Guatemala is a Central American country located just south of Mexico. With a population of nearly 16 million, it has more residents than any other country in Central America. The capital and largest city is Guatemala City.
The official language of Guatemala is Spanish. Ninety-three percent of residents speak Spanish as their first or second language. There are also 21 Mayan languages spoken in the country and many native Chinese, German and English speakers call Guatemala home.
- Guatemala got its name from the ancient Mayan language. It means the ‘land of trees’.
- The two blue strips on Guatemala’s national flag that flank the national coat of arms represent the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, between which the country lies.
- The Mayans who called Guatemala home created chocolate back in 900 AD, figuring out that cocoa beans in liquid form formed a tasty treat.
- In Guatemala, the first blue denim was created. Shortly thereafter, Levi Strauss began using denim to make blue jeans, and it became famous.
- Tourism has become one of the biggest drivers of the Guatemalan economy. Around two million people travel to the country each year, many to view Mayan ruins and sites.
- There have been two Nobel Prize winners hailing from Guatemala—Miguel Asturias won in 1967 for literature and Rigoberta Menchu who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.
- Maize, chilies and black beans are all common ingredients in Guatemalan cuisine. Many dishes are associated with particular holidays or events and only served on those occasions.