The Mayan civilization
flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first
millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony,
Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the
20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian
governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the
government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which
had left more than 100,000 people dead and had created, by some
estimates, some 1 million refugees.
and various Amerindian languages are spoken.