Honduras Government and Politics
According to AllCityCodes.com, the Constitution of 1982, as last amended in 1999, is the 14th since independence in 1838. After the Constitution, Honduras is a unified state, democratic republic. The supreme authority has been appointed a president, who is elected in the general election for four years and cannot be re-elected. The Legislative Authority has added a national congress of 128 members, elected in ratio elections for four years. The voting age is 18 years. In response to the country’s long-standing dictatorship, and the fact that military leaders have played a significant role in politics, the Constitution contains provisions that give the National Assembly significant powers. The assembly may include: accept or reject a number of decisions the executive makes.
Two parties dominate; the Conservative National Party PN and the liberal PLH. The policy is characterized by instability, with frequent interference from the military, both formal and real. The influence of the United States has also been great.
Administratively, the country of Honduras is divided into 18 ministries. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of HN and its meanings of Honduras.
The judiciary is headed by a Supreme Court of 15 members, elected for seven years by the National Assembly. The legislation is characterized by Spanish examples with increasing influence from English law.
History and Politics
Where the state of Honduras is located today, people lived as early as 1000 BC. The Maya. Their settlement area extended over several present-day countries. The west of Honduras was their easternmost area. At first they lived as arable farmers, but in the course of time they developed one of the first advanced cultures. They built cities with large temples and pyramids. This also included Copán, which is on the territory of Honduras. Maya culture ended around 900 AD. Descendants of the Maya culture in Copán are the Chortí.
Many peoples – from the Lenca to the Miskito
But people also lived in the other areas of today’s Honduras. In the west lived mainly Lenca, but also Chorotega, Jicaque and Pipil. The unlucky people were at home on the eastern Caribbean coast. They also came around 1000 BC. BC probably from South America to this region. The Miskito and Mayangna lived even further east, and their settlements stretched far into what is now Nicaragua. They still live in these areas today.
In 1502, Christopher Columbus set foot on the American mainland for the first time on his fourth trip to the New World. He had only been to islands before. Now it landed where the city of Trujillo is today. He named the country Honduras, which means “deep” in Spanish. It was probably a nod to the deep waters of the Caribbean coast.
Spaniards in the west, British in the east
More and more Europeans came in the 16th century, especially Spanish conquistadors. Many indigenous people put up bitter resistance. However, the Spaniards were able to take the west of today’s Honduras. In 1523 Christóbal de Olid came and founded a colony and today’s city of Tela.
In 1537, the Lenca, under their leader Lempira, resisted again when Francisco de Monteja invaded Honduras from Guatemala. However, the Spaniards ended the fighting victorious. Lempira became the national hero of Honduras. The national currency, which is still valid today, was named after him in 1931.
Monteja and Pedro de Alvarado, another conquistador, fought over the office of governor of the new Spanish province. Alvarado won that fight. In 1540 the Spaniards founded the capital Comayagua. They incorporated the province into their viceroyalty, New Spain. Tegucigalpa, today’s capital, was founded in 1579. There were gold and silver supplies that the Spaniards began to mine.
In eastern Honduras, the Mosquitia, however, the Spaniards could not gain a foothold. However, other Europeans soon came here, mostly Dutch and British. The Miskito formed an alliance with the British and drove the Pech inland. The first British settled here in 1630. From 1655 the Mosquitia was a British reserve.
Independence in 1821 and member of the Central American Confederation (1823-1839)
In 1810 the struggle for independence began in Mexico, which was victoriously ended in 1821. The area south of today’s Mexican state joined Mexico in 1821. In 1823 it broke away from Mexico and founded the Central American Confederation. It consisted of the states of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It existed until 1839. Several later attempts to revive the union failed.
Border drawing in the east
The British Protectorate on the Miskito Coast was ceded to Honduras in 1859. In 1860 today’s border was drawn by giving the eastern part of the coast to Nicaragua.
85 governments in 55 years
Several wealthy families took over political and economic power in the new republic. In 55 years between 1821 and 1876 there were 85 governments!
Marco Aurelio Soto – opening up to foreign companies
In 1876 Marco Aurelio Soto became president. Tegucigalpa became the new capital under him. Against the resistance of the church and large landowners, he implemented some reforms. Many schools were built and the rail and telegraph networks improved. The country was better developed as a result and became interesting for foreign companies. US companies in particular were attracted.
At the end of the 19th century, the two parties emerged in Honduras that still determine politics today: the National Party and the Liberal Party.
History of Honduras from the 20th Century to the Present
The power of the US banana companies
The United Fruit Company (founded in 1899, today Chiquita) and the Standard Fruit Company (founded in 1925, today Dole), both companies from the USA, determined politics in Honduras for decades. Their power was stronger than that of the state. They created huge banana plantations. Bananas became the most important area for the economy that focused only on that. This is how the expression “banana republic” came about.
Tiburcio Carías Andino (1933-1948) and Juan Manuel Gálvez (1949-1954)
Two men determined politics in Honduras for more than 20 years: Tiburcio Carías Andino (1933-1948) and Juan Manuel Gálvez (1949-1954). They also gave US companies advantages such as tax exemptions. The cultivation of coffee was further promoted. There were also social reforms.
Football War with El Salvador (1969)
Around 300,000 smallholders from El Salvador had moved to Honduras since the 1950s. Many of them had settled on fallow land there. Honduras blamed these refugees for the country’s economic problems. The Salvadorans began to be driven out, eventually by force.
In qualifying for the 1970 World Cup, Honduras and El Salvador had to compete against each other several times. Every time there was a riot. On July 14, 1969, the war began with an attack from El Salvador on Honduras. A defeat for Honduras was looming. However, through the mediation of the Organization of American States (OAS), a peace agreement was concluded just a few days later. The war is also known as the football war or the 100-hour war. Although the war was short, it had major consequences because the two countries stopped trading with each other afterwards, and this damaged the economy.
Military governments and attempts at reform
The president José Ramón Villeda Morales (1957-1963) had already made attempts to modernize the country. A military coup brought Oswaldo López Arellano to power in 1963. After a brief interruption due to an election in 1971, he became president again in 1972, this time until 1975. He planned a land reform, but was slowed down again by the subsequent military governments. In 1974, Hurricane Fifi destroyed large parts of the Caribbean coast and killed thousands of people.
Return to Democracy – the 1980s and 1990s
The presidents from 1981 onwards came into office through elections, not a coup. The USA remained present. So they used Honduras as a bridgehead in their fight against the Sandinista in Nicaragua (see there). In 1998, Cyclone Mitch devastated large parts of the country – including the crops and the roads. 5000 people died and 12,000 were injured.
In 2005 Manuel Zelaya became president of the Liberal Party. He raised the minimum wage, granted grants for small farmers and campaigned for an education program for members of the Mara gangs. In 2009 he was overthrown in a coup. The coup was condemned internationally.
The parliament appointed Roberto Micheletti as his successor. He ruled temporarily until 2010, when Porfirio Lobo Sosa was elected new president by the National Party. In 2014, Juan Orlando Hernández was elected as the new president, he is also a member of the National Party.