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Honduras is in Central America, bordered on the north by Guatemala and El Salvador, and on the south by Nicaragua. Honduras is slightly larger than the state of Tennessee and is populated by approximately 7.8 million people.The Honduran terrain is mountainous with narrow coastal plains. Its climate is subtropical in the lowlands and temperate in the mountains. Honduras’ natural resources include timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron, antimony, coal, fish, and hydropower. Less than 10 percent of the land is arable.Hondurans are relatively homogeneous in ethnicity. Ninety percent are mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European), 7 percent are Amerindian, 2 percent are black, and 1 percent is white. Most Hondurans - 97 percent - are Catholic while the remaining 3 percent are Protestant. The vast majority of the population speaks Spanish, while a minority speaks Amerindian dialects.Honduras was once part of the Spanish colonial empire. Christopher Columbus landed there in 1502 on his fourth and final voyage to the New World. Honduras was under Spanish rule for three centuries, until 1821. The country then joined the Mexican empire of Iturbide in 1822. After the empire’s disintegration in 1823, Honduras, along with other Central American countries, formed the Federal Republic of Central America. This political arrangement also failed, disintegrating in 1838. The individual states of the Republic each became independent nations, including Honduras. More recently, Honduras has experienced decades of military rule. In 1982 a freely elected, civilian government came to power.Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America. Its unemployment rate is high, and half of the population lives below the poverty line. Twenty-two percent of Hondurans live on one dollar or less per day. Furthermore, the country has an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income. While the country’s economy has grown over the last few years, it has not grown quickly enough to make a meaningful dent in most Hondurans' standard of living.