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Guatemala (/ˌɡwɑːtəˈmɑːlə/ (About this soundlisten) GWAH-tə-MAH-lə; Spanish: [gwateˈmala] (About this soundlisten)), 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 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

The territory of modern Guatemala once formed the core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica. Most of the country was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, becoming part of the viceroyalty of New Spain. Guatemala attained independence in 1821 as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved by 1841.

From the mid to late 19th century, Guatemala experienced 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, 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 witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections, though it continues to struggle with high rates of poverty, crime, drug trade, and instability. , Guatemala ranks 31st of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries in terms of the Human Development Index.

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Northern Guatemala is a flat lowland plain dropping off from the Cuchumatanes mountain range sweeping across in an arc to the south. To the east of the mountains is the large lowland Lake Izabal, with an outlet into the Amatique Bay to the east, which itself opens onto the Gulf of Honduras. Immediately north of the mountains is the Lacandon forest, with Petén to the northeast. Ystapalapán was a settlement in the western Cuchumatanes. Cobán was in the foothills half way between Ystapalapán in the west and Lake Izabal in the east. Xocolo was at the northeastern extreme of Lake Izabal, where it flows out towards the sea. Nito, also known as Amatique, was on the coast where the river flowing out of the lake opened into the Amatique Bay. Lake Petén Itzá was in the centre of Petén, to the north. It was the location of Nojpetén. Tipu was situated to the east of Nojpetén, just to the east of the modern border with Belize. The "Tierra de Guerra" ("Land of War") covers a broad northern swathe of the mountains and the southern portion of the lowlands. The 1525 entry route crossed from the north, to the northwest of Lake Petén Itzá, passing the western tip of Nojpetén and close to the city. It then continued southeast to Xocolo, where it turned northeast to Nito, where it ended on the Caribbean coast. The 1618–1619 route entered from northeastern Belize and crossed southwest to Tipu, then headed westward to Nojpetén. A 1695 route left Cahabón and headed northeast before turning north to Mopán. From Mopán it curved northwest to Nojpetén. The 1695–1696 route entered from the north extreme and meandered southwards to Nojpetén.

The Spanish conquest of Petén was the last stage of the conquest of Guatemala, a prolonged conflict during the Spanish colonisation of the Americas. A wide lowland plain covered with dense rainforest, Petén contains a central drainage basin with a series of lakes and areas of savannah. It is crossed by several ranges of low karstic hills and rises to the south as it nears the Guatemalan Highlands. The conquest of Petén, a region now incorporated into the modern republic of Guatemala, climaxed in 1697 with the capture of Nojpetén, the island capital of the Itza kingdom, by Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi. With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to European colonisers.

Sizeable Maya populations existed in Petén before the conquest, particularly around the central lakes and along the rivers. Petén was divided into different Maya polities engaged in a complex web of alliances and enmities. The most important groups around the central lakes were the Itza, the Yalain and the Kowoj. Other groups with territories in Petén included the Kejache, the Acala, the Lakandon Chʼol, the Xocmo, the Chinamita, the Icaiche and the Manche Chʼol. Read more...

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Departments

Departments and municipalities

Guatemala is divided into 22 departments (departamentos) and sub-divided into about 332 municipalities (municipios).

The departments include:

Departments of Guatemala
  1. Alta Verapaz
  2. Baja Verapaz
  3. Chimaltenango
  4. Chiquimula
  5. Petén
  6. El Progreso
  7. El Quiché
  8. Escuintla
  9. Guatemala
  10. Huehuetenango
  11. Izabal
  1. Jalapa
  2. Jutiapa
  3. Quetzaltenango
  4. Retalhuleu
  5. Sacatepéquez
  6. San Marcos
  7. Santa Rosa
  8. Sololá
  9. Suchitepéquez
  10. Totonicapán
  11. Zacapa

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The current date and time in Guatemala is Saturday, August 17, 2019, 06:25.
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