Culture Guatemala

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  • Guatemala
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Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Guatemala

Guatemala : Discover the country's culture


Texts, paintings, drawings and sculptures by Emmanuel Michel. Having left France to meet the Indians of Guatemala, the author gives his description of daily life in the heart of a warm, colourful and deeply mystical Central America.


The Guatemala (Coll).


'For Guatemala and Kosovo' by Luciano Pavarotti (ed. Decca).

Guatemala : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

25,000 years B.C: Mayas ancestors populate the territory.
300 years B.C.: beginning of the Mayan era.
300 AD: golden age of Mayan civilization. The ancient city of Tikal is the perfect example of this influence.
900: Mayan civilization collapses.
1523: arrival of Pedro de Alvarado and beginning of Spanish colonisation.
1542: founding of Antigua.
1773: destruction of Antigua and founding of a new capital: Guatemala Ciudad. The process of the end of Spanish colonisation is initiated.
September 15, 1821: independence of Guatemala that joins Mexico before separating from it in 1823 for the United Provinces of Central America.
March 21, 1841: sovereignty of Guatemala.
1898: military dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera is in power and creates in 1899 the United Fruit Company, which leads to the entry of American investments into the country.
1930: advent of General Jorge Ubico, supported by the USA.
1945: Juan Jose Arevalo comes into power, and he will escape 20 coups d'Etat. Beginning of reforms to reallocate the land.
1951: Jacobo Arbenz Gazman is elected by universal suffrage. Land reallocation.
1954: coup d'Etat (set up by the CIA, United Fruit and the US embassy) and return to the dictatorship with Carlos Castillo Armas. Land restitution.
1962: beginning of the guerrilla, but also of the repression.
1976: terrible earthquake leaving more than 23,000 dead.
1982: guerrilla soldiers unite to form the UNRG (Guatemalese National Revolutionary Unity).
1991: election of Jorge Serrano. End of the dictatorship. 1992: The Nobel Peace prize is given to Rigoberta Menchu, a young Maya Indian woman who went into exile to Mexico in order to escape persecution.
1996: Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen is elected President. Peace agreements between the government and the GNRU. 1998: Hurricane Mitch devastates Central America and causes the death of thousands of people. 1999: Alvaro Arzú Irigoyen is replaced as head of government by Alfonso Portillo who wins the presidential elections and decides to impose law and order in the country. However, a wave of violence in the country leads him to declare a state of emergency.
December 29, 2003: the candidate of the Grand National Alliance (GANA), Oscar Berger, is elected president of Guatemala.

Guatemala : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events


The number of holidays and feasts in Guatemala is impressive! Without being exhaustive, here are some of them:
January 1st to January 15th:
celebrations of the Black Christ in many provinces.
processions from St. Jean to San Juan of Sacatapéquez.
June 30th:
Army Day.
August 14th - 16th:
assumption celebrations in Guatemala Ciudad.
September 15th:
Independence Day (nice event in Quetzaltenango).
October 20th:
Anniversary of the Revolution.
November 1st:
All Saints' Day.
Holy Week demonstrations, very important in Antigua and Jocotan.
December 13th - 21st:
Patron Saint Festival in St. Thomas in Chichicastenango. Don't miss it for anything
December 25th:
Christmas Day.
December 29th:
commemoration of the peace agreements in 1996.

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