Guatemala is a Middle American country, with borders to Mexico and Belize to the north and El Salvador and Honduras to the southeast. It has coasts at both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea), which means a connection to the Atlantic Ocean. The country was once the center of the Mayan culture, which flourished during the first millennium and declined in the second millenium. This process was extremely speeded by the appearance of the Spanish, who occupied the country for three centuries. The land won its independence in 1821. But in the second half of the 20th century the politic situation became really nasty, with a variety of military and civilian governments and a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement, which formally ended the conflict. It seems the country has really calmed and tourism increases continually.
Guatemala is a rather small country with 108,430 km², which means smaller than most states of the United States. But it is the largest Middle American country. It has a population of 14 Million people, 60% speaking Spanish and 40% speaking one of the 23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca.