Once part of Spain's vast
empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821.
After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected
civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras
proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist
Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces
fighting leftist guerrillas. Spanish and Amerindian dialects are spoken.