Guatemala is a small, developing country located in Central America. It is roughly translated in Mayan to the “place of many trees”. The former center of Mayan culture, Guatemala is a beautiful country with many different ecosystems, including: beaches, mountains, rivers, caves and jungles. While it may have beautiful natural features, a business trying to decide whether or not to invest, must look much deeper. Investment decisions must be made on many key factors. The following information should be of assistance to anyone looking to invest in the Republic of Guatemala.
Guatemala was first inhabited by humans sometime between 18,000 BC and 12,000 BC. Guatemala was home to Mayan civilization until its collapse around 900 AD. Much of Guatemala’s tourism is based on visits to the existing Mayan pyramids and other structures. During its colonial period, many of the Spanish explorers ventured into Guatemala many times. Before long, the Spanish conquered the land and Guatemala became a part of New Spain. Guatemala gained its independence on September 15, 1821. The provinces of Guatemala formed the United Provinces of Central America, which were later dissipated by a civil war in the late 1830’s. In 1940’s and 50’s were a very unstable time for the Guatemalan government. This time was mired with multiple coups and many leaders were overthrown by unhappy groups. The last of them was after then leader Jacobo Guzman was overthrown by the United States CIA for fear that the country was headed in the direction of communism.
The 1960’s and 70’s brought in an age of more industry growth, but overall the country remained very poor. This era was marred even more by guerrilla groups fighting, killing thousands of citizens. Peace finally began to ensue in 1986 when President Vinicio Cerezo was elected. The bloodshed finally came to an end in 1996 with a peace accord being signed. Some historians believe that the civil war times may have cost the lives of more than 200,000 people. Today, Guatemala has become much more stabilized, but is still a very poor area with a very unequal distribution of wealth. The Republic struggles with many areas, including: children’s health, malnutrition and illiteracy.
Guatemala is a small country located in Central America. It is bordered to the north by Mexico and Belize and to the south by El Salvador and Honduras. It also has a large Pacific coast line on the west and a smaller Gulf of Honduras coast line on the east. Guatemala has a total area of 108,890 sq km. In terms of a United States comparison, it is slightly smaller than the state of Tennessee. Located near the equator, Guatemala is known as “the country of Eternal Spring” because of year round tropical, humid climate in the lower lying regions. It also has a very mountainous region, reaching a peak of 4,211m at the Tajumulco Volcano.
The Republic of Guatemala is susceptible to two main natural hazards/disasters: hurricanes and volcanoes. Even though Guatemala only has a small coast on the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, it sees action almost every hurricane season. Though it doesn’t take many direct hits from Hurricanes, the Caribbean Sea is where many of the storms that develop off the coast of Africa end up landing. In the Fall of 2005, Hurricane Stan hit Guatemala, killing more than 1,500 citizens. Guatemala is also home to 28 volcanoes, 4 of which are active. The Pacaya and Fuego volcanoes have both erupted in the last 3 years. Volcano Fuego erupted in 2012, spewing lava more than 2,000 ft down the mountain side and sending ash as far as 50 miles from the epicenter.
The Republic of Guatemala has a population of just over 14 million people, ranking number 69 out of 239 countries. This makes Guatemala the most populated country in Central America. During the 1900’s, Guatemala was the fastest growing country in the Western Hemisphere.