As was the case in most of the Caribbean, the first European to arrive was none other than Christopher Columbus. His first stop was right here at Isla de Guanaja, in the Bay Islands. Columbus named the land, Honduras, meaning, “depths” for the deep water he found here, along the coast.
The history of Honduras began a long time ago, with the first settlers arriving by either walking across the Bering Strait Land Bridge, or by floating on rafts across the Pacific Ocean. Anthropologists theorize that these early Hondurans arrived around 10,000 BC.
For almost 20 years after Columbus’s visit, only a couple of Spanish explorers visited Honduras until 1522, when an expedition came. Their only true goal was to acquire wealth and power for the explorers involved.
The Spanish fought the local native tribes into the latter 1530s, and at one point almost were driven out. If only all the indigenous people in Central America had banded together, the outcome would have been far different. One leader, Lempira whose name means “Gentleman of the mountain”, was unusually successful against the invaders. Lempira, a tribe chief organized 30,000 fighters into a resistance force that the Spanish could not defeat in battle, so they resorted to treachery and deception. Under a white flag of truce both sides met to negotiate a peace treaty. During the meeting, the Spanish shot and killed the Great warrior stopping the resistance movement entirely. Today Lempiras name is synonymous with the indigenous peoples heritage and so honored is the great leader that Honduras currency is named after him. By 1841 the number of indigenous Indians were around 8000, approximately, 1% of what their numbers were when the Spanish arrived.