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tiistai 3. maaliskuuta 2015

Guatemala, Cool Facts #18

17. Honduras <=                                                                                                                   => 19. Spain

1. Maya culture

Guatemala is in the heart of the area where the great Maya culture thrived. The time of prosperity was between the years 300-900 and after that it started to crumble. Guatemala has a large amount of native people, 41% of the population are descendants of different Mayan tribes. The Mayans left a lot of great pyramids around Central America. Most of the pyramids are in Guatemala and Southern Mexico.

2. The meaning of Guatemala

Guatemala means the place of many trees. The name came from the Nahuatl-language word Cuauhtemallan which literally means "the place of many trees". This is true as half of the area is covered with rainforest in Guatemala. 

3. Independent Central America

First Central America was declared independent in 1821 when Spain got weaker after fighting with Mexico. Then Mexico occupied Central America for 2 years. in 1823 Central America separated from Mexico and the five countries created a Federation. The countries were Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The capital was first Guatemala City. The federation lasted until 1840.

4. Quetzal, National Bird of Guatemala

Quetzal is one very cool and mystical creature. When quetzals are caught and caged they have been noted to kill themselves after losing their freedom. This is why they are the symbol of freedom and liberty. The Aztecs and Mayans thought that quetzals were divine and they were associated to the snake god Quetzalcoatl. The symbols of quetzals are everywhere in Guatemala and even their currency is called Quetzal (GTQ).

5. USA and Guatemala

Since the beginning of its independence Guatemala has been unstable country under the control of military dictators who drive the interests of the wealthy landowners. USA has been more on the side of the unfair military regimes because they weren't socialistic and they were favorable for the American corporations like the United Fruit Company. The United Fruit Company owned the biggest banana plantations in the early 1900s and they supported Manuel Estada Cabera's long dictatorship (1898-1920). If a socialist got the power even with democratic elections with the aim of helping the poor they were usually overthrown with the help of CIA and just because they were socialists, a good example of this is Jacobo Arbenz. Many times the CIA even trained and armed the opposition. 

Guatemala is famous for: 

Luis von Ahn - Duolingo founder
Mayan pyramids 
Rainforest and nature


300-900 The Mayan pre-colonial empire thrives
1500 The Mayan empire erodes
1523 The Spaniards conquer the area 
1821 Central America was declared independent from Spain. Mexico conquered the area then.
1823 Central America gets rid of Mexico and declares independance
1838-40 The Federal Republic of Central America disintegrates in Civil War
1871 Coup, Justo Rufino Barrios takes the power and separates the church from the state
1944 Coup
1950 President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman tries to carry out land reform. CIA supported troops displace him and the military Junta of Armas takes the power.
1954-96 Civil War. 200,000 died, 50,000 disappeared and 1,5M fled abroad
1986 Civil governments couldn't bring peace
1996 Peace agreement

Maailman liput maat ja historia - Kimmo Kiljunen 

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