67 Facts About Guatemala


Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America.

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Guatemala is bordered to the north and west by Mexico; to the northeast by Belize and the Caribbean; to the east by Honduras; to the southeast by El Salvador and to the south by the Pacific Ocean, respectively.

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In 1823 Guatemala became part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved by 1841.

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From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala endured a bloody civil war fought between the US-backed government and leftist rebels, including genocidal massacres of the Maya population perpetrated by the military.

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Since a United Nations–negotiated peace accord, Guatemala has achieved both economic growth and successful democratic elections, although poverty, crime, drug trafficking and civil instability remain major issues.

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Independence from Spain was gained, and the Captaincy General of Guatemala joined the First Mexican Empire under Agustin de Iturbide.

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Guatemala then prepared to attack Petapa near Guatemala City, where he was victorious, although with heavy casualties.

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Guatemala had to capitulate to Mexican General Agustin Guzman, who had been in Quetzaltenango since Vicente Filisola's arrival in 1823.

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The government of Guatemala tried to reach a peaceful solution, but two years of bloody conflict followed.

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On 17 April 1839, Guatemala declared itself independent from the United Provinces of Central America.

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On 21 March 1847, Guatemala declared itself an independent republic and Carrera became its first president.

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In 1851 Guatemala defeated an Allied army from Honduras and El Salvador at the Battle of La Arada.

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Guatemala continued to act in concert with the Clerical Party, and tried to maintain friendly relations with European governments.

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Guatemala oversaw the rebuilding of parts of Guatemala City on a grander scale, with wide, Parisian-style avenues.

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Guatemala oversaw Guatemala hosting the first "Exposicion Centroamericana" in 1897.

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Guatemala's administration worked on improving the roads, installing national and international telegraphs and introducing electricity to Guatemala City.

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Guatemala joined with El Salvador and Honduras in the Federation of Central America from 9 September 1921 until 14 January 1922.

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Guatemala was succeeded by Jose Maria Orellana, who served from 1921 until 1926.

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Guatemala replaced the system of debt peonage with a brutally enforced vagrancy law, requiring all men of working age who did not own land to work a minimum of 100 days of hard labor.

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Guatemala's government used unpaid Indian labor to build roads and railways.

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Guatemala greatly strengthened the police force, turning it into one of the most efficient and ruthless in Latin America.

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Guatemala gave them greater authority to shoot and imprison people suspected of breaking the labor laws.

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Since its entry into Guatemala, the United Fruit Company had expanded its land-holdings by displacing farmers and converting their farmland to banana plantations.

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Guatemala received import duty and real estate tax exemptions from the government and controlled more land than any other individual or group.

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Guatemala permitted the US to establish an air base in Guatemala, with the stated aim of protecting the Panama Canal.

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Guatemala dressed ostentatiously and surrounded himself with statues and paintings of Napoleon, regularly commenting on the similarities between their appearances.

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Guatemala's chosen replacement, General Juan Federico Ponce Vaides, was forced out of office on 20 October 1944 by a coup d'etat led by Major Francisco Javier Arana and Captain Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

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Guatemala provided airstrips in the region of Peten for what later became the US-sponsored, failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961.

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Guatemala continued the bloody campaign of torture, forced disappearances, and "scorched earth" warfare.

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In 1995, the Catholic Archdiocese of Guatemala began the Recovery of Historical Memory project, known in Spanish as "El Proyecto de la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historica", to collect the facts and history of Guatemala's long civil war and confront the truth of those years.

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Since the peace accords Guatemala has had both economic growth and successive democratic elections, most recently in 2019.

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Guatemala was acquitted in May 2010, by a panel of judges that threw out some of the evidence and discounted certain witnesses as unreliable.

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Guatemala's was forced to remain in Guatemala when the United States revoked her visa.

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Guatemala's Congress named a commission of five legislators to consider whether to remove the president's immunity from prosecution.

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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.

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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.

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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 Peten department.

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Guatemala has 37 volcanoes, four of them active: Pacaya, Santiaguito, Fuego, and Tacana.

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For example, two of the three moves of the capital of Guatemala have been due to volcanic mudflows in 1541 and earthquakes in 1773.

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Guatemala has 14 ecoregions ranging from mangrove forests to both ocean littorals with 5 different ecosystems.

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Guatemala has 252 listed wetlands, including five lakes, 61 lagoons, 100 rivers, and four swamps.

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Guatemala is a constitutional democratic republic whereby the President of Guatemala is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system.

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Guatemala has long claimed all or part of the territory of neighboring Belize.

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In 2017, Guatemala signed the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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Guatemala is divided into 22 departments and sub-divided into about 335 municipalities .

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In 2008, Guatemala became the first country to officially recognize femicide, the murder of a female because of her gender, as a crime.

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Guatemala has the third-highest femicide rate in the world, after El Salvador and Jamaica, with around 9.

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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.

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Guatemala is demographically one of the youngest countries in the Western Hemisphere, comparable to most of central Africa and Iraq.

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However, as of July 2019, the United States and Guatemala signed a deal to restrict migration and asylum seekers from Guatemala.

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Guatemala is populated by a variety of ethnic, cultural, racial, and linguistic groups.

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Since the 1960s, and particularly during the 1980s, Guatemala has experienced the rapid growth of Protestantism, especially evangelical varieties.

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Growth of Eastern Orthodox Church 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.

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Subsequently, Guatemala received waves of immigration from Europe in the mid 19th century and early 20th century.

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Many European immigrants to Guatemala were politicians, refugees, and entrepreneurs as well as families looking to settle.

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Up to 1950 Guatemala was the Central American country that received the most immigrants, behind Costa Rica, and large numbers of immigrants are still received today.

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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.

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Guatemala has a plan to increase literacy over the next 20 years.

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Guatemala has one public university, and fourteen private ones .

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Guatemala has produced many indigenous artists who follow centuries-old Pre-Columbian traditions.

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Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas "Rafael Rodriguez Padilla" is Guatemala's leading art school, and several leading indigenous artists, graduates of that school, have work in the permanent collection of the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in the capital city.

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Guatemala has a few major local channels and radio stations, such as one of Guatemala's major radio stations, Emisoras Unidas.

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Guatemala was one of the first regions in the New World to be introduced to European music, from 1524 on.

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Guatemala is known for its antojitos, which include small tamales called chuchitos, fried plantains, and tostadas with tomato sauce, guacamole or black beans.

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Guatemala participated for the first time in the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2000, as hosts, and has played in every competition from 2008 onwards.

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Guatemala participated in the 1952 Summer Olympics, and in every edition since the 1968 Summer Olympics.

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Guatemala keeps national sports teams in several disciplines such as basketball or beach volleyball.

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