Zacapa Department

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This article is about the department. For the municipality, see Zacapa (municipality). For more on the rum, see Zacapa rum.
Zacapa
Department
Flag of Zacapa
Flag
Coat of arms of Zacapa
Coat of arms
Zacapa
Zacapa
Country Flag of Guatemala.svg Guatemala
Department Zacapa
Capital Zacapa
Municipalities 10
Government
 • Type Departmental
Population (Census 2002)[1][2]
 • Religions Roman Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Maya
Time zone -6

Zacapa (Spanish pronunciation: [saˈkapa]) is one of the 22 departments of Guatemala. The capital is the city of Zacapa. It is approximately 112 kilometers (70 miles) from Guatemala City. To the north lie the departments of Alta Verapaz and Izabal; to the east is the border with the Republic of Honduras; on the south are Chiquimula and Jalapa and to the west is El Progreso.

Zacapa was created November 10, 1871.[3] The northern half of the department is mountainous, crossed from west to east by the Sierra de las Minas. The southern part of the department has small chains of mountains and isolated hills that are separated by fairly deep ravines. The central part of the depertment is formed by the riverbed and surroundings of the Motagua River. The river forms a huge valley and depending on the topographic configuration, narrows or widens, giving rise to very fertile valleys and large plains. This is a benefit to the department and helps in the harvest of products such as sugar cane, tomatoes, good quality tobacco, and other plants.[4]

Population[edit]

Zacapa is also the name of the departmental capital city. The population for the whole department of Zacapa is estimated at 188,319.[3]

Climate[edit]

The climate as in almost the whole region of Zacapa, excluding inhabited highlands, is semi-arid chaparral. This is due to the shadow effect the Sierra de las Minas has over the following land to the south. The average maximum average temperature oscillates between 30° to 40° C throughout the whole year, with highs of 45° C reached during the "Semana Santa" (Holy Week) and Summer (March, April, May), though there have been instances where the maximum capped at 25° C for the day. The minimum might go from some 15° C in cases of "extreme" conditions over some cold spell north winds, to 25° C. The previous almost never happens, the latter is considered hot, and the usual hovers around 20° C. There is a pronounced dry season, often marked by more than two months without rain, which worsens the air quality of the region tremendously. The region's flat areas are known for their loud insects, called chicharras, which chirp in the fields and along the roads during the dry season.

Economy[edit]

Zacapa is mainly a rural area that contains a large amount of flat land used mostly to grow cantaloupe, tobacco and roma tomatoes. Bordering the Zacapa valley is the Sierra de las Minas, which harbors fine hardwood forests, and contains marble mines and coffee plantations. Some of the world's finest jade is also found in this area.

Municipalities[edit]

  1. Cabañas
  2. Estanzuela
  3. Gualán
  4. Huité
  5. La Unión
  6. Río Hondo
  7. San Diego
  8. Teculután
  9. Usumatlán
  10. Zacapa

Etymology[edit]

Historian and poet, Capitán Don Francisco Antonio De Fuentes Y Guzmán notes in his Remembrance Florida, the name Zacapa derives from Nahuatl Zacatl meaning grass or weed, and apan meaning in the river, a word which in turn is composed of atl also meaning water, river, and apan. Zacapa means on the river of grass.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°58′21″N 89°31′42″W / 14.97250°N 89.52833°W / 14.97250; -89.52833