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Introduction to Guatemela
- Capital: Guatemala City
- Official Language: Spanish
- Currency: Quetzal
- Pre-Columbian: The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions from c. 1000 BCE to 900 CE.
- Spanish Conquest: Conquered by Spain in the 16th century, Guatemala was part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala.
- Independence: Guatemala gained independence in 1821 as part of the First Mexican Empire, then part of the Federal Republic of Central America, before full independence in 1839.
- Civil War: Guatemala suffered a 36-year civil war from 1960 to 1996 between the government and leftist rebels.
Culture & Traditions
- Cuisine: Known for dishes like pepian, tamales, tostadas. Ingredients like maize, beans, chili peppers are common.
- Traje: Colorful traditional clothing worn in the highlands.
- Music: Marimba music and dances like the Punto are popular cultural expressions.
- Religions: Predominantly Catholic and Protestant Christian. Maya religions and practices coex
Geography & Environment
- Regions: The highlands, Pacific coast, and the Petén region in the north have distinct geographies.
- Volcanoes: Home to over 30 volcanoes including active ones like Pacaya.
- Biospheres: Tikal National Park and Maya Biosphere Reserve are key protected areas.
- Climate: Tropical climate. Prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tropical storms.
- Rigoberta Menchú - Indigenous activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner
- Miguel Ángel Asturias - Novelist and poet, won the Nobel Prize in Literature
- Economy: Dependent on agriculture and tourism. Major exports are coffee, sugar, textiles.
- Society: Indigenous Maya populations maintain distinct identities and practices.
Recommended Readings & Film
- "I, Rigoberta Menchú” by Rigoberta Menchú - Autobiography of the Nobel laureate
- "The President" by Miguel Ángel Asturias - Novel by the Nobel laureate
- "A Mayan Life" by Gaspar Pedro González - Memoir providing perspective on the civil war
- "When the Mountains Tremble" (1983) - Documentary about the Guatemalan civil war
- "La Llorona" (2019) - Horror film based on Guatemalan folklore
- "Ixcanul" (2015) - Drama film set in indigenous Guatemala