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It was not until the end of the 16th century that Honduras was used for the whole province.
Prior to 1580, Honduras only referred to the eastern part of the province, and Higueras referred to the western part.
On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, near Guaimoreto Lagoon, becaming the first European to visit the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras.
followed by Hernán Cortés, who had brought forces down from Mexico.
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.
In the 1840s and 1850s Honduras participated in several failed attempts at Central American unity, such as the Confederation of Central America (1842–1845), the covenant of Guatemala (1842), the Diet of Sonsonate (1846), the Diet of Nacaome (1847) and National Representation in Central America (1849–1852).
Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.
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.
Although the Spanish conquered the southern or Pacific portion of Honduras fairly quickly, they were less successful on the northern, or Atlantic side.
They managed to found a few towns along the coast, at Puerto Caballos and Trujillo in particular, but failed to conquer the eastern portion of the region and many pockets of independent indigenous people as well.
In the west, Mayan civilization flourished for hundreds of years.