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The Guatemala Portal

Flag of the Republic of Guatemala
Coat of Arms of the Republic of Guatemala
Location on the world map

The Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala, [reˈpuβlika ðe ɣwateˈmala]), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the northwest, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize and the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast.

The most populous nation in Central America, Guatemala is a representative democracy with its capital at Guatemala City. Although the nation has been relatively stable since 1996, Guatemala's recent history has been plagued by civil war and military coups, which have slowed the nation's development. Large portions of Guatemala's interior remain wholly undeveloped, including the nation's many rainforests and wetlands. Guatemala's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contribute to Mesoamerica's designation as an important biodiversity hotspot. Guatemala is known for its many ancient Maya cities such as Tikal located in the municipality of Flores, in the department of Petén.

Selected article

557px-CentralAmerica1860Map a.jpg

Los Altos ("The Highlands" in the Spanish language) was a territory consisting of eight departments in the west of present-day Guatemala as well as the Soconusco region in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Its capital was Quetzaltenango.

Los Altos declared independence from Guatemala on February 2, 1838, and was admitted as the sixth state of the Federal Republic of Central America. As the Federation crumbled into civil war, Los Altos declared itself an independent republic. On April 2, 1840, Rafael Carrera, de facto ruler of Guatemala, led an army to capture most government officials from Los Altos, who were summarily executed. Carrera annexed Quetzaltenango and much of Los Altos into Guatemala. Mexico annexed the Soconusco region. Revolts against the Guatemalan dictatorship of Carrera in 1844, 1848, and 1849 reestablished the independence of Los Altos for brief periods.

Did you know...

  • The cult of Maximón (or San Simón) in the highlands of Western Guatemala venerates a cigar-smoking effigy with offerings of money, alcoholic spirits and tobacco.
  • Remittances are the major source of foreign income for Guatemala, accounting for more than the combined value of exports and tourism.
  • El Mirador was by far the most populated city in Pre-Columbian America and contains the second largest pyramid in the world by volume.
  • Tecún Umán, a legendary king of the K'iche-Maya people, is controversially acclaimed as Guatemala's national hero.
  • The Guatemalan Revolution, which lasted from 1944 to 1954, included an agrarian reform program that granted land to half a million landless peasants.

Selected biography

Miguel Ángel Asturias (October 19, 1899 – June 9, 1974) was a Nobel Prize–winning Guatemalan poet, novelist, and diplomat. Asturias helped establish Latin American literature's contribution to mainstream Western culture, and at the same time drew attention to the importance of indigenous cultures, especially those of his native Guatemala.

Asturias' masterpiece, Hombres de maíz (Men of Maize), is a defence of Mayan culture and customs. His novel, El Señor Presidente, describes life under a ruthless dictator modeled in part on President of Guatemala Manuel Estrada Cabrera. Asturias' dissidence led to exile in South America and Europe.

In 1966, Asturias won the Soviet Union's Lenin Peace Prize. The following year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, only the second Latin American to receive this honor. Asturias spent his final years in Madrid, where he died at the age of 74. He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.


Departments and municipalities

Departments of Guatemala

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

The departments include:

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

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