreet, 1999.

Euraque, Dar'io A. Reinterpreting the Banana Republic: Region and State in Honduras , 1870–1972. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.

Honduras: A Country Study. 3rd ed. W. Va.: Department of the Army, 1995.

Howard-Reguindin, Pamela F. Honduras. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1992.

Kelly, Joyce. An Archaeological Guide to Northern Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador . Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.

Meyer, Harvey Kessler. Historical Dictionary of Honduras . 2d ed. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994.

Schulz, Donald E. and Deborah S. Schulz. The United States, Honduras, and the Crisis in Central America. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1994.

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