Brief Introduction of Guatemala

My first month in Guatemala is about to end. I guess I’ll be in here for 2 more months. Here’s some brief facts about Guatemala that I’ve read from books, internet, heard from friends, away from my commentary.

*Guatemala means “Land of the Trees” in Maya language

*Society is divided by lower class indigineous Maya people and upper class Spanish-Maya blend “Ladinos (Mestizos)”

*Ladinos are ruling the government, army and the business.

*Half of the Guatemala lands are covered with rainforests.

*Quetzal bird, native to Guatemala, is the mascot of the country, and gives the name of the money currency. Quetzal feathers were also used in ancient Mayas for currency.

*Capital of the ancient Maya civilization.

*Half of the population undoubtedly comes from Maya ancestry.

*Official language is Spanish. Yet there are 21 different Maya languages in use.

* %13 of GDP is earned from agriculture. It also includes half of the workforce and %40 of exports. Most important products are coffee, sugar and banana. %63 of GDP is earned in service industry.

*Despite being a small country, it houses 32 volcanos, which 4 are active. (Active Volcan Fuego is located close to my house, which erupts from time to time with little earthquakes)

*Some of the scenes from 1977 movie Star Wars: A New Hope, was shot in Tikal National Park of Guatemala. (Jungled Yavin 4 planet in the movie)

*It’s the most populated country of Central America with 16 million people.

*It passed through 20th century with many different US backed dictators, coups and Maya exterminations.

*The civil war, which started in 1960, made leftists and US backed governments come face to face, until 1996, with death of 200.000 people.

*After the war, economy started to recover, though it still remains poverty (%54 of population), crime, drug deals and ignorance.