1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fonseca, Bay of

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FONSECA, Amapala or Conchagua, BAY OF, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean in the volcanic region between the Central American republics of Honduras, Salvador and Nicaragua. The bay is unsurpassed in extent and security by any other harbour on the Pacific. It is upwards of 50 m. in greatest length, by about 30 m. in average width, with an entrance from the sea about 18 m. wide, between the great volcanoes of Conchagua (3800 ft. and Coseguina (3000 ft.). The lofty islands of Conchaguita and Mianguiri, with a collection of rocks called “Los Farellones,” divide the entrance into four distinct channels, each of sufficient depth for the largest vessels. A channel called “El Estero Real” extends from the extreme southern point of the bay into Nicaragua for about 50 m., reaching within 20 or 25 m. of Lake Managua. The principal islands in the bay are Sacate Grande, Tigre, Gueguensi and Esposescion belonging to Honduras, and Martin Perez, Punta Sacate, Conchaguita and Mianguiri belonging to Salvador. Of these Sacate Grande is the largest, being about 7 m. long by 4 broad. The island of Tigre from its position is the most important in the bay, being about 20 m. in circumference, and rising in a cone to the height of 2500 ft. On the southern and eastern shores of the island the lava forms black rocky barriers to the waves, varying in height from 10 to 80 ft.; but on the northward and eastward are a number of playas or smooth, sandy beaches. Facing one of the most considerable of these is the port of Amapala (q.v.). Fonseca Bay was discovered in 1522 by Gil Gonzalez de Avila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.