Guatemala Country Overview

Guatemala is a country in Central America with (2018) 17.2 million residents; The capital is Guatemala City. Guatemala, officially Spanish República de Guatemala, German Republic of Guatemala, state in Central America, between the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea with (2018) 17.2 million residents; The capital is Guatemala.

Guatemala is a presidential republic on the Central American Mainland Bridge with the capital Guatemala. The high mountains of the country are crowned by numerous, partly active volcanoes. The fertile plateaus are the main settlement area. Tropical rainforest predominates in the lowlands. Guatemala is located in the tropical climate area and is the most populous state in Central America. The largest population group with 56% are descendants from the connection between Europeans and members of the indigenous peoples (Mestizos, German mestizos). In no other country in the region is the proportion of the indigenous population (38%) as large as here. This is often affected by poverty and is severely underrepresented in politics and business. A small white minority dominates there (2% of the population), which forms the upper class and also owns most of the land. In addition to the official Spanish language, over 20 Mayan languages ​​are spoken in numerous dialects. The cultural palette of the Christian nation includes the archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian Maya -Reichs, the architectural heritage of the Spanish colonizers, the colorful textile art and the syncretistic religious practices of the indigenous people, but also modern, western influences in art, literature and music. Guatemala is an ancient settlement area of ​​the Maya, which was subjugated by the Spaniards from Mexico in 1524. In 1839 the colony became independent as a republic. Power struggles between liberals and conservatives determined politics well into the 20th century, increasingly influenced by the powerful plantation companies from the USA. From the 1960s onwards, social tensions developed into a civil war. By awarding the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize to the Quiché -Maya Rigoberta Menchú the attention of the world public was particularly drawn to the oppression of the indigenous population. In 1996 a peace agreement came into force and demilitarization began. To this day, unsolved problems are social inequality, corruption and widespread gang crime. Guatemala is industrially more developed than most other Central American countries. The most important export goods are textiles, chemical products and agricultural products. The country is part of the Central American Free Trade Area.

Guatemalan literature

Guatemalan literature, is part of Latin American literature in Spanish.

The only significant poet personality during the Spanish colonial rule was the Jesuit Rafael Landívar (* 1731, † 1793), author of the Latin poem “Rusticatio Mexicana” (1781). The first important poet was the poet José Batres Montúfar (* 1809, † 1844). The romanticism prevailed in the historical novels of José Milla (* 1822, † 1882).

The modernism found its perfect expression in the ornate prose of Enrique Gómez Carrillo (* 1873, † 1927) and the poetry collection “Maya” (1911) by Rafael Arévalo Martínez (* 1884, † 1975), whose prose pull fantastic elements. Carlos Wyld Ospina (* 1891, † 1956) dealt with the picturesque of national reality. The first poems by the writer and philosopher Luis Cardoza y Aragon (* 1904, † 1992) were written under the banner of the avant-garde. Also based on the principles of the French avant-garde, M. Á. Asturias in the 1940s a fusion of European and indigenous perspectives, which was later referred to as magical realism and which was also found in Mario Monteforte Toledo (* 1911, † 2003).

The repression that began around 1960 forced many authors into exile. The civil war that simmered until 1996, which several authors, including the poet Otto René Castillo (* 1936, † 1967), who fell victim, treated Marco Antonio Flores (* 1937, † 2013) in the novel »Los compañeros« (1976) and as an autobiographical experience Jorge Aguilar Mora (* 1946). A. Monterroso achieved supraregional importance in the more recent Guatemalan literature, whose microtexts, reminiscent of the late Borges, pointedly and subversively questioned reading habits.

So far, one Guatemalan writer has received the Nobel Prize for Literature: M. Á. Asturias (1967).

Guatemala City

Guatemala City, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala City, capital of the republic and the department of Guatemala, the most important city in Central America, in the central highlands, 1,500 m above sea level, (2018) 923,400 residents, in the metropolitan area 3.5 million. Resident.

Archbishopric; several universities (including Universidad de San Carlos, founded 1676) and scientific academies, research institutes, National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology and other museums, botanical and zoological gardens. Guatemala is not only the administrative and cultural, but also the economic center of the country; Textile and clothing, footwear, tobacco, food, chemical, metal and others Industry. Guatemala is the most important traffic center of the state (international airport, Carretera Interamericana, railway junction).

The five-aisled cathedral (begun in 1782, consecrated in 1815; towers replaced after earthquake damage) has a silver reliquary, altar panels and paintings from the early colonial period. San Francisco Church (1851) with Museum of Sacred Art; in the church La Merced (1792) with an elegant classical dome, baroque retable and colonial painting, also in the church of Santa Rosa (1787); valuable polychrome wooden sculptures in the church of San Domingo.

Guatemala was established in 1776 under the name Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción as the third capital of the General Capitanate of Guatemala. The first (Ciudad Vieja), founded by P. de Alvarado, was destroyed in 1541 by a water eruption and debris flows from the Agua volcano, the second, today Antigua Guatemala, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. In 1917/18 and 1976 the new city was also badly damaged by earthquakes. The remains of Antigua Guatemala have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In 2007 and 2010 two huge holes up to 60 m deep opened in the city, causing great damage.


Quetzaltenango [kesal-], capital of the Quetzaltenango department in western Guatemala, 2,330 m above sea level at the foot of the Santa María volcano (3,772 m above sea level), with (2018) 180,700 residents.

Catholic Archbishop’s Seat; state university and other colleges; Commercial and administrative center, textile, leather and food industries.

Quetzaltenango was founded in 1524 by P. de Alvarado on the soil of an old Quiché city; Badly damaged by earthquakes and the eruption of the Santa María volcano in 1902.


Cobán, capital of the Alta Verapaz department, Guatemala, 1,313 m above sea level, (2018) 212,000 residents. Bishopric; Center of a large coffee-growing area.

Guatemala Country Overview