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Poyais, a loosely defined geographic area drained by the Black River (Río Tinto) on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. The name derives from the original inhabitants of the region, the Poyas Indians (usually spelled Payas, sometimes Poyers or Pawyers). The undeveloped area, historically important as the western extremity of British Mosquito Coast, spawned several speculative colonization projects, beginning with the "Albera Poyer" scheme of James Lawrie and William Pitt in 1770, peaking with the highly publicized venture of Gregor Mac Gregor, the self-styled "Prince of Poyais," in 1820, and terminating with the failure to resurrect the Poyais artifice in 1837. By that time the name Poyais had become synonymous with fraud.

See alsoHonduras .


Robert A. Naylor, Penny Ante Imperialism: The Mosquito Shore and the Bay of Honduras, 1600–1914 (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Bonta, Mark. Seven Names for the Bellbird: Conservation Geography in Honduras. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2003.

Pineda Portillo, Noe. Geografía de Honduras. Tegucigalpa: Editorial Guaymuras, 1997.

Shields, Charles J. and James D. Henderson Honduras. Philadelphia: Mason Crest Publishers, 2003.

                                    Robert A. Naylor