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Q'eqchi' (/qʼeqt͡ʃiʔ/) (K'ekchi' in the former orthography, or simply Kekchi in many English-language contexts, such as in Belize) are one of the Maya peoples in Guatemala and Belize, whose indigenous language is also called Q'eqchi'.

Kek'Chi Maya Children.jpg
Young Q'eqchi' Maya children, Belize
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Guatemala 852,998
 Belize 11,143
 Mexico 834
 El Salvador 245
 Honduras ?
Q'eqchi', Spanish, Kriol, English
Mostly Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox in West Guatemala,[2] Evangelicalist, Mennonite, Maya religion, Roman Catholic currently in Belize, North and East Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico (then-recently Historically Roman Catholic in Western Guatemala)

Before the beginning of the Spanish conquest of Guatemala in the 1520s, Q'eqchi' settlements were concentrated in what are now the departments of Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz. Over the course of the succeeding centuries a series of land displacements, resettlements, persecutions and migrations resulted in a wider dispersal of Q'eqchi' communities into other regions of Guatemala (Izabal, Petén, El Quiché), southern Belize (Toledo District), and smaller numbers in southern Mexico (Chiapas, Campeche).[3] While most notably present in northern Alta Verapaz and southern Petén,[4] contemporary Q'eqchi' language-speakers are the most widely spread geographically of all Maya peoples in Guatemala.[5]

Notable membersEdit


  1. ^ "XI Censo Nacional de Población y VI de Habitación (Censo 2002) - Pertenencia de grupo étnico". Instituto Nacional de Estadística. 2002. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ See Kahn (2006, pp.34–49) for an account of Q'eqchi' migrational history and the impetus behind these movements, and in particular pp.41–42.
  4. ^ As indicated by 1998 SIL data, see "Q'eqchi': a language of Guatemala".  in Ethnologue (Gordon 2005).
  5. ^ Kahn (2006, p.34)
  6. ^ Fernandez, Ingrid (18 December 2015). "Maya Leaders Alliance receives Equator Prize 2015 in Paris". Belize City, Belize: The Reporter (Belize). Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 


Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (online version) (Fifteenth ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International. ISBN 1-55671-159-X. OCLC 60338097. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
Kahn, Hilary E. (2006). Seeing and Being Seen: The Q’eqchi’ Maya of Livingston, Guatemala, and Beyond. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-71348-2. OCLC 68965681. 
Wilk, Richard (1997). Household Ecology: Economic change and domestic life among the Kekchi Maya in Belize. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-87580-575-7. OCLC 97031713. 
Wilson, Richard (1995). Maya Resurgence in Guatemala: Q’eqchi’ Experiences. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2690-6. OCLC 31172908.