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Monday, 11 May 2015

Guatemala

The name "Guatemala" comes from Nahuatl Cuauhtēmallān, "place of many trees" This was the name the Tlaxcaltecan soldiers who accompanied Pedro de Alvarado during the Spanish Conquest gave to this territory.

Most of Guatemala was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, becoming part of the colony of New Spain (present-day Mexico).

When Nojpetén, capital of the last independent Maya kingdom, fell to Spanish conquistadors on March 13, 1697, it marked the final step in the Spanish conquest of Guatemala.

The main pyramid at Nojpetén

In 1821 Guatemala declared independence from Spain jointly with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

In 1900, Guatemala had a population of 885,000. Over the course of the 20th century the population of the country had the fastest growth in the Western Hemisphere. Its estimated population in 2014 was 15,806,675.

An early example of of the utilization of rubber in combination with textiles for waterproofing purposes were the rubber-coated rain capes worn by the 16th century Indians of Escuintla on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, a region of heavy rainfall.

The first mass produced instant coffee was the invention of George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in Guatemala. In 1906, while waiting for his wife one day to join him in the garden for coffee, he observed dried coffee on the spout of the silver coffeepot. Intrigued he started experimenting, which lead to his discovery of easily dissolving coffee.

In Guatemala, people make carpets of sawdust and flowers that measure up to a mile in length for Easter. The carpet is incredibly detailed and takes weeks to make. People walk over the carpet on their way to church.

Guatemala City is the most populous city in Central America. In 2009, it had a formal population of 1,075,000, but the metropolitan population is believed to be at least 4.5 million by 2013.

Although Guatemala is the world's largest producer of cardamom, local use is negligible.

As a first and second language, Spanish is spoken by 93% of the population. Twenty-one Mayan languages are spoken, especially in rural areas, as well as two non-Mayan Amerindian languages.

Source Wikipedia

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