Islas de la Bahia

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Islas de la Bahía (ēz´läs ŧħā lä bäē´ə), or Bay Islands, archipelago (1996 est. pop. 28,448), 144 sq mi (373 sq km), off the north coast of Honduras, in the Caribbean Sea. The archipelago makes up a department of Honduras. Of the three principal islands (Roatán, Guanaja, and Utila), Roatán is the largest and the port of entry. Guanaja was visited by Columbus in 1502. The climate is sultry. The chief products are fruits and logwood, which English logcutters exploited as early as the 17th cent. British garrisoning of the islands in 1848 led to unrest, which was partially settled by the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850) and relinquishment of British rights (1859) to Honduras. Dissatisfied, the English islanders sided with the American filibuster William Walker.

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BAY ISLANDS, Spanish Islas de la Bahía. A group of coastal islands in the western Caribbean, constituting a department of Honduras. Population: 18,744 (1983). The Bay Islanders speak a CREOLE descended from the English of British settlers, and of African and Carib slaves brought by them from the West Indies. The area was held by Britain between 1850 and 1858, then ceded to Honduras. See CARIBBEAN ENGLISH.

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Bay Islands, Honduras: see Bahía, Islas de la.