Guatemala City, Guatemala

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Situated in a broad, elongated valley in the southern highlands at an altitude of 1,500 m, Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala and the largest city in Central America.


Before the city was founded by colonists, the area was inhabited by the Maya. Until the eighteenth century Guatemala’s capital was Antigua. A succession of natural disasters culminated in its destruction in 1773. Three years later Guatemala City was founded on a higher and safer site. The task of housing 30,000 migrants was further complicated by the country’s economic difficulties which slowed development. Set out as a replica of Antigua, but with wider streets, many of the major buildings were not completed until the nineteenth century. After independence from colonial rule in 1821, Guatemala City was capital of the Confederation of Central America between 1823–39, when it became capital of Independent Guatemala.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the population increased with the...

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