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Where does the name Honduras come from?

It is difficult to say where the name of Honduras comes from, there are several theories in this regard that we will share below with the hope of finding that one, which from reason to now, established the emblematic name of our nation.

Where does the name of Honduras come from?
Ojojona crafts with the name of Honduras

Honduras: Theories about its name

According to the Chilean historian Robustiano Vera (1899), Honduras owes its name to the “honduras or funds” that the first pilots found on its coasts. As they abandoned them, they exclaimed:  God deliver us from these depths!

In 1858, the North American archaeologist, Ephraim George Squier in his book “The States of Central America”, relates that Hernán Cortés, inspired by the news received about the existence “of the vast and populated kingdoms to the south of the Moctezuma empire”, undertook an expedition to Honduras.

On the other hand, the French geographer Elisée Reclus in 1891, assures that the name of Honduras dates from the times of the discovery. According to Reclus, Columbus in 1502 ran great risks when he sailed between Caxinas and Gracias a Dios.

However, the French assures that “the current name of Honduras was not given to the coast by Columbus, but by Bartolomé de las Casas who, in his discovery of the West Indies by the Spanish, speaks of the land of“ Honduras ”, as if that name was of Indian origin ”.

In this area, a terrible storm hit his boat and when it finished, it is said that  Christopher Columbus  exclaimed: ” Thank God we have left these depths .”

Other names for Honduras

The territory was also called Guaymuras, Hibueras and Cabo de Honduras.


The original name of these lands was Guaymuras in honor of one of the names of the coast.


Hibueras is the name of a pumpkin, a word that describes a food, a crop, nature; but culturally it is the first name that the aborigines shared with the emissaries of Christopher Columbus upon their arrival on the shores of Honduras. They shared pumpkins and shared his name.

According to Reclus, “twenty years later, in the famous expedition made by Hernán Cortés, through Yucatán, the Honduran territory was known by the Spanish as Hibueras or Higueras. It had also been called “Nueva Extremadura”.


In their book, Readings to Understand the History of Honduras (2008), Rolando Zelaya y Ferrera, a leading historian, based on the studies of Salomón Sagastume, indicates that it is very likely that the first to use the name of Honduras were Juan Días de Solís and Vicente Yáñez, who accompanied Admiral Colón on his first trips and who in 1508 decided to explore on their own.

Apparently – he adds – Admiral Colón never mentioned the name of Honduras in his reports and newspapers. It is his son Hernando Colón, who also accompanied him on his travels, who he describes in a biography about his father as Solís and Yáñez name Honduras what was already known as Cabo de Gracias a Dios and Punta Caxinas.

Rolando Zelaya argues that Solís and Yáñez have probably erroneously called Honduras the “fonduras” of the long beaches of the Honduran Caribbean, good for the navigation process known as “anchoring” which consists of bringing a boat as close to the coast as possible without run aground.

Decree official name of Honduras

The real official name of the country was established by decree number 3, on May 8, 1862 in Santa Rosa de Copán.

That decree is the following:


The Chamber of Deputies

Considering: that it is within its powers and it is its duty to institute the name that the Nation should bear, proceeding in accordance with the political rank that belongs to it, taking into account the principles developed in the fundamental charter, it has seen fit to decree and


Article # 1.-   The name that the group of peoples that make up the State, including its adjacent islands, will henceforth bear is REPUBLIC OF HONDURAS .

Article # 2.-  The Government will order the carving of this title on the major and minor stamps that they must make use of; in the shield of the flag and flag of the militias, in ovals ordered to be fixed on the frontispiece of the offices and also on the coins.

Article # 3.-  This law will be promulgated in all the towns of the Republic with due solemnity.

Go to the Senate. Given in the hall of the Chamber of Deputies in the city of Santa Rosa, on May 7, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two.

(f) Rolf C. Díaz

(f) José Meza, DS (f) C. Gómez. DS

Go back to the Chamber of Deputies. Santa Rosa, May 8,1862.

Having been unanimously ratified by the Chamber of Deputies, return to the Senate.

Sessions Room, Santa Rosa, May 8, 1862.

CONSULATES OF HONDURAS IN USA: Washington D.C :: Atlanta, Georgia :: Chicago, Illinois :: Dallas, Texas :: Houston, Texas :: Mc Allen, Texas :: Los Angeles, California :: San Francisco, California :: Miami, Florida :: New Orleans :: New York, NY :: Seattle, Washington :: Boston, Massachusetts :: Charlotte, Carolina del Norte

HONDURAS :: Costa Rica :: El Salvador :: Guatemala :: Nicaragua :: Panamá