History Guatemala, Central America, Mayan Empire


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History

When we talk about the history of Guatemala, we must distinguish between several eras; the Mayan era, the pre-Columbian era, the Columbian era and the contemporary period. The Guatemalan environment has had a strong influence during all of these times, from the social development driven by the Mayans up until the present day.

Guatemala has been home to various different important cultures, the most notable of which were the Mayans. The Mayans were the first people in the region to create an important civilization, with incredible constructions, social development, important achievements in art (painting, sculpture, and architecture), the sciences, astronomy, etc. The legacy can be seen in places like Tikal, San Bartola, Cacuén, Petén, Jujú, and many other places across the breadth of the country.

The Spanish arrived to the country in 1524 and the territory was divided between cities under Spanish rule and cities held on to by the Mayans- places like Mixco Viejo, Utatlán, and Tayasal where the indigenous nation defended itself against the invading Spanish.

Pedro de Alvarado led the Spanish military incursion into Guatemala in 1524, and in the same year founded the first town, Villa de Santiago, named in honour of the apostle. The town was later relocated into another area deeper in the interior of the country, to escape from continuous attacks and sieges. Villa de Santiago was finally destroyed by the volcano Volcán de Agua in the sixteenth century.

Spain's domination of Guatemala lasted almost 300 years, during which period the administration of the country was formed, the principal cities were constructed, and industries developed such as agricultural production. Cocoa, sugar cane, textile dyes, and wood have long been the main products of this region.

The City of Guatemala, in its present location, was founded in 1776 after the relocation of the ancient city. In 1822 Guatemala's provinces were annexed by the Mexican Empire which was later split up and divided into the united provinces of Central America, the Central American Republic, which lasted until 1839. In 1840 Guatemala finally achieved independence.

When we talk about the history of Guatemala, we must distinguish between several eras; the Mayan era, the pre-Columbian era, the Columbian era and the contemporary period. The Guatemalan environment has had a strong influence during all of these times, from the social development driven by the Mayans up until the present day.
Guatemala has been home to various different important cultures, the most notable of which were the Mayans. The Mayans were the first people in the region to create an important civilization, with incredible constructions, social development, important achievements in art (painting, sculpture, and architecture), the sciences, astronomy, etc. The legacy can be seen in places like Tikal, San Bartola, Cacuén, Petén, Jujú, and many other places across the breadth of the country.

The Spanish arrived to the country in 1524 and the territory was divided between cities under Spanish rule and cities held on to by the Mayans- places like Mixco Viejo, Utatlán, and Tayasal where the indigenous nation defended itself against the invading Spanish.

Pedro de Alvarado led the Spanish military incursion into Guatemala in 1524, and in the same year founded the first town, Villa de Santiago, named in honour of the apostle. The town was later relocated into another area deeper in the interior of the country, to escape from continuous attacks and sieges. Villa de Santiago was finally destroyed by the volcano Volcán de Agua in the sixteenth century.

Spain's domination of Guatemala lasted almost 300 years, during which period the administration of the country was formed, the principal cities were constructed, and industries developed such as agricultural production. Cocoa, sugar cane, textile dyes, and wood have long been the main products of this region.

The City of Guatemala, in its present location, was founded in 1776 after the relocation of the ancient city. In 1822 Guatemala's provinces were annexed by the Mexican Empire which was later split up and divided into the united provinces of Central America, the Central American Republic, which lasted until 1839. In 1840 Guatemala finally achieved independence.

During the first half of the 20th century, Guatemalan politics and the economy were effectively controlled by a powerful US company, the United Fruit Company. Years of political tensions climaxed in a Civil War. This was a period during which the USA intervened heavily in Central America, including Guatemala, and was the time of the infamous Death Squads, paramilitary organizations who attacked and killed left-wingers activists and sympathizers. The civil war lasted 36 years, until 1982. During this dark period in the country's history, more than 60,000 peasants fled to Mexico to escape execution either by the Guatemalan army, or by paramilitary groups.

Democracy was finally installed in Guatemala in 1982, although it was a democracy plagued by corruption and electoral manipulation and fraud. The region was still very unstable. During the 90's the situation began to settle, the integrity of the country's democracy became recognized, and the independence of Belize was recognized.

By the beginning of twenty first century, the President Alfonso Portillo considered that the policy of making ties with Mexico and USA was producing results, but the electorate did not agree and there was a change in the Presidency in 2004 when Oscar Berger was elected. The present President is Álvaro Colom.

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