Jean Beausejour's strike earned Chile a first World Cup victory for 48 years as Marcelo Bielsa's side got their 2010 campaign off to a winning start.
Despite having last tasted a win in a World Cup match on this day in 1962, against the former Yugoslavia, Chile came into the match well tipped to emerge from Group H alongside favourites Spain.
And Bielsa's men ended a 13-match winless streak in far more comfortable fashion than the scoreline suggests, with Honduras grateful to goalkeeper Noel Valladares for keeping the score down.
Following, too, a start to the tournament best described as uninspired, Chile's ambitious approach - full of one-touch passing, movement and pace - provided a refreshing change.
It was a performance in keeping with Bielsa's attacking philosophy, and one that saw Chile - playing a unique 3-3-1-3 formation - pick up from where they left off in qualifying, during which they scored 32 goals, just one fewer than Conmebol group winners Brazil.
Reported Real Madrid target Alexis Sanchez, given the freedom of Nelspruit by a Honduras team lacking in cohesion or discipline, was at the heart of all Chile's good play.
Predominantly a right winger but happy to drift inside and beyond his attackers, Sanchez was a bagful of tricks, teasing the Honduran defence at every turn and the focal point of the vast majority of the Chilean attacks.
The 21-year-old earned the free-kick from which Chile forced the first save of the match, Valladares equal to Matias Fernandez's whipped effort from 25 yards, while the Honduras keeper also had to be alert to beat away a swerving long-range effort from Arturo Vidal that underlined just why keepers are said to be so wary of the Jabulani balls in South Africa.
Such was Chile's dominance against a poor Honduras side, that the only surprise was that it took until the 34th minute for them to break the deadlock.
There was an element of fortune about it, Beausejour's finish coming courtesy of a ricochet off a Honduras defender, but some fine build-up play between Sanchez and Mauricio Isla deserved its reward.
Chile thought they might have had a penalty before half-time when Sanchez's goalbound shot hit Osman Chavez's hand, but nothing was given by referee Eddy Maillet - one of a number of debatable decisions from the Seychelles official.
Just before the break, Honduras forced their first half-decent effort on goal, Claudio Bravo comfortably tipping Ramon Nunez's free-kick over the bar.
But it was not enough to rouse a response from Honduras in the second-half, which if anything saw Chile's dominance increase.
Just after the hour mark, Bielsa's men twice created golden chances to extend their lead, Sanchez firing the first wide from inside the box and then Waldo Ponce - with the goal gaping - seeing his header from six yards out saved by a sprawling Valladares.
Any hopes of a late Honduras rally failed to materialise as Chile controlled possession inside their opponents' half, and in the end an entertaining encounter petered out towards the final whistle.
Not that Chile were complaining, and they will hope now that a good result against Switzerland in their next group game on 21 June in Port Elizabeth will be enough to see them through to the last 16.
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
Projected table based on current scores
|Group A teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group B teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group C teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group D teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group E teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group F teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group G teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|