100, established a number of city-states in what is now Guatemala.
The largest of these, Tikal, covered ten square miles and included two hundred major stone structures, including high-rise temples and palaces.
Protestant missionaries have been active in Guatemala since the 1880s.
Pilgrims from all over Central America come to Esquipulas (January 15) to worship at the shrine of the Black Christ.
Many other Guatemalans fled to Mexico and the United States. It is bounded by Mexico to the north and west, by the Pacific Ocean to the south, and by Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador to the east.
It had a population of about ten million people in 1994, making it the most populous country in Central America.
Ladinos are usually mestizos, people of mixed Amerindian and European descent.
About 1 percent of the population are of purely European ancestry.By 1000, however, the Mayan cities had been abandoned for reasons that are still not clear.The ancient Mayan civilization was very advanced and had a sophisticated knowledge of science, art, and astronomy.Within this faith, however, the Amerindians have preserved Mayan beliefs such as worshipping gods who control weather and crops.Jesus and Mary, for example, are identified with the Sun God and Moon Goddess. Cofradías (brotherhoods), rather than Catholic priests, lead a community's religious life.In return, it is hoped, the god will not cause fever by heating their blood.