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HondurasHonduras is a Spanish word that literally translates to "depths." However, there is some doubt that this is the origin of the country name as some people contend the origin comes from the Leonese (a Spanish dialect) word fondura, which means "anchorage" and was originally given to the area around Trujillo. The entire region of Honduras was not called so until the late 1500s.

WARNING: Violence is common in Honduras, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction:

Honduras is full of rivers, which makes life in the region quite livable. The land is also fertile due to the rains and these rivers as most of the people live close to these waterways in the northwest where the land is flatter and more easily accessible. This land is the base of the people's culture as the people in the past and today have been heavily reliant on agriculture.

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish the region was home to very colorful and diverse people, most of whom were related to the Mayans. These people spoke numerous languages, dressed in various styles, lived differing lifestyles, and had a wide selection of foods from the region. However, this diversity was forever altered, if not destroyed, with the arrival of the Spanish.

Spanish culture quickly overtook the indigenous cultures due to the rapid spread of European diseases, which killed many of these people. For those who survived, many were killed in wars with the Spanish. Most of the surviving locals intermarried the Spanish and today almost the entire country is "mestizo," which is a combination of these people. However, the culture that exists today is heavily influenced by the Spanish with only small details reminding people of the indigenous cultures. The most pronounced aspects of these past cultures come in the form of food, language, and dress, but only to a small degree. The Spanish culture dominated in the form of lifestyle, religion (Catholicism), and language as nearly everyone in Honduras today speaks Spanish.

The Spanish also brought in slaves from Africa for a brief period of time, but just as this began the economy declined so there are few African influences in the country, although in some areas there tends to be a bit of a Caribbean flair, which was also inspired by African cultures and influences. Honduras began to grow economically when the banana industry expanded; this led to another massive shift in the culture and way of life for the people as most jobs shifted to this industry.

The banana industry changed the culture in Honduras forever by putting most of the people in the fields planting and picking this food as foreign countries, primarily the United States, spent millions of dollars to build up the country's infrastructure to transport the bananas. Communication and transportation vastly improved, but so too did foreign dominance as historic cultural aspects were forgotten in place of financial gain or mere survival for some. Today, the people are regaining control over their country and re-introducing many historic aspects of their culture, but agriculture continues to dominate the economy and lifestyle.

Information for Honduras was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks