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Epoch Colonial of Honduras

Escrito el: 18 de January de 2022 - Modificado: 18 January, 2022 - por: RedHonduras.com - en: History - Origin, Times and Periods, Historical Facts

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  • Lempira’s defeat and the reduction of rival fighting between Spaniards contributed to colonization and increased economic activity in Honduras.

    In the late 1540s, Honduras seemed headed for development and prosperity, with the establishment of Gracias as the capital of the regional Audiencia of Guatemala.

    However, this decision created resentment in the most populous centers of Guatemala and El Salvador. In 1549, the capital of the Audiencia was moved to Antigua, Guatemala and thus Honduras remained a province within the Captaincy General of Guatemala until 1821.

    The first mining centers in the country were in Gracias. By 1538 these centers were producing significant amounts of gold. In 1540 this changed with the discovery of gold and silver in the Guayape River valley.

    This contributed to the decline of Gracias and the rise of Comayagua as the main center of Honduras. The demand for labor increased, and this accelerated the decimation of the native population. As a result of this, slaves from Africa were brought into the country. Other gold deposits were found near San Pedro Sula and the port of Trujillo.

    Mining production began to decline in 1560, and with it the importance of Honduras. Beginning in 1569, new discoveries of silver briefly revived the economy, leading to the founding of Tegucigalpa, which soon began to rival Comayagua as the most important city in the province. The silver boom peaked in 1584, and economic depression returned soon after. Mining efforts in Honduras were hampered by lack of capital, labor, and difficult terrain. Mercury, vital for the production of silver, was scarce, in addition to the negligence of officials.

    One of the great problems for the Spanish rulers of Honduras was the activity of the English in northern Honduras. These activities began in the 16th century and continued until the 19th century. In the early years, European pirates frequently attacked Honduran Caribbean towns.

    In 1643 an English expedition destroyed the city of Trujillo, the main port of Honduras. In addition, the English made enormous efforts to establish colonies from the 17th century on in the Bay Islands and northern Honduras with the help of the Sambos and the Misquitos who attacked the Spanish settlements.

    At the beginning of the 18th century, the Bourbon dynasty, linked to the rulers of France, replaced the Habsburgs on the throne of Spain. The new dynasty initiated a series of reforms throughout the empire, designed to make the administration more efficient and profitable, and to facilitate the defense of the colonies.

    Among these reforms was a reduction in the tax on precious minerals and in the cost of mercury, which was a royal monopoly. In Honduras, these reforms contributed to the revival of the mining industry in the 1730s. Under the Bourbons, the Spanish government made several efforts to regain control over the Caribbean coast.

    In 1752, the fortress of San Fernando de Omoa was built. In 1780, the Spanish returned to Trujillo, which began to develop as a base of operations against British settlements to the east.

    During the 1780s, the Spanish regained control over the Bay Islands and drove most of the British and their allies out of the Río Negro area. The Anglo-Spanish Convention of 1786 dictated the definitive recognition of Spanish sovereignty over the Caribbean coast.

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