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Country of Guatemala Flag

Capital: Guatemala

Population: 17,581,472

Brief History of Guatemala:

Guatemala was home to the ancient civilization of the Maya. This was a powerful and advanced civilization that built many pyramids that we can still visit today. The Maya civilization was at its height from around 250 AD to 900 AD in what was called the Classic Period. When the Europeans arrived in the 14th century, the Mayan civilization was already declining. Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado defeated the Maya in 1524 and the area became a Spanish colony. Due to natural disasters, Guatemala has had three different capital cities. The first was Ciudad Vieja which was destroyed by an earthquake and floods. The second was Antigua, which was also destroyed by earthquakes. The third capital was founded in 1776, Guatemala City.

In 1821, Guatemala gained independence from Spain and became part of the Mexican Empire. Later it became a member of the United Provinces of Central America for a short time.

Country of Guatemala Map

The Geography of Guatemala

Total Size: 108,890 square km

Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Tennessee

Geographical Coordinates: 15 30 N, 90 15 W

World Region or Continent: Central America

General Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau

Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m

Climate: tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands

Major cities: GUATEMALA CITY (capital) 1.075 million (2009), Mixco, Villa Nueva

The People of Guatemala

Type of Government: constitutional democratic republic

Languages Spoken: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Nationality: Guatemalan(s)

Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs

National Symbol: quetzal (bird)

National Anthem or Song: Himno Nacional de Guatemala (National Anthem of Guatemala)

Economy of Guatemala

Major Industries: sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism

Agricultural Products: sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens

Natural Resources: petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Major Exports: coffee, sugar, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom

Major Imports: fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity

Currency: quetzal (GTQ), US dollar (USD), others allowed

National GDP: $74,840,000,000

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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