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A Brief History of Honduras

Honduras became a Republic on September 15, 1821, when all of Central and South American declared their independence from Spain.  After many years of chaos and bloody revolutions, Honduras adopted a constitution similar to that of the United States in the middle of last century.

The history of Honduras is full of wars and bloodshed.  The first recorded civilization in Honduras was the Mayan Indian Culture, whose ruins can still be seen today in the town of Las Ruinas de Copan (the Copan Indian Ruins).

The real history of Honduras, when east met west, starts about 400 years ago, when  Spanish Conquistadors landed on its shores with dreams of finding gold and new land.  Upon embarkation, they found many different tribes of Indians, and immediately began exploiting them. 

The Spaniards were very religious people, and tried to convert the pagan Indians to Roman Catholicism.  However, their methods were exceedingly cruel and their motives horrifically evil.   Many of the Indians were taken and forced in to makeshift concentration camps.  They were made to be used as slaves to dig for gold.  While, in captivity they were told to either convert to Roman Catholicism, or die.  Many Indians converted for fear of death, while others were senselessly slaughtered.  Those who escaped captivity fought for their land and country.

One of these who resisted the Spanish regime was an Indian chief from the Lenca Indian tribe, named *Cacique Lempira.  He raised an army of over 20,000 Indians to fight against the Catholic Spaniards.  Eventually, the superior Spanish army was too much for the fleeing Indians, and it overtook them and killed Cacique Lempira in the area of Congolon, Honduras. 

Lempira is still honored as a national hero in Honduras today, and is so revered that even the money in Honduras is named after him.  In 2008, almost 20 lempiras make one U.S. dollar.

Utterly defeated, Honduras became the Roman Catholic state it is today, full of idolatry, popery, and religious intolerance.  Every town has a Catholic church in the center of it, and the city park is in front of that.  Thankfully, the new Honduras constitution grants religious freedom in the country, but persecution against non-Catholics is commonplace.

During the height of its reign, the Catholic church and the Spanish government took most of Honduras' assets.  Most of it's gold and silver was smelted into bars and minted into coins, and taken to Europe.  Because of this, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in all of Central America. 

Several gold and silver mines are still found in Honduras, but are not in operation, serving only as tourist attractions. 

A image of a gold and silver mine can still be seen on the national seal of Honduras and on the back of a Lempira bill, commemorating these once great national resources of the country.

*Cacique means Chief in Spanish.