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Guatemala Facts for Kids

Guatemala also is known as the Republic of Guatemala, is a Central American Country bordered by Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast, Belize, and Caribbean to the northeast, Mexico to the north and west and the pacific ocean to the south.

Guatemala Facts for Kids

  • The country’s total land area is 108,889 sq km (42,042 sq miles)
  • The capital city is called Guatemala City which is also the largest city.
  • The total population of the country is 17,263,239 (est. in 2018).
  • The official language is Spanish.
  • The country gained independence on September 15, 1821 from Spain.
  • The national anthem is “Himno Nacional de Guatemala” (National anthem of Guatemala).
  • The national bird is the quetzal. The national motto is “El Pais de la Eterna Primavera” (The land of eternal spring)
  • The people of Guatemala are called Guatemalan and the major religion is the Roman Catholic.
  • The currency used is called Quetzal (GTQ).
  • The natural resources of the country include nickel, fish, hydropower, rare woods and petroleum. The major industries are textiles and clothing, rubber, chemicals, sugar, furniture, tourism, metals and petroleum.
  • The country makes $10.53 billion (est. in 2017) on the exportation of electricity, fruits and vegetables, cardamom, apparel, coffee, sugar, precious stones and metals, manufacturing products and petroleum.
  • The country spends $17.48 billion (est. in 2017) on the importation of plastic, mineral products, construction materials, chemical products, fertilizers, grain, fuels, machinery and transport equipment and materials and products.
  • The Maya people in the highland of Western Guatemala, in several towns, worship with attention a folk saint named Maximon; he is depicted in many forms and the locals worship in certain regions of the country.
  • The people of Guatemala bury a person minutes/hours after his death in a wooden coffin as they believe if it isn’t done, the soul of dead will come back to haunt them. The person is always buried with his most treasured possession.
  • The Guatemala currency Guatemalan Quetzal gets its name from the Quetzal bird during the ancient time, the currency was actually the bird’s feathers.
  • The country actually produces blue denims in the world.
  • During the Mayan times is when the first chocolate was ever invented, in 460-480 AD was when the first chocolate residue was found in a Guatemalan vessel.
  • The world’s largest concentration of Ozone is in the country of Guatemala. If you don’t know, ozone is a gas that is seen at the ground level (troposphere) and the upper atmosphere of the Earth.
  • In the history of Latin America, the war which was fought between leftist rebels, military governments and the right-wing vigilante group is the longest civil war ever. The war lasted for 36 years and claimed the lives of more than 200,000 citizens by the end of it.
  • The world’s largest producers of jade is Guatemala, the country biggest business is the exportation of coffee with Guatemala having its biggest employment sector, with 50% of the country’s population being hired in the agricultural sectors. 35% of its population works in the tourism sector which is the second largest industry in the country.
  • Guatemala’s cuisine and foods are based on both the Spanish and Mayan influence on the people. The country eats a lot of beans, rice and corn that are mostly served alongside fish and meats. The country loves their meat and is known to enjoy both beef and pork; the rural areas mostly eat chicken with the feet still in place. A spicy stew called “Topado” is made by putting together banana, coconut, cilantro and fish is one of the country’s favorite. The country also loves their fruit with some of their dishes having fruits as an ingredient or just eating only fruits like mangoes, pineapples, carambola and papayas.
  • Guatemala has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua, Antigua Guatemala and Tikal National Park. The latter of which is the first mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world.
  • One of the obscene gestures known to the Guatemalan is putting your thumb in between your index finger and middle finger and then making a fist. Also frowned upon is speaking loudly in public
  • One of many traditions in Guatemalan exist like every Christmas, guns are fired in the air as a celebration but at the end it causes the death of five to ten people as the bullets come back down.
  • In Quetzaltenango, Guatemala exists two baths made over a vent of a vent. The vents give the baths its natural steam.