Special Education in Latin America: Experiences and Issues

By Alfredo J. Artiles; Daniel P. Hallahan | Go to book overview

10
Enhancing Special Education Teacher Education in Honduras: An International Cooperation Model

MARY E. McNEIL, RICHARD VILLA, AND JACQUELINE THOUSAND


HONDURAS: BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Honduras is the second largest of the Central American countries (Nicaragua being the largest). The most mountainous of all the countries of Central America, Honduras has an estimated population of four million and is roughly the size of the state of Pennsylvania. Approximately 40 percent of the population lives in urban areas. The life expectancy is fifty- eight years, as compared with seventy-three years in the United States. The consumption of calories per day per person is estimated to be around 2,211, as contrasted with 3,663 in the United States ( World Bank, 1985).

The history of Honduras reveals the subjugation of the Indian culture by that of the Spanish:

When Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of present-day Honduras in 1502, he found a territory sparsely populated by descendants of the Maya Indians. Columbus's expedition was not intended to conquer territory, but he nonetheless set the stage for the ensuing conquest of Honduras, subjugating Indians by force and robbing them of their valuable possessions, particularly anything that glittered of gold. ( Peckenham & Street, 1985, p. 1)

The various indigenous groups residing in Honduras at the time of the early exploratory expeditions were nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes and included the Payas, the Chontals, and the Xicaques. At one time these groups had been associated with the Mayan empire which "dom-

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