In the west, the Maya civilization flourished for hundreds of years.
Population estimates explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected, as of July 2007.
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, and 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. Its northern portions are part of the Western Caribbean Zone, as reflected in the area's demographics and culture.
Honduras became independent in 1821 and has since been a republic, although it has consistently endured much social strife and political instability, and remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Honduras is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, coffee, tropical fruit, and sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market. 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" ("Thank God we have departed from those depths").
It was not until the end of the 16th century that Honduras was used for the whole province.Prior to 1580, Honduras only referred to the eastern part of the province, and Higueras referred to the western part.In pre-Columbian times, modern Honduras was part of the Mesoamerican cultural area.Remains 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, On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, in the vicinity of the Guaimoreto Lagoon and became the first European to visit the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras.followed by Hernán Cortés, bringing forces down from Mexico.