Guatemala essay

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guatemala essay

Guatemala by saundra

Fruits include pineapples, people walk past fast-food restaurants in guatemala city, guatemala. "Fast food" is a fairly recent addition to traditional guatemalan diets. Papayas, mangoes, a variety of melons, citrus fruits, peaches, pears, plums, guavas, and many others of both native and foreign origin. Fruit is eaten as dessert, or as a snack in-between meals. Three meals per day are the general rule, with the largest eaten at noon. Until recently, most stores and businesses in the urban areas closed for two to three hours to allow employees time to eat at home and rest before returning to work. Transportation problems due to increased traffic, both on buses and in private vehicles, are bringing rapid change to this custom. In rural areas women take the noon meal to the men in the fields, often accompanied by their children so that the family can eat as a group.

Guatemala - where i was, where i am not

More than any other building, it is a symbol of governmental authority and power. The walls of its entryway have murals depicting scenes honoring the Spanish and mayan heritages. Other government buildings are scattered throughout the central part of guatemala city; some occupy former residences, others are in a newer complex characterized by modern, massive, high-rising buildings of seven or eight floors. Some of these structures are adorned on the outside with murals depicting both mayan and European symbols. Food and Economy, food in daily life. Corn made into tortillas or tamales, black beans, rice, and wheat in the form of bread or pasta are staples eaten by nearly all guatemalans. Depending logos on their degree of affluence, people also consume chicken, pork, and beef, and those living near bodies of water also eat fish and shellfish. With improvements in refrigeration and transport, seafood is becoming increasingly popular in guatemala city. The country has long been known for vegetables and fruits, including avocados, radishes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, beets, onions, and tomatoes. Lettuce, snow peas, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, and turnips are grown for export and are also available in local markets; they are eaten more by ladinos than by Indians.

The oldest resident couple occupies the bed, with children and younger adults sleeping on reed mats ( petates ) on the floor; the mats are rolled up when not in use. Running water in the home or yard is a luxury that only some villages enjoy. Electricity is widely available except in the most remote areas. Its primary use is for light, followed by refrigeration and television. The central plazas of smaller towns and villages are used for a variety of purposes. On market days, they are filled with vendors thesis and their wares; in the heat of the day people will rest on whatever benches may be provided; in early evening young people may congregate and parade, seeking partners of the opposite sex, flirting, and generally having. In guatemala city, the central plaza has become the preferred site for political demonstrations. The national palace faces this central plaza; although it once was a residence for the president, today it is used only for official receptions and meetings with dignitaries.

guatemala essay

Guatemala : Maps, history, geography, government

Those town and house plans persist, except that homes of the elite now tend to be placed on the periphery of the town or city and have modified internal space arrangements, including second stories. An open internal patio is still popular, but gardens now surround the house, with the whole being enclosed behind high walls. The older, centrally located colonial houses are now occupied by slogan offices or have been turned into rooming houses or hotels. Indian towns retain these characteristics, but many of the smaller hamlets exhibit little patterning. The houses—mostly made of sun-dried bricks (adobe) and roofed with corrugated aluminum or ceramic tiles—may stretch out along a path or be located on small parcels of arable land. The poorest houses often have only one large room containing a hearth; perhaps a bed, table and chairs or stools; a large ceramic water jug and other ceramic storage jars; a wooden chest for clothes and valuables; and sometimes a cabinet for dishes and utensils. Other implements may be tied or perched on open rafters in baskets.

Some ladinos see the Indian revitalization movement as a threat to their hegemony and fear that they will eventually suffer violence at Indian hands. There is little concrete evidence to support those fears. Because the national culture is composed of a blend of European and indigenous traits and is largely shared by maya, ladinos, and many newer immigrants, it is likely that the future will bring greater consolidation, and that social class, rather than ethnic background, will determine. Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space. The Spanish imposed a gridiron pattern on communities of all sizes, which included a central plaza, generally with a public water fountain known as a "pila around which were situated a catholic church, government offices, and the homes of high-ranking persons. Colonial homes included a central patio with living, dining, and sleeping rooms lined up off the surrounding corridors. A service patio with a pila and a kitchen with an open fireplace under a large chimney was located behind the general living area. Entrances were directly off the street, and gardens were limited to the interior patios.

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guatemala essay

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Guatemala, along with other Central American Spanish colonies, declared its independence on 15 September 1821. Until 1839, it belonged first to mexico and then to a federation known as the United Provinces of Central America. It was not until 1945 that a constitution guaranteeing civil and political rights for all people, including women and Indians, was adopted. However, Indians continued to be exploited and disparaged until recently, when international opinion forced Ladino elites to modify their attitudes and behavior. This shift was furthered by the selection of Rigoberta menchú, a young maya woman, for the nobel peace Prize in 1992.

Severe repression and violence during the late 1970s and 1980s was followed by a mayan revitalization movement that has gained strength since the signing of the peace Accords in 1996. While mayan languages, dress, mark and religious practices have been reintroduced or strengthened, acculturation to the national culture has continued. Today more Indians are becoming educated at all levels, including postgraduate university training. A few have become professionals in medicine, engineering, journalism, law, and social work. Population pressure has forced many others out of agriculture and into cottage industries, factory work, merchandising, teaching, clerical work, and various white-collar positions in the towns and cities. Ironically, after the long period of violence and forced enlistment, many now volunteer for the armed forces.

Constitutional amendments are being considered to recognize some of those languages for official purposes. Many Indians, especially women and those in the most remote areas of the western highlands, speak no Spanish, yet many Indian families are abandoning their own language to ensure that their children become fluent in Spanish, which is recognized as a necessity for living. Since the various indigenous languages are not all mutually intelligible, spanish is increasingly important as a lingua franca. The Academy of mayan Languages, completely staffed by maya scholars, hopes its research will promote a return to Proto-maya, the language from which all the various dialects descended, which is totally unknown today. Ladinos who grow up in an Indian area may learn the local language, but bilingualism among Ladinos is rare.


In the cities, especially the capital, there are private primary and secondary schools where foreign languages are taught and used along with Spanish, especially English, german, and French. Independence day (15 September) and 15 August, the day of the national patron saint, maría, are the most important national holidays, and together reflect the european origin of the nationstate, as does the national anthem, "Guatemala felíz" happy guatemala. However, many of the motifs used on the flag (the quetzal bird and the ceiba tree in public monuments and other artwork (the figure of the Indian hero tecún Umán, the pyramids and stelae of the abandoned and ruined mayan city of tikal, the colorful. Miss guatemala, almost always a ladina, wears Indian dress in her public appearances. Black beans, guacamole, tortillas, chili, and tamales, all of which were eaten before the coming of the Spaniards, are now part of the national culture, and have come to symbolize it for both residents and expatriates, regardless of ethnicity or class. History and Ethnic Relations, emergence of the nation.

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The determination of plan ethnicity for demographic purposes depends primarily on language, yet some scholars and government officials use other criteria, such as dress patterns and life style. Thus, estimates of the size of the Indian population vary from 35 percent to more than 50 percent—the latter figure probably being more reliable. The numbers of the non-mayan indigenous peoples such as the garifuna and the xinca have been dwindling. Those two groups now probably number less than five thousand as many of their young people become ladinoized or leave for better opportunities in the United States. Spanish is the official language, but since the end of the civil war in December 1996, twenty-two indigenous languages, mostly dialects of the mayan linguistic family, have been recognized. The most widely spoken are ki'che kaqchikel, kekchi, and Mam. A bilingual program for beginning primary students has been in place since the late 1980s, and there are plans to make it available in all Indian communities.

guatemala essay

The highlands are still largely populated by their descendants. The eastern Motagua corridor was settled by Spaniards and is still inhabited primarily by ladinos. Large plantations of coffee, sugarcane, bananas, and cardamom, all grown primarily for export, cover much of the pacific lowlands. These are owned by large, usually nonresident, landholders and are worked by local Ladinos and Indians who journey to the coast from highland villages for the harvest. The 1994 census showed a total of 9,462,000 people, but estimates for 1999 reached twelve million, with more than 50 percent living in urban areas. The forty-year period of social unrest, violence, and civil war (19561996) resulted in massive emigration to mexico and the United States and has been estimated to have positive resulted in one million dead, disappeared, and emigrated. Some of the displaced have returned from United Nations refugee camps in Mexico, as have many undocumented emigrants to the United States.

considerably, depending on altitude and rainfall patterns. The northern lowlands and the Atlantic coastal area are very warm and experience rain throughout much of the year. The pacific lowlands are drier, and because they are at or near sea level, remain warm. The highlands are temperate. The coolest weather there (locally called "winter occurs during the rainy season from may or June to november, with daily temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the higher altitudes, and from 60 to 70 degrees in guatemala city, which is about. Guatemala "Summer" denotes the period between February and may, when the temperature during the day in guatemala city often reaches into the 80s. The Spanish conquerors preferred the highlands, despite a difficult journey from the Atlantic coast, and that is where they placed their primary settlements. The present capital, guatemala city, was founded in 1776 after a flood and an earthquake had destroyed two earlier sites. Although the maya had earlier inhabited the lowlands of the petén and the lower Motagua river, by the time the first Spaniards arrived, they lived primarily in the pacific lowlands and western highlands.

There has been increased immigration from China, japan, korea, and the middle east, although those groups, while increasingly visible, have not contributed to the national culture, nor have many of them adopted it as their own. Within Central America the citizens of each country are affectionately known by a nickname of which they are proud, but which is sometimes used disparagingly by others, much like the term "Yankee." The term "Chapín" (plural, "Chapines the origin of which is unknown, denotes anyone. When traveling outside of guatemala, all its citizens define themselves as guatemalans and/or Chapines. While at home, however, there is little sense that they share a common culture. The most important split is between Ladinos and Indians. Garifuna are hardly known away from the Atlantic coast and, like most Indians, identify themselves in terms of their own language and culture. Guatemala covers an area of 42,042 square miles (108,889 square kilometers) and is bounded on the west and north by mexico; study on the east by belize, the caribbean sea, honduras and El Salvador; and on the south by the pacific Ocean. The three principal regions are the northern lowland plains of the petén and the adjacent Atlantic littoral; the volcanic highlands of the sierra madre, cutting across the country from northwest to southeast; and the pacific lowlands, a coastal plain stretching along the entire southern boundary. The country has a total of 205 miles (330 kilometers) of coastline.

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The name guatemala, meaning "land of forests was derived from one of the mayan dialects spoken by the indigenous people at the time of the Spanish conquest in 1523. It is used today by outsiders, as well as by most citizens, although for many purposes the descendants of the original inhabitants still prefer mother to identify themselves by the names of their specific language dialects, which reflect political divisions from the sixteenth century. The pejorative terms indio and natural have been replaced in polite conversation and publication. Persons of mixed or non-indigenous race and heritage may be called. Ladino, a term that today indicates adherence to western, as opposed to indigenous, culture patterns, and may be applied to acculturated Indians, as well as others. A small group of AfricanAmericans, known as Garifuna, lives on the Atlantic coast, but their culture is more closely related to those found in other Caribbean nations than to the cultures of guatemala itself. The national culture also was influenced by the arrival of other Europeans, especially germans, in the second half of the nineteenth century, as well as by the more recent movement of thousands of guatemalans to and from the United States.


guatemala essay
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  3. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the nation. Guatemala, along with other Central American Spanish colonies, declared its independence on 15 September 1821.

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