Guatemala, a Central American country south of Mexico, is home to volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites. The capital, Guatemala City, features the stately National Palace of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Antigua, west of the capital, contains preserved Spanish colonial buildings. Lake Atitlán, formed in a massive volcanic crater, is surrounded by coffee fields and villages.
Guatemala is a country of volcanoes, mountains, and beaches on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. From the Cuchamatán Mountains in the western highlands to the coastlines on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, this small country is marked by contrasts. Three of Guatemala’s 30 volcanoes are still active.
Key cities in Guatemala include Cobanl, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala City, Antigua Guatemala, Archeological sites, Tikal, EI Mirador.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
The history of Guatemala begins with the Maya civilization (2,000 BC – 250 AD), which was among those that flourished in the region. The country’s modern history began with the Spanish conquest of Guatemala in 1511. Guatemala was part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala for nearly 330 years.
Guatemalan culture is influenced by the two major ethnic groups. The indigenous Mayans and those of mixed or non-indigenous heritage, known as mestizos. The Garifuna people also live along the Caribbean side of Guatemala. Spanish is Guatemala’s official language.
Roman Catholicism was the official religion in Guatemala during the colonial era and currently has a special status under the constitution.
Brief Country History
In 1523 Pedro de Alvarado was sent with a force of Spaniards to Guatemala. The Spaniards had a great technological advantage over the indigenous people and by 1540 they ruled the whole area.
The Spaniards then became the ruling class. Meanwhile, the indigenous people were converted to Christianity (although they actually kept many of their old beliefs) and the church became very rich and powerful in Guatemala. Meanwhile, society in Guatemala was divided into those people born in Spain at the top. People of Spanish descent born in Guatemala were second in rank. Next came those of mixed race. At the bottom were indigenous people.
Guatemala became independent of Spain in 1821. It was annexed by Mexico for a short time but in 1823 Guatemala became part of the United Provinces of Central America with Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras. However, the union was short-lived. It broke up completely in 1840.
In the 1830s a liberal regime ruled Guatemala but in 1839 an uprising took place and a man named Rafael Carrera came to power. The changes introduced by the liberal regime were swept away.
However, the liberals took power in Guatemala again in 1871 and in 1872 Rufino Barrios became president. He soon began to rule Guatemala as a dictator. Barrios restricted the power of the church. He also greatly increased coffee production. He created coffee plantations in Guatemala, which were owned by a small elite and were worked by the indigenous people. However, Barrios died in 1885.
Today, Guatemala is still a very poor country and the economy relies on agriculture. Guatemala is also a very unequal society. Although poverty remains at least rates of literacy have improved. Guatemala is steadily developing. Still Guatemala has great potential for tourism. Today the population of Guatemala is 15 million.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Guatemalan Spanish is the local variant of the Spanish language. Twenty-one Mayan languages are spoken, especially in rural areas, as well as two non-Mayan Amerindian languages, Xinca, an indigenous language, and Garifuna, an Arawakan language spoken on the Caribbean coast.
Mam is the Mayan language spoken by about half a million people in Guatemala, mainly in the departments of Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango and San Marcos. It is also spoken in the Mexican state of Chiapas along the border with Guatemala.
Important Types of Commerce in Guatemala
More than half of the economic activity in Guatemala occurs within four sectors: manufacturing (20%), commerce (18%), private service (14%), and agriculture (12%). Additionally, Guatemala has the 80th largest export economy in the world. The value of its exported goods is calculated at about $11.8 billion. The country also imports approximately $17.4 billion worth of goods, giving Guatemala a negative trade balance. Most of Guatemala’s exports are received by the following countries: The United States ($4.28 billion), El Salvador ($1.09 billion), and Honduras ($903 million). The remainder of this article highlights some of the biggest industries in Guatemala.
- The Private Sector
- Industry, Manufacturing and Agriculture Sectors
- Services Sector
- Imported Goods
Language Services US and others will provide working with Guatemala
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