Gracias a Dios Department
|Gracias a Dios|
|• Total||16,997 km2 (6,563 sq mi)|
|• Density||5.6/km2 (14/sq mi)|
Gracias a Dios (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈɡɾasjas a ðjos], Thank God) is one of the 18 departments (departamentos) into which Honduras is divided. The departmental capital is Puerto Lempira; until 1975 it was Brus Laguna. Once a part of the Mosquito Coast, it was formed in 1957 from all of Mosquitia territory and parts of Colón and Olancho departments, with the boundary running along 85° W from Cape Camarón south. The department is rather remote and inaccessible by land, though local airlines fly to the main cities.
Gracias a Dios department covers a total surface area of 16,997 km² and, in 2015, had an estimated population of 94,450. Though it is the second largest department in the country, it is sparsely populated, and contains extensive pine savannas, swamps, and rainforests. However, the expansion of the agricultural frontier is a perennial threat to the natural bounty of the department.
It contains the Caratasca Lagoon, the largest lagoon in Honduras.
Gracias a Dios is known to be a place of relatively high crime. Due to its remoteness and the Honduran government having a relatively low ability to fight crime, trafficking of narcotics is common in Gracias a Dios. Criminal organizations are also common in the area.
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