Cayenne is the capital city of French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America. The city stands on a former island at the mouth of the Cayenne River on the Atlantic coast; the city's motto is "fert aurum industria", which means "work brings wealth". At the 2016 census, there were 137,964 inhabitants in the metropolitan area of Cayenne, 60,580 of whom lived in the city of Cayenne proper. Cayenne is located on the banks of the estuary of the Cayenne River on the Atlantic Ocean; the city occupies part of the Cayenne Island. It is located 268 kilometres from 64 kilometres from Kourou. Distances to some cities: Paris: 7,100 kilometres. Fort-de-France, capital of Martinique: 1,500 kilometres. Paramaribo, capital of Suriname: 342 kilometres to the northwest. Macapá, capital of the state of Amapá, Brazil: 554 kilometres to the southeast. Under the Köppen climate classification, Cayenne has a tropical monsoon climate. Average high and low temperatures are nearly identical throughout the course of the year averaging about 30 °C and 23 °C respectively.
Cayenne sees copious precipitation during the year. The city features a lengthy wet season and a short dry season; the dry season only covers two months of the year while the wet season covers the remainder of the year. Precipitation is seen during the dry season, a trait seen in places featuring tropical monsoon climates. Cayenne averages 3,750 millimetres of rain each year. Cayenne is a commune of the French Republic and as such it is ruled by a mayor and a municipal council; the current mayor is Marie-Laure Phinéra-Horth, a former member of the Guianese Socialist Party, supported by various left-wing parties. Marie-Laure Phinéra-Horth has been mayor of Cayenne since 2010, she is the daughter of a former president of the General Council of French Guiana, Stéphan Phinéra-Horth, from the Guianese Socialist Party, who ruled the department of French Guiana from 1994 to 1998. As in the rest of France, the small size of the commune of Cayenne, which doesn't cover the entire urban area of Cayenne, has led to the creation of an intercommunal authority which groups Cayenne and 5 suburban communes: the communauté d'agglomération du Centre Littoral.
Marie-Laure Phinéra-Horth has been president of the communauté d'agglomération du Centre Littoral since 2014. This intercommunal structure, which levies its own taxes, is the sole authority in charge of refuse collection, water supply and sewage treatment, urban planning, public transports over the 5,087 km² of Cayenne and its suburbs; until 2015, the commune of Cayenne was divided in six cantons, but these were abolished in 2015 when the department and the region of French Guiana were abolished and replaced by the French Guiana Territorial Collectivity. Ignored by Spanish explorers, who found the region too hot and poor to be claimed, the region was not colonized until 1604, when a French settlement was founded. However, it was soon destroyed by the Portuguese, who were determined to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of Tordesillas. French colonists returned in 1643 and founded Cayenne, but they were forced to leave once more following Amerindian attacks. In 1664, France succeeded at establishing a permanent settlement at Cayenne.
Over the next decade the colony changed hands between the French and English, before being restored to France. It was captured by an Anglo-Portuguese force at the invasion of Cayenne in 1809 and administered from Brazil until 1814, when it was returned to French control, it was used as a French penal colony from 1854 to 1938. The city's population has grown owing to high levels of immigration as well as a high birthrate. Average population growth of the Cayenne metropolitan area: 1961-1967: +1,122 people per year 1967-1974: +1,079 people per year 1974-1982: +1,799 people per year 1982-1990: +2,206 people per year 1990-1999: +2,812 people per year 1999-2006: +3,054 people per year 2006-2011: +1,686 people per year 2011-2016: +3,331 people per year The places of birth of the 121,490 residents in the Cayenne metropolitan area at the 2012 census were the following: 56.5% were born in French Guiana 12.0% in Metropolitan France 3.0% in Martinique 1.4% in Guadeloupe 0.3% in other parts of Overseas France 26.7% in foreign countries.
The principal illnesses that cause mortality are circulatory and parasitic diseases, as well as cancer. A branch of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, located in Cayenne, conducts research on tropical and endemic local diseases and is renowned throughout Latin America. Life expectancy averages about 76 years for men and 83 years for women. Cayenne is an important seaport in South America; the major port of Dégrad des Cannes, is on the estuary of the river Mahury, replacing Larivot and the Îles du Salut. Timber, rosewood essence and gold are exported in small quantities. In the mid-1960s sugarcane and pineapple were planted around the city, a pineapple cannery an
Kansas is a U. S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north. Kansas is named after the Kansa Native American tribe; the tribe's name is said to mean "people of the wind" although this was not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison. Kansas was first settled by European Americans in 1827 with the establishment of Fort Leavenworth; the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery debate. When it was opened to settlement by the U. S. government in 1854 with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state.
Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists prevailed, on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. By 2015, Kansas was one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of wheat, corn and soybeans. Kansas, which has an area of 82,278 square miles is the 15th-largest state by area and is the 34th most-populous of the 50 states with a population of 2,911,505. Residents of Kansas are called Kansans. Mount Sunflower is Kansas's highest point at 4,041 feet. For a millennium, the land, Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans; the first European to set foot in present-day Kansas was the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, who explored the area in 1541. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Southwest Kansas, was still a part of Spain and the Republic of Texas until the conclusion of the Mexican–American War in 1848, when these lands were ceded to the United States.
From 1812 to 1821, Kansas was part of the Missouri Territory. The Santa Fe Trail traversed Kansas from 1821 to 1880, transporting manufactured goods from Missouri and silver and furs from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wagon ruts from the trail are still visible in the prairie today. In 1827, Fort Leavenworth became the first permanent settlement of white Americans in the future state; the Kansas–Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854, establishing Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory, opening the area to broader settlement by whites. Kansas Territory stretched all the way to the Continental Divide and included the sites of present-day Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo. Missouri and Arkansas sent settlers into Kansas all along its eastern border; these settlers attempted to sway votes in favor of slavery. The secondary settlement of Americans in Kansas Territory were abolitionists from Massachusetts and other Free-Staters, who attempted to stop the spread of slavery from neighboring Missouri. Directly presaging the American Civil War, these forces collided, entering into skirmishes that earned the territory the name of Bleeding Kansas.
Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state on January 29, 1861, making it the 34th state to join the United States. By that time the violence in Kansas had subsided, but during the Civil War, on August 21, 1863, William Quantrill led several hundred men on a raid into Lawrence, destroying much of the city and killing nearly 200 people, he was roundly condemned by both the conventional Confederate military and the partisan rangers commissioned by the Missouri legislature. His application to that body for a commission was flatly rejected due to his pre-war criminal record. After the Civil War, many veterans constructed homesteads in Kansas. Many African Americans looked to Kansas as the land of "John Brown" and, led by freedmen like Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, began establishing black colonies in the state. Leaving southern states in the late 1870s because of increasing discrimination, they became known as Exodusters. At the same time, the Chisholm Trail was opened and the Wild West-era commenced in Kansas.
Wild Bill Hickok was a marshal at Hays and Abilene. Dodge City was another wild cowboy town, both Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp worked as lawmen in the town. In one year alone, eight million head of cattle from Texas boarded trains in Dodge City bound for the East, earning Dodge the nickname "Queen of the Cowtowns." In response to demands of Methodists and other evangelical Protestants, in 1881 Kansas became the first U. S. state to adopt a constitutional amendment prohibiting all alcoholic beverages, repealed in 1948. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; the state is divided into 105 counties with 628 cities, is located equidistant from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is in Smith County near Lebanon; until 1989, the Meades Ranch Triangulation Station in Osborne County was the geodetic center of North America: the central reference point for all maps of North America. The geographic center of Kansas is in Barton County. Kansas is underlain by a sequence of horizontal to westward dipping sedimentary rocks.
A sequence of Mississippian and Permian rocks outcrop in the eastern and southern part of the state
Brazil the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, its most populated city is São Paulo; the federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers, it borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats; this unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system; the ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following a military coup d'état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil's current constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. Due to its rich culture and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Brazil is considered an advanced emerging economy. It has the ninth largest GDP in the world by nominal, eight and PPP measures, it is one of the world's major breadbaskets, being the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country, with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. Brazil is a regional power and sometimes considered a great or a middle power in international affairs. On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Union of South American Nations, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is that the word "Brazil" comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast.
In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa and the suffix -il. As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders in return for assorted European consumer goods; the official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross", but European sailors and merchants called it the "Land of Brazil" because of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and supplanted the official Portuguese name; some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots". In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama"; this was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago; the pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, complex social formations such as chiefdoms. Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing and migrant agriculture; the indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups. The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, there were many subdivisions of the other gro
The Pantanal is a natural region encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area. It is located within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but it extends into Mato Grosso and portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, it sprawls over an area estimated at between 195,000 square kilometres. Various subregional ecosystems exist, each with distinct hydrological and ecological characteristics. 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing a biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species. The name "Pantanal" comes from the Portuguese word pântano, meaning wetland, swamp, quagmire or marsh. By comparison, the Brazilian highlands are locally referred to as the planalto, plateau or high plain; the Pantanal is a huge, gently-sloped basin that receives runoff from the upland areas and releases the water through the Paraguay River and tributaries. The formation is a result of the large, concave pre-Andean depression of the earth's crust, related to the Andean orogeny of the Tertiary.
It constitutes an enormous internal river delta, in which several rivers flowing from the surrounding plateau merge, depositing their sediments and erosion residues, which have been filling, throughout the years, the large depression area of the Pantanal. This area is one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger Parana-Paraguay Plain area; the Pantanal is bounded by the Chiquitano dry forests to the west and northwest, by the Arid Chaco dry forests to the southwest, the Humid Chaco to the south. The Cerrado savannas lie to the north and southeast; the Pantanal has an average yearly rainfall of 1,000–1,400 mm, but is fed by the upper Paraguay River. Its average temperature is 25 °C, but temperatures can fluctuate from 0 to 40 °C. Floodplain ecosystems such as the Pantanal are defined by their seasonal desiccation, they shift between phases of standing water and phases of dry soil, when the water table can be well below the root region. Soils range from high levels of sand in higher areas to higher amounts of clay and silt in riverine areas.
Elevation of the Pantanal ranges from 80 to 150 m above sea level. Annual rainfall over the flood basin is between 1,000 and 1,500 mm, with most rainfall occurring between November and March. In the Paraguay River portion of the Pantanal, water levels rise between two meters to five meters seasonally. Flood waters tend to flow due to the low gradients and high resistance offered by the dense vegetation; when rising river waters first contact dry soil, the waters become oxygen-depleted, rendering the water environs anoxic. Many natural fish kills can occur; the vegetation of the Pantanal referred to as the "Pantanal complex", is a mixture of plant communities typical of a variety of surrounding biome regions: these include moist tropical Amazonian rainforest plants, semiarid woodland plants typical of northeast Brazil, Brazilian cerrado savanna plants and plants of the Chaco savannas of Bolivia and Paraguay. Forests occur at higher altitudes of the region, while grasslands cover the seasonally inundated areas.
The key limiting factors for growth are inundation and more water-stress during the dry season. The Pantanal ecosystem is home to 3500 known plant species; the Pantanal ecosystem is thought to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 subspecies of invertebrates. The apple snail is a keystone species in Pantanal's ecosystem; when the wetlands are flooded once a year, the grass and other plants will die and start to decay. During this process, decomposing microbes deplete the shallow water of all oxygen, suffocating larger decomposers. Unlike other decomposing animals, the apple snails have both gills and lungs, making it possible for them to thrive in anoxic waters where they recycle the nutrients. To get oxygen, they extend a long snorkel to the water surface; this ability allows them to consume all the dead plant matter and turn it into nutritious fertilizer available for the plants in the area. The snails themselves are food for a variety of animals.
Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetland of the Pantanal are the marsh deer and the giant river otter. Parts of the Pantanal are home to the following endangered or threatened species: the hyacinth macaw, the crowned solitary eagle, the maned wolf, the bush dog, the South American tapir and the giant anteater. Common species in the Pantanal include the capybara and the yacare caiman. According to 1996 data, there were 10 million caimans in the Pantanal, making it the highest concentration of crocodilians in the World; the Pantanal is home to one of healthiest jaguar populations on Earth. Most fish are detritivores ingesting fine particles from sediments and plant surfaces; this is charact
The sunbittern is a bittern-like bird of tropical regions of the Americas, the sole member of the family Eurypygidae and genus Eurypyga. It is found in Central and South America, has three subspecies; the sunbittern shows both morphological and molecular similarities with the kagu of New Caledonia, indicating a gondwanic origin, both species being placed in the clade Eurypygiformes. The sunbittern is placed in the Gruiformes, but this was always considered preliminary. Altogether, the bird is most similar to another bird, provisionally placed in the Gruiformes, the kagu. Molecular studies seem to confirm that the kagu and sunbittern are each other's closest living relatives and have a similar wing display, they are not Gruiformes. Altogether, the two species seem to form a minor Gondwanan lineage which could include the extinct adzebills and/or the mesites, is of unclear relation to the Gruiformes proper. Notably, the kagu and mesites have powder down; the sunbittern was treated as two species, but now they are treated as a single species with considerable variation between the subspecies.
The three subspecies are recognised on the basis of plumage characters and size. The three subspecies are allopatric. E. h. helias – Amazonian sunbittern E. h. major Hartlaub, 1844 – northern sunbittern E. h. meridionalis Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1902 – foothill sunbittern The bird has a subdued coloration, with fine linear patterns of black and brown. Its remiges however have vividly colored middle webs, which with wings spread show bright eyespots in red and black; these are shown to other sunbitterns in courtship and threat displays, or used to startle potential predators. Male and female adult sunbitterns can be differentiated by small differences in the feather patterns of the throat and head. Like some other birds, the sunbittern has powder down; the sunbittern has a long and pointed bill, black above, a short hallux as in shorebirds and rails. In the South American subspecies found in lowlands east of the Andes, the upperparts are brown, the legs and lower mandible are orange-yellow; the two other subspecies are greyer above, their legs and bill are sometimes redder.
The sunbittern's range extends from Guatemala to Brazil. The nominate race, E. h. helias, is found east of the Andes in lowland tropical South America, from the Orinoco basin, through the Amazon basin and Pantanal. The subspecies E. h. meridionalis, has a more restricted distribution, being found along the East Andean slope in south-central Peru, in the lower subtropical zone at altitudes of 800–1,830 m. The final subspecies, E. h. major, is found at various altitudes ranging from southern Guatemala, through Central America and the Chocó to western Ecuador. This subspecies may be present in southern Mexico, it has been traditionally reported from the Atlantic slope of Chiapas, but no specimens are known and there have been no recent records. The species is found in the humid Neotropical forests with an open understorey and near rivers, ponds or lagoons, they are cryptic birds that display their large wings, that exhibits a pattern that resemble eyes, when they feel threatened. The sunbittern consumes a wide range of animal prey.
Insects form an important part of the diet, with cockroaches, dragonfly larvae, katydids, water beetles and moths being taken. Other invertebrate prey includes crabs, spiders and earthworms, they will take vertebrate prey including fish, tadpoles and frogs, eels and lizards. Sunbitterns are one of 12 species of birds in five families that have been described as fishing using baits or lures to attract prey to within striking distance; this type of behaviour falls within the common definition of tool use. In sunbitterns this behaviour has only been observed in captive birds so far. Sunbitterns start nesting in the early wet season and before it starts they make flight displays 10–15 m high in the forest canopy, they build open nests in trees, lay two eggs with blotched markings. The young remain in the nest for several weeks after hatching. BirdLife Species Factsheet Sunbittern videos, photos & sounds on the Internet Bird Collection
The family Threskiornithidae includes 34 species of large wading birds. The family has been traditionally classified into the ibises and the spoonbills; the family Threskiornithidae was known as Plataleidae. The spoonbills and ibises were once thought to be related to other groups of long-legged wading birds in the order Ciconiiformes. A recent study found. In response to these findings, the International Ornithological Congress reclassified Threskiornithidae and their sister taxa Ardeidae under the order Pelecaniformes instead of the previous order of Ciconiiformes. Whether the two subfamilies are reciprocally monophyletic is an open question; the South American Checklist Committee's entry for the Threskiornithidae includes the following comment "Two subfamilies are traditionally recognized: Threskiornithinae for ibises and Plataleinae for spoonbills. Subsequent studies have supported these findings, the spoonbills forming a monophyletic clade within the "widespread" clade of ibises, including Plegadis and Threskiornis, while the "new World Endemic" clade is formed by the genera restricted to the Americas such as Eudocimus and Theristicus.
Members of the family have broad wings with 11 primary feathers and about 20 secondaries. They are strong fliers and, rather given their size and weight capable soarers; the body tends to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is long, decurved in the case of the ibises and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills, they are large birds, but mid-sized by the standards of their order, ranging from the dwarf olive ibis, at 45 cm and 450 g, to the giant ibis, at 100 cm and 4.2 kg. They are distributed worldwide, being found near any area of standing or slow-flowing fresh or brackish water. Ibises are found in drier areas, including landfills; the Llanos are notable in. All ibises are diurnal. At night, they roost in trees near water, they are gregarious, feeding and flying together in formation. Nesting is colonial in ibises, more in small groups or singly in spoonbills, nearly always in trees overhanging water, but sometimes on islands or small islands in swamps; the female builds a large structure out of reeds and sticks brought by the male.
Typical clutch size is two to five. Both sexes incubate in shifts, after hatching feed the young by partial regurgitation. Two or three weeks after hatching, the young no longer need to be brooded continuously and may leave the nest forming creches but returning to be fed by the parents. FAMILY: THRESKIORNITHIDAE Subfamily: Threskiornithinae - Ibises Genus Threskiornis African sacred ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus Malagasy sacred ibis, Threskiornis bernieri †Reunion ibis, Threskiornis solitarius extinct Black-headed ibis, Threskiornis melanocephalus Australian white ibis, Threskiornis molucca Solomons white ibis, Threskiornis molucca pygmaeus Straw-necked ibis, Threskiornis spinicollis Genus Pseudibis Red-naped ibis, Pseudibis papillosa White-shouldered ibis, Pseudibis davisoni Genus Thaumatibis Giant ibis, Thaumatibis gigantea Genus Geronticus Northern bald ibis, Geronticus eremita Southern bald ibis, Geronticus calvus Genus Nipponia Crested ibis, Nipponia nippon Genus Bostrychia Olive ibis, Bostrychia olivacea São Tomé ibis, Bostrychia bocagei Spot-breasted ibis, Bostrychia rara Hadada ibis, Bostrychia hagedash Wattled ibis, Bostrychia carunculata Genus Theristicus Plumbeous ibis, Theristicus caerulescens Buff-necked ibis, Theristicus caudatus Black-faced ibis, Theristicus melanopis Genus Cercibis Sharp-tailed ibis, Cercibis oxycerca Genus Mesembrinibis Green ibis, Mesembrinibis cayennensis Genus Phimosus Bare-faced ibis, Phimosus infuscatus Genus Eudocimus American white ibis, Eudocimus albus Scarlet ibis, Eudocimus ruber Genus Plegadis Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus White-faced ibis, Plegadis chihi Puna ibis, Plegadis ridgwayi Genus Lophotibis Madagascar ibis, Lophotibis cristata Subfamily: Plataleinae - Spoonbills Genus Platalea Eurasian spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia' Black-faced spoonbill, Platalea minor African spoonbill, Platalea alba Royal spoonbill, Platalea regia Yellow-billed spoonbill, Platalea flavipes Roseate spoonbill, Platalea ajaja Threskiornithidae portal Threskiornithidae videos on the Internet Bird Collection
Honduras the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became modern-day Belize; the republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea. Honduras was home to several important Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya, before the Spanish invaded in the sixteenth century; the Spanish introduced Roman Catholicism and the now predominant Spanish language, along with numerous customs that have blended with the indigenous culture. Honduras became independent in 1821 and has since been a republic, although it has endured much social strife and political instability, remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. In 1960, the northern part of what was the Mosquito Coast was transferred from Nicaragua to Honduras by the International Court of Justice.
The nation's economy is agricultural, making it vulnerable to natural disasters such as Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The lower class is agriculturally based while wealth is concentrated in the country's urban centers. Honduras has a Human Development Index of 0.625, classifying it as a nation with medium development. When the Index is adjusted for income inequality, its Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index is 0.443. Honduran society is predominantly Mestizo; the nation had a high political stability until its 2009 coup and again with the 2017 presidential election. Honduras has high levels of sexual violence. Honduras has a population exceeding 9 million, its northern portions are part of the Western Caribbean Zone, as reflected in the area's demographics and culture. Honduras is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, tropical fruit, sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market; the literal meaning of the term "Honduras" is "depths" in Spanish.
The name could either refer to the bay of Trujillo as an anchorage, fondura in the Leonese dialect of Spanish, or to Columbus's alleged quote that "Gracias a Dios que hemos salido de esas Honduras". It was not until the end of the 16th century. Prior to 1580, Honduras referred to only the eastern part of the province, Higueras referred to the western part. Another early name is Guaymuras, revived as the name for the political dialogue in 2009 that took place in Honduras as opposed to Costa Rica. Hondurans are referred to as Catracho or Catracha in Spanish; the word was coined by Nicaraguans and derives from the last name of the Spanish Honduran General Florencio Xatruch, who in 1857 led Honduran armed forces against an attempted invasion by North American adventurer William Walker. The nickname is considered not derogatory. In pre-Columbian times, modern Honduras was part of the Mesoamerican cultural area. In the west, Mayan civilization flourished for hundreds of years; the dominant state within Honduras' borders was in Copán.
Copán fell with the other Lowland centres during the conflagrations of the Terminal Classic in the 9th century. The Maya of this civilization survive in western Honduras as the Ch'orti', isolated from their Choltian linguistic peers to the west. Remnants of other Pre-Columbian cultures are found throughout the country. Archaeologists have studied sites such as Naco and La Sierra in the Naco Valley, Los Naranjos on Lake Yojoa, Yarumela in the Comayagua Valley, La Ceiba and Salitron Viejo, Selin Farm and Cuyamel in the Aguan valley, Cerro Palenque, Curruste, Despoloncal in the lower Ulua river valley, many others. On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, near Guaimoreto Lagoon, becoming the first European to visit the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras. On 30 July 1502, Columbus sent his brother Bartholomew to explore the islands and Bartholomew encountered a Mayan trading vessel from Yucatán, carrying well-dressed Maya and a rich cargo.
Bartholomew's men stole the cargo they wanted and kidnapped the ship's elderly captain to serve as an interpreter in the first recorded encounter between the Spanish and the Maya. In March 1524, Gil González Dávila became the first Spaniard to enter Honduras as a conquistador. Followed by Hernán Cortés, who had brought forces down from Mexico. Much of the conquest took place in the following two decades, first by groups loyal to Cristóbal de Olid, by those loyal to Francisco de Montejo but most by those following Alvarado. In addition to Spanish resources, the conquerors relied on armed forces from Mexico—Tlaxcalans and Mexica armies of thousands who remained garrisoned in the region. Resistance to conquest was led in particular by Lempira. Many regions in the north of Honduras never fell to the Spanish, notably the Miskito Kingdom. After the Spanish conquest, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. Trujillo and Gracias were the first city-capitals.
The Spanish ruled the region for three centuries. Honduras was organized as a province of the Kingdom of Guatemala and the capital was fixed, first at Trujillo on the Atlantic coast, at Comayagua, final