April 12, 2024

Countries that start with the letter H

Of the 195 countries in the world, there are only 3 whose names start with the letter ‘H’. Although the “H” sound begins the names of only three countries in English, the same sound is used in approximately 56% of all languages!

Furthermore, in English, the “H” sound is found in approximately 5.92% of all words, based on research from Cornell University. The stories of how these countries came to be named, and the meaning of each name, are journeys through culture and time.

The three countries that start with the letter A

Country Population Land area
Haiti 11,724,763 10,714 miles2
Honduras 10,593,798 43,278 miles2
Hungary 10,156,239 35,918 miles2

Haiti

Densely stacked homes in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Image used under license from Shutterstock.com.

Haiti’s name comes from the native Taíno name for the island, which translates to “land of the mountains”. Hati is located on the island of Hispaniola, one of the first places in the Americas sighted by Christopher Columbus.

The only neighboring country, the Dominican Republic, shares the island and is located east of Haiti. Haiti’s climate is typical of the region. It experiences large amounts of sunshine and suffers from extreme storms during the rainy seasons. Haiti is also famously located along a fault line and is home to frequent earthquakes.

Culture

Haiti was a French colony for much of its early history. Despite being so small, the island was one of the most profitable colonies it had thanks to the vast amounts of slave labor imported to the island from West Africa. Cotton, sugar and tobacco were all grown there.

At the beginning of the 19th century, a massive slave uprising took place and for the first time in history, a slave population overthrew its masters and established an independent state. Despite the removal of French control, French language and culture remain a large part of Haitian identity.

Economy

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. With little industry and production, the Haitian economy is heavily dependent on the agricultural sector. Coffee and sugar are among the most important export products.

Efforts have been made to open the country to tourism, but corruption and rampant gang violence have halted any progress previously made. Only time will tell whether Haiti will be able to diversify and transform its rather dismal economic output.

Honduras

Honduran flag in the center of Tegucigalpa city, in monument Cerro Juana Lainez.  Image used under license from Shutterstock.com.
Honduran flag in the center of Tegucigalpa city. Image used under license from Shutterstock.com.

The term ‘Honduras’ literally translates to ‘depth’. This name was given to the area by none other than Christopher Columbus during one of his voyages in 1502. He named the region Honduras because of the deep waters along the coastline.

Honduras is located between El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Honduras has a relatively large population for its size, but the majority of its citizens do not live in cities, but rather live in the small towns and villages that exist inland.

Culture

Honduras obviously has a very deep cultural bond with Spain. It was a Spanish colony for centuries and has adopted many of its cultural practices. Namely the Spanish language and the Catholic faith.

However, despite the efforts of the early Spanish conquistadors, the indigenous peoples of Honduras have done a remarkable job of preserving large parts of their own way of life. Honduras’s indigenous culture is felt most strongly outside the major cities.

Economy

Agriculture, fishing and tourism are the pillars of the Honduran economy. Agriculture made up as much as 60% of the country’s economy in 1999. Recent government initiatives have made Honduras much less dependent on its agriculture and have focused on attracting wealthy tourists, mainly from the United States and Canada.

Hungary

Hungarian Parliament Building at sunset, Budapest, Hungary.  Image used under license from Shutterstock.com.
Hungarian Parliament Building at sunset, Budapest, Hungary. Image used under license from Shutterstock.com.

Hungary owes its English name to the Latinized pronunciation of the word Hongari or Ungri. This was common in the Middle Ages and seems to have stuck. The Hungarians themselves call their own country Magyarország.

This name comes from the Magyars, the people who settled in the region sometime in the 9th century AD. The nomadic lifestyle, probably originating from Central Asia, persisted in Hungary for much longer than in other parts of Europe.

Culture

The Hungarian language and culture is incredibly unique from other European countries. Their language is one of only three Uralic languages ​​on Earth. Hungarian has little in common with other languages ​​and is considered one of the most difficult languages ​​to learn.

Hungarian culture is an interesting mix of Slavic and Central Asian. While there are certainly similarities to other countries in the region in this regard, there are still many things that make them stand out. Hungary is also heavily Catholic rather than Orthodox like their southern neighbors.

Economy

Like many countries in Eastern Europe, the collapse of the Soviet Union spelled economic disaster for much of the 1990s. Despite major setbacks, Hungary was able to recover and begin to develop a robust and modern economy that could compete with other economies in the region.

The Hungarian economy is largely focused on agriculture, which is not so common in developed countries. The Hungarian agricultural sector is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in Europe. Over the past fifty years the sector has grown by almost 50% and a further 700,000 jobs have been created

Conclusion

Currently, there are only three countries on Earth that start with the letter H. Two of them are in America, while the other is in Europe. Each of these places is vastly different from each other and each brings something special and unique to the table.

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