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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 61 / 153

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Population: 12,640,000

Size: about the size of Tennessee

Capital: Guatemala City (2,205,000)

Currency: Quetzal

Ethnic relations between the descendants of Maya Indians, who comprise 44 percent of Guatemala's population, and whites and Ladinos (Hispanicize Indians) have always been unfriendly and have contributed significantly to the nation's turbulent history.

The process of domination was accelerated between 1870 and 1920, as Guatemala's entry into world markets hungry for tropical produce such as coffee resulted in the purchase or extensive seizures of land from Indians.

Denied sufficient lands of their own, Indians were forced onto the expanding plantations as debt peons. Others were forced to labor as seasonal workers on coastal plantations; many died there because of the sharp climatic differences.

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