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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.
Copán fell with the other Lowland centres during the conflagrations of the Terminal Classic in the 9th century.
The Maya of this civilization survive in western Honduras as the Ch'orti', isolated from their Choltian linguistic peers to the west.
The name could either refer to the bay of Trujillo as an anchorage, fondura in the Leonese dialect of Spanish, or to Columbus's alleged quote that "Gracias a Dios que hemos salido de esas Honduras" ("Thank God we have departed from those depths").
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.
After the Spanish conquest, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. The Spanish ruled the region for approximately three centuries.
Honduras was organized as a province of the Kingdom of Guatemala and the capital was fixed, first at Trujillo on the Atlantic coast, and later at Comayagua, and finally at Tegucigalpa in the central part of the country.