Honduras: A Decade of Peace, A Hundred Years Ago

One hundred and one years ago on February 1, Manuel Bonilla was freely elected as president.Following the appointment of a caretaker administrator, provisional president by an American mediator, the election return the former president to power. He brought a great deal of experience and political capital to deal with revolutionaries and neighbouring countries. His election marked the second phase of the decade of stability. Unfortunately, Bonilla’s health suffered and he died about a year after his swearing-in ceremony. His vice-president, Francisco Bertrand, took over after his death and won the next election to extend his term of office to 1920. Since Bertrand had served as the provisional president, the stability can be largely attributed to Bertrand. However, it is worth mentioning that by 1919, provisional presidents were being named by revolutionaries until a revolutionary council finally was leading the country in 1924.
Honduras had asserted its independence from Mexico along with other states on the first of July, 1823. Honduras. Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica formed the Federal Republic of Central America or the United Provinces of Central America as it was sometimes called. This political unit was broken apart by civil war between 1838 and 1840, resulting in the formation of individual republics. This was a time of “nanana republics” although the term would not be invented by O. Henry until 1896 during his self-imposed exile in Honduras.
Foreign owned plantations were the source of great wealth throughout the region Many plantations were built and maintained using slave labour. Revolutions were fought for economic and personal freedoms. The nearby Panama Canal was a new and important engine of commerce. American policy, directed from Washington as well through various corporations, was important in the day-to-day lives of many Hondurans. But one hundred years ago, Hondurans were feeling good about the freedom to elect their own government that would lead to a decade of peace.