Officially the Republic of Guatemala, it is a sovereign country located in Central America.
Guatemala – Country Profile and General Information
Guatemala, officially known as the Republic of Guatemala, is a sovereign country located in Central America, at its northwestern extremity. In English-speaking countries and others, it is classified as part of North America. Its Latin American culture encompasses a rich indigenous heritage derived from Mayan culture and Spanish colonial culture during the Spanish colonial era. Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, with a population of 16,301,286.
Despite its relatively small territory, Guatemala has a diverse climate due to its mountainous terrain, ranging from sea level to 4,220 meters above sea level.
This results in a wide range of ecosystems in the country, from the mangroves of the Pacific wetlands to the cloud forests of the high mountains. It borders Mexico to the west and north, Belize to the east (with only a border line), the Gulf of Honduras and the Republic of Honduras to the east and southeast, El Salvador to the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.
The country has a total area of 108,889 km². Its capital is Guatemala City, officially known as "Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción". The official language is Spanish, although there are twenty-two Mayan languages, as well as Xinca and Garifuna, both of which are considered endangered. These languages are also spoken by the Afro-descendant population in the Caribbean department of Izabal.
The territory where Guatemala is currently located is part of Mesoamerica, and the Maya and Olmec cultures developed there, along with neighboring countries. After the conquest of America, Guatemala became part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain as a Captaincy General. After gaining independence from Spain in 1821, when it became the Kingdom of Guatemala, present-day Guatemala became part of the First Mexican Empire and later the Federal Republic of Central America. It was not until 1847 that the current republic was established and the country began to establish diplomatic relations with neighboring countries and some world powers.
Following the success of a liberal reform in 1871, a series of dictatorial and undemocratic regimes were established until 1944 when the Guatemalan Revolution of 1944 took place. The revolution lasted until 1954, when a national liberation movement regained power and plunged the country into a civil war, also known as the "Internal Armed Conflict of Guatemala," which lasted from 1960 to 1996 during Álvaro Arzú's government.
In the 21st century, Guatemala experienced a relatively stable economic policy, positioning it as the ninth-largest economy in Latin America. However, levels of poverty and income inequality remain high, even higher than when the peace agreements were signed in 1996.