Portal:Guatemala

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Republic of Guatemala
República de Guatemala  (Spanish)
Motto: 
  • "Libre Crezca Fecundo"[1] (Spanish)
    (English: "Grow Free and Fertile")
Anthem: 
Himno Nacional de Guatemala
(English: "National Anthem of Guatemala")
ISO 3166 codeGT

Guatemala (/ˌɡwɑːtəˈmɑːlə/ (audio speaker iconlisten) GWAH-tə-MAH-lə; Spanish: [ɡwateˈmala] (audio speaker iconlisten)), officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 17.2 million, it is the most populous country in Central America and is the 11th most populous country in the Americas. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America.

The core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica, was historically based in the territory of modern Guatemala. In the 16th century, most of this area was conquered by the Spanish and claimed as part of the viceroyalty of New Spain. Guatemala attained independence in 1821 from Spain and Mexico. In 1823 Guatemala became part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved by 1841.

From the mid- to late 19th century, Guatemala suffered chronic instability and civil strife. Beginning in the early 20th century, it was ruled by a series of dictators backed by the United Fruit Company and the United States government. In 1944, the authoritarian leader Jorge Ubico was overthrown by a pro-democratic military coup, initiating a decade-long revolution that led to sweeping social and economic reforms. A U.S.-backed military coup in 1954 ended the revolution and installed a dictatorship.

From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala endured a bloody civil war fought between the US-backed government and leftist rebels, including genocidal massacres of the Maya population perpetrated by the military. Since a United Nations–negotiated peace accord, Guatemala has achieved both economic growth and successful democratic elections, although it continues to struggle with high rates of poverty and crime, drug cartels, and instability. , Guatemala ranks 31st of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries in terms of the Human Development Index. (Full article...)

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Bridge over Motagua River, c. 1940.
The Northern Railroad of Guatemala was a railway system that ran from Guatemala City to Puerto Barrios, the main port of Guatemala, between 1896 and 1968. The American United Fruit Company had the monopoly of the railway system through its affiliate, International Railways of Central America, along with the docks at Puerto Barrios, the banana plantations in Izabal and the cargo and passenger transport with its Great White Fleet. The system was highly efficient, but once a parallel highway was built, it could not compete and eventually was handed back to the State of Guatemala in 1968. After that, the system slowly lost its relevance, as the trucks were more profitable than railway transportation along this route. It ceased regular operations in 1996, and has remained partially abandoned since. (Full article...)

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Plaza 1 with Structure 6 at the left and Structure 1 at the right. The small platforms in the plaza are Structures 11 and 12.

Zaculeu or Saqulew is a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site in the highlands of western Guatemala, about 3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi) outside the modern city of Huehuetenango. Occupation at the site dates to the Early Classic period (AD 250–600) of Mesoamerican history. Zaculeu was the capital of the Postclassic Mam kingdom, and was conquered by the K'iche' Kingdom of Q'umarkaj. It displays a mixture of Mam and K'iche' style architecture.

In AD 1525 the city was attacked by Spanish conquistadors under Gonzalo de Alvarado y Contreras during a siege that lasted several months. Kayb'il B'alam, the city's last ruler, finally surrendered to the Spanish due to starvation. (Full article...)

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Painting of Pedro de Alvarado
Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado led the initial efforts to conquer Guatemala.

The Spanish conquest of Guatemala was a protracted conflict during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, in which Spanish colonisers gradually incorporated the territory that became the modern country of Guatemala into the colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain. Before the conquest, this territory contained a number of competing Mesoamerican kingdoms, the majority of which were Maya. Many conquistadors viewed the Maya as "infidels" who needed to be forcefully converted and pacified, disregarding the achievements of their civilization. The first contact between the Maya and European explorers came in the early 16th century when a Spanish ship sailing from Panama to Santo Domingo was wrecked on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in 1511. Several Spanish expeditions followed in 1517 and 1519, making landfall on various parts of the Yucatán coast. The Spanish conquest of the Maya was a prolonged affair; the Maya kingdoms resisted integration into the Spanish Empire with such tenacity that their defeat took almost two centuries.

Pedro de Alvarado arrived in Guatemala from the newly conquered Mexico in early 1524, commanding a mixed force of Spanish conquistadors and native allies, mostly from Tlaxcala and Cholula. Geographic features across Guatemala now bear Nahuatl placenames owing to the influence of these Mexican allies, who translated for the Spanish. The Kaqchikel Maya initially allied themselves with the Spanish, but soon rebelled against excessive demands for tribute and did not finally surrender until 1530. In the meantime the other major highland Maya kingdoms had each been defeated in turn by the Spanish and allied warriors from Mexico and already subjugated Maya kingdoms in Guatemala. The Itza Maya and other lowland groups in the Petén Basin were first contacted by Hernán Cortés in 1525, but remained independent and hostile to the encroaching Spanish until 1697, when a concerted Spanish assault led by Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi finally defeated the last independent Maya kingdom. (Full article...)

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Guatemala news

The current date and time in Guatemala is Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 18:54.
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Sources

  1. ^ Banco de Guatemala 1996.

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