Totonicapán Department

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Flag of Totonicapán
Coat of arms of Totonicapán
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 14°54′45″N 91°21′36″W / 14.91250°N 91.36000°W / 14.91250; -91.36000Coordinates: 14°54′45″N 91°21′36″W / 14.91250°N 91.36000°W / 14.91250; -91.36000
Country Flag of Guatemala.svg Guatemala
Department Totonicapán
Capital Totonicapán
Municipalities 8
 • Type Departmental
 • Department 1,061 km2 (410 sq mi)
Population (Census 2002)[1]
 • Department 339,254
 • Urban 121,617
 • Ethnicities K'iche' people, Ladino
 • Religions Roman Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Maya
Time zone -6
ISO 3166 code GT-TO

Totonicapán is one of the 22 departments of Guatemala. The capital is the city of Totonicapán.


Historical chronicler Francisco Antonio de Fuentes y Guzmán, described the municipalities of Totonicapán in his 1689 “Recordación Florida.” This record confirms the area's pre-Columbian origins.

In July, 1820, the indigenous residents of Totonicapán revolted against the government in response to excessive tributes imposed by the Spanish King Ferdinand VII. The rebellion was led by Atanasio Tzul and Lucas Aguilar. After toppling the local government, Tzul declared himself king of the breakaway province, with Aguilar as president. The mayor of neighboring Quetzaltenango, Prudencio Cózar, along with hundreds of armed men, led an invasion to put down the rebellion. The rebel government lasted about 20 days. The rebels were captured, whipped, and imprisoned.

The rebellion is widely celebrated in Guatemala as the opening volley in the independence struggle, though more recent scholarship on the rebellion has suggested that its leaders were less concerned with breaking from the Spanish Crown than they were concerned with the unfair demands of the American born Spanish elite, or criollos.


Totonicapán has an area of 1.061 km² located in the western highlands. Its territory is crossed by ramifications of the Sierra Madre, and includes mountains as Cuxniquel, Campanabaj, and Cerro de Coxóm. Important rivers in Totonicapaán include the Samalá, Pachac, Las Palmeras, Sajcocolaj, Patzotzil, Huacol and Pajá.

The department is widely recognized in Central America for its extensive highland oak-pine forests with also fir and cypress stands, these hold some of the largest stands of the threatened Guatemalan fir, Abies guatemalensis, known locally as the pinabete. The forests cover extensive portions of the Sierra Madre, especially in the municipios of San Francisco el Alto and Totonicapán, and are held in a variety of communal arrangements, including village, clan (parcialidad) and municipio-wide ownership.


Its Mayan inhabitants speak the K'iche' language. Spanish is also spoken.[2]



  1. Momostenango
  2. San Andrés Xecul
  3. San Bartolo
  4. San Cristóbal Totonicapán
  5. San Francisco El Alto
  6. Santa Lucía La Reforma
  7. Santa María Chiquimula
  8. Totonicapán


As of 1850, the department produced wheat, maize, sugar, fruits, and vegetables. Livestock is raised the area.[2]


Cuatro Caminos ("four roads") is a well-known intersection of roads that go to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala City, Huehuetenango and Totonicapán.