Gulf of Fonseca

The Gulf of Fonseca (Spanish: Golfo de Fonseca; pronounced [ˈɡol.fo ðe fon.ˈse.ka]), part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf on Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

GOF Photo
Gulf of Fonseca Satellite Image, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2001
Honduras rel 1985
Map showing position of the Gulf (bottom left) with respect to Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua

History

Fonseca Bay was discovered for Europeans in 1522 by Gil González de Ávila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.[1]

In 1849, E. G. Squier negotiated a treaty for the United States to build a canal across Honduras from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf. Frederick Chatfield, the British commander in Central America, was afraid the American presence in Honduras would destabilize the British Mosquito Coast, and sent his fleet to occupy El Tigre Island at the entrance to the Gulf. Shortly thereafter, however, Squier demanded the British leave, since he had anticipated the occupation and negotiated the island's temporary cession to the United States. Chatfield could only comply.

All three countries—Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua—with coastline along the Gulf have been involved in a lengthy dispute over the rights to the Gulf and the islands located within.

In 1917, the Central American Court of Justice ruled in a trial which became known as the Fonseca case. It arose out of a controversy between El Salvador and Nicaragua. The latter had entered the Bryan–Chamorro Treaty which granted a portion of the bay to the United States for the establishment of a naval base. El Salvador argued that this violated its right to common ownership in the bay. The court sided with El Salvador, but the US decided to ignore the decision.[2]

In 1992, a chamber of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided the Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute, of which the Gulf dispute was a part. The ICJ determined that El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua were to share control of the Gulf of Fonseca. El Salvador was awarded the islands of Meanguera and Meanguerita, while Honduras was awarded El Tigre Island.

Physical geography

The Gulf of Fonseca covers an area of about 3,200 km2 (1,200 sq mi), with a coastline that extends for 261 km (162 mi), of which 185 km (115 mi) are in Honduras, 40 km (25 mi) in Nicaragua, and 29 km (18 mi) in El Salvador.

The climate in the Gulf is typical of tropical and subtropical regions, with two distinct seasons, the rainy and the dry. The Gulf receives nearly 80% of its total yearly rainfall of 1,400–1,600 mm (55–63 in) during the rainy season from May to November.[3] The dry season occurs between December and May and contributes to an annual evaporation rate of 2,800 mm (110 in). As a result of less water flowing into the Gulf, the currents tend to flow inward from the Pacific Ocean, and levels of salinity in the estuaries increase, and seasonal drought occurs.[4]

Temperatures in the Gulf average between 25 and 30 °C (77–86 °F); March and April are the warmest months and November and December the coolest. Relative humidity varies between 65 and 86% depending on location. In contrast, the interior of the country is semitropical and cooler with an average temperature of 26 °C (79 °F).[5]

The vegetation of the wetland ecosystem is dominated by species of mangroves. Of the six species of mangrove identified in the Gulf, red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) is the most common, mostly occupying the areas permanently inundated by the tides. Black mangrove (Bruguiera gymnorhiza) is the second-most pervasive species and is generally found around the rivers where sediments are deposited along the shoreline. White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) is the third-most dominant, followed by botoncillo (Conocarpus erectus); both are generally found further inland and are inundated by the tide less frequently. The dominance of different species over others correlates with the frequency of floods, water quality, and levels of salinity.[6]

The cycle of tides is 2.3 m (7.5 ft) on average per day in the Gulf. During low tides, the soils are inhabited by crabs, conch, and other species. During the high tide, the mangrove forests serve as a feeding ground and habitat for fish, shrimp, and other species, as the root structure of mangroves provides a refuge from larger predators.[7]

A number of volcanoes lie within and around the gulf.

References

  1. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Fonseca, Bay of" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 604–605.
  2. ^ "El Salvador v. Nicaragua, CACJ, Judgment of 9 March 1917, 11 Am. J. Int'l L. 674 (1917)". Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  3. ^ Honduran Secretariat of Industry and Commerce, 2002: 23
  4. ^ El Comité para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Flora y Fauna del Golfo de Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), 2001: 10
  5. ^ Honduran Secretariat of Industry and Commerce, 2002: 14
  6. ^ Sanchez, 1999: 13
  7. ^ CODDEFFAGOLF, 2001: 14

Coordinates: 13°15′N 87°45′W / 13.250°N 87.750°W

Amapala

Amapala is a municipality in the Honduran department of Valle.

It is formed by El Tigre Island and its satellite islets and rocks in the Gulf of Fonseca. It has an area of 75.2 km² and a population of 2,482 as of the census of 2001 (of which 4 people were living on Isla Comandante). Thanks to a natural deep channel, and despite lacking modern infrastructure, Amapala long served as the main Honduran port in the Pacific Ocean.

Bryan–Chamorro Treaty

The Bryan–Chamorro Treaty was signed between Nicaragua and The United States on August 5, 1914. The Wilson administration changed the treaty by adding a provision similar in language to that of the Platt Amendment, which would have authorized United States military intervention in Nicaragua. The United States Senate opposed the new provision; in response, it was dropped and the treaty was formally ratified on June 19, 1916.

From 1912 to 1925, the United States had amicable relations with the Nicaraguan government because of friendly conservative party presidents Adolfo Diaz, Emiliano Chamorro, and Diego Manuel Chamorro. In exchange for political concessions from the presidents, the United States provided the military strength to ensure the Nicaraguan government internal stability.

The Treaty was named after the principal negotiators: William Jennings Bryan, U. S. Secretary of State; and then General Emiliano Chamorro, representing the Nicaraguan government. By the terms of the treaty, the United States acquired the rights to any canal built in Nicaragua in perpetuity, a renewable 99 year option to establish a naval base in the Gulf of Fonseca and a renewable 99-year lease to the Great and Little Corn Islands in the Caribbean. For those concessions, Nicaragua received three million dollars.

Most of the three million dollars was paid back to foreign creditors by the United States officials in charge of Nicaraguan financial affairs, which allowed the Nicaraguan government to avoid having to pay from its internal revenue the loans it acquired from foreign banks. The debt was amassed by the Nicaraguan government for internal development due to the devastation inflicted from several civil wars waged years prior.

At the request of Nicaragua, the United States under Richard Nixon and Nicaragua under Anastasio Somoza Debayle, held a convention, on July 14, 1970, which officially abolished the treaty and all its provisions.

Choluteca River

The Choluteca River (Spanish: Río Grande o Choluteca) is a river in southern Honduras. Its source is in the Department of Francisco Morazán, near Lepaterique (south-west Tegucigalpa), and from there it flows north through the city of Tegucigalpa, then south through the department of El Paraíso, and the department and city of Choluteca. The mouth of the river—located among wetland—is near the coastal town of Cedeño, on the Gulf of Fonseca.

According to FAO, the Choluteca River is 349 kilometres (217 mi) long from source to mouth. Its hydrographic basin has an area of 7,681 square kilometres (2,966 sq mi). It increases its volume between May and October, together with the rainy season. Its basin is affected by severe drought together with the El Niño phenomenon, and this is usually associated with severe bush fires.

There are no dams built along the main course of the river to leave it to its natural health.

The flooding of this river was a major source of destruction during Hurricane Mitch in 1998. It washed out entire neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa, and eventually swelled to six times its normal size in Choluteca. There it destroyed neighborhoods and part of the commercial center. Further down it also devastated the tiny Morolica, where it not only destroyed the entire hamlet but nearly all its inhabitants died or disappeared.

Conchagua (volcano)

Conchagua (also known as Cochague) is a stratovolcano in southeastern El Salvador, overlooking the Gulf of Fonseca. Cerro del Ocote and Cerro de la Bandera are the two main summits, with Bandera appearing younger and more conical (see photo). There are active fumarolic areas on both peaks, but no confirmed historical eruptions. It is surrounded by forest called Bosque Conchagua.

Conchagüita

Conchagüita is a volcanic island in Gulf of Fonseca, eastern El Salvador.

In October 1892, an earthquake triggered a large landslide at the volcano, and the resulting dust cloud was first thought to be new volcanic ash. The event was discredited as volcanic eruption by the Smithsonian Institution.

Conejo Island

Conejo Island, in Spanish Isla Conejo, meaning "rabbit island", is a disputed island between El Salvador and Honduras located in the Gulf of Fonseca.

Cosigüina

Cosigüina (also spelt Cosegüina) is a stratovolcano located in the western part of Nicaragua. It forms a large peninsula extending into the Gulf of Fonseca. The summit is truncated by a large caldera, 2 x 2.4 km in diameter and 500 m deep, holding a substantial crater lake (Laguna Cosigüina). This cone has grown within an earlier caldera, forming a somma volcano. The earlier caldera rim is still exposed on the north side, but has been buried by the younger cone elsewhere.

El Tamarindo Airport

El Tamarindo Airport (ICAO: MSET) is an airport serving El Tamarindo, a coastal town in the La Unión Department of El Salvador.

The runway is crossways on a point (Punta de Amapala) at the entrance to the Gulf of Fonseca, and approaches to either end are over the water.

Geography of Honduras

Honduras is a country in Central America. Honduras borders the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. Guatemala lies to the west, Nicaragua south east and El Salvador to the south west. Honduras is the second largest Central American republic, with a total area of 112,890 square kilometres (43,590 sq mi).

Honduras has a 700-kilometer (430-mile) Caribbean coastline extending from the mouth of the Río Motagua in the west to the mouth of the Río Coco in the east, at Cape Gracias a Dios. The 922 km (573 mi) southeastern side of the triangle is a land border with Nicaragua. It follows the Río Coco near the Caribbean Sea and then extends southwestward through mountainous terrain to the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific Ocean. The southern apex of the triangle is a 153 km (95 mi) coastline on the Gulf Fonseca, which opens onto the Pacific Ocean. In the west there are two land borders: with El Salvador as 342 km long (213 mi) and with Guatemala as 256 km long (159 mi).

Greater Republic of Central America

The Greater Republic of Central America was a short-lived political union between Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, lasting from 1896 to 1898. It was an attempt to revive the failed Federal Republic of Central America from earlier in the century.

The three countries agreed to establish a union with the signing of the Treaty of Amapala on 20 June 1895. On 15 September 1896, after the countries had all ratified the treaty individually, the union was formally confirmed. The republic was rechristened the "United States of Central America" when its constitution came into effect on 1 November 1898.

The capital was to be located at the Honduran town of Amapala on the Gulf of Fonseca. The union was dissolved after General Tomás Regalado seized power in El Salvador on 21 November.

Before its dissolution, the Greater Republic established diplomatic relationships with the United States. Guatemala and Costa Rica both considered joining the union, but neither of them eventually did.

Honduras–Nicaragua border

The Honduras–Nicaragua border is the roughly 950 kilometres (590 mi) long international boundary between Honduras and Nicaragua, running from the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. The Coco River, which flows generally northeast to the Caribbean, forms more than half of the border.

The border passes between the following departments, from west to east:

Honduras – Choluteca, Colón, Olancho, Gracias a Dios.

Nicaragua – Chinandega, Madriz, Nueva Segovia, Jinotega and North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region.Honduras and Nicaragua, respectively, were part of the Central American Federation and the United Provinces of Central America. Between 1823 and 1838, these federations fell apart and both nations gained their independence and defined their border.In 1937, the issuance of a stamp from Nicaragua with a sticker on part of Honduran territory indicating "territory in dispute" almost caused a war between the two countries. The territory had been claimed by Nicaragua, but Honduras thought the matter closed in 1906 when an arbitration by King Alfonso XIII of Spain gave it the area.

Isla Zacate Grande

Isla Zacate Grande is a stratovolcano in Honduras. The volcano forms a 7 by 10 km (4 by 6 mi) island in the Gulf of Fonseca and has seven satellite cones, including Guegensi Island located 3 km (2 mi) from Zacate Grande.

Jorge Varela

Jorge Varela is an environmentalist from Honduras. He received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1999, for his contribution to marine conservation in the Gulf of Fonseca.

List of airports in Honduras

This is a list of airports in Honduras, sorted by location.

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras (Spanish: República de Honduras), is a republic in Central America. It was formerly known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras (now Belize). The country is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea. Its area is just over 112,000 square kilometres (43,000 sq mi) with an estimated population of almost 8 million inhabitants. The nation is currently divided into 18 departments (departamentos). The capital city of Honduras is Tegucigalpa.

Meanguera del Golfo

Meanguera del Golfo is a municipality in the La Unión department of El Salvador. Located 30 kilometres (19 mi) from department of La Unión and 213 km (132 mi) from San Salvador on the island of Meanguera in the Gulf of Fonseca. It has an area of 23.6 km2 (9.1 sq mi) with a population of 2,398 inhabitants (2007).

Three countries - Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua - have coastline along the gulf, and all three have been involved in a lengthy dispute over the rights to the gulf and the islands located there within. In 1992, a chamber of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided the Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute, of which the gulf dispute was a part. The ICJ determined that El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua were to share control of the Gulf of Fonseca. El Salvador was awarded the islands of Meanguera and Meanguerita, and Honduras was awarded El Tigre Island.Current Mayor: Since 2012-2015 Luis Dheming-Almendarez

Outline of Honduras

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Honduras:

Honduras – sovereign country located in Central America. Honduras was formerly known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras (now Belize). The country is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Territorial disputes of Nicaragua

Territorial disputes of Nicaragua include the territorial dispute with Colombia over the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank. Nicaragua also has a maritime boundary dispute with Honduras in the Caribbean Sea and a boundary dispute over the Rio San Juan with Costa Rica.

Tiger Island

El Tigre is an island located in the Gulf of Fonseca, a body of water on the Pacific coast of Central America. The island is a conical basaltic stratovolcano and the southernmost volcano in Honduras. It belongs to Valle department. Together with Isla Zacate Grande, Isla Comandante and a few tiny satellite islets and rocks, it forms the municipality of Amapala, with an area of 75.2 km2 (29.0 sq mi) and a population of 9,687 as of the census of 2001 (of which 4 were living on Isla Comandante).

Three countries, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, have a coastline along the Gulf of Fonseca, and all three have been involved in a lengthy dispute over the rights to the gulf and the islands located therewithin. In 1992, a chamber of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided the Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute, of which the gulf dispute was a part. The ICJ determined that El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua were to share control of the Gulf of Fonseca. El Salvador was awarded the islands of Meanguera and Meanguerita, and Honduras was awarded the island of El Tigre.

Valle Department

Valle is one of the 18 departments into which Honduras is divided.

The departmental capital is Nacaome. The department faces the Gulf of Fonseca and contains mangrove swamps; inland, it is very hot and dry.

The department covers a total surface area of 1,665 km² and, in 2015, had an estimated population of 178,561 people.

Valle Department was organized in 1893.

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