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Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in
Central America
Central America
. It is bordered to the north and west by
Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the so ...

Mexico
; to the northeast by
Belize
Belize
and the Caribbean; to the east by
Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean ...

Honduras
; to the southeast by
El Salvador
El Salvador
and to the south by the
Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
. With an estimated population of around million, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America and the 11th most populous country in the
Americas
Americas
. It is a representative democracy with its capital and largest city being Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as
Guatemala City
Guatemala City
, the most populous city in Central America. The territory of modern Guatemala hosted the core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica. In the 16th century, most of this area was conquered by the Spanish and claimed as part of the viceroyalty of
New Spain
New Spain
. Guatemala attained independence in 1821 from Spain and Mexico. In 1823, it 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 The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

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 U.S.-backed government and leftist rebels, including genocidal massacres of the Maya population perpetrated by the military. A peace accord negotiated by the
United Nations
United Nations
has resulted in continued economic growth and successful democratic elections, although poverty, crime, drug trafficking, and civil instability remain major issues. , Guatemala ranks 31st of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries in the Human Development Index. Although rich in export goods, around a quarter of the population (4.6 million) face food insecurity, which has been worsened by the ongoing food crisis resulting from the
Russian invasion of Ukraine Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, marking a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014 following the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity. The invasion has triggered Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War& ...
. Guatemala's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems includes many endemic species and contributes to Mesoamerica's designation as a
biodiversity hotspot A biodiversity hotspot is a ecoregion, biogeographic region with significant levels of biodiversity that is threatened by human habitation. Norman Myers wrote about the concept in two articles in ''The Environmentalist'' in 1988 and 1990, after w ...
.


Etymology

The name "Guatemala" comes from the
Nahuatl Nahuatl (; ), Aztec, or Mexicano is a language or, by some definitions, a group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan languages, Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about Nahuas, Nahua peoples, most of whom live mainly in ...
word ''Cuauhtēmallān'', or "place of many trees", a derivative of the K'iche' Mayan word for "many trees" or, perhaps more specifically, for the Cuate/Cuatli tree Eysenhardtia. This was the name that the Tlaxcaltecan warriors who accompanied
Pedro de Alvarado Pedro de Alvarado (; c. 1485 – 4 July 1541) was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala.Lovell, Lutz and Swezey 1984, p. 461. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of the Yucatán ...
during the
Spanish Conquest The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
gave to this territory.


History


Pre-Columbian

The first evidence of human habitation in Guatemala dates to 12,000 BC. Archaeological evidence, such as
obsidian Obsidian () is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed when lava extrusive rock, extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth. It is an igneous rock. Obsidian is produced from felsic lava, rich in the lighter elements s ...
arrowhead An arrowhead or point is the usually sharpened and hardened tip of an arrow, which contributes a majority of the projectile mass and is responsible for impacting and penetration (weapons), penetrating a target, as well as to fulfill some special ...
s found in various parts of the country, suggests a human presence as early as 18,000 BC. There is archaeological proof that early Guatemalan settlers were
hunter-gatherers A traditional hunter-gatherer or forager is a human living an ancestrally derived lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle in which most or all food is obtained by foraging, that is, by gathering food from local sources, especially edible wild plants bu ...
. Pollen samples from Petén and the Pacific coast indicate that
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous ...
cultivation had been developed by the people by 3500 BC. Sites dating to 6500 BC have been found in the Quiché region in the Highlands, and Sipacate and Escuintla on the central Pacific coast. Archaeologists divide the
pre-Columbian In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the Migration to the New World, original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization of the Americas, European colonization, w ...
history of Mesoamerica into the Preclassic period (3000 BC to 250 AD), the Classic period (250 to 900 AD), and the Postclassic period (900 to 1500 AD). Until recently, the Preclassic was regarded by researchers as a formative period, in which the peoples typically lived in huts in small villages of farmers, with few permanent buildings. This notion has been challenged since the late 20th century by discoveries of monumental architecture from that period, such as an altar in
La Blanca La Blanca is a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in present-day La Blanca, San Marcos, La Blanca, San Marcos Department, western Guatemala. It has an occupation dating predominantly from the Middle Preclassic (900–600 BC) peri ...
, San Marcos, from 1000 BC; ceremonial sites at Miraflores and
Naranjo Naranjo is a Pre-Columbian Maya civilization, Maya city in the Petén Basin region of Guatemala. It was occupied from about 500 BC to 950 AD, with its height in the Late Classic Period. The site is part of Cultural Triangle Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo Nat ...
from 801 BC; the earliest monumental masks; and the
Mirador Basin The Mirador Basin is a hypothesized Depression (geology), geological depression found in the remote rainforest of the northern department of Petén (department), Petén, Guatemala. Mirador Basin consists of two true basins, consisting of shallowl ...
cities of Nakbé, Xulnal,
El Tintal El Tintal is a Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples, of southern Mexico and northern Central America ** Maya civilization, the historical civilization of the Maya peoples ** Maya language (disambiguation), Maya language, the l ...
, Wakná and
El Mirador El Mirador (which translates as "the lookout", "the viewpoint", or "the belvedere") is a large pre-Columbian In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the Migration to the New World, original settlement of North and So ...
. On 3 June 2020, researchers published an article in ''
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the physics, physical world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomenon, phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. ...
'' describing their discovery of the oldest and largest Maya site, known as Aguada Fénix, in
Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the so ...

Mexico
. It features monumental architecture, an elevated, rectangular plateau measuring about 1,400 meters long and nearly 400 meters wide, constructed of a mixture of earth and clay. To the west is a 10-meter-tall earthen mound. Remains of other structures and reservoirs were also detected through the
Lidar Lidar (, also LIDAR, or LiDAR; sometimes LADAR) is a method for determining ranging, ranges (variable distance) by targeting an object or a surface with a laser and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. It can ...
technology. It is estimated to have been built from 1000 to 800 BC, demonstrating that the Maya built large, monumental complexes from their early period. The Classic period of
Mesoamerican Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in southern North America and most of Central America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. Withi ...
civilization corresponds to the height of the Maya civilization. It is represented by countless sites throughout Guatemala, although the largest concentration is in Petén. This period is characterized by urbanisation, the emergence of independent city-states, and contact with other Mesoamerican cultures. This lasted until approximately 900 AD, when the Classic Maya civilization collapsed. The Maya abandoned many of the cities of the central lowlands or were killed by a drought-induced
famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, natural disasters, crop failure, population imbalance, widespread poverty, an economic catastrophe or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accomp ...
. The cause of the collapse is debated, but the drought theory is gaining currency, supported by evidence such as lakebeds, ancient pollen, and others. A series of prolonged droughts in what is otherwise a seasonal desert is thought to have decimated the Maya, who relied on regular rainfall to support their dense population. The Post-Classic period is represented by regional kingdoms, such as the Itza, Kowoj, Yalain and Kejache in Petén, and the Mam, Ki'che', Kackchiquel,
Chajoma The Chajoma () were a Kaqchikel-speaking Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples, of southern Mexico and northern Central America ** Maya civilization, the historical civilization of the Maya peoples ** Maya language (disambiguation ...
, Tz'utujil, Poqomchi', Q'eqchi' and Ch'orti' peoples in the highlands. Their cities preserved many aspects of Maya culture. The Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and
cultural diffusion In cultural anthropology and cultural geography, cultural diffusion, as conceptualized by Leo Frobenius in his 1897/98 publication ''Der westafrikanische Kulturkreis'', is the spread of culture, cultural items—such as ideas, fashion, styles, rel ...
that characterized the region. Advances such as writing,
epigraphy Epigraphy () is the study of inscriptions, or epigraphs, as writing; it is the science of identifying graphemes, clarifying their meanings, classifying their uses according to dates and cultural contexts, and drawing conclusions about the wr ...
, and the
calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A date is the designation of a single and specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a ph ...
did not originate with the Maya; however, their civilization fully developed them. Maya influence can be detected from
Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean ...

Honduras
, , Guatemala, and Northern to as far north as central Mexico, more than from the Maya area. Many outside influences are found in
Maya art Ancient Maya art is the visual arts of the Maya civilization, an eastern and south-eastern Mesoamerica, Mesoamerican culture made up of a great number of small kingdoms in present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Many regional artistic ...
and architecture, which are thought to have resulted from trade and cultural exchange rather than direct external conquest.


Archaeological investigation

In 2018, 60,000 uncharted structures were revealed in northern Guatemala by archaeologists with the help of
Lidar Lidar (, also LIDAR, or LiDAR; sometimes LADAR) is a method for determining ranging, ranges (variable distance) by targeting an object or a surface with a laser and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. It can ...
technology lasers. The project applied Lidar technology on an area of 2,100 square kilometers in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Petén region of Guatemala. Thanks to the new findings, archaeologists believe that 7–11 million
Maya people The Maya peoples () are an ethnolinguistic group of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. The ancient Maya civilization was formed by members of this group, and today's Maya are generally descended from people ...
inhabited northern Guatemala during the late classical period from 650 to 800 A.D., twice the estimated population of medieval England. Lidar technology digitally removed the tree canopy to reveal ancient remains and showed that Maya cities, such as
Tikal Tikal () (''Tik’al'' in modern Mayan orthography) is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala. It is one of the largest archeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Co ...
, were larger than previously assumed. The use of Lidar revealed numerous houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications. According to archaeologist Stephen Houston, it is one of the most overwhelming findings in over 150 years of Maya archaeology.


Spanish era (1519–1821)

After they arrived in the
New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 3 ...
, the Spanish started several expeditions to Guatemala, beginning in 1519. Before long, Spanish contact resulted in an epidemic that devastated native populations.
Hernán Cortés Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, 1st Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (; ; 1485 – December 2, 1547) was a Spanish ''conquistador'' who led an expedition that caused the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, fall of the Aztec E ...
, who had led the
Spanish conquest of Mexico The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico or the Spanish-Aztec War (1519–21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas Spain began colonization of the Americas, colo ...
, granted a permit to Captains Gonzalo de Alvarado and his brother,
Pedro de Alvarado Pedro de Alvarado (; c. 1485 – 4 July 1541) was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala.Lovell, Lutz and Swezey 1984, p. 461. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of the Yucatán ...
, to conquer this land. Alvarado at first allied himself with the Kaqchikel nation to fight against their traditional rivals the K'iche' (Quiché) nation. Alvarado later turned against the Kaqchikel, and eventually brought the entire region under Spanish domination. During the colonial period, Guatemala was an audiencia, a captaincy-general ('' Capitanía General de Guatemala'') of Spain, and a part of (Mexico). The first capital, Villa de Santiago de Guatemala (now known as Tecpan Guatemala), was founded on 25 July 1524 near Iximché, the Kaqchikel capital city. The capital was moved to
Ciudad Vieja Ciudad Vieja () is a town and municipality in the Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico ...
on 22 November 1527, as a result of a Kaqchikel attack on Villa de Santiago de Guatemala. Owing to its strategic location on the American Pacific Coast, Guatemala became a supplementary node to the Transpacific
Manila Galleon The Manila galleons ( es, Galeón de Manila; fil, Galyon ng Maynila) were Spain, Spanish trading sailing ship, ships which for two and a half centuries linked the Spanish Crown’s New Spain, Viceroyalty of New Spain, based in Mexico City, with ...
trade connecting Latin America to Asia via the Spanish owned Philippines. On 11 September 1541, the new capital was flooded when the lagoon in the
crater Crater may refer to: Landforms *Impact crater An impact crater is a circular depression (geology), depression in the surface of a solid astronomical object formed by the hypervelocity collision, impact of a smaller object. In contrast to vo ...
of the Agua Volcano collapsed due to heavy rains and earthquakes; the capital was then moved to
Antigua Antigua ( ), also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles. It is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region and the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbu ...
in the Panchoy Valley, now a
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international coope ...
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNES ...
. This city was destroyed by several earthquakes in 1773–1774. The King of Spain authorized moving the capital to its current location in the Ermita Valley, which is named after a
Catholic church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
dedicated to the
Virgen del Carmen Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or Virgin of Carmel, is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patron saint, patroness of the Carmelites, Carmelite Order, particularly within the Catholic Church. The first Carmelites were Christian h ...
. This new capital was founded on 2 January 1776.


Independence and the 19th century (1821–1847)

On 15 September 1821, the
Captaincy General of Guatemala The Captaincy General of Guatemala ( es, Capitanía General de Guatemala), also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala ( es, Reino de Guatemala), was an administrative division of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio es ...
, an administrative region of the Spanish Empire consisting of
Chiapas Chiapas (; Tzotzil language, Tzotzil and Tzeltal language, Tzeltal: ''Chyapas'' ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas), is one of the states that make up the Political divisions of Mexico, ...
, Guatemala, , Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras, officially proclaimed its independence from Spain at a public meeting in Guatemala City. Independence from Spain was gained, and the Captaincy General of Guatemala joined the
First Mexican Empire The Mexican Empire ( es, Imperio Mexicano, ) was a constitutional monarchy, the first independent government of Mexico and the only former colony of the Spanish Empire to Monarchism in Mexico, establish a monarchy after Mexican War of Independenc ...
under
Agustín de Iturbide Agustín de Iturbide (; 27 September 178319 July 1824), full name Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu and also known as Agustín of Mexico, was a Mexican army general and politician. During the Mexican War of Independence, he built a ...
. Under the First Empire, Mexico reached its greatest territorial extent, stretching from northern California to the provinces of Central America (excluding Panama, which was then part of Colombia), which had not initially approved becoming part of the Mexican Empire but joined the Empire shortly after their independence. This region was formally a part of the
Viceroyalty of New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Amer ...
throughout the colonial period, but as a practical matter had been administered separately. It was not until 1825 that Guatemala created its own flag. In 1838 the liberal forces of Honduran leader Francisco Morazán and Guatemalan José Francisco Barrundia invaded Guatemala and reached San Sur, where they executed Chúa Alvarez, father-in-law of
Rafael Carrera José Rafael Carrera y Turcios (24 October 1814 – 14 April 1865) was the president of Guatemala from 1844 to 1848 and from 1851 until his death in 1865, after being appointed President for life in 1854. During his military career and presiden ...
, then a military commander and later the first president of Guatemala. The liberal forces impaled Alvarez's head on a pike as a warning to followers of the Guatemalan
caudillo A ''caudillo'' ( , ; osp, cabdillo, from Latin language, Latin , diminutive of ''caput'' "head") is a type of personalist leader wielding military and political power. There is no precise definition of ''caudillo'', which is often used interc ...
. Carrera and his wife Petrona – who had come to confront Morazán as soon as they learned of the invasion and were in
Mataquescuintla Mataquescuintla (from Nahuatl Nahuatl (; ), Aztec, or Mexicano is a language or, by some definitions, a group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan languages, Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about Nahuas, Nahua people ...
– swore they would never forgive Morazán even in his grave; they felt it impossible to respect anyone who would not avenge family members. After sending several envoys, whom Carrera would not receive – and especially not Barrundia whom Carrera did not want to murder in cold blood – Morazán began a scorched-earth offensive, destroying villages in his path and stripping them of assets. The Carrera forces had to hide in the mountains. Believing Carrera totally defeated, Morazán and Barrundia marched to , and were welcomed as saviors by state governor Pedro Valenzuela and members of the conservative , who proposed to sponsor one of the liberal battalions, while Valenzuela and Barrundia gave Morazán all the Guatemalan resources needed to solve any financial problem he had. The criollos of both parties celebrated until dawn that they finally had a criollo caudillo like Morazán, who was able to crush the peasant rebellion. Morazán used the proceeds to support Los Altos and then replaced Valenzuela with Mariano Rivera Paz, a member of the Aycinena clan, although he did not return to that clan any property confiscated in 1829. In revenge, Juan José de Aycinena y Piñol voted to dissolve the Central American Federation in
San Salvador San Salvador (; ) is the Capital city, capital and the largest city of El Salvador and its San Salvador Department, eponymous department. It is the country's political, cultural, educational and financial center. The Metropolitan Area of San Sa ...
a little later, forcing Morazán to return to El Salvador to fight for his federal mandate. Along the way, Morazán increased repression in eastern Guatemala, as punishment for helping Carrera. Knowing that Morazán had gone to El Salvador, Carrera tried to take Salamá with the small force that remained, but was defeated, and lost his brother Laureano in combat. With just a few men left, he managed to escape, badly wounded, to Sanarate. After recovering somewhat, he attacked a detachment in Jutiapa and got a small amount of booty which he gave to the volunteers who accompanied him. He then prepared to attack Petapa near Guatemala City, where he was victorious, although with heavy casualties. In September of that year, Carrera attempted an assault on the capital of Guatemala, but the liberal general Carlos Salazar Castro defeated him in the fields of Villa Nueva and Carrera had to retreat. After unsuccessfully trying to take
Quetzaltenango Quetzaltenango (, also known by its Maya name Xelajú or Xela ) is both the seat of the Quetzaltenango Department, namesake Department and Municipalities of Guatemala, municipality, in Guatemala. The city is located in a mountain valley at an e ...
, Carrera found himself both surrounded and wounded. He had to capitulate to Mexican General Agustin Guzman, who had been in Quetzaltenango since Vicente Filísola's arrival in 1823. Morazán had the opportunity to shoot Carrera, but did not, because he needed the support of the Guatemalan peasants to counter the attacks of Francisco Ferrera in . Instead, Morazán left Carrera in charge of a small fort in Mita, without any weapons. Knowing that Morazán was going to attack El Salvador, Francisco Ferrera gave arms and ammunition to Carrera and convinced him to attack Guatemala City. Meanwhile, despite insistent advice to definitively crush Carrera and his forces, Salazar tried to negotiate with him diplomatically; he even went as far as to show that he neither feared nor distrusted Carrera by removing the fortifications of the Guatemalan capital, in place since the battle of Villa Nueva. Taking advantage of Salazar's good faith and Ferrera's weapons, Carrera took Guatemala City by surprise on 13 April 1839; Salazar, Mariano Gálvez and Barrundia fled before the arrival of Carrera's militiamen. Salazar, in his nightshirt, vaulted roofs of neighboring houses and sought refuge, reaching the border disguised as a peasant. With Salazar gone, Carrera reinstated Rivera Paz as head of state. Between 1838 and 1840 a secessionist movement in the city of
Quetzaltenango Quetzaltenango (, also known by its Maya name Xelajú or Xela ) is both the seat of the Quetzaltenango Department, namesake Department and Municipalities of Guatemala, municipality, in Guatemala. The city is located in a mountain valley at an e ...
founded the breakaway state of Los Altos and sought independence from Guatemala. The most important members of the Liberal Party of Guatemala and liberal enemies of the conservative régime moved to Los Altos, leaving their exile in El Salvador. The liberals in Los Altos began severely criticizing the Conservative government of Rivera Paz. Los Altos was the region with the main production and economic activity of the former state of Guatemala. Without Los Altos, conservatives lost many of the resources that had given Guatemala hegemony in Central America. The government of Guatemala tried to reach a peaceful solution, but two years of bloody conflict followed. On 17 April 1839, Guatemala declared itself independent from the United Provinces of Central America. In 1840, Belgium began to act as an external source of support for Carrera's independence movement, in an effort to exert influence in Central America. The ''Compagnie belge de colonisation'' (Belgian Colonization Company), commissioned by Belgian King Leopold I, became the administrator of Santo Tomas de Castilla replacing the failed British Eastern Coast of Central America Commercial and Agricultural Company. Even though the colony eventually crumbled, Belgium continued to support Carrera in the mid-19th century, although Britain continued to be the main business and political partner to Carrera. Rafael Carrera was elected Guatemalan Governor in 1844. Settlers from Germany arrived in the mid-19th century. German settlers acquired land and grew coffee plantations in Alta Verapaz and Quetzaltenango.


Republic (1847–1851)

On 21 March 1847, Guatemala declared itself an independent republic and Carrera became its first president. During the first term as president, Carrera brought the country back from extreme conservatism to a traditional moderation; in 1848, the liberals were able to drive him from office, after the country had been in turmoil for several months. Carrera resigned of his own free will and left for México. The new liberal regime allied itself with the Aycinena family and swiftly passed a law ordering Carrera's execution if he returned to Guatemalan soil. The liberal criollos from
Quetzaltenango Quetzaltenango (, also known by its Maya name Xelajú or Xela ) is both the seat of the Quetzaltenango Department, namesake Department and Municipalities of Guatemala, municipality, in Guatemala. The city is located in a mountain valley at an e ...
were led by general Agustín Guzmán who occupied the city after Corregidor general Mariano Paredes was called to to take over the presidential office. They declared on 26 August 1848 that Los Altos was an independent state once again. The new state had the support of Doroteo Vasconcelos' régime in and the rebel guerrilla army of Vicente and Serapio Cruz, who were sworn enemies of Carrera. The interim government was led by Guzmán himself and had Florencio Molina and the priest Fernando Davila as his Cabinet members. On 5 September 1848, the criollos altenses chose a formal government led by Fernando Antonio Martínez. In the meantime, Carrera decided to return to Guatemala and did so, entering at Huehuetenango, where he met with native leaders and told them that they must remain united to prevail; the leaders agreed and slowly the segregated native communities started developing a new Indian identity under Carrera's leadership. In the meantime, in the eastern part of Guatemala, the Jalapa region became increasingly dangerous; former president Mariano Rivera Paz and rebel leader Vicente Cruz were both murdered there after trying to take over the Corregidor office in 1849. When Carrera arrived to Chiantla in Huehuetenango, he received two altenses emissaries who told him that their soldiers were not going to fight his forces because that would lead to a native revolt, much like that of 1840; their only request from Carrera was to keep the natives under control. The altenses did not comply, and led by Guzmán and his forces, they started chasing Carrera; the caudillo hid, helped by his native allies and remained under their protection when the forces of Miguel Garcia Granados arrived from looking for him. On learning that officer José Víctor Zavala had been appointed as Corregidor in Suchitepéquez, Carrera and his hundred jacalteco bodyguards crossed a dangerous jungle infested with
jaguar The jaguar (''Panthera onca'') is a large felidae, cat species and the only extant taxon, living member of the genus ''Panthera'' native to the Americas. With a body length of up to and a weight of up to , it is the largest cat species in t ...
s to meet his former friend. Zavala not only did not capture him, he agreed to serve under his orders, thus sending a strong message to both liberal and conservatives in Guatemala City that they would have to negotiate with Carrera or battle on two fronts – Quetzaltenango and Jalapa. Carrera went back to the Quetzaltenango area, while Zavala remained in Suchitepéquez as a tactical maneuver. Carrera received a visit from a cabinet member of Paredes and told him that he had control of the native population and that he assured Paredes that he would keep them appeased. When the emissary returned to Guatemala City, he told the president everything Carrera said, and added that the native forces were formidable. Guzmán went to
Antigua Antigua ( ), also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles. It is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region and the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbu ...
to meet with another group of Paredes emissaries; they agreed that Los Altos would rejoin Guatemala, and that the latter would help Guzmán defeat his enemy and also build a port on the Pacific Ocean. Guzmán was sure of victory this time, but his plan evaporated when in his absence Carrera and his native allies occupied Quetzaltenango; Carrera appointed Ignacio Yrigoyen as
Corregidor Corregidor ( tl, Pulo ng Corregidor, ) is an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay Manila Bay ( fil, Look ng Maynila) is a natural harbor that serves the Port of Manila (on Luzon), in the Philippines. Strategically located around th ...
and convinced him that he should work with the K'iche', Q'anjobal and Mam leaders to keep the region under control. On his way out, Yrigoyen murmured to a friend: "Now he is the king of the Indians, indeed!" Guzmán then left for Jalapa, where he struck a deal with the rebels, while Luis Batres Juarros convinced President Paredes to deal with Carrera. Back in Guatemala City within a few months, Carrera was commander-in-chief, backed by military and political support of the Indian communities from the densely populated western highlands. During the first presidency, from 1844 to 1848, he brought the country back from excessive conservatism to a moderate regime, and – with the advice of Juan José de Aycinena y Piñol and Pedro de Aycinena – restored relations with the Church in Rome with a Concordat ratified in 1854.


Second Carrera government (1851–1865)

After Carrera returned from exile in 1849 the president of El Salvador, Doroteo Vasconcelos, granted asylum to the Guatemalan liberals, who harassed the Guatemalan government in several different ways. José Francisco Barrundia established a liberal newspaper for that specific purpose. Vasconcelos supported a rebel faction named "La Montaña" in eastern Guatemala, providing and distributing money and weapons. By late 1850, Vasconcelos was getting impatient at the slow progress of the war with Guatemala and decided to plan an open attack. Under that circumstance, the Salvadorean head of state started a campaign against the conservative Guatemalan regime, inviting
Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean ...

Honduras
and
Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest Sovereign state, country in Central America, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to ...
to participate in the alliance; only the Honduran government led by
Juan Lindo Juan Nepomuceno Fernández Lindo y Zelaya (generally known as Juan Lindo) (16 May 1790, Tegucigalpa Tegucigalpa (, , ), formally Tegucigalpa, Municipality of the Central District ( es, Tegucigalpa, Municipio del Distrito Central or ''Tegucigal ...
accepted. In 1851 Guatemala defeated an Allied army from Honduras and El Salvador at the Battle of La Arada. In 1854 Carrera was declared "supreme and perpetual leader of the nation" for life, with the power to choose his successor. He held that position until he died on 14 April 1865. While he pursued some measures to set up a foundation for economic prosperity to please the conservative landowners, military challenges at home and a three-year war with Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua dominated his presidency. His rivalry with Gerardo Barrios, President of El Salvador, resulted in open war in 1863. At Coatepeque the Guatemalans suffered a severe defeat, which was followed by a truce. Honduras joined with El Salvador, and Nicaragua and Costa Rica with Guatemala. The contest was finally settled in favor of Carrera, who besieged and occupied
San Salvador San Salvador (; ) is the Capital city, capital and the largest city of El Salvador and its San Salvador Department, eponymous department. It is the country's political, cultural, educational and financial center. The Metropolitan Area of San Sa ...
, and dominated Honduras and Nicaragua. He continued to act in concert with the Clerical Party, and tried to maintain friendly relations with European governments. Before he died, Carrera nominated his friend and loyal soldier, Army Marshall Vicente Cerna y Cerna, as his successor.


Vicente Cerna y Cerna regime (1865–1871)

Vicente Cerna y Cerna was
president of Guatemala The president of Guatemala ( es, Presidente de Guatemala), officially known as the President of the Republic of Guatemala ( es, Presidente de la República de Guatemala), is the head of state and head of government of Guatemala, elected to a s ...
from 24 May 1865 to 29 June 1871. Liberal author , described Marshall Cerna's government in the following manner: The State and Church were a single unit, and the conservative régime was strongly allied to the power of
regular clergy Regular clergy, or just regulars, are clerics in the Catholic Church who follow a rule () of life, and are therefore also members of religious institutes. Secular clergy are clerics who are not bound by a rule of life. Terminology and history The ...
of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
, who were then among the largest landowners in Guatemala. The tight relationship between church and state had been ratified by the Concordat of 1852, which was the law until Cerna was deposed in 1871. Even liberal generals like realized that Rafael Carrera's political and military presence made him practically invincible. Thus the generals fought under his command, and waited—for a long time—until Carrera's death before beginning their revolt against the tamer Cerna. During Cerna's presidency, liberal party members were prosecuted and sent into exile; among them, those who started the Liberal Revolution of 1871. In 1871, the merchants guild, Consulado de Comercio, lost their exclusive court privilege. They had major effects on the economics of the time, and therefore land management. From 1839 to 1871, the Consulado held a consistent monopolistic position in the regime.


Liberal governments (1871–1898)

Guatemala's "Liberal Revolution" came in 1871 under the leadership of Justo Rufino Barrios, who worked to modernize the country, improve trade, and introduce new crops and manufacturing. During this era coffee became an important crop for Guatemala. Barrios had ambitions of reuniting Central America and took the country to war in an unsuccessful attempt to attain it, losing his life on the battlefield in 1885 against forces in El Salvador. Manuel Barillas was president from 16 March 1886 to 15 March 1892. Manuel Barillas was unique among liberal presidents of Guatemala between 1871 and 1944: he handed over power to his successor peacefully. When election time approached, he sent for the three Liberal candidates to ask them what their government plan would be. Happy with what he heard from general Reyna Barrios, Barillas made sure that a huge column of Quetzaltenango and Totonicapán indigenous people came down from the mountains to vote for him. Reyna was elected president. José María Reina Barrios was president between 1892 and 1898. During Barrios's first term in office, the power of the landowners over the rural peasantry increased. He oversaw the rebuilding of parts of on a grander scale, with wide, Parisian-style avenues. He oversaw Guatemala hosting the first " Exposición Centroamericana" ("Central American Fair") in 1897. During his second term, Barrios printed bonds to fund his ambitious plans, fueling
monetary inflation Monetary inflation is a sustained increase in the money supply of a country (or currency area). Depending on many factors, especially public expectations, the fundamental state and development of the economy, and the monetary transmission mechan ...
and the rise of popular opposition to his regime. His administration also worked on improving the roads, installing national and international telegraphs and introducing electricity to Guatemala City. Completing a transoceanic railway was a main objective of his government, with a goal to attract international investors at a time when the
Panama Canal The Panama Canal ( es, Canal de Panamá, link=no) is an artificial waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's five oceans, with an area of about . It covers approximatel ...
was not yet built.


Manuel Estrada Cabrera regime (1898–1920)

After the assassination of general José María Reina Barrios on 8 February 1898, the Guatemalan cabinet called an emergency meeting to appoint a new successor, but declined to invite Estrada Cabrera to the meeting, even though he was the designated successor to the presidency. There are two different descriptions of how Cabrera was able to become president. The first states that Cabrera entered the cabinet meeting "with pistol drawn" to assert his entitlement to the presidency, while the second states that he showed up unarmed to the meeting and demanded the presidency by virtue of being the designated successor. The first civilian Guatemalan head of state in over 50 years, Estrada Cabrera overcame resistance to his regime by August 1898 and called for elections in September, which he won handily. In 1898 the legislature convened for the election of President Estrada Cabrera, who triumphed thanks to the large number of soldiers and policemen who went to vote in civilian clothes and to the large number of illiterate family that they brought with them to the polls. One of Estrada Cabrera's most famous and most bitter legacies was allowing the entry of the United Fruit Company (UFCO) into the Guatemalan economic and political arena. As a member of the
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
, he sought to encourage development of the nation's infrastructure of
highway A highway is any public or private road or other public way on land. It is used for major roads, but also includes other public roads and public tracks. In some areas of the United States, it is used as an equivalent term to controlled-access ...
s,
railroad Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transport that transfers passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, which are incorporated in Track (rail transport), tracks. In contrast to road transport, where the ...
s, and
sea port A port is a maritime law, maritime facility comprising one or more Wharf, wharves or loading areas, where ships load and discharge Affreightment, cargo and passengers. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, ports can a ...
s for the sake of expanding the export economy. By the time Estrada Cabrera assumed the presidency there had been repeated efforts to construct a railroad from the major port of Puerto Barrios to the capital, Guatemala City. Owing to lack of funding exacerbated by the collapse of the internal coffee trade, the railway fell short of its goal. Estrada Cabrera decided, without consulting the legislature or judiciary, that striking a deal with the UFCO was the only way to finish the railway. Cabrera signed a contract with UFCO's
Minor Cooper Keith Minor Cooper Keith (19 January 1848 – 14 June 1929) was an American businessman whose Rail transport, railroad, commercial agriculture, and cargo liner enterprises had a major impact on the national economies of the Central American countries, a ...
in 1904 that gave the company tax exemptions, land grants, and control of all railroads on the Atlantic side. Estrada Cabrera often employed brutal methods to assert his authority. Right at the beginning of his first presidential period he started prosecuting his political rivals and soon established a well-organized web of spies. One American ambassador returned to the United States after he learned the dictator had given orders to poison him. Former president Manuel Barillas was stabbed to death in Mexico City. Estrada Cabrera responded violently to workers' strikes against UFCO. In one incident, when UFCO went directly to Estrada Cabrera to resolve a strike (after the armed forces refused to respond), the president ordered an armed unit to enter a workers' compound. The forces "arrived in the night, firing indiscriminately into the workers' sleeping quarters, wounding and killing an unspecified number." In 1906 Estrada faced serious revolts against his rule; the rebels were supported by the governments of some of the other n nations, but Estrada succeeded in putting them down. Elections were held by the people against the will of Estrada Cabrera and thus he had the president-elect murdered in retaliation. In 1907 Estrada narrowly survived an assassination attempt when a bomb exploded near his carriage. It has been suggested that the extreme despotic characteristics of Estrada did not emerge until after an attempt on his life in 1907. was badly damaged in the 1917 Guatemala earthquake. Estrada Cabrera continued in power until forced to resign after new revolts in 1920. By that time his power had declined drastically and he was reliant upon the loyalty of a few generals. While the United States threatened intervention if he was removed through revolution, a bipartisan coalition came together to remove him from the presidency. He was removed from office after the national assembly charged that he was mentally incompetent, and appointed Carlos Herrera in his place on 8 April 1920. Guatemala joined with El Salvador and Honduras in the Federation of Central America from 9 September 1921 until 14 January 1922. Carlos Herrera served as President of Guatemala from 1920 until 1921. He was succeeded by José María Orellana, who served from 1921 until 1926. Lázaro Chacón González then served until 1931.


Jorge Ubico regime (1931–1944)

The
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
began in 1929 and badly damaged the Guatemalan economy, causing a rise in
unemployment Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is people above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for Work (human activity), w ...
, and leading to unrest among workers and laborers. Afraid of a popular revolt, the Guatemalan landed elite lent their support to Jorge Ubico, who had become well known for "efficiency and cruelty" as a provincial governor. Ubico won the election that followed in 1931, in which he was the only candidate. After his election his policies quickly became authoritarian. He replaced the system of debt
peon Peon (English language, English , from the Spanish language, Spanish ''wikt:peón#Spanish, peón'' ) usually refers to a person subject to peonage: any form of wage labor, financial exploitation, coercive economic practice, or policy in which th ...
age with a brutally enforced
vagrancy Vagrancy is the condition of homelessness without regular employment or income. Vagrants (also known as bums, vagabonds, rogues, tramps or drifters) usually live in poverty and support themselves by begging, waste picker, scavenging, petty t ...
law, requiring all men of working age who did not own land to work a minimum of 100 days of hard labor. His government used unpaid Indian labor to build roads and railways. Ubico also froze wages at very low levels, and passed a law allowing land-owners complete immunity from prosecution for any action they took to defend their property, an action described by historians as legalizing murder. He greatly strengthened the police force, turning it into one of the most efficient and ruthless in Latin America. He gave them greater authority to shoot and imprison people suspected of breaking the labor laws. These laws created tremendous resentment against him among agricultural laborers. The government became highly militarized; under his rule, every provincial governor was a general in the army. Ubico continued his predecessor's policy of making massive concessions to the United Fruit Company, often at a cost to Guatemala. He granted the company of public land in exchange for a promise to build a port, a promise he later waived. Since its entry into Guatemala, the United Fruit Company had expanded its land-holdings by displacing farmers and converting their farmland to
banana plantation A banana plantation is a commercial agricultural facility found in tropical climates where bananas are grown. Geographic distribution Banana plants may grow with varying degrees of success in diverse climatic conditions, but commercial banana p ...
s. This process accelerated under Ubico's presidency, with the government doing nothing to stop it. The company received import duty and real estate tax exemptions from the government and controlled more land than any other individual or group. It also controlled the sole railroad in the country, the sole facilities capable of producing electricity, and the port facilities at Puerto Barrios on the Atlantic coast. Ubico saw the United States as an ally against the supposed communist threat of Mexico, and made efforts to gain its support. When the US declared war against Germany in 1941, Ubico acted on American instructions and arrested all people in Guatemala of German descent. He also permitted the US to establish an air base in Guatemala, with the stated aim of protecting the
Panama Canal The Panama Canal ( es, Canal de Panamá, link=no) is an artificial waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's five oceans, with an area of about . It covers approximatel ...
. However, Ubico was an admirer of European
fascist Fascism is a far-right, authoritarian, ultra-nationalist political ideology and movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and political and cultural liberalism, a belief in natural social hierarchy an ...
s, such as
Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic (), commonly known as the Second Spanish R ...
and
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
, and considered himself to be "another
Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte ; it, Napoleone Bonaparte, ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader who ...
". He occasionally compared himself to
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
. He dressed ostentatiously and surrounded himself with statues and paintings of Napoleon, regularly commenting on the similarities between their appearances. He militarized numerous political and social institutions—including the post office, schools, and symphony orchestras—and placed military officers in charge of many government posts.


Guatemalan Revolution (1944–1954)

On 1 July 1944 Ubico was forced to resign from the presidency in response to a wave of protests and a
general strike A general strike refers to a strike action Strike action, also called labor strike, labour strike, or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to Labor (economics), work. A strike usually takes place in re ...
inspired by brutal labor conditions among plantation workers. His chosen replacement, General Juan Federico Ponce Vaides, was forced out of office on 20 October 1944 by a
coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for 'stroke of state'), also known as a coup or overthrow, is a seizure and removal of a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In ...
led by Major Francisco Javier Arana and Captain Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán. About 100 people were killed in the coup. The country was then led by a
military junta A military junta () is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term ''Junta (governing body), junta'' means "meeting" or "committee" and originated in the Junta (Peninsular War), national and local junta organized by the Spanish ...
made up of Arana, Árbenz, and Jorge Toriello Garrido. The junta organized Guatemala's first free election, which the philosophically conservative writer and teacher Juan José Arévalo, who wanted to turn the country into a liberal
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for Profit (economics), profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, pric ...
society won with a majority of 86%. His "
Christian Socialist Christian socialism is a Religious philosophy, religious and political philosophy that blends Christianity and socialism, endorsing left-wing politics and socialist economics on the basis of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Many Christian s ...
" policies were inspired to a large extent by the U.S.
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, Public works, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs agencies included the C ...
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
. Arévalo built new health centers, increased funding for education, and drafted a more liberal labor law, while criminalizing unions in workplaces with less than 500 workers, and cracking down on communists. Although Arévalo was popular among nationalists, he had enemies in the church and the military, and faced at least 25 coup attempts during his presidency. Arévalo was constitutionally prohibited from contesting the 1950 elections. The largely free and fair elections were won by Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, Arévalo's defense minister. Árbenz continued the moderate capitalist approach of Arévalo. His most important policy was
Decree 900 Decree 900 ( es, Decreto 900), also known as the Agrarian Reform Law, was a Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the no ...
, a sweeping agrarian reform bill passed in 1952. Decree 900 transferred uncultivated land to landless peasants. Only 1,710 of the nearly 350,000 private land-holdings were affected by the law, which benefited approximately 500,000 individuals, or one-sixth of the population.


Coup and civil war (1954–1996)

Despite their popularity within the country, the reforms of the Guatemalan Revolution were disliked by the United States government, which was predisposed by the
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of Geopolitics, geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term ''Cold war (term), co ...
to see it as communist, and the United Fruit Company (UFCO), whose hugely profitable business had been affected by the end to brutal labor practices. The attitude of the U.S. government was also influenced by a propaganda campaign carried out by the UFCO. U.S. President
Harry Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. A leader of the History of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, he previously served as the 34th Vice Pre ...
authorized Operation PBFortune to topple Árbenz in 1952, with the support of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza García, but the operation was aborted when too many details became public.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (born David Dwight Eisenhower; ; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, ...
was elected U.S. president in 1952, promising to take a harder line against communism; the close links that his staff members
John Foster Dulles John Foster Dulles (, ; February 25, 1888 – May 24, 1959) was an American diplomat, lawyer, and Republican Party (United States), Republican Party politician. He served as United States Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower ...
and
Allen Dulles Allen Welsh Dulles (, ; April 7, 1893 – January 29, 1969) was the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), and its longest-serving director to date. As head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the early Cold War ...
had to the UFCO also predisposed him to act against Árbenz. Eisenhower authorized the CIA to carry out Operation PBSuccess in August 1953. The CIA armed, funded, and trained a force of 480 men led by
Carlos Castillo Armas Carlos Castillo Armas (; 4 November 191426 July 1957) was a Guatemalan military officer and politician who was the 28th president of Guatemala, serving from 1954 to 1957 after taking power in 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, a coup d'état. A mem ...
. The force invaded Guatemala on 18 June 1954, backed by a heavy campaign of
psychological warfare Psychological warfare (PSYWAR), or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations (PsyOp), have been known by many other names or terms, including Military Information Support Operations (Psychological operations (United States), MISO), ...
, including bombings of and an anti-Árbenz radio station claiming to be genuine news. The invasion force fared poorly militarily, but the psychological warfare and the possibility of a U.S. invasion intimidated the Guatemalan army, which refused to fight. Árbenz resigned on 27 June. Following negotiations in
San Salvador San Salvador (; ) is the Capital city, capital and the largest city of El Salvador and its San Salvador Department, eponymous department. It is the country's political, cultural, educational and financial center. The Metropolitan Area of San Sa ...
, Carlos Castillo Armas became president on 7 July 1954. Elections were held in early October, from which all political parties were barred from participating. Castillo Armas was the only candidate and won the election with 99% of the vote. Castillo Armas reversed
Decree 900 Decree 900 ( es, Decreto 900), also known as the Agrarian Reform Law, was a Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the no ...
and ruled until 26 July 1957, when he was assassinated by Romeo Vásquez, a member of his personal guard. After the rigged election that followed, General Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes assumed power. He is celebrated for challenging the Mexican president to a gentleman's
duel A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon Code duello, rules. During the 17th and 18th centuries (and earlier), duels were mostly single combats fought with swords (the r ...
on the bridge on the south border to end a feud on the subject of illegal fishing by Mexican boats on Guatemala's Pacific coast, two of which were sunk by the Guatemalan Air Force. Ydigoras authorized the training of 5,000 anti- Castro
Cubans Cubans ( es, Cubanos) are people born in Cuba and people with Cuban citizenship. Cuba is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic, religious and national backgrounds. Racial and ethnic groups Census The population of Cuba wa ...
in Guatemala. He also provided airstrips in the region of Petén for what later became the US-sponsored, failed
Bay of Pigs Invasion The Bay of Pigs Invasion (, sometimes called ''Invasión de Playa Girón'' or ''Batalla de Playa Girón'' after the Playa Girón) was a failed military landing operation on the southwestern coast of Cuba in 1961 by Cuban exiles, covertly f ...
in 1961. On 13 November 1960, a group of left-wing junior military officers of the ''Escuela Politécnica'' national military academy led a failed revolt against Ydigoras' government. The rebels fled to the hills of eastern Guatemala and neighboring Honduras and formed MR-13 ( Movimiento Revolucionario 13 Noviembre). On 6 February 1962, in Bananera, they attacked the offices of the United Fruit Company. The attack sparked sympathetic strikes and university student
walkout In trade union, labor disputes, a walkout is a strike action, labor strike, the act of employees collectively leaving the workplace and withholding labor as an act of protest. A walkout can also mean the act of leaving a place of work, school, ...
s throughout the country, to which the government responded with a violent crackdown. In 1963, Ydígoras, despite the firm opposition of the
Kennedy administration John F. Kennedy's tenure as the List of presidents of the United States, 35th president of the United States, began with Inauguration of John F. Kennedy, his inauguration on January 20, 1961, and ended with Assassination of John F. Kennedy, hi ...
, had pledged to allow Arévalo return from exile and run in a free and open election. Arevalo returned on 27 March 1963 to announce his candidacy for the scheduled November presidential elections, however Ydigoras' government was ousted on March 31, 1963, when the Guatemalan Air Force attacked several military bases; the coup was led by his Defense Minister, Colonel
Enrique Peralta Azurdia Colonel Alfredo Enrique Peralta Azurdia (June 17, 1908 – February 18, 1997) was President of Guatemala from March 31, 1963 to July 1, 1966. Enrique Peralta was born on June 17, 1908 in Guatemala City. He took over the presidency after a coup ...
. The new régime intensified its counterinsurgency campaign against the guerrillas that had begun under Ydígoras-Fuentes. In 1966, Julio César Méndez Montenegro was elected president of Guatemala under the banner "Democratic Opening". Mendez Montenegro was the candidate of the Revolutionary Party, a center-left party that had its origins in the post-Ubico era. During this time, rightist
paramilitary A paramilitary is an organization whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not part of a country's official or legitimate armed forces. Paramilitary units carr ...
organizations, such as the "White Hand" ('' Mano Blanca''), and the Anticommunist Secret Army (''Ejército Secreto Anticomunista'') were formed. Those groups were the forerunners of the infamous "
Death Squads A death squad is an armed group whose primary activity is carrying out extrajudicial killings or forced disappearances as part of political repression Political repression is the act of a state entity controlling a citizenry by force for ...
". Military advisers from the
United States Army Special Forces The United States Army Special Forces (SF), colloquially known as the "Green Berets" due to their distinctive service Berets of the United States Army, headgear, are a special operations special operations force, force of the United States Ar ...
(Green Berets) were sent to Guatemala to train Guatemala's armed forces and help transform it into a modern counter-insurgency force, which eventually made it the most sophisticated in Central America. In 1970, Colonel Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio was elected president. By 1972, members of the guerrilla movement entered the country from Mexico and settled in the Western Highlands. In the disputed election of 1974, General Kjell Laugerud García defeated General Efraín Ríos Montt, a candidate of the Christian Democratic Party, who claimed that he had been cheated out of a victory through fraud. On 4 February 1976, a major earthquake destroyed several cities and caused more than 25,000 deaths, especially among the poor, whose housing was substandard. The government's failure to respond rapidly to the aftermath of the earthquake and to relieve homelessness gave rise to widespread discontent, which contributed to growing popular unrest. General Romeo Lucas García assumed power in 1978 in a fraudulent election. The 1970s saw the rise of two new guerrilla organizations, the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) and the Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA). They began guerrilla attacks that included urban and rural warfare, mainly against the military and some civilian supporters of the army. The army and the paramilitary forces responded with a brutal counter-insurgency campaign that resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths. In 1979, the U.S. president,
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, he previously served as th ...
, who had until then been providing public support for the government forces, ordered a ban on all military aid to the Guatemalan Army because of its widespread and systematic abuse of human rights. However, documents have since come to light that suggest that American aid continued throughout the Carter years, through clandestine channels. On 31 January 1980, a group of indigenous K'iche' took over the Spanish Embassy to protest army massacres in the countryside. The Guatemalan government armed forces launched an assault that killed almost everyone inside in a fire that consumed the building. The Guatemalan government claimed that the activists set the fire, thus immolating themselves. However the Spanish ambassador survived the fire and disputed this claim, saying that the Guatemalan police intentionally killed almost everyone inside and set the fire to erase traces of their acts. As a result, the government of Spain broke off diplomatic relations with Guatemala. This government was overthrown in 1982 and General Efraín Ríos Montt was named president of the military junta. He continued the bloody campaign of torture,
forced disappearance An enforced disappearance (or forced disappearance) is the secret abduction or imprisonment of a person by a State (polity), state or political organization, or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or po ...
s, and "
scorched earth A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted, which usually includes obvious weapons, military vehicles, transport v ...
" warfare. The country became a pariah state internationally, although the regime received considerable support from the
Reagan Administration Ronald Reagan's tenure as the List of presidents of the United States, 40th president of the United States began with First inauguration of Ronald Reagan, his first inauguration on January 20, 1981, and ended on January 20, 1989. Reagan, a R ...
, and Reagan himself described Ríos Montt as "a man of great personal integrity." Ríos Montt was overthrown by General Óscar Humberto Mejía Victores, who called for an election of a national constituent assembly to write a new constitution, leading to a free election in 1986, won by Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, the candidate of the Christian Democracy Party. In 1982, the four guerrilla groups, EGP, ORPA, FAR and PGT, merged and formed the URNG, influenced by the
Salvadoran Salvadorans (Spanish language, Spanish: ''Salvadoreños''), also known as Salvadorians (alternate spelling: Salvadoreans), are citizens of El Salvador, a country in Central America. Most Salvadorans live in El Salvador, although there is also a s ...
guerrilla FMLN, the
Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest Sovereign state, country in Central America, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to ...
n FSLN and
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is an island country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called ...
's government, in order to become stronger. As a result of the Army's "scorched earth" tactics in the countryside, more than 45,000 Guatemalans fled across the border to Mexico. The Mexican government placed the refugees in camps in
Chiapas Chiapas (; Tzotzil language, Tzotzil and Tzeltal language, Tzeltal: ''Chyapas'' ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas), is one of the states that make up the Political divisions of Mexico, ...
and
Tabasco Tabasco (), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Tabasco ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco), is one of the Political divisions of Mexico, 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into Municipalities of Tabasco, 17 municipalities ...
. In 1992, the
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
was awarded to
Rigoberta Menchú Rigoberta Menchú Tum (; born 9 January 1959) is a K'iche' people, K'iche' Guatemalan human rights defender, human rights activist, Indigenous feminism, feminist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the ...
for her efforts to bring international attention to the government-sponsored genocide against the indigenous population.


1996–2000

The
Guatemalan Civil War The Guatemalan Civil War was a civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achiev ...
ended in 1996 with a peace accord between the guerrillas and the government, negotiated by the United Nations through intense brokerage by nations such as Norway and Spain. Both sides made major concessions. The guerrilla fighters disarmed and received land to work. According to the U.N.-sponsored
truth commission A truth commission, also known as a truth and reconciliation commission or truth and justice commission, is an official body tasked with discovering and revealing past wrongdoing by a government (or, depending on the circumstances, non-state act ...
(the
Commission for Historical Clarification In 1994 Guatemala's Commission for Historical Clarification - La Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico (CEH) - was created as a response to the thousands of atrocities and human rights violations committed during the decades long civil war th ...
), government forces and state-sponsored, CIA-trained paramilitaries were responsible for over 93% of the human rights violations during the war. In the last few years, millions of documents related to crimes committed during the civil war have been found abandoned by the former Guatemalan police. The families of over 45,000 Guatemalan activists who disappeared during the civil war are now reviewing the documents, which have been digitized. This could lead to further legal actions. During the first ten years of the civil war, the victims of the state-sponsored terror were primarily students, workers, professionals, and opposition figures, but in the last years they were thousands of mostly rural
Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples, of southern Mexico and northern Central America ** Maya civilization, the historical civilization of the Maya peoples ** Maya language (disambiguation), Maya language, the languages of the Maya peop ...
farmers and non-combatants. More than 450 Maya villages were destroyed and over 1 million people became refugees or displaced within Guatemala. In 1995, the Catholic Archdiocese of Guatemala began the Recovery of Historical Memory (REMHI) project, known in Spanish as "El Proyecto de la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica", to collect the facts and history of Guatemala's long civil war and confront the truth of those years. On 24 April 1998, REMHI presented the results of its work in the report "Guatemala: Nunca Más!". This report summarized testimony and statements of thousands of witnesses and victims of repression during the Civil War. "The report laid the blame for 80 per cent of the atrocities at the door of the Guatemalan Army and its collaborators within the social and political elite."Stanford, Peter (16 March 2008). "Review of The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi?, by Francisco Goldman". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved 25 July 2016. Catholic Bishop Juan José Gerardi Conedera worked on the Recovery of Historical Memory Project and two days after he announced the release of its report on victims of the Guatemalan Civil War, "Guatemala: Nunca Más!", in April 1998, Bishop Gerardi was attacked in his garage and beaten to death. In 2001, in the first trial in a civilian court of members of the military in Guatemalan history, three Army officers were convicted of his death and sentenced to 30 years in prison. A priest was convicted as an accomplice and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. According to the report, ''Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica'' (REMHI), some 200,000 people died. More than one million people were forced to flee their homes and hundreds of villages were destroyed. The Historical Clarification Commission attributed more than 93% of all documented violations of human rights to Guatemala's military government, and estimated that Maya Indians accounted for 83% of the victims. It concluded in 1999 that state actions constituted genocide. In some areas such as
Baja Verapaz Baja Verapaz () is a department in Guatemala. The capital is Salamá. Baja Verapaz contains the Mario Dary Biotope Preserve, preserving the native flora and fauna of the region, especially the endangered national bird of Guatemala, the Resp ...
, the Truth Commission found that the Guatemalan state engaged in an intentional policy of genocide against particular ethnic groups in the
Civil War A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
. In 1999, U.S. president
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton (Birth name, né Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He previously served as governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 ...
said that the United States had been wrong to have provided support to the Guatemalan military forces that took part in these brutal civilian killings.


Since 2000

Since the peace accords Guatemala has had both economic growth and successive democratic elections, most recently in 2019. In the 2019 elections,
Alejandro Giammattei Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla (; born 9 March 1956) is a Guatemalan politician who is serving as the president of Guatemala since 2020. He is a former director of the Guatemalan penitentiary system and participated in Guatemala's president ...
won the presidency. He assumed office in January 2020. In January 2012 Efrain Rios Montt, the former dictator of Guatemala, appeared in a Guatemalan court on genocide charges. During the hearing, the government presented evidence of over 100 incidents involving at least 1,771 deaths, 1,445 rapes, and the displacement of nearly 30,000 Guatemalans during his 17-month rule from 1982 to 1983. The prosecution wanted him incarcerated because he was viewed as a flight risk but he remained free on bail, under house arrest and guarded by the Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC). On 10 May 2013, Rios Montt was found guilty and sentenced to 80 years in prison. It marked the first time that a national court had found a former head of state guilty of genocide. The conviction was later overturned, and Montt's trial resumed in January 2015. In August 2015, a Guatemalan court ruled that Rios Montt could stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity, but that he could not be sentenced due to his age and deteriorating health. Ex-President
Alfonso Portillo Alfonso Antonio Portillo Cabrera (born 24 September 1951) is a Guatemalan politician who served as President of Guatemala from 2000 to 2004. He took office on 14 January 2000, representing the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), the party then ...
was arrested in January 2010 while trying to flee Guatemala. He was acquitted in May 2010, by a panel of judges that threw out some of the evidence and discounted certain witnesses as unreliable. The Guatemalan Attorney-General, Claudia Paz y Paz, called the verdict "a terrible message of injustice," and "a wake up call about the power structures." In its appeal, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN judicial group assisting the Guatemalan government, called the decision's assessment of the meticulously-documented evidence against Portillo Cabrera "whimsical" and said the decision's assertion that the president of Guatemala and his ministers had no responsibility for handling public funds ran counter to the constitution and laws of Guatemala. A New York grand jury had indicted Portillo Cabrera in 2009 for embezzlement; following his acquittal on those charges in Guatemala that country's Supreme Court authorized his extradition to the US. The Guatemalan judiciary is deeply corrupt and the selection committee for new nominations has been captured by criminal elements. At the
2012 Summer Olympics The 2012 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad and also known as London 2012) was an international multi-sport event held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, England, United Kingdom. The first event, the ...
in
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
, Guatemala received its first-ever Olympic medal when
Erick Barrondo The given name Eric, Erich, Erikk, Erik, Erick, or Eirik is derived from the Old Norse name ''Eiríkr'' (or ''Eríkr'' in Old East Norse due to monophthongization). The first element, ''ei-'' may be derived from the older Proto-Norse languag ...
won the men's 20 kilometre walk.


Pérez Molina government and "La Línea"

Retired general Otto Pérez Molina was elected president in 2011 along with
Roxana Baldetti Ingrid Roxana Baldetti Elías (born May 13, 1962) was the first female Vice President of Guatemala from 2012 until her resignation amid a corruption scandal in 2015. She was convicted of fraud in 2018. Early life Baldetti was born in Guatemala ...
, the first woman ever elected vice-president in Guatemala; they began their term in office on 14 January 2012. But on 16 April 2015, a United Nations (UN) anti-corruption agency report implicated several high-profile politicians including Baldetti's private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón, and the director of the Guatemalan Internal Revenue Service (SAT). The revelations provoked more public outrage than had been seen since the presidency of General Kjell Eugenio Laugerud García. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) worked with the Guatemalan attorney-general to reveal the scam known as " La Línea", following a year-long investigation that included wire taps. Officials received bribes from importers in exchange for discounted import tariffs, a practice rooted in a long tradition of customs corruption in the country, as a fund-raising tactic of successive military governments for counterinsurgency operations during Guatemala's 36-year-long
civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
. A Facebook event using the hashtag ''#RenunciaYa'' (Resign Now) invited citizens to go downtown in to ask for Baldetti's resignation. Within days, over 10,000 people RSVPed that they would attend. Organizers made clear that no political party or group was behind the event, and instructed protesters at the event to follow the law. They also urged people to bring water, food and sunblock, but not to cover their faces or wear political party colors. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Guatemala City. They protested in front of the presidential palace. Baldetti resigned a few days later. She was forced to remain in Guatemala when the United States revoked her visa. The Guatemalan government arraigned her, since it had enough evidence to suspect her involvement in the "La Linea" scandal. The prominence of US Ambassador Todd Robinson in the Guatemalan political scene once the scandal broke led to the suspicion that the US government was behind the investigation, perhaps because it needed an honest government in Guatemala to counter the presence of China and Russia in the region. The UN anti-corruption committee has reported on other cases since then, and more than 20 government officials have stepped down. Some were arrested. Two of those cases involved two former presidential private secretaries: Juan de Dios Rodríguez in the Guatemalan Social Service and Gustave Martínez, who was involved in a bribery scandal at the coal power plant company. Martínez was also Perez Molina's son-in-law. Leaders of the political opposition have also been implicated in CICIG investigations: several legislators and members of Libertad Democrática Renovada party (LIDER) were formally accused of bribery-related issues, prompting a large decline in the electoral prospects of its presidential candidate, Manuel Baldizón, who until April had been almost certain to become the next Guatemalan president in the 6 September 2015 presidential elections. Baldizón's popularity steeply declined and he filed accusations with the Organization of American States against CICIG leader Iván Velásquez of international obstruction in Guatemalan internal affairs. CICIG reported its cases so often on Thursdays that Guatemalans coined the term "CICIG Thursdays". But a Friday press conference brought the crisis to its peak: on Friday 21 August 2015, the CICIG and Attorney General Thelma Aldana presented enough evidence to convince the public that both President Pérez Molina and former vice President Baldetti were the actual leaders of "La Línea". Baldetti was arrested the same day and an impeachment was requested for the president. Several cabinet members resigned and the clamor for the president's resignation grew after Perez Molina defiantly assured the nation in a televised message broadcast on 23 August 2015 that he was not going to resign. Thousands of protesters took to the streets again, this time to demand the increasingly isolated president's resignation. Guatemala's Congress named a commission of five legislators to consider whether to remove the president's immunity from prosecution. The Supreme Court approved. A major day of action kicked off early on 27 August, with marches and roadblocks across the country. Urban groups who had spearheaded regular protests since the scandal broke in April, on the 27th sought to unite with the rural and indigenous organizations who orchestrated the road blocks. The strike in Guatemala City was full of a diverse and peaceful crowd ranging from the indigenous poor to the well-heeled, and it included many students from public and private universities. Hundreds of schools and businesses closed in support of the protests. The ''Comité Coordinador de Asociaciones Agrícolas, Comerciales, Industriales y Financieras'' (CACIF) Guatemala's most powerful business leaders, issued a statement demanding that Pérez Molina step down, and urged Congress to withdraw his immunity from prosecution. The attorney general's office released its own statement, calling for the president's resignation "to prevent ungovernability that could destabilize the nation." As pressure mounted, the president's former ministers of defense and of the interior, who had been named in the corruption investigation and resigned, abruptly left the country. Pérez Molina meanwhile had been losing support by the day. The private sector called for his resignation; however, he also managed to get support from entrepreneurs that were not affiliated with the private sector chambers: Mario López Estrada – grandchild of former dictator
Manuel Estrada Cabrera Manuel José Estrada Cabrera (21 November 1857 – 24 September 1924) was the President of Guatemala The president of Guatemala ( es, Presidente de Guatemala), officially known as the President of the Republic of Guatemala ( es, President ...
and the billionaire owner of cellular phone companies – had some of his executives assume the vacated cabinet positions. The Guatemalan radio station Emisoras Unidas reported exchanging text messages with Perez Molina. Asked whether he planned to resign, he wrote: "I will face whatever is necessary to face, and what the law requires." Some protesters demanded the general election be postponed, both because of the crisis and because it was plagued with accusations of irregularities. Others warned that suspending the vote could lead to an institutional vacuum. However, on 2 September 2015 Pérez Molina resigned, a day after Congress impeached him. On 3 September 2015 he was summoned to the Justice Department for his first legal audience for the La Linea corruption case. In June 2016 a United Nations-backed prosecutor described the administration of Pérez Molina as a crime syndicate and outlined another corruption case, this one dubbed ''Cooperacha'' (Kick-in). The head of the Social Security Institute and at least five other ministers pooled funds to buy Molina luxurious gifts such as motorboats, spending over $4.7 million in three years.


Jimmy Morales and Alejandro Giammattei in power (2015-present)

In the October 2015 presidential election, former TV comedian
Jimmy Morales Jimmy Morales (born James Ernesto Morales Cabrera, ; 18 March 1969) is a Guatemalans, Guatemalan politician, actor and comedian. From 2016 to 2020, he served as the President of Guatemala#Presidents of independent Guatemala (1839–present), 50 ...
was elected as the new president of Guatemala after huge anti-corruption demonstrations. He took office in January 2016. In January 2017, President Morales announced that Guatemala will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the United States. In January 2020,
Alejandro Giammattei Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla (; born 9 March 1956) is a Guatemalan politician who is serving as the president of Guatemala since 2020. He is a former director of the Guatemalan penitentiary system and participated in Guatemala's president ...
replaced Jimmy Morales as the president of Guatemala. Giammattei had won the
presidential election A presidential election is the election of any head of state whose official title is President (government title), President. Elections by country Albania The president List of heads of state of Albania, of Albania is elected by the Assembly of ...
in August 2019 with his "tough-on-crime" agenda.


Geography

Guatemala is mountainous with small patches of desert and sand dunes, all hilly valleys, except for the south coast and the vast northern lowlands of Petén department. Two mountain chains enter Guatemala from west to east, dividing Guatemala into three major regions: the highlands, where the mountains are located; the Pacific coast, south of the mountains and the Petén region, north of the mountains. All major cities are located in the highlands and Pacific coast regions; by comparison, Petén is sparsely populated. These three regions vary in climate, elevation, and landscape, providing dramatic contrasts between hot, humid tropical lowlands and colder, drier highland peaks. Volcán Tajumulco, at , is the highest point in the Central American countries. The rivers are short and shallow in the Pacific drainage basin, larger and deeper in the Caribbean and the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United ...
drainage basins. These rivers include the Polochic and Dulce Rivers, which drain into Lake Izabal, the Motagua River, the Sarstún, which forms the boundary with Belize, and the
Usumacinta River The Usumacinta River (; named after the howler monkey Howler monkeys (genus Genus ( plural genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#I ...
, which forms the boundary between Petén and
Chiapas Chiapas (; Tzotzil language, Tzotzil and Tzeltal language, Tzeltal: ''Chyapas'' ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas), is one of the states that make up the Political divisions of Mexico, ...
, Mexico.


Natural disasters

Guatemala's location between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean makes it a target for hurricanes such as
Hurricane Mitch Hurricane Mitch is the second-deadliest Atlantic hurricane An Atlantic hurricane, also known as tropical storm or simply hurricane, is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic Ocean, primarily between the months of June and November. A h ...
in 1998 and
Hurricane Stan Hurricane Stan was a relatively weak but deadly tropical cyclone that affected areas of Central America and Mexico in early October 2005. The eighteenth tropical cyclone naming, named storm and eleventh Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale, hurrica ...
in October 2005, which killed more than 1,500 people. The damage was not wind-related, but rather due to significant
flooding A flood is an overflow of water ( or rarely other fluids) that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. Floods are an area of study of the discipline hydrolo ...
and resulting
mudslides A mudflow or mud flow is a form of mass wasting involving fast-moving flow of debris that has become liquified by the addition of water. Such flows can move at speeds ranging from 3 meters/minute to 5 meters/second. Mudflows contain a significa ...
. The most recent was
Hurricane Eta Hurricane Eta was a deadly and erratic Saffir-Simpson scale, Category 4 hurricane that devastated parts of Central America in early November 2020. The record-tying twenty-eighth Tropical cyclone naming, named storm, thirteenth hurricane, and s ...
in November 2020, which was responsible for more than 100 missing or killed with the final tally still uncertain. Guatemala's highlands lie along the
Motagua Fault The Motagua Fault (also, Motagua Fault Zone) is a major, active left lateral-moving transform fault A transform fault or transform boundary, is a fault (geology), fault along a plate boundary where the motion (physics), motion is predominant ...
, part of the boundary between the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean ...
and
North American North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
tectonic plates Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin, tectonicus, from the grc, τεκτονικός, lit=pertaining to building) is the generally accepted scientific theory that considers the Earth's lithosphere to comprise a number of large te ...
. This fault has been responsible for several major earthquakes in historic times, including a 7.5 magnitude tremor on 4 February 1976 which killed more than 25,000 people. In addition, the Middle America Trench, a major
subduction zone Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere is recycled Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. The Energy recycling, recovery of energy from waste materials is oft ...
lies off the Pacific coast. Here, the
Cocos Plate The Cocos Plate is a young oceanic tectonic plate Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin, tectonicus, from the grc, τεκτονικός, lit=pertaining to building) is the generally accepted scientific theory that considers the ...
is sinking beneath the Caribbean Plate, producing volcanic activity inland of the coast. Guatemala has 37 volcanoes, four of them active: Pacaya, Santiaguito, Fuego, and Tacaná. Natural disasters have a long history in this geologically active part of the world. For example, two of the three moves of the capital of Guatemala have been due to volcanic mudflows in 1541 and earthquakes in 1773.


Biodiversity

Guatemala has 14 ecoregions ranging from mangrove forests to both ocean littorals with 5 different ecosystems. Guatemala has 252 listed wetlands, including five lakes, 61 lagoons, 100 rivers, and four swamps.
Tikal Tikal () (''Tik’al'' in modern Mayan orthography) is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala. It is one of the largest archeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Co ...
National Park was the first mixed UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNES ...
. Guatemala is a country of distinct
fauna Fauna is all of the animal life present in a particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is ''flora'', and for fungi, it is ''funga''. Flora, fauna, funga and other forms of life are collectively referred to as ''Biota (ecology ...
. It has some 1246 known species. Of these, 6.7% are
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of or ...
and 8.1% are threatened. Guatemala is home to at least 8,682 species of vascular plants, of which 13.5% are endemic. 5.4% of Guatemala is protected under IUCN categories I-V. The Maya Biosphere Reserve in the department of Petén has 2,112,940 ha, making it the second-largest forest in Central America after Bosawas. It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.85/10, ranking it 138th globally out of 172 countries.


Government and politics


Political system

Guatemala is a constitutional democratic republic whereby the
President of Guatemala The president of Guatemala ( es, Presidente de Guatemala), officially known as the President of the Republic of Guatemala ( es, Presidente de la República de Guatemala), is the head of state and head of government of Guatemala, elected to a s ...
is both
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "
he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun), an English pronoun * He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ * He (letter) He is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician alphabet, Phoenic ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international p ...
and
head of government The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presid ...
, and of a
multi-party system In political science, a multi-party system is a political system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national elections, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coal ...
.
Executive power The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
is exercised by the government.
Legislative power A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
is vested in both the government and the Congress of the Republic. The
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
is independent of the executive and the legislature. On 2 September 2015, Otto Pérez Molina resigned as President of Guatemala due to a corruption scandal and was replaced by Alejandro Maldonado until January 2016. Congress appointed former Universidad de San Carlos President Alfonso Fuentes Soria as the new vice president to replace Maldonado.
Jimmy Morales Jimmy Morales (born James Ernesto Morales Cabrera, ; 18 March 1969) is a Guatemalans, Guatemalan politician, actor and comedian. From 2016 to 2020, he served as the President of Guatemala#Presidents of independent Guatemala (1839–present), 50 ...
assumed office on 14 January 2016. In January 2020, he was succeeded by
Alejandro Giammattei Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla (; born 9 March 1956) is a Guatemalan politician who is serving as the president of Guatemala since 2020. He is a former director of the Guatemalan penitentiary system and participated in Guatemala's president ...
.


Foreign relations

Guatemala has long claimed all or part of the territory of neighboring Belize. Owing to this territorial dispute, Guatemala did not recognize Belize's independence until 6 September 1991, but the dispute is not resolved. Negotiations are currently under way under the auspices of the
Organization of American States The Organization of American States (OAS; es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains; ''OEA'') is an international organization that was founded on 30 April ...
to conclude it.


Military

Guatemala has a modest military, with between 15,000 and 20,000 personnel. In 2017, Guatemala signed the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


Administrative divisions

Guatemala is divided into 22 departments (
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
: ''departamentos'') and sub-divided into about 335 municipalities (
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
: ''municipios'').


Human rights

Killings and
death squad A death squad is an armed group whose primary activity is carrying out extrajudicial killings or forced disappearances as part of political repression, genocide, ethnic cleansing, or revolutionary terror. Except in rare cases in which they are f ...
s have been common in Guatemala since the end of the civil war in 1996. They often had ties to Clandestine Security Apparatuses (), organizations of current and former members of the military involved in organized crime. They had significant influence, now somewhat lessened, but extrajudicial killings continue. In July 2004, the Inter-American Court condemned the 18 July 1982 massacre of 188 Achi-Maya in Plan de Sanchez, and for the first time in its history, ruled the Guatemalan Army had committed genocide. It was the first ruling by the court against the Guatemalan state for any of the 626 massacres reported in its 1980s scorched-earth campaign. In those massacres, 83 percent of the victims were Maya and 17 percent Ladino. In 2008, Guatemala became the first country to officially recognize
femicide Femicide or feminicide is a hate crime which is broadly defined as "the intentional killing of women or girls because they are female," but definitions of it vary depending on cultural context. In 1976, the Feminism, feminist author Diana E. ...
, the murder of a female because of her gender, as a crime. Guatemala has the third-highest femicide rate in the world, after and
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about south of Cuba, and west of Hisp ...
, with around 9.1 murders for every 100,000 women from 2007 to 2012.


Economy

Guatemala is the largest economy in Central America, with a GDP (PPP) per capita of US$5,200. However, Guatemala faces many social problems and is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The income distribution is highly unequal with more than half of the population below the national poverty line and just over 400,000 (3.2%) unemployed. The CIA World Fact Book considers 54.0% of the population of Guatemala to be living in poverty in 2009. In 2010, the Guatemalan economy grew by 3%, recovering gradually from the 2009 crisis, as a result of the falling demands from the United States and other
Central American Central America ( es, América Central or ) is a subregion of the Americas. Its boundaries are defined as bordering the United States to the north, Colombia to the south, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Cen ...
markets and the slowdown in foreign investment in the middle of the
global recession A global recession is recession that affects many countries around the world—that is, a period of global economic slowdown or declining economic output. Definitions The International Monetary Fund defines a global recession as "a decline i ...
.
Remittance A remittance is a non-commercial transfer of money by a foreign worker Foreign workers or guest workers are people who work in a country other than one of which they are a citizen. Some foreign workers use a guest worker program in a count ...
s from Guatemalans living in United States now constitute the largest single source of foreign income (two-thirds of exports and one tenth of GDP). Some of Guatemala's main exports are fruits, vegetables, flowers, handicrafts, cloths and others. It is a leading exporter of
cardamom Cardamom (), sometimes cardamon or cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera '' Elettaria'' and '' Amomum'' in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia In ...
and
coffee Coffee is a drink prepared from roasted coffee beans. Darkly colored, bitter, and slightly acidic, coffee has a stimulant, stimulating effect on humans, primarily due to its caffeine content. It is the most popular hot drink in the world. S ...
. In the face of a rising demand for
biofuel Biofuel is a fuel that is produced over a short time span from biomass, rather than by the very slow natural processes involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as oil. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA ...
s, the country is growing and exporting an increasing amount of raw materials for biofuel production, especially
sugar cane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, Perennial plant, perennial grass (in the genus ''Saccharum'', tribe Andropogoneae) that is used for sugar Sugar industry, production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall with ...
and
palm oil Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the Fruit anatomy#Mesocarp, mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the Elaeis, oil palms. The oil is used in food manufacturing, in beauty products, and as biofuel. Palm oil accounted for about 3 ...
. Critics say that this development leads to higher prices for
staple food A staple food, food staple, or simply a staple, is a food that is eaten often and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a standard Diet (nutrition), diet for a given person or group of people, supplying a large fraction of ...
s like corn, a major ingredient in the Guatemalan diet. As a consequence of the subsidization of US American corn, Guatemala imports nearly half of its corn from the United States that is using 40 percent of its crop harvest for biofuel production. In 2014, the government was considering ways to legalize poppy and marijuana production, hoping to tax production and use tax revenues to fund drug prevention programs and other social projects. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in
purchasing power parity Purchasing power parity (PPP) is the measurement of prices in different countries that uses the prices of specific goods to compare the absolute purchasing power of the countries' currency, currencies. PPP is effectively the ratio of the price of ...
(PPP) in 2010 was estimated at US$70.15 billion. The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 63%, followed by the industry sector at 23.8% and the agriculture sector at 13.2% (2010 est.). Mines produce gold, silver, zinc, cobalt and nickel. The agricultural sector accounts for about two-fifths of exports, and half of the labor force. Organic coffee, sugar, textiles, fresh vegetables, and bananas are the country's main exports. Inflation was 3.9% in 2010. The 1996 peace accords that ended the decades-long civil war removed a major obstacle to foreign investment. Tourism has become an increasing source of revenue for Guatemala thanks to the new foreign investment. In March 2006, Guatemala's congress ratified the Dominican Republic – Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) between several Central American nations and the United States. Guatemala also has
free trade agreement A free-trade agreement (FTA) or treaty is an agreement according to international law to form a free-trade area between the cooperating state (polity), states. There are two types of trade agreements: Bilateralism, bilateral and Multilateralism, m ...
s with
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
and
Colombia Colombia (, ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country in South America with insular regions in North America—near Nicaragua's Caribbean coast—as well as in the Pacific Ocean. The Colombian mainland is bordered by the Cari ...
.


Tourism

Tourism has become one of the main drivers of the economy, with tourism estimated at $1.8 billion to the economy in 2008. Guatemala receives around two million tourists annually. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of cruise ships visiting Guatemalan seaports, leading to higher tourist numbers. Tourist destinations include Mayan archaeological sites (e.g.
Tikal Tikal () (''Tik’al'' in modern Mayan orthography) is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala. It is one of the largest archeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Co ...
in the Peten, Quiriguá in Izabal, Iximche in Tecpan Chimaltenango and ), natural attractions (e.g. Lake Atitlán and Semuc Champey) and historical sites such as the colonial city of
Antigua Guatemala Antigua Guatemala (), commonly known as Antigua or La Antigua, is a city in the Guatemalan Highlands, central highlands of Guatemala. The city was the capital of the Captaincy General of Guatemala from 1543 through 1773, with much of its Baroque- ...
, which is recognized as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site.


Demographics

Guatemala has a population of ( est). With only 885,000 in 1900, this constitutes the fastest population growth in the Western Hemisphere during the 20th century. The Republic of Guatemala's first census was taken in 1778. The census records for 1778, 1880, 1893 and 1921 were used as scrap paper and no longer exist, although their statistical information was preserved. Censuses have not been taken at regular intervals. Note that the 1837 census was discredited at the time; statistician Don Jose de la Valle made a calculation that in 1837 the population of Guatemala was 600,000. The 1940 census was burned. Data from the remaining censuses is in the Historical Population table below. Guatemala is heavily centralized: transportation, communications, business, politics, and the most relevant urban activity takes place in the capital of Guatemala City, whose urban area has a population of almost 3 million. The estimated median age in Guatemala is 20 years old, 19.4 for males and 20.7 years for females. Guatemala is demographically one of the youngest countries in the Western Hemisphere, comparable to most of central Africa and Iraq. The proportion of the population below the age of 15 in 2010 was 41.5%, 54.1% were aged between 15 and 65 years of age, and 4.4% were aged 65 years or older.


Diaspora

A significant number of Guatemalans live outside of their country. The majority of the Guatemalan
diaspora A diaspora ( ) is a population that is scattered across regions which are separate from its geographic place of origin. Historically, the word was used first in reference to the dispersion of Greek diaspora, Greeks in the Hellenic world, and ...
is located in the United States of America, with estimates ranging from 480,665The 2000 U.S. Census recorded 480,665 Guatemalan-born respondents; see Smith (2006) to 1,489,426. Emigration to the United States has led to the growth of Guatemalan communities in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Rhode Island and elsewhere since the 1970s. However, as of July 2019, the United States and Guatemala signed a deal to restrict migration and asylum seekers from Guatemala. Below are estimates of the number of Guatemalans living abroad for certain countries:


Ethnic groups

Guatemala is populated by a variety of ethnic, cultural, racial, and linguistic groups. According to the 2018 Census conducted by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), 56% of the population is Ladino reflecting mixed indigenous and European heritage. Indigenous Guatemalans are 43.6% of the national population, which is one of the largest percentages in Latin America, behind only Peru and Bolivia. Most indigenous Guatemalans (41.7% of the national population) are of the
Maya people The Maya peoples () are an ethnolinguistic group of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. The ancient Maya civilization was formed by members of this group, and today's Maya are generally descended from people ...
, namely K'iche' (11.0% of the total population), Q'eqchi (8.3%), Kaqchikel (7.8%), Mam (5.2%), and "other
Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples, of southern Mexico and northern Central America ** Maya civilization, the historical civilization of the Maya peoples ** Maya language (disambiguation), Maya language, the languages of the Maya peop ...
" (7.6%). 2% of the national population is indigenous non-Maya. 1.8% of the population is Xinca (mesoamerican), and 0.1% of the population is Garifuna (African/Carib mix). "However, indigenous rights activists put the indigenous figure closer to 61 per cent."
White White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of th ...
Guatemalans of European descent, also called
Criollo Criollo or criolla (Spanish for creole) may refer to: People * Criollo people, a social class in the Spanish race-based colonial caste system (the European descendants) Animals * Muscovy duck, Criollo duck, a species of duck native to Central an ...
, are not differentiated from Ladinos (mixed-race) individuals in the Guatemalan census. Most are descendants of German and Spanish settlers, and others derive from Italians, British, French, Swiss, Belgians, Dutch, Russians and Danes. German settlers are credited with bringing the tradition of Christmas trees to Guatemala. The population includes about 110,000 Salvadorans. The Garífuna, descended primarily from Black Africans who lived and intermarried with indigenous peoples from St. Vincent, live mainly in Livingston and Puerto Barrios. Afro-Guatemalans and
mulatto (, ) is a Race (human categorization), racial classification to refer to people of mixed Sub-Saharan African, African and Ethnic groups in Europe, European ancestry. Its use is considered outdated and offensive in several languages, including ...
s are descended primarily from banana plantation workers. There are also
Asians Asian people (or Asians, sometimes referred to as Asiatic people)United States National Library of Medicine. Medical Subject Headings. 2004. November 17, 200Nlm.nih.gov: ''Asian Continental Ancestry Group'' is also used for categorical purpos ...
, mostly of Chinese descent but also
Arabs The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping o ...
of Lebanese and
Syrian Syrians ( ar, سُورِيُّون, ''Sūriyyīn'') are an Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the East, eastern approximate One half, half, or third, of the Mediterranean Sea, often defined as the countries a ...
descent.


Languages

Guatemala's sole official language is Spanish, spoken by 93 percent of the population as either the first or second language. Twenty-one
Mayan languages The Mayan languagesIn linguistics, it is conventional to use ''Mayan'' when referring to the languages, or an aspect of a language. In other academic fields, ''Maya'' is the preferred usage, serving as both a singular and plural noun, and as ...
are spoken, especially in rural areas, as well as two non-Mayan Indigenous languages: Xinca, which is indigenous to the country, and
Garifuna The Garifuna people ( or ; pl. Garínagu in Garifuna language, Garifuna) are a people of mixed free African people, African and Indigenous people of the Americas, indigenous American ancestry that originated in the Caribbean island of Saint Vi ...
, an
Arawakan Arawakan (''Arahuacan, Maipuran Arawakan, "mainstream" Arawakan, Arawakan proper''), also known as Maipurean (also ''Maipuran, Maipureano, Maipúre''), is a language family A language family is a group of languages related through Genetic r ...
language spoken on the Caribbean coast. According to the Language Law of 2003, these languages are recognized as national languages.


Indigenous integration and bilingual education

Throughout the 20th century there have been many developments in the integration of
Mayan languages The Mayan languagesIn linguistics, it is conventional to use ''Mayan'' when referring to the languages, or an aspect of a language. In other academic fields, ''Maya'' is the preferred usage, serving as both a singular and plural noun, and as ...
into the Guatemalan society and educational system. Originating from political reasons, these processes have aided the revival of some Mayan languages and advanced bilingual education in the country. In 1945, in order to overcome "the Indian problem", the Guatemalan government founded The Institute Indigents ta National (NH), the purpose of which was to teach literacy to Mayan children in their mother tongue instead of Spanish, to prepare the ground for later assimilation of the latter. The teaching of literacy in the first language, which received support from the UN, significantly advanced in 1952, when the SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics), located in Dallas, Texas, partnered with the Guatemalan Ministry of Education; within 2 years, numerous written works in Mayan languages had been printed and published, and vast advancement was done in the translation of the New Testament. Further efforts to integrate the indigenous into the Ladino society were made in the following years, including the invention of a special alphabet to assist Mayan students transition to Spanish, and bilingual education in the Q'eqchi' area. When Spanish became the official language of Guatemala in 1965, the government started several programs, such as the Bilingual Castellanizacion Program and the Radiophonic Schools, to accelerate the move of Mayan students to Spanish. Unintentionally, the efforts to integrate the indigenous using language, especially the new alphabet, gave institutions tools to use Mayan tongues in schools, and while improving Mayan children's learning, they left them unequipped to learn in a solely Spanish environment. So, an additional expansion of bilingual education took place in 1980, when an experimental program in which children were to be instructed in their mother tongue until they are fluent enough in Spanish was created. The program proved successful when the students of the pilot showed higher academic achievements than the ones in the Spanish-only control schools. In 1987, when the pilot was to finish, bilingual education was made official in Guatemala.


Religion

Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
is very influential in nearly all of Guatemalan society, both in cosmology and social-politic composition. The country, once dominated by
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
(introduced by the Spanish during the colonial era), is now influenced by a diversity of Christian denominations. The Roman Catholic Church remains the largest Church denomination, passing from 57.7% in 2001 to 47.9% (SEPAL 2001, CID Gallup 2012). During 2001-2012, the already numerous
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
population, grew from little more than a quarter of the population to 38.2%. Those claiming no religious affiliation were down from 13.9% to 11.6%. The remainder, including
Mormons Mormons are a Religious denomination, religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, the principal branch of the Latter Day Saint movement started by Joseph Smith in upstate New York during the 1820s. After Smith's death in 1844, the mov ...
and adherents of
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
,
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
, and
Buddhism Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attributed to the Buddha. ...
, continued to register at more than 2 percent of the population. Since the 1960s, and particularly during the 1980s, Guatemala has experienced the rapid growth of Protestantism, especially evangelical varieties. Guatemala has been described as the most heavily evangelical nation in Latin America, with multitudes of unregistered churches, although Brazil or
Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean ...
may be. Over the past two decades, particularly since the end of the civil war, Guatemala has seen heightened missionary activity. Protestant denominations have grown markedly in recent decades, chiefly
Evangelical Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide Interdenominationalism, interdenominational movement within Protestantism, Protestant Christianity that affirms the centrality of being "bor ...
and
Pentecostal Pentecostalism or classical Pentecostalism is a Protestantism, Protestant Charismatic Christianity, Charismatic Christian movementNational Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala maintaining 11 indigenous-language presbyteries.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian Christianity, Christian church that considers itself to be the Restorationism, restoration of the ...
has grown from 40,000 members in 1984 to 164,000 in 1998, and continues to expand. The growth of
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptized members. It operates as a Communion (Christ ...
in Guatemala has been especially strong, with hundreds of thousands of converts in the last five years, giving the country the highest proportion of Orthodox adherents in the Western Hemisphere. Traditional
Maya religion The traditional Maya or Mayan religion of the extant Maya peoples of Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and the Tabasco, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán states of Mexico is part of the wider frame of Mesoamerican religion. As is t ...
persists through the process of inculturation, in which certain practices are incorporated into Catholic ceremonies and worship when they are sympathetic to the meaning of Catholic belief. Indigenous religious practices are increasing as a result of the cultural protections established under the peace accords. The government has instituted a policy of providing altars at every Maya ruin to facilitate traditional ceremonies.


Immigration

During the colonial era Guatemala received immigrants (settlers) only from Spain. Subsequently, Guatemala received waves of immigration from Europe in the mid 19th century and early 20th century. Primarily from Germany, these immigrants installed coffee and cardamom fincas in Alta Verapaz, Zacapa,
Quetzaltenango Quetzaltenango (, also known by its Maya name Xelajú or Xela ) is both the seat of the Quetzaltenango Department, namesake Department and Municipalities of Guatemala, municipality, in Guatemala. The city is located in a mountain valley at an e ...
,
Baja Verapaz Baja Verapaz () is a department in Guatemala. The capital is Salamá. Baja Verapaz contains the Mario Dary Biotope Preserve, preserving the native flora and fauna of the region, especially the endangered national bird of Guatemala, the Resp ...
and Izabal. To a lesser extent people also arrived from Spain, France, Belgium, England, Italy, Sweden, etc. Many European immigrants to Guatemala were politicians, refugees, and entrepreneurs as well as families looking to settle. Up to 1950 Guatemala was the Central American country that received the most immigrants, behind
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in the Central American region of North America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the no ...
, and large numbers of immigrants are still received today. Since the 1890s, there has been immigration from East Asia. Also, beginning with the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, the immigrant population is being strengthened by
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, history, ethnicity, culture and/or ...
immigration. During the second half of the twentieth century, Latin American immigration increased in Guatemala, particularly from other
Central American Central America ( es, América Central or ) is a subregion of the Americas. Its boundaries are defined as bordering the United States to the north, Colombia to the south, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Cen ...
countries, Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina, although most of these immigrants stayed only temporarily before going to their final destinations in the United States.


Health

Guatemala has among the worst health outcomes in Latin America with some of the highest infant mortality rates, and one of the lowest life expectancies at birth in the region. With about 16,000 doctors for its 16 million people, Guatemala has about half the doctor-citizen ratio recommended by the WHO. Since the end of the
Guatemalan Civil War The Guatemalan Civil War was a civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achiev ...
in 1997, the Ministry of Health has extended healthcare access to 54% of the rural population. Healthcare has received different levels of support from different political administrations who disagree on how best to manage distribution of services – via a private or a public entity – and the scale of financing that should be made available. , the Ministry of Health lacked the financial means to monitor or evaluate its programs. Total healthcare spending, both public and private, has remained constant at between 6.4 and 7.3% of the GDP. Per-capita average annual healthcare spending was only $368 in 2012. Guatemalan patients choose between indigenous treatments or Western medicine when they engage with the health system.


Education

74.5% of the population aged 15 and over is literate, the lowest
literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
rate in Central America. Guatemala has a plan to increase literacy over the next 20 years. The government runs a number of public elementary and secondary-level schools, as youth in Guatemala do not fully participate in education. These schools are free, though the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, and transportation makes them less accessible to the poorer segments of society and significant numbers of poor children do not attend school. Many middle and upper-class children go to private schools. Guatemala has one public university (USAC or
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala The Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC, ''University of San Carlos of Guatemala'') is the largest and oldest university of Guatemala; it is also the fourth founded in the Americas. Established in the Kingdom of Guatemala during the Spani ...
), and fourteen private ones (see List of universities in Guatemala). USAC was the first university in Guatemala and one of the first Universities of America. Organizations such as Child Aid, Pueblo a Pueblo, and Common Hope, which train teachers in villages throughout the Central Highlands region, are working to improve educational outcomes for children. Lack of training for rural teachers is one of the key contributors to Guatemala's low literacy rates.


Culture

Guatemala City is home to many of the nation's libraries and museums, including the National Archives, the National Library, and the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, which has an extensive collection of Maya artifacts. It also boasts private museums such as the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing and the Museo Popol Vuh, which focuses on Maya archaeology. Both these museums are housed on the Universidad Francisco Marroquín campus. Most of the 329 municipalities in the country have at least a small museum.


Art

Guatemala has produced many indigenous artists who follow centuries-old Pre-Columbian traditions. Reflecting Guatemala's colonial and post-colonial history, encounters with multiple global art movements also have produced a wealth of artists who have combined the traditional
primitivist Primitivism is a mode of aesthetic idealization that either emulates or aspires to recreate a "primitive" experience. It is also defined as a philosophical doctrine that considers "primitive" peoples as nobler than civilized peoples and was an o ...
or naive aesthetic with European, North American, and other traditions. The Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas "Rafael Rodríguez Padilla" is Guatemala's leading art school, and several leading indigenous artists, also graduates of that school, have work in the permanent collection of the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in the capital city. Contemporary Guatemalan artists who have gained reputations outside of Guatemala include Dagoberto Vásquez, Luis Rolando Ixquiac Xicara, Carlos Mérida, Aníbal López, Roberto González Goyri, and Elmar René Rojas.


Literature

*The Guatemala National Prize in Literature is a one-time-only award that recognizes an individual writer's body of work. It has been given annually since 1988 by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. * Miguel Ángel Asturias won the
Nobel Prize in Literature ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , caption = , awarded_for = Outstanding contributions in literature , presenter = Swedish Academy , holder = Annie Ernaux (2022) , location = Stockholm, Sweden , year = 1901 , ...
in 1967. Among his famous books is '' El Señor Presidente'', a novel based on the government of
Manuel Estrada Cabrera Manuel José Estrada Cabrera (21 November 1857 – 24 September 1924) was the President of Guatemala The president of Guatemala ( es, Presidente de Guatemala), officially known as the President of the Republic of Guatemala ( es, President ...
. *
Rigoberta Menchú Rigoberta Menchú Tum (; born 9 January 1959) is a K'iche' people, K'iche' Guatemalan human rights defender, human rights activist, Indigenous feminism, feminist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the ...
, winner of the
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
for fighting oppression of indigenous people in Guatemala, is famous for her books ''I, Rigoberta Menchú'' and ''Crossing Borders''.


Cinema

The Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante has gained an international audience with his films focused on Guatemalan contemporary society and politics : ''Ixcanul'' in 2015, and ''Temblores'' and ''La Llorona'' (The Weeping Woman) in 2019.


Media and news

Major national newspapers in Guatemala include '' Prensa Libre'', '' El Periodico'' and '' Siglo21''. Guatemala also has a few major local channels and radio stations, such as one of Guatemala's major radio stations, ''Emisoras Unidas''.


Music

Guatemalan music comprises a number of styles and expressions. Guatemalan social change has been empowered by music such as nueva cancion, which blends together histories, present-day issues, and the political values and struggles of common people. The
Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples, of southern Mexico and northern Central America ** Maya civilization, the historical civilization of the Maya peoples ** Maya language (disambiguation), Maya language, the languages of the Maya peop ...
had an intense musical practice, as documented by their
iconography Iconography, as a branch of art history, studies the identification, description and interpretation of the content of images: the subjects depicted, the particular compositions and details used to do so, and other elements that are distinct fro ...
. Guatemala was also one of the first regions in the New World to be introduced to European music, from 1524 on. Many composers from the Renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary music styles have contributed works of all genres. The
marimba The marimba () is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars that are struck by mallets. Below each bar is a resonator pipe that amplifies particular harmonics of its sound. Compared to the xylophone, the timbre ...
, which is like a wooden xylophone, is the national instrument and its music is widely found in Guatemala. It has developed a large repertoire of very attractive pieces that have been popular for more than a century. The ''Historia General de Guatemala'' has published a series of CDs compiling the historical music of Guatemala, in which every style is represented, from the Maya, colonial, independent and republican eras to the present. Many contemporary music groups in Guatemala play
Caribbean music Caribbean music genres are very diverse. They are each synthesis of Music of Africa, African, European, Arab, Asian, and Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous influences, largely created by descendants of African slaves (see Afro-Caribbe ...
, salsa,
Garifuna The Garifuna people ( or ; pl. Garínagu in Garifuna language, Garifuna) are a people of mixed free African people, African and Indigenous people of the Americas, indigenous American ancestry that originated in the Caribbean island of Saint Vi ...
-influenced
punta Punta is an Afro-indigenous dance and cultural music originating in the Caribbean Island of Saint Vincent And The Grenadines by the Garifuna people before being exiled from the island. Which is also known as Yurumei. It has Africa, African and ...
,
Latin pop Latin pop (in Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other pla ...
, Mexican regional, and
mariachi Mariachi (, , ) is a genre of regional Mexican music that dates back to at least the 18th century, evolving over time in the countryside of various regions of western Mexico. The usual mariachi group today consists of as many as eight violins, t ...
.


Cuisine

Many traditional foods in Guatemalan cuisine are based on Mayan cuisine and prominently feature
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous ...
, chilies and black beans as key ingredients. Traditional dishes also include a variety of stews including Kak'ik ''(Kak-ik)'', which is a tomato-based stew with
turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
, pepian, and
cocido () or ''cozido'' () is a traditional stew eaten as a main dish in Spain, Portugal, Brazil and other Hispanophone and Lusophone countries. Etymology In Spanish language, Spanish, ''cocido'' is the past participle of the verb ''cocer'' ("to boi ...
. Guatemala is also known for its ''
antojitos Mexican street food, called ''antojitos'' (literally "little cravings"), is prepared by street vendors and at small traditional markets in Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List ...
'', which include small
tamale A tamale, in Spanish language, Spanish tamal, is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa, a dough made from nixtamalization, nixtamalized maize, corn, which is steaming, steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The wrapping can either be d ...
s called ''chuchitos'', fried plantains, and tostadas with
tomato sauce Tomato sauce (also known as '' salsa roja'' in Spanish or ''salsa di pomodoro'' in Italian) can refer to many different sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish, rather than as a condiment A condiment is ...
,
guacamole Guacamole (; (informally shortened to ''guac'' in the United States since the 1980s) is an avocado The avocado (''Persea americana'') is a medium-sized, evergreen tree in the laurel family (Lauraceae). It is native to Americas, the America ...
or black beans. Certain foods are also commonly eaten on certain days of the week; for example, a popular custom is to eat ''paches'' (a kind of tamale made from potatoes) on Thursday. Certain dishes are also associated with special occasions, such as fiambre for
All Saints' Day All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of All Hallows, the Solemnity of All Saints, and Hallowmas, is a Christianity, Christian solemnity celebrated in honour of all the saints of the church, whether ...
on 1 November, or tamales and ''ponche'' ( fruit punch), which are both very common around Christmas.


Sports


Football

Football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
is the most popular sport in Guatemala and its national team has appeared in 18 editions of the CONCACAF Championship, winning it once, in
1967 Events January * January 1 – Canada begins a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Confederation, featuring the Expo 67 World's Fair. * January 5 ** Spain and Romania sign an agreement in Paris, establ ...
. However, the team has failed to qualify to a
FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior List of men's national association football teams, men's national teams of the members of the ' (FIFA), the ...
so far. Established in 1919, the National Football Federation of Guatemala organizes the country's
national league The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, and the world's oldest extant professional team s ...
and its lower-level competitions.


Futsal

Futsal Futsal is a football-based game played on a hardcourt, hard court smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. It has similarities to five-a-side football and Indoor soccer, indoor football. Futsal is played between two teams of five players ...
is probably the most successful
team sport A team sport includes any sport where individuals are organized into opposing sports team, teams which compete to win or cooperate to entertain their audience. Team members act together towards a shared objective. This can be done in a numb ...
in Guatemala. Its national team won the 2008 CONCACAF Futsal Championship as hosts. It was also the runner-up in
2012 File:2012 Events Collage V3.png, From left, clockwise: The passenger cruise ship Costa Concordia lies capsized after the Costa Concordia disaster; Damage to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey as a result of Hurricane Sandy; People gather ...
as hosts and won the bronze medal in
2016 File:2016 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: Bombed-out buildings in Ankara following the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt; the Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, impeachment trial of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff; Damaged houses duri ...
. Guatemala participated for the first time in the FIFA Futsal World Cup in
2000 File:2000 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: Protests against Bush v. Gore after the 2000 United States presidential election; Heads of state meet for the Millennium Summit; The International Space Station in its infant form as seen from ST ...
, as hosts, and has played in every competition from
2008 File:2008 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: Lehman Brothers went bankrupt following the Subprime mortgage crisis; Cyclone Nargis killed more than 138,000 in Myanmar; A scene from the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; ...
onwards. It has never passed the first round. It has also participated in every Grand Prix de Futsal since
2009 File:2009 Events Collage V2.png, From top left, clockwise: The vertical stabilizer of Air France Flight 447 is pulled out from the Atlantic Ocean; Barack Obama becomes the first African American to become President of the United States; 2009 Iran ...
, reaching the semifinals in
2014 File:2014 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: Stocking up supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Western African Ebola virus epidemic; Citizens examining the ruins after the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping; Bundles of wat ...
.


Olympics

The Guatemalan Olympic Committee was founded in 1947 and recognized by the
International Olympic Committee The International Olympic Committee (IOC; french: link=no, Comité international olympique, ''CIO'') is a non-governmental Sports governing body, sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an associ ...
that same year. Guatemala participated in the
1952 Summer Olympics The 1952 Summer Olympics ( fi, Kesäolympialaiset 1952; sv, Olympiska sommarspelen 1952), officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad ( fi, XV olympiadin kisat; sv, Den XV olympiadens spel) and commonly known as Helsinki 1952 ( sv, Helsin ...
, and in every edition since the
1968 Summer Olympics The 1968 Summer Olympics ( es, Juegos Olímpicos de Verano de 1968), officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad ( es, Juegos de la XIX Olimpiada) and commonly known as Mexico 1968 ( es, México 1968), were an international multi-sport eve ...
. It has also appeared in a single
Winter Olympics The Winter Olympic Games (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques d'hiver) is a major international multi-sport event held once every four years for sports practiced on snow and ice. The first Winter Olympic Games, the 1924 Winter Olympics, were hel ...
edition, in
1988 File:1988 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: The oil platform Piper Alpha explodes and collapses in the North Sea, killing 165 workers; The USS Vincennes (CG-49) mistakenly shoots down Iran Air Flight 655; Australia celebrates its Australian ...
.
Erick Barrondo The given name Eric, Erich, Erikk, Erik, Erick, or Eirik is derived from the Old Norse name ''Eiríkr'' (or ''Eríkr'' in Old East Norse due to monophthongization). The first element, ''ei-'' may be derived from the older Proto-Norse languag ...
won the only Olympic medal for Guatemala so far, silver in race walking at the
2012 Summer Olympics The 2012 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad and also known as London 2012) was an international multi-sport event held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, England, United Kingdom. The first event, the ...
.


Other sports

Guatemala also keeps national sports teams in several disciplines such as
basketball Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball (approximately in diameter) through the defender' ...
or
beach volleyball Beach volleyball is a team sport played by two teams of two or more players on a sand court divided by a net. Similar to indoor volleyball, the objective of the game is to send the ball over the net and to ground it on the opponent's side of the ...
.


See also

* Index of Guatemala-related articles * Outline of Guatemala


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Guatemala After the War 1996–2000, Photographs by Jorge Uzon

Guatemala Map Search with Longitude and Latitude

Guatemala – Country Article
Encyclopædia Britannica
Government of Guatemala



Guatemala
''
The World Factbook ''The World Factbook'', also known as the ''CIA World Factbook'', is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official print version is availab ...
''.
Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ), known informally as the Agency and historically as the Company, is a civilian intelligence agency, foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, officially tasked with gat ...
.
Guatemala
at ''UCB Libraries GovPubs''. *
Guatemala profile
from the
BBC News BBC News is an operational Division (business), business division of the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs in the UK and around the world. The department is t ...
. *
Key Development Forecasts for Guatemala
from
International Futures International Futures (IFs) is a global integrated assessment model designed to help with thinking strategically and systematically about key global systems (economic, demographic, education, health, environment, technology, domestic governance, ...
.
The National Security Archive: Guatemala Project

Guatemala Tourism Commission

World Bank Summary Trade Statistics Guatemala
{{Authority control Countries in Central America Former Spanish colonies Member states of the United Nations Republics Spanish-speaking countries and territories States and territories established in 1821 1821 establishments in North America Countries in North America Northern Triangle of Central America