Are you interested in learning some interesting facts about Guatemala? Here is the post for you!
Incredible history, amazing artists, delicious foods, extraordinary inventions, lush landscapes, and imposing volcanoes are just a few of this tiny country’s many things.
Did you know that Aldous Huxley, a British author ( Brave New World), fell in love with Guatemala’s most iconic lake, Lake Atitlan? Did you know that a Guatemalan businesswoman invented the McDonald’s Happy Meal?
Guatemala is one of 21 countries that have Spanish as an official language. Continue reading to learn more about Guatemala’s fascinating people, culture, history, and geography.
Facts About Guatemala
Have a look at these handpicked facts about Guatemala below!
Land of the Maya
Guatemala is home to the Maya civilization. The Mayans are one of the most sophisticated and sophisticated pre-Columbian civilizations. They built incredible pyramid temples. They knew astronomy and used cacao to make their currency.
They created precise calendars and a numerical system that was accurate.
They were also prolific musicians. In Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, the Mayans occupied a portion of Belize, Guatemala, Belize, and Guatemala.
They are alive today and continue to innovate in all aspects of modern Guatemalan culture, including art, science, and sports. You can learn more about the Mayans by diving into the texts that survived the Spanish conquest: Popol Vuh and Chilam Balam.
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The name “Guatemala” comes from…
Guatemala, the land that we now call Guatemala, was once known as “Quauhtemallan.” Experts and historians believe it to have been “Tierra de abundantes Florstas,” which roughly translated into English as “land with plentiful forests.”
Other historians believe that “Guatemala,” which is a “mountain-of-vomiting water,” was derived from “Guhatezmalha.”
Guatemala is a term that has been used since at least 1524. Pedro de Alvarado, a Spanish explorer and explorer wrote a May letter to Hernan Cortes (another conquistador), detailing his expedition in 16 the year Guatemala.
200 Years and Counting
On September 15, 1821 (two hundred years ago), fifteen men signed the Act of Independence of Central America. This declaration declared the independence of Central America and the Spanish Empire.
It’s true. Guatemala was a republic 200-years ago. Guatemala has seen two revolutions and several dictatorships since its independence. The US-supported intervention was also made. There have been 22 earthquakes. The FIFA Futsal World Cup was held in Guatemala in 2000.
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Two Nobel Prize Winners
Did you know that two Guatemalans were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature?
First, Miguel Angel Asturias was a novelist, poet, and playwright. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1967. He was the second Latin American author to win Nobel Prize in Literature; Gabriela Mistral, from Chile, won it in 1945.
The Nobel committee gave the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 to Rigoberta Menchu Tum, a K’iche Guatemalan feminist and human rights activist who had worked “based on respecting the rights of indigenous people.”
Coffee of International Renown
Guatemalan coffee is regarded as one of the finest coffees worldwide. In the mid-1700s, Jesuit missionaries introduced coffee to Guatemala. It quickly became one of Guatemala’s most important exports.
Guatemala’s coffee quality results from a combination of microclimates, altitude and quality of soil, rainfall, sunlight access, and cultivation methods.
Guatemala has eight coffee areas: Antigua. Atitlan. Coban. Fraijanes. Huehuetenango. Nuevo Oriente. Each region’s coffee tastes very different.
The perfect tourist spot: Volcanoes
Guatemala is also known for its volcanoes, with 37 them in the country. Don’t worry. Only three of the tourist attractions are still active: Pacaya and Fuego.
Tajumulco, Guatemala’s highest volcano (13,789 feet), is located in San Marcos. It’s also Central America’s highest volcano.
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Lake Atitlan: The Most Beautiful Lake in the World
Aldous Huxley, a British author ( Brave New World), wrote in 1934 that “(Lake] Atitlan (Lake] Como with additional embellishments from several enormous volcanoes.” It is just too good to be true.
Writers and historians also believe that Guatemala inspired the elements from Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit PrinceIn fact, he crashed in Guatemala in 1938. He spent time recovering from his injuries in Antigua. Many have also noted the similarity between the elephant-inside-a-boa drawing and Cerro de Oro, a hill visible from Lake Atitlan. You can decide.
What is the Population of Guatemala?
This important statistic is worth knowing. According to the most recent national census, 14.901 million Guatemalans lived in 2018. This is 3.5 million more than the 2002 census that Guatemala’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) conducted.
According to estimates by the World Bank, Guatemala will have 16.86 million inhabitants in 2020. Guatemala is Central America’s most populous country.
Myths and Legends
Myths and legends dominate folklore from Guatemala. La Llorona is a story about a woman who drowned in a river with her children and then later committed suicide in the same river. People still hear her wailing for her children to this day.
Many others like La Tatiana, a witch who managed to escape her execution by board a small ship she had drawn in her cell. Or El Cadejo, a dog with red eyes, leads drunkards and drifters to their deaths. Or La Siguanaba, a creature with a woman’s body and the face of a horse.
We mentioned Miguel Angel Asturias earlier on this list. His book Leyendas de Guatemala is a compilation of myths and legends from Guatemala. You can find out more about Guatemala’s culture and history by checking it out.
A Rich Multilingual Country
Guatemala is among 21 countries where Spanish is an official language. Additionally, the country acknowledges that 25 languages exist in its territory, including Spanish, Garifuna, and Garifuna.
Nearly 93% speak Spanish in Guatemala. Many Guatemalan indigenous people speak their ancestral languages, including Kaqchikel, Mam, and K’iche’.
One Country. Many Climates
Because of its temperate climate, Guatemala is often called the “land that never sleeps” Because of its unique geography Guatemala is home to colder, drier, and more humid areas. It also has scorching beaches, lowland jungles, and misty mountains. If you plan to travel to Guatemala, pack a sweater and flip-flops.
The Home of the Happy Meal
That’s right! McDonald’s Happy Meal comes from Guatemala. Yolanda Fernandez De Cofino, a Guatemalan businesswoman, turned philanthropist, created a meal that was small enough for children in the 1970s. It was called the “Ronald Menu.” Today it is known in Guatemala as the Cajita Feliz. This means the happy little box.
Guatemalans made another notable invention: instant coffee, an eco-friendly log called Mr. Fuego (fire), a healthy drink called Incaparina, and online security systems called reCAPTCHA and CAPTCHA.
Duolingo & The Wiz Tech
In 2007, Luis von Ahn, a Guatemalan entrepreneur, founded reCAPTCHA. Google purchased the company two years later. Two years later, Luis launched Duolingo, his world-famous language-learning website. Luis remains Duolingo’s CEO and continues to lead the way in education and technology.