North America: Guatemala

About Guatemala

Guatemala was freed of Spanish colonial rule in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had led to the death of more than 100,000 people and had created some 1 million refugees.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Guatemala
Population: 12,974,361 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 60% (2000 est.)
Language: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (more than 20 Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
Date of independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Form of government: constitutional democratic republic
Title of Leader: President
Natural Resources: petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower
Environmental Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; Hurricane damage
Agricultural Products: sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens
Imports: fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity
Exports: coffee, sugar, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom, meat, apparel, petroleum, electricity
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: US 42.8%, Mexico 9.9%, Japan 4.8%, El Salvador 4.3%, Venezuela 3.8% (1998)
EXPORTS: US 51.4%, El Salvador 8.7%, Honduras 5%, Costa Rica 3.4%, Germany 2.7% (1998)


Guatemala Headlines


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