Banda Blanca performs Sopa de Caracol (Honduran merengue/punta)
About 1500 years ago the land we now know as Honduras was the site of a major Mayan kingdom known as Xukpi (Copán). Mayan population declined by about the year 900, but there were still non-Mayan inhabitants around when Columbus and other Spaniards landed in the early 16th century. In 1537 the warrior Lempira unified two hundred Native American tribes in an effort to expel the Spanish and made a strong stand at the fortress of Cerquín. The Spanish captain invited Lempira to a peace conference, ordered a marksman to shoot him and then, after he fell to his end from the high cliffs, chased his warriors away.
The Spanish eventually consolidated control and ruled Honduras until the 1820s. Since then, Honduras has had, according to Honduras.com, “nearly 300 incidents of unrest, including internal rebellions, civil wars, and changes of government–more than half of which occurred during the 20th century.” Honduras has had military leaders, civilian leaders, elected leaders, leaders by coup and almost every possible permutation thereof. For example, a coup took place in 2009 when military leaders forced President
Manuel Zelaya into exile. Why? There are many conflicting ideas, but his 2009 supporters believed international business interests and the Honduran elite engineered the coup to prevent him from pursuing policies that advanced the well-being of the Honduran people. (Foreign businesses, especially international banana companies, have played a major role in Honduran politics, especially during the Great Depresssion-era dicatorship of Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino.)