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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. S.-backed military coup in 1954 ended the revolution and installed a dictatorship.
From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala endured a bloody civil war fought between the US-backed government and leftist rebels, including genocidal massacres of the Maya population perpetrated by the military.
Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.
Guatemala attained independence in 1821 as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved in 1841.From the mid to late 19th century, Guatemala experienced chronic instability and civil strife.Beginning in the early 20th century, it was ruled by a series of dictators backed by the United Fruit Company and the United States government.Until recently, the Preclassic was regarded as a formative period, with small villages of farmers who lived in huts, and few permanent buildings.However, this notion has been challenged by recent discoveries of monumental architecture from that period, such as an altar in La Blanca, San Marcos, from 1000 BC; ceremonial sites at Miraflores and Naranjo from 801 BC; the earliest monumental masks; and the Mirador Basin cities of Nakbé, Xulnal, El Tintal, Wakná and El Mirador.