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. Honduras is in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua. Spanish is the common language and Roman Catholic is the predominate religion. Over half of the population lives in poverty. While historically dependent on the export of bananas and coffee, Honduras has diversified its export base to include apparel and automobile wire harnessing. Nearly half of Honduras’s economic activity is directly tied to the US, with exports to the US accounting for 30% of GDP.