Population: 13,824,463 (est.)
Capital: Guatemala City
- The Guatemalan quetzal is the official Guatemala.
- 50–60% of the Guatemalan population is Catholic, 40% Protestant, 3% Eastern Orthodox and 1% follow the indigenous Mayan faith.
- The name Guatemala means ‘Land of the Trees’ in the Maya-Toltec language.
- Twenty-one distinct Mayan languages as well as several non-Mayan Amerindian languages are spoken in Guatemala, especially in the rural areas.
- The country is ranked one among the 10 poorest countries in Latin America.
- Agriculture contributes as one-fourth of the country’s GDP. Coffee, bananas and sugar are the main products of the land.
Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast. Its area is 108,890 km2 (42,043 mi2) with an estimated population of 13,276,517.
A representative democracy, its capital is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City. Guatemala’s abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contributes to Mesoamerica’s designation as a biodiversity hotspot. The former Mayan civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization, which continued throughout the Post-Classic period until the arrival of the Spanish. They had lived in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, the southern part of Mexico and eastern parts of El Salvador.
Guatemala became independent from Spain in 1821. After it became an independent country in its own right, it was ruled by a series of dictators, assisted by the United Fruit Company. The late 20th century saw Guatemala embroiled in a 36-year-long civil war. Following the war, Guatemala has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections. In the most recent election, held in 2011, Otto Pérez Molina of the Patriotic Party won the presidency.