Comayagua, the former capital of Honduras (2005 population of 58,784), located on a plain bearing the same name in a central valley. An agricultural center for cattle, sugarcane, and food staples as well as an economic link for the western portion of the country, Comayagua is also the name of the department, one of the first seven departments established in 1825. It boasts a broad agricultural valley as well as extensive pre-Columbian ruins.
Founded in 1537 as Valladolid de Santa María de Comayagua, the city participated in a celebrated rivalry with Tegucigalpa after silver deposits led to an expansion of the latter after 1578. Political and economic rivalry continued between the two cities throughout the colonial period, independence, annexation to Mexico, membership in the Central American federation, and the national period until the triumph of more Liberal Tegucigalpa over more Conservative Comayagua during the presidency of Marco Aurelio Soto (1876–1881). Soto moved the capital to Tegucigalpa in 1880, after it had alternated several times between the two cities. The older Camino Real was replaced in 1970 by a highway linking the cities of San Pedro Sula, Comayagua, and Tegucigalpa and providing needed transportation infrastructure to an economy historically plagued by regional isolation. In later decades, the city's colonial architecture attracted tourists, and this industry came to play a growing role in the economy.
See alsoHonduras .
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Jeffrey D. Samuels