|ABOUT THE ISLAND
Roatán Island is the setting for The Judas Bird. The author, Dr. David K. Evans, maintains a residence on the island. Also, as an anthropology professor at Wake Forest University, Dr. Evans founded and directed the Overseas Research Center on Roatán Island, where hundreds of students have lived and studied over the years.
Roatán, the largest of the Bay Islands, is located about 35 miles off the north coast of Honduras, in the Caribbean Sea, between the islands of Utila and Guanaja. It is approximately 37 miles long, and less than 5 miles wide at its widest point. It's population today is about 30,000, almost twice its population in 1992. It is the department capital of Islas de la Bahía ("Bay Islands"), one of the 18 departments into which Honduras is divided. Islas de la Bahía comprises the islands of Roatán, Guanaja, Utila, Barbaretta, the Cochinos Cays, and several smaller islets.
The capital and most populated town is Coxen Hole, located in the southwest of the island. Other important towns include French Harbor and Oak Ridge.
Located near the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea (second largest worldwide after Australia's Great Barrier Reef), it has become an important cruising and diving destination in Honduras. Tourism is its most important economic sector, though fishing is also an important source of income for islanders. Built in 1993, Roatán International Airport is one of the most modern island airports in the Caribbean, receiving direct flights from Miami and Houston as well as San Pedro Sula in mainland Honduras. A new international airport on the neighboring island of Utila has been completed as well.
In 1998, the island suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Mitch, temporarily paralyzing most commercial activity.
The main language on the island is a pidgin form of English, contrary to the Spanish of mainland Honduras.
The Bay Islands were first discovered by Columbus on his fourth voyage to America in 1502. They were later claimed, and successively held, by Great Britain, Spain, and the Dutch United Provinces. Britain finally took control in 1643 and, with the exception of a one-month period of Spanish dominance in 1780, held onto them as a Crown colony, dependent on Jamaica. In 1860, in the aftermath of the William Walker filibustering affair, the British crown recognized Honduran sovereignty and ceded possession of them. The department of Islas de la Bahía was officially incorporated into the nation on March 14, 1872.
Most of the text of this article is used from the Roatán and Bay Islands entries of the Wikipedia, which can be found at: