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Gracias, seat of Lempira Department in Honduras and first capital city in Central America. Founded, according to some accounts, in 1536 by Gonzalo de Arredondo y Alvarado, and on 14 January 1539 by Juan de Montejo, according to others, Gracias a Dios in western Honduras became the seat of the Audiencia De Los Confines as well as of the subsequent Audiencia of Guatemala. Its early economy was based upon gold and silver mining. However, the town began an economic decline by the end of the seventeenth century. In 1855 the forces of Guatemalan General Rafael Carrera defeated Honduran General Trinidad Cabañas there. In 1915 an earthquake devastated the town, which has since been rebuilt. Coffee, other agricultural crops, and more recently, tourism, are important to the local economy.


Luis Mariñas Otero, Honduras, 2d ed. (1983).

Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr., Central America: A Nation Divided, 2d ed. (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Dym, Jordana. From Sovereign Villages to National States: City, State, and Federation in Central America, 1759–1839. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

Pearcy, Thomas L. The History of Central America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005.

                                        Jeffrey D. Samuels