According to Countryaah, Honduras is a state of Central America. It borders Nicaragua (to the SE), Guatemala (to the W), and El Salvador (to the SW) and is wet for 650 km by the Atlantic (Caribbean Sea) and 95 km by the Pacific (Gulf of Fonseca). In 1973 they were returned to Honduras the islands of the Cisne (Swan Islands), in the Caribbean Sea, and in 1992 the island of El Tigre in the Gulf of Fonseca.
- Physical characteristics
The territory of Honduras corresponds in its generality to a vast plateau. Geologically it is characterized by a crystalline base of the Precambrian age, on which rests a sedimentary cover of the Mesozoic age; more recent sedimentary deposits, on the other hand, form the basis of the eastern lowland. Volcanism is particularly developed, with dull and active systems.
- The orography is complex: to the west there are three series of direct reliefs from SW to NE (max alt. Cerro Las Minas, 2865 m), between which fertile valleys open up; in the eastern area various chains line up from N to S (the Sierra de Agalta reaches 2590 m), which sometimes reach the Caribbean coast, creating a high and rocky coast, like the one fronted by the Islas de la Bahía. But overall the Antillean coast, which extends from the Gulf of Honduras to Cape Gracias in Dios, is low and bordered by lagoons: the vast plains of Sula and Mosquitia open up there. Another flat area overlooks the Gulf of Fonseca.
- The climate, tropical but influenced by sea and altitude, is very hot in the low coastal regions, temperate inland; rainfall is abundant in the Caribbean belt, exposed to the NE trade wind, attenuated in the Pacific belt and in the interior.
- The rivers are numerous, the main ones – the Ulúa, the Aguán and the Patuca – flow into the Caribbean Sea, the Goascorán and the Choluteca into the Pacific Ocean.
- The vegetation is luxuriant in the more humid areas, covered by the tropical forest; in the elevated areas, above 2000 m, oak and conifer woods predominate; the savannah is widespread in the drier areas.
As a consequence of the settlement process that took place in colonial times, albeit scarce due to the country’s poverty of resources, the ethnic framework of Honduras is quite composite: alongside the Mestizos, who make up 87% of the total population, there are Amerindians (5.5%), Blacks (4.3%) and a small percentage (2.3%) of Whites, which, moreover, hold the levers of power. The demographic increase, already low for a long time, recorded high values during the 20th century. as a consequence of the decrease in mortality, while the birth rate is always very high (26.2 ‰ in 2009). The density of the population is however extremely varied, with strong irregularities in the distribution of the residents on the territory. The rural settlement clearly prevails over the urban one and the only large centers beyond Tegucigalpa, are San Pedro Sula, El Progreso and some port agglomerations (La Ceiba, Puerto Cortés).
- Economic conditions
The Honduras it is perhaps the poorest in resources and technology among the states of Central America, also frustrated by a series of negative situations: droughts, hurricanes, floods. ● 13% of the gross domestic product comes from agriculture, which exploits only a small part of the arable land. The government has addressed the main economic policy interventions to this sector, in an attempt to steal the country dependence on US multinationals. Commercial agriculture is of paramount importance: in addition to bananas (888,000 t in 2006), coconuts (in the Bahia islands), pineapples, citrus fruits, sugar cane, coffee and tobacco, palm oil are grown. Subsistence crops are those of maize, rice, sorghum, cassava, potatoes and beans. Mainly cattle are raised. Forests yield mahogany, cedar and pine. Mineral resources are important but little exploited: silver, gold, lead, zinc and antimony are extracted; in the Mosquitia the presence of oil has been ascertained.
- The industrial sector, whose plants are gathering in the area of San Pedro Sula connected to the free port of Puerto Cortés, is mainly linked to the processing of agricultural products and the production of consumer goods (footwear, cotton fabrics, Panama hats ), while, among the ‘basic’ branches, the importance of the cement tree (Potrerillos) grows. An electricity cogeneration plant that uses waste from sugar factories as fuel has been built in El Porvenir.
- Inadequate communications network: railways are developed for 950 km, asphalted roads for 2845 km. Instead, the airlines were developed; Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are served by international airports.
- The Honduras it is part, with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Salvador and Nicaragua, of a free trade area (Mercado Común Centroamericano).