Santa Rosa de Copán is the largest city in western Honduras. Due in large part to its ideal conditions for tobacco cultivation, the 18th century saw an increase in migration to the region. By 1765 colonial Spain had established its Royal Tobacco Factory growing excellent quality tobacco throughout the region. Today Santa Rosa de Copán is still known as the Legendary City of Tobacco.
Not only did the Royal Tobacco Factory see to it that seed and supplies were readily available for tobacco cultivation, it also developed processed and oversaw trade. As tobacco prices rose in Europe, more and more Hondurans migrated to Santa Rosa de Copán.
After Honduras declared its independence in 1821, the government continued to monopolize the production and distribution of tobacco until 1883, when a law was passed allowing tobacco to be grown anywhere in the country. Despite this law, however, for many years, the Honduran tobacco industry remained almost exclusively in the Department of Copán.
Santa Rosa de Copán is strategically located just kilometers from the borders of Guatemala and El Salvador. At 1,151 meters above sea level, its climate is moderate with an average temperature of 13°C to 15°C in February. The city was originally called Los Llanos (Spanish for “the plains”) due to its location on a high savanna. It became Santa Rosa in 1802.