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History of Guatemala - Enchanting Travels Guatemala Tours La Merced church in central park of Antigua

History of Guatemala

Guatemalan civilization can be dated back as far as 6500 BC, before the influence of the Europeans in what was known as the Pre-Columbian era. Belief in a higher power was instrumental to the progress of the Guatemalan and Mayan civilizations, which flourished as the cities grew.

This territory of what would become modern day Guatemala, once formed the core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica, covering not just Guatemala but all of Belize and sections of Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. Much of this classic Maya Civilization would disappear in the Classic Maya Collapse, which many believe, was due to drought and famine.

The history of modern day Guatemala began in the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish colonizers. Indigenous tribe were pitted against one another and the Mayan civilization gradually fell under the power of the invaders. After this, Guatemala became part of the vice-royalty of New Spain.

Guatemala attained independence in 1821 as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved by 1841. From the mid to late 19th century, a fractured and unstable Guatemala experienced continual secessionist rebellion and civil unrest.

The early 20th century marked the beginning of another period of turbulence as Guatemala was ruled by a series of dictators backed by external interests. In 1944, authoritarian leader Jorge Ubico was overthrown by a pro-democratic military coup, initiating a decade-long revolution that led to sweeping social and economic reforms. Yet another revolution and dictatorship later, Guatemala endured a civil war until 1996, with much violence inflicted on the Maya population by the military.

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Enchanting Travels Guatemala Tours City Cathedral

Modern history of Guatemala

In the 21st century, Guatemala has experienced a period of calm since then and crime has steadily declined, thanks in part to the 1996 United Nations-negotiated peace accord. In the ensuing years, Guatemala has seen a period of both economic growth and several successful democratic elections, steadily becoming a safe and relaxing destination for tourism.

Today the instability of the past is long gone, and Costa Rica is at peace. Modern Costa Rica is a land of beautiful expansive, protected green spaces, tropical climate and warm people, and is waiting for you to experience it all, tailored, with us.

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