Flag of Guatemala

Along the road between Antigua to Atitlan

Country Guatemala – a constitutional democratic republic – once the core of the Maya civilization conquered by Spanish in 16th century and gained independence in 1821   (Link to map of Guatemala)
Continent Central America
Capital Guatemala City – the largest city in Central America
Population 15.8 million
Language 60% Spanish and then 21 Mayan languages
Religion Religion is complex with Mayan spirituality still present along with Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity – a fusion of Spanish and indigenous influences
Terrain Has 5 biologically significant and unique ecosystems which include many endemic species

Has 37 volcanoes – 4 are active.  The Motagua Fault has been responsible for several major earthquakes

Lake Atitlan (picture above) is deepest lake in CA and regarded as the most beautiful lake in the world – is an important tourist attraction

Has many ancient Mayan sites

Sports Football, baseball, basketball and kickboxing
Fauna Quetzal is the national bird as well as the name if their currency

Quetzal, National Bird

The White Nun Orchid is national flower

White Nun Orchid

Facts of Interest Early 20th century ruled by a series of dictators.  From 1960 – 1996

endured a bloody civil war fought between the US-backed government

and leftist rebels including genocidal massacres of the Maya population.

Since a UN negotiated peace accord, G has economic growth and

peaceful elections but many concerns (see below).

G is the largest economy in Central America, but one of the poorest countries in Latin America.  54% of people live in poverty

Concerns High rates of crime, poverty, drug trade and instability

Killings and death squads are common.

G has the 3rd highest femicide rate in the world after El Salvador and Jamaica.  In 2008 G became the first country to recognize femicide as a crime

Deep divides among social groups and races

Cyanide used in processing of gold poisons water sources

G has continual territorial disputes with Belize

Mission 19 presbyteries and local churches are in partnership with G churches and organizations.  The PCUSA shares in ministry to women, healthcare, literacy efforts, disaster assistance and theological education

Living Waters for the World has contacts and works in G