- OFFICIAL NAME = REPUBLIC OF GUATEMALA
- NATIONALITY = GUATEMALAN(S)
- CAPITAL = GUATEMALA CITY
- CONTINENT = NORTH AMERICA
- POPULATION = 16,910,000 MILLION
- LANGUAGE = SPANISH (MAYAN)
- AREA = 108,899 SQ KM (42,042 MILES)
- CURRENCY = QUETZALES
- HIGHEST POINT = VOLCAN TAJUMULCO 4,202 METERS (13,786 FEET)
- MAJOR MOUNTAINS = SIERRA DE LAS MINAS AND SIERRA DEL MERENDON
- MAJOR RIVER = MOTAGUA RIVER
- CLIMATE = TROPICAL CLIMATE
- CALLING CODE = DIAL 011+502+NUMBER
- DRIVES ON = RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD
- RELIGION = MAINLY ROMAN CATHOLIC
- INDEPENDENCE = SEPTEMBER 15th, 1821 (FROM SPAIN)
- NATIONAL HOLIDAY = INDEPENDENCE DAY: SEPTEMBER 15th
- NATIONAL SYMBOL = QUETZAL (BIRD)
- GOVERNMENT = DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
- SPORT = FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
- MAJOR INDUSTRIES = CHEMICALS, PETROLEUM, CATTLE, SUGAR AND TOURISM
- NATURAL RESOURCES = PETROLEUM, HYDROPOWER, NICKEL, FISH AND RARE WOOD
- AGRICULTURE = COFFEE, SUGAR, BANANAS, COTTON, HEMP, ESSENTIAL OILS AND CACAO.
SHORT FACTS ON GUATEMALA
Spain ruled Guatemala from as early as the 16th century, when they invaded and overpowered the largest remaining tribe in Guatemala, called the Quiche. It was not until 1821, when Guatemala claimed their independence from Spain.
The Guatemalan Civil War ran from 1960-1996, which left more than 200,000 dead, leaving many children orphaned. The war was between the government military forces and left-wing guerrilla groups. This long 36 year conflict was well known for violence, abductions, mutilations and the public dumping of bodies.
Today in Guatemala City, you will find a lot of children and young adults living on the streets. They leave their villages at a young age and head to the capital looking for work and many end up selling thrash or begging for food. A lot of children have been left orphaned in Guatemala due to civil war, violence and crime groups.
The Mayans of Guatemala were one of the most advanced ancient civilizations that lived here for thousands of years. You can still visit their ruins nowadays in various cities around the country. The Mayan civilization is still much alive, as more than half the population are modern day Maya, and speak up to 20 different Mayan languages.
Guatemala is home to 37 Volcanoes of which four are still active.
Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, is the deepest lake in Central America. It was formed 85,000 years ago by a volcanic explosion and has depths of around 340 m (1115 ft), and at its widest it’s 16 km (10 miles) across.
Many people live in the mountains of Guatemala, living in small isolated villages, some without running water or electricity.
Guatemala, like any country has their problems, but that does not deter the thousands of tourists that visit the country every year. With ancient ruins, exotic cites, and more than 35 volcanoes, there is plenty to see and do for their visitors.
The ancient Mayans of Guatemala are credited with inventing chocolate. They used chocolate to help sick people feel stronger, by putting weight on. These days you can find chocolate museums, chocolate stores and one can even join in on chocolate classes.
An old Mayan custom that still goes on today in Guatemala, is to sweep out their house every December, and then burn the rubbish to chase off the devil.
Another practice is to give your children “worry dolls”, which the children then tell their worries to. They then place it under their pillow when they go to bed. The next morning the doll is gone, along with all their worries.
The Maya temple at Tikal was built well over 1,300 years ago to honor the Maya ruler, Ah Cacaw. These ruins were not discovered until the late 1600’s.
In the northeastern part of Guatemala, you will find the Peten region, which covers a third of the country, but only 3% of the population. Peten is where you will find the rainforests, savannas and beautiful Mayan ruins.
The Peten region is home to many animals, including jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, mule deer’s and the ocelot. On the forest floors, you will find plants species, such as orchids, ferns, mosses and the bromeliads, which clings on to the massive tree trunks.
The national symbol of Guatemala is the quetzal (bird). It’s also the same name as their currency, because ancient Maya used quetzal tail feathers as their money.
The literacy rate in Guatemala is just over 75%, and the life expectancy is 73 years.