Context of Guatemala

Guatemala ( GWAH-tə-MAH-lə; Spanish: [ɡwateˈmala] ), officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico, to the northeast by Belize, to the east by Honduras, and to the southeast by El Salvador. It is touched to the south by the Pacific Ocean and to the northeast by the Gulf of Honduras. With an estimated population of around 17.6 million, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, the 4th most populous country in North America and the 11th most populous country in the Americas. Its capital and largest city being Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City, is the most populous city in Central America....Read more

Guatemala ( GWAH-tə-MAH-lə; Spanish: [ɡwateˈmala] ), officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico, to the northeast by Belize, to the east by Honduras, and to the southeast by El Salvador. It is touched to the south by the Pacific Ocean and to the northeast by the Gulf of Honduras. With an estimated population of around 17.6 million, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, the 4th most populous country in North America and the 11th most populous country in the Americas. Its capital and largest city being Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City, is the most populous city in Central America. It is a representative democracy, although with significant levels of corruption.

The territory of modern Guatemala hosted the core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica. In the 16th century, most of this area was conquered by the Spanish and claimed as part of the viceroyalty of New Spain. Guatemala attained independence in 1821 from Spain and Mexico. In 1823, it became part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved by 1841.

From the mid-to late 19th century, Guatemala suffered chronic instability and civil strife. Beginning in the early 20th century, it was ruled by a series of dictators backed by the United Fruit Company and the United States government. In 1944, authoritarian leader Jorge Ubico was overthrown by a pro-democratic military coup, initiating a decade-long revolution that led to sweeping social and economic reforms. A U.S.-backed military coup in 1954 ended the revolution and installed a dictatorship.

From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala endured a bloody civil war fought between the U.S.-backed government and leftist rebels, including genocidal massacres of the Maya population perpetrated by the military. A peace accord negotiated by the United Nations has resulted in continued economic growth and successful democratic elections, although poverty, crime, drug trafficking, and civil instability remain major issues.

Although rich in export goods, around a quarter of the population (4.6 million) face food insecurity.

Guatemala's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems includes many endemic species and contributes to Mesoamerica's designation as a biodiversity hotspot.

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