For several years, The Crossing has been sending short-term mission teams to Honduras. This overview of Honduras will provide an introduction to the country as a whole.
Geography, Topography, Climate and Biomass:
Honduras lies in Central America between Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The area of Honduras is roughly three-quarters the size of Nebraska. It has an extensive coastline and several islands on the Caribbean Sea facing northward, as well as, a smaller southward Pacific coastline below El Salvador. It is primarily a mountainous country with temperate highlands and tropical lowland plains at both coasts. It is vulnerable to massive flooding and destruction of infrastructure and homes due to hurricanes and has been notably hit by Hurricane Fifi in 1974 and Mitch in 1998.
On the positive side, such varied landscape and elevation gives rise to:
- rain forests
- cloud forests
- pine and oak covered mountain ranges
- barrier reefs
Thanks to these many land and seascapes, Honduras contains great biodiversity including species of:
And sea life including dolphins, rays and great varieties of fish and coral. Honduras is host to a UNESCO World Heritage Site which protects these treasures from deforestation from logging, mining, agricultural practices, city sprawl and human encroachment.
Government and History:
Honduras is a democratic republic famous for its northern fruit-producing region. It has been independent from Spain since 1821 but it has had many internal rebellions and civil wars including seven times when US troops entered Honduras on behalf of US-based fruit producers–leading O. Henry to coin the term “Banana republic.” In 1963, a military coup started a string of military governments that lasted until 1981. Since then, Honduras has had 10 democratically elected presidents.
Population and Economy:
Honduras boasts a population of nearly 8.5 million. The capital of Honduras, and its largest city, is Tegucigalpa. It is home to nearly 1.2 million citizens. Eight hundred thousand to one million Hondurans live as expatriate in the United States. Eighty-four percent of the population are literate in Spanish, the official language, though only 40% complete primary school. Fifty percent of the population of Honduras lives below the poverty line with nearly one-third of the population suffering unemployment. This may account for Honduras having a very high murder rate. The country continues to struggle with debt despite various schemes from the International Monetary Fund.
Ethnic Demographics (22 people groups total):
Seven percent of Hondurans are Amerindian decedents of Mesoamerican cultures. Ninety percent are Mestizo mixes of these Mesoamerican descendants and Europeans who conquered and began to colonize Central America in the 16th Century. Two percent are black and one percent are white.
Religious Demographics* (No indigenous unreached people groups):
None or non-responsive 11%
Other 2% including Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Bahai, Rastafari and indigenous religions.
*According to independent Gallop poll and International Religious Freedom Report 2008. These numbers are somewhat disputed by other polls which place the percentage of the population holding to traditional Catholicism at nearly 95%.
If Honduras were your home instead of the US you would:
- Die 8.7 years sooner
- Make 91% less money
- Be 3 times more likely to die in infancy
- Spend 98% less money on health care
- Have 76% more babies
- Consume 89% less oil
- Use 95% less electricity
Photos via image search: telegraph.co.uk, npr.org, huffingtonpost.com