Honduras hosts an incredible amount of history. While it doesn’t come up in a lot of prime holiday destination lists, that’s a shame; it’s a beautiful country with a lot to show for itself. If you studied local Honduran culture and customs, you would never run out of things to discover and learn. That’s why we’ve put this list together; we want to draw some attention to this underrated nation. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in. Here are 10 fun facts about Honduras that you can remember and show off to your friends!
1. Smoking indoors is technically banned in Honduras
Not only is smoking in public places banned in Honduras, but you could also receive a fine for smoking in your own home. If a visitor to your house complains that you’re smoking, you could be fined. This law was introduced in 2011, making Honduras the first nation to technically ban smoking in your house. Of course, it’s technically not actually illegal to smoke in your own home in Honduras, but visitors are within their rights to complain if you do.
2. The term “banana republic” is synonymous with Honduras
Some would consider “banana republic” to be a disparaging term, but it’s a phrase used to describe smaller nations who generally rely on a single export in order to thrive. This term was essentially coined to describe Honduras, which was the basis for the fictional nation of Anchuria in the American short story “The Admiral”. Honduras itself is dependent on bananas for its economic well-being. Honduras is not a rich nation, but bananas are one of its main exports.
3. Honduras had a war over football
While this may not fall under the “fun facts about Honduras” umbrella, it’s interesting nonetheless. In 1969, Honduras entered into a war with neighbouring El Salvador…over a football match. Okay, so it’s a little more complicated than that; political relations between the two had been souring for some time, and the war was really over immigration policy and issues surrounding it. However, football matches between the two nations were the catalyst for the war, which broke out as El Salvador bombed Honduras during the third of a round of World Cup qualifiers.
4. Columbus discovered Honduras
While exploring the east coast of what is now Central America, Christopher Columbus alighted on Honduras. He named the country – “Honduras” literally means “depths” in Spanish – and reportedly said he was glad to be “out of these great depths” when he discovered the nation. Of course, Columbus’ legacy is itself somewhat controversial, with many claiming that the nations he “discovered” were self-sufficient before colonialism, but what we know today as Honduras was discovered by Columbus.
5. Honduras hosted Central America’s first cinema
Here’s one of the littlest-known fun facts about Honduras. Now, there’s a thriving cinema industry in Central America, but Honduras was the site of the region’s first ever cinema. It was built by the famous Rosario Mining Company. You might also like to know that the first ever movie produced professionally in Honduras was 1962’s Mi Amigo Ángel, which was created by Sami Kafati. In the movie, the titular Ángel is the son of an alcoholic, and what follows is a social realist take on life in Honduras at the time.
6. There are technically two Hondurases
Today, we know the nation of Honduras as the only one with that name, but this isn’t technically true. There were previously two nations with the name of Honduras, one of which was a Spanish colony and the other of which was colonised by Great Britain. That country was called British Honduras, but was later renamed to Belize, with the country we know today as Honduras previously being called Spanish Honduras. It’s all a little confusing, no?
7. Of all of Honduras’ mammals, half are bats
The bat population in Honduras is enormous. Reports suggest that of the country’s entire mammal count, half of them are bats, so it’s no understatement to suggest that bats are critical to the Honduran ecosystem. Every single forest in Honduras is populated by bats to some extent, so if you go walking through a forest, you’re bound to encounter one of the little winged critters. Don’t worry, though; they’re nowhere near as dangerous as their cultural reputation suggests.
8. Honduras is the root of Central American Christianity
The first ever Catholic Mass to take place in South America happened in the Honduran city of Trujillo. Technically, the mass was celebrated on the Puerto Castillas, which was then known as the Punta Caxinas, and was celebrated by Columbus and his “conquistadors”. Today, around 87% of Honduras is Christian, with a 46% Catholic and 41% Protestant split. The repercussions of that first Mass are still being felt today by many Hondurans, it seems.
9. Honduras is home to the world’s second largest coral reef
It’s a widely-known fact that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. However, did you know that Honduras has the second largest coral reef? It’s true – the reef is called the Mesoamerican Reef, and it runs along the coast of not only Honduras, but also Belize (formerly British Honduras), Guatemala, and Mexico. Only the Great Barrier Reef is larger than the Mesoamerican Reef, so if you’re looking to visit this site of natural beauty, you won’t be disappointed.
10. Honduras houses the continent’s oldest clock
The oldest clock in all of the Americas is housed in Honduras. The Comayagua clock was originally constructed in 1100AD (although there are some who say it might have been as late as 1374 AD) and was originally part of the Islamic capital of Alhambra in Spain’s Granada region. The clock was subsequently installed in La Merced’s church, which was the Cathedral of Comayagua at the time. This clock still needs to be wound each and every day!