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Silver mining was a key factor in the Spanish conquest and settlement of Honduras.Initially the mines were worked by local people through the encomienda system, but as disease and resistance made this option less available, slaves from other parts of Central America were brought in.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.In 1960, the northern part of what was the Mosquito Coast was transferred from Nicaragua to Honduras by the International Court of Justice.The Miskito Kingdom in the northeast was particularly effective at resisting conquest.The Miskito Kingdom found support from northern European privateers, pirates and especially the British formerly English colony of Jamaica, which placed much of the area under its protection after 1740.
In pre-Columbian times, modern Honduras was part of the Mesoamerican cultural area.
It was not until the end of the 16th century that Honduras was used for the whole province.
Prior to 1580, Honduras referred to only the eastern part of the province, and Higueras referred to the western part.
In the west, Mayan civilization flourished for hundreds of years.
The dominant state within Honduras' borders was in Copán.
Although the Spanish conquered the southern or Pacific portion of Honduras fairly quickly, they were less successful on the northern, or Atlantic side.