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Banana republic is a pejorative term for a country that is politically unstable, having been overthrown for economic reasons. The first known use of the term banana republic was by American author O. Henry in his 1904 book of linked short stories, Cabbages and Kings. The book is based on Henry's 1896-97 stay in Honduras, while hiding from federal authorities for embezzlement in the United States. The term was originally invented as a very direct reference to a "servile dictatorship" which abetted (or directly supported in return for kickbacks) the exploitation of large-scale plantation agriculture (usually banana cultivation).

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