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SPECIAL REGIONAL CONSIDERATIONS - GUATEMALA


NOTICE - ADOPTION NOTICE from the U.S. Department of State.

INTRODUCTION 1

Guatemala is located in Central America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast. Guatemala is heavily centralized. Transportation, communications, business, politics, and the most relevant urban activity takes place in Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala. Guatemala City has about two million inhabitants within the city limits and more than five million within in the urban area.

Guatemala is mountainous, except for the south coastal area and the vast northern lowlands of Petén department. Two mountain chains enter Guatemala from west to east, dividing the country into three major regions: the highlands, where the mountains are located; the Pacific coast, south of the mountains; and the Petén region, north of the mountains. All major cities are located in the highlands and Pacific coast regions; by comparison, Petén is sparsely populated. These three regions vary in climate, elevation, and landscape, providing dramatic contrasts between hot and humid tropical lowlands and colder and drier highland peaks. Guatemala's location between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean makes it a target for hurricanes.

According to 2007 estimates, the population of Guatemala was 12,728,111. The majority of the population is Ladino which make up a combined total of 59.4%. Ladino is also called Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and Spanish), and Whites (primarily of Spanish, but also those of Italian, British and Scandinavian descent). Amerindians populations include the K'iche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam 7.9% and Q'eqchi 6.3%. 8.6% of the population is "other Mayan" making the indigenous community in Guatemala a majority in the population, 0.2% is indigenous non-Mayan, and 0.1% is "other".

There are also smaller communities present in Guatemala. The Garífuna, who are descended from Africans and indigenous peoples from St. Vincent's, live mainly in Livingston and Puerto Barrios, and other blacks and mulattos. There are also Arabs of Lebanese and Syrian descent, and Asians, mostly of Chinese descent. There is also a growing Korean community in Guatemala City and in nearby Mexico, currently numbering about 10,000. Guatemala's German population is credited with bringing the tradition of a Christmas tree to the country.

 

1 Guatemala, from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala

 

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