- People: Population: 5,315,000. Age distrib. (%): <15: 47; 65+: 4. Pop. density: 122 per sq. mi. Urban: 44%. Ethnic groups: Mestizo 90%; Indian 7%. Principal languages: Spanish (official). Religions: Roman Catholic 97%.
- Geography: Area: 43,277 sq. mi., slightly larger than Tennessee. Location: In Central America. Neighbors: Guatemala on W, El Salvador, Nicaragua on S. Topography: The Caribbean coast is 500 mi. long. Pacific coast, on Gulf of Fonseca, is 40 mi. long. Honduras is mountainous, with wide fertile valleys and rich forests. Capital: Tegucigalpa. Cities (1989 est.): Tegucigalpa 608,000; San Pedro Sula 300,000.
- Government: Type: Democratic constitutional republic. Head of State: Pres. Carlos Roberta Reina; in office: Jan. 27, 1994. Local divisions: 18 departments. Defense: 1% of GDP (1993 est.).
- Economy: Industries: Textiles, wood prods. Chief crops: Bananas (chief export), coffee, corn, beans. Minerals: Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron, antimony, coal. Other resources: Timber. Arable land: 14%. Livestock (1992): Cattle: 2.3 mln. Electricity prod. (1992): 2.0 bln. kWh. Labor force: 62% agric.; 20% services; 9% manuf.
- Finance: Monetary unit: Lempira (Dec. 1993: 7.26 = $1 US). Gross domestic product (1992): $5.5 bln. Per capita GDP: $1,090. Imports (1989): $981 mln.; partners: U.S. 39%; Jap. 8%. Exports (1989): $940 mln.; partners: U.S. 54%; Europe 34%. Tourism (1989): $28 mln. receipts. National budget (1990 est.): $1.9 bln. International reserves less gold (Mar. 1994): $78 mln. Gold: 21,000 oz t. Consumer prices (change in 1992): 10.7%.
- Transport: Motor vehicles: In use: 89,000 passenger cars, 18,000 comm. vehicles. Civil aviation: 321 mln. passenger-mi.; 9 airports with scheduled flights. Chief ports: Puerto Cortes, La Ceiba.
- Communications: Television sets: 1 per 31 persons. Radios: 1 per 2.8 persons. Telephones: 1 per 51 persons. Daily newspaper circ.: 39 per 1,000 pop.
- Health: Life expectancy at birth (1994): 65 male; 70 female. Births (per 1,000 pop.): 35. Deaths (per 1,000 pop.): 6. Natural increase: 2.9%. Hospital beds: 1 per 818 persons. Physicians: 1 per 1,586 persons. Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births 1994): 45.
- Education (1991): Literacy: 73%. Years compulsory: 6; attendance 70%.
- Major International Organizations: UN, (IMF, WHO, ILO), OAS.
- Embassy: 3007 Tilden St. NW 20008; 966-7700.
Mayan civilization flourished in Honduras in the 1st millennium AD. Columbus arrived in 1502. Honduras became independent after freeing itself from Spain, 1821 and from the Fed. of Central America, 1838.
Gen. Oswaldo Lopez Arellano, president for most of the period 1963-75 by virtue of one election and 2 coups, was ousted by the army in 1975 over charges of pervasive bribery by United Brands Co. of the U.S. The government has resumed land distribution, raised minimum wages, and started a literacy campaign. An elected civilian government took power in 1982.
Some 3,200 U.S. troops were sent to Honduras after the Honduran border was violated by Nicaraguan forces, Mar. 1988.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere.
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