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Languages of Honduras

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Title: Languages of Honduras  
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Subject: Americas
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Languages of Honduras

This article is about the ethnicity of the Honduras population. The population of Honduras is 8.1 million, with a breakdown of:[1]

  • 85% Mestizo (mixture Amerindian and European)
  • 3% Amerindian
  • 4% Afro Honduran
  • 8% White (European Hondurans and White Arabs)


Many Hondurans are the descendents of African slaves brought into Honduras during the colonial period, especially during the mining boom of the late sixteenth century. "Mestizos", (European mixed with Amerindian) still make up about 86% of the country, with 7% Amerindian, 4% Afro Honduran, 3% White As in other Latin American countries, the question of racial breakdown of a national population is problematic. Since the beginning of the twentieth century at least, Honduras has framed itself as a "mestizo" country, ignoring and at times disparaging both the African component of the population and often also the surviving indigenous population that was still regarded as pure blood.[2][3] Because of social stigmas attached, many people denied having African ancestry, and after African descended Caribbean workers arrived in Honduras, an active campaign to denigrate all people of African descent, made persons of mixed race anxious to deny any African ancestry. Hence official statistics quite uniformly under represent those people who have ancestry in favor of a "two race" solution.[2]


The 7% of the Amerindian population in Honduras include groups which were not integrated fully into colonial Honduras. Most of this group live in impoverished rural tribes and, with the exception of the Lenca, keep their language.

The Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras and the government of Honduras count seven different indigenous groups:

  • the Ch'orti' (25,000 hab.), a Mayan group living in the northwest on the border with Guatemala;
  • the Garifuna (98,000 hab.) speaking an Arawakan language. They live along the entire Caribbean coastline of Honduras, and in the Bay Islands;
  • the Pech or Paya Indians (2,500) living in a small area in the Olancho department;
  • the Tolupan (also called Jicaque, "Xicaque", or Tol), living in the Department of Yoro and in the reserve of the Montaña de la Flor and parts of the department of Yoro;
  • the Lenca(100,000 hab.) Indians living in the Valle and Choluteca departments;
  • the Miskito (40,000 hab.)Indians living on the northeast coast along the border with Nicaragua, many of whom are mixed-race and descend from the Miskito-Sambu.

In addition, there are the Sumo or Tawahka (1,000)


The Black population consists mostly of Garífuna (people of African ancestry) who live along the coast and islands. This ethnic group, estimated at 150,000 people, has its origins in a group from St. Vincent islands in the Caribbean, who came in 1797. Garífunas are part of Honduran identity through theatrical presentations such as Louvavagu, and Football.

Other ethnicities

Honduras hosts a significant Palestinian community (the vast majority of whom are Christian Arabs).[4] These Arab-Hondurans are sometimes called "Turcos", because they arrived in Honduras using Turkish travel documents, as their homeland was then under the control of the Ottoman Empire. The Palestinians arrived in the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, establishing themselves especially in the city of San Pedro Sula. [5]

There is also a small Chinese community in Honduras. A lawyer of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH) stated that the Chinese community in Honduras is rather small. Many of the Chinese are immigrants who arrived from China after the revolution and their descendants.[6]

See also


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