Monday, January 24, 2011

Research Paper on Guatemala

Research Paper on Guatemala

The official name of Guatemala is the Republic of Guatemala. Guatemala's borders are Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The type of government is a republic with three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The president is the head of state of the government and is elected for a five-year term. The current president is Alvaro Azu' Irigoyen.

Guatemala has no official religion, however three-fourths of the population are Roman Catholics. The remaining population worships other local gods and spirits, in addition to Jesus Christ and local patron saints.


Spanish is the official language of Guatemala. However, the Guatemalan Indians regard Spanish as a foreign language, and prefer to use Quiche', Cakchiquel, Mam, or Kekchi as their community language.

The national flag has three vertical, solid color bars: blue on both ends and white in the center. The national emblem is centered in the middle of the flag. The two blue stripes on both sides represent the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Indians comprise approximately one-half of the population of Guatemala. Most Indians are very poor and uneducated. Less than three percent of the population are from European countries.

The longest river in Guatemala is the Motagua. It marks the boundary between Guatemala and Honduras. The Sarstu'n River stands as the border between Guatemala and Belize. The countries largest lake known as Lago de Izabal is located along the Caribbean coast. Other large lakes include Atitla'n which is famous for its beauty and Lake Amtitla'n which is known for its steamy waters and medicinal sulfur springs.

Guatemala is known to its people as "The Land of Eternal Springs" since various kinds of flower bloom throughout the year. About one-third of the land is forest. The most common trees are cedar, mahoganies, sapodilla, broadleaf mangrove, and rubber.

The wildlife is plentiful in Guatemala. There are approximately nine hundred kinds of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.

Guatemala's economy is based on agriculture. This segment of the economy employs roughly 60 percent of the country's work force and supplies some 70 percent of the country's exports. As contrasted to the predominance of large corporately owned farms in the United States, almost 90 percent of the farmers' own small plots of land. On these small farms they raise corn, beans, and squash. The farmers also raise livestock such as sheep, chickens and pigs. The chief agricultural products are sugarcane, coffee, bananas, beans, cotton, sorghum, cardamom, macadamia nuts and lemongrass oil. Cattle raising and fishing also contribute to the agricultural economy.

Guatemala has a public school system that is structured into four levels: two years of preschool, six years of primary school, and university education. Elementary education is free, but most rural children do not attend school since they are needed to work in the fields. There are five universities in Guatemala, including the University of San Carlos and the University of Central America.

The clothing native to Guatemala is very colorful, hand-woven garments that are made predominantly made by the Indians. The women wear cortes, long skirts with sashes and blouses called huipils. Men generally wear embroidered shirts and pants along with straw hats. Both the men and women wear tzutes, known as Mayan head clothes.

The currency rate and exchange rate is one dollar for 6.9 Guatemalan Quetzals.

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