Guatemala was at one time the core of the Maya peoples. The two east-west running mountain ranges segment this land into three general regions; the Peten region to the north, the highland mountainous region and the Pacific coastland South.
The resplendent Quetzal, the national bird, gives its name to the currency of Guatemala. The Maya used the tail feathers of the quetzal as currency.
Guatemala’s “modern history” commenced with the Spanish conquest.
It comprised part of the Captaincy General of Central America for several centuries, together with Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
In 1821, independence was gained from Spain for the Captaincy, which became known as the Republic if Central America.
In 1840, full independence for Guatemala was realized as the Republic of Central America disintegrated.