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Title: Guatemala, the country of the future
Author: Pepper, Charles M.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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CHAPTER.                                        PAGE.
  I. A Brief Description                            9

 II. A Progressive President and his Policies      20

III. The Soil and its Riches                       30

 IV. Trade and Markets                             45

  V. Climate and Immigration                       56

 VI. International Relations                       64

VII. The Land of Travel and History                70

       *       *       *       *       *


Portrait of His Excellency President Don
Manuel Estrada Cabrera                   Frontispiece

Monument to Columbus                      opposite 16

President and Members of Cabinet             "     24

Vista of Aguna Plantation                    "     32

Bridge over Motagua River                    "     40

Street in Escuintla                          "     60

Plaza of Jocotenango, Guatemala City         "     68

Landscape of Guastotoya River                "     72


_President and Cabinet._

_President of the Republic_.

_Minister of Foreign Relations_.

_Minister of Government and Justice_.

_Minister of Public Improvement_ (_Fomento_).

_Minister of War_.

_Minister of the Treasury_.

_Minister of Public Instruction_.


_Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary,
Highlands, Washington, D. C._

_Consul General, 2 Stone St., New York City_.

_Consul General, 1521 N. 11th St., St. Louis, Mo._

_Consul General, 421 Market St., San Francisco, Cal._

_Consul General, Baltimore, Md._

_Consul General, P. O. Box 1374, New Orleans, La._

_Consul, Louisville, Ky._

_Consul, Philadelphia, Pa._

_Consul, 218 Rialto Bldg., Kansas City, Kans._

_Consul, 92 Water St., Boston, Mass._

_Vice-Consul, Pensacola, Fla._

_Consul, Mayaguez, P. R._

_Consul, Galveston, Texas_.

_Consul, Seattle, Wash._

_Consul, San Diego, Cal._


_Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary,
Guatemala City_.

_Consul General, Guatemala City_.

_V. & D. Consul General, Guatemala City_.

_Consular Agent, Champerico_.

_Consular Agent, Livingston_.

_Consular Agent, Ocos._

_Consular Agent, San José de Guatemala_.



The Republic of Guatemala, which name is derived from the Indian word
"Quanhitemallan," signifying "land covered with trees," has been
described as the privileged zone of Central America. This is because of
its resources, its climate, and its accessibility.

The country is easily reached from all directions through its seaports
on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and through its rapidly growing
system of railways. From California, from the neighboring ports of other
Central American countries and from Panama there is regular and reliable
steamship service on the Pacific coast. On the Atlantic or Gulf side
from New York, New Orleans, Galveston and Mobile there is frequent
steamship service, while there is also connection at Colon with English
and German lines. The steamers on the Pacific coast connect at San José
with the Guatemala Central Railway, which affords easy means of arriving
at the capital city and the great coffee-raising districts. These are
reached by the branch to Mazatenango, which forms a junction with the
Occidental Railway between Champerico and San Felipe. On the Atlantic
side is Puerto Barrios, which will derive additional importance from the
early completion of the Northern Railway and which will place New
Orleans within five days or less of Guatemala City, Chicago six days,
and New York seven days. Besides the means of communication afforded
jointly by the steamship lines and the railroads at an early date there
will be complete and uninterrupted railway communication with St. Louis
and other points of the Mississippi Valley through Mexico. The means of
communication and transportation are given more fully later on.

Geographically the Republic of Guatemala is the heart of intertropical
America. It is the most northern part of Central America, in shape like
a polygon, with the southern side the longest. It lies approximately
between north latitude 13° and 42' and 17° and 49', and between 88° and
10' and 92° and 30' longitude west of Greenwich. Its area is 50,600
square miles--the greatest length from north to south being 360 and from
east to west 390 miles. The Pacific coast line with indentations is
nearly 400 miles and the Atlantic line about 150 miles in length.


In its physical aspects Guatemala is a country of mountains, tropical
forests, lakes and rivers and coast plains. It was described by Humboldt
more than one hundred years ago as extremely fertile and well
cultivated, and this description holds good to-day, though there are
vast areas of rich agricultural land yet open to profitable cultivation
and only awaiting immigration to develop their richness.

The Guatemalan Andes consist of three minor mountain systems. These are
the northern zone, chiefly of denuded cones, 1,500 to 2,000 feet in
height, with plains lying between them; the central zone consisting of
ranges and chains running east and west with many marked elevations
rising from 7,000 to 14,000 feet; and the southern zone consisting of
eruptive chains which culminate in many notable volcanic peaks, some of
which are more than 14,000 feet in height. These are known as the
Cordilleras and they parallel the Pacific Ocean.

There are three river systems emptying respectively into the Gulf of
Mexico, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Some of the streams flowing into
the Gulf of Mexico are navigable by steamboats of light draught.

Of the Atlantic tributaries the principal rivers are the Sarstoon, the
Motagua and the Dulce; the latter empties into the Gulf of Honduras.
Navigation is possible on the Motagua for about 75 miles from the mouth.
The rivers flowing into the Pacific include the Paz, the Suchiate, and
the Patulul. These have their sources in the Andean Cordilleras or the
neighboring highlands. There is also the Michatoya which is navigable
for small boats to its confluence with the Maria Linda. Generally
speaking, a few of the rivers on the southern coast might be made
navigable for short distances with boats of very light draught.

Guatemala has a series of inland lakes which include Izabal, Atitlan,
Amatitlan, which are capable of steam navigation; Peten, Ayarza and
Guija. The largest of these is Lake Izabal, which is 58 miles long by 12
miles in width and which has its outlet through the Dulce River into the
Gulf of Honduras.

The cities and municipal districts having a population of 10,000 and
upwards are as follows:

     NAME.              POPULATION.
     Guatemala City         100,000
     Antigua                 10,000
     Quezaltenango           25,000
     Totonicapan             33,000
     Coban                   23,000
     Chiquimula              13,000
     Jalapa                  13,000
     Escuintla               13,000
     Salamá                  13,000
     Amatitlan               10,000
     Zacapa                  12,000
     Flores                  13,000
     Jutiapa                 14,000
     Huehuetenango           10,000
     Retalhuleu              10,000
     Sololá                  15,000
     Mazatenango             10,000
     San Marcos              10,000
     Atitlan                 10,000


Guatemala, the capital, is the largest city in Central America. The
location is unusually healthy, being 5,000 feet above sea level. The
city is laid out on a splendid scale with many fine avenues and parks.
It is improving its system of tramways by changing to electricity as
the motor power. The public buildings are especially notable. Among the
principal ones are the Palaces of the Government, the Presidency, the
Legislative Power, the Judicial Power, the Municipality, and the
Archbishopric; the Cathedral and other magnificent churches; the
Ministry of Public Improvement (Fomento), the Mint, the Conservatory of
Music, the general offices of accounts, of police, and of liquors and
internal revenue; the custom-house, the national institutes of young
men, of young ladies and of the native race, the first of which is
provided with a meteorological observatory; the schools of law,
medicine, engineering, polytechny, and arts; the children's college and
a large number of public schools; the Colon theatre; the registry of
real estate, the national printing-office, the post-office, the National
Museum; the military hospital, and the general hospitals, the asylums
for the insane and for convalescents and invalids; the central and the
Calvary markets; the penitentiary and the artillery, cavalry, and Guard
of Honor and San Francisco barracks; San José and Matamoros forts, and a
very large number of other imposing edifices. The American Club, which
has several hundred members, mostly citizens of the United States,
occupies fine quarters.

Some of the parks, plazas, and public drives are adorned with very
beautiful marble or bronze statues. Among the principal ones are the
bronze monument of Christopher Columbus in the central park and the
marble one of the same historic personage in the garden of the Colon
Theatre; that of General J. Rufino Barrios and that of Don Miguel Garcia
Granados in the boulevard of the Reforma; and that of Friar Bartolomew
de Las Casas in the campus of the Institute of the Indian race. The last
three statues are of bronze.

The seaports of Guatemala are of a varied character. Their value grows
every day because of the increased commerce that is resulting from the
development of the country under the industrial policies of President
Estrada Cabrera. On the Atlantic the leading ports are Livingston,
Izabal, Santo Tomas, and Puerto Barrios. Of these Puerto Barrios is
easily first. It lies at the extremity of the Gulf of Amatique, is
spacious and is well protected against winds. As the terminus of the
Guatemalan Northern Railway it is assured of a very extensive trade both
in exports and in imports. Puerto Barrios is not only a receiving and
distributing center for Guatemala, but also for a considerable portion
of the neighboring Republic of Salvador, which has no port on the

The chief ports on the Pacific side are San José, Champerico, and Ocos.
By far the largest amount of business is done through the port of San
José, which is the terminus of the Guatemalan Central Railroad. It has
extensive quays and other facilities for navigation.


Guatemala is well supplied with ocean transportation facilities, several
of the steamship companies receiving aid from the government. On the
Pacific coast there is the Pacific Mail which maintains a regular
fortnightly service with extra vessels during the coffee season and
which touches at the ports between San Francisco and Panama. The German
line known as the Kosmos puts the Guatemalan ports in communication with
the West Coast of South America as well as with the ports of California
and Mexico. It carries both passengers and freight. There are also
numerous small coasting vessels. It is probable that service will be
resumed by the various Chilean lines which formerly proceeded to San
Francisco, touching at Guatemalan and other ports, but which of recent
years have not gone north of Panama. All the vessels have excellent
passenger accommodations.

From the Atlantic ports there are ships engaged in the fruit trade with
New York and Boston, some of which carry passengers. Usually, however,
passengers prefer to travel by way of New Orleans or Mobile, from either
of which cities every Thursday there is a vessel plying directly to
Puerto Barrios. The most complete service is that maintained by the
United Fruit Company.

In view of the growing development on the Atlantic slope and of the
commerce which is certain to result there is an excellent opportunity
for an increased steamship service with the ports of the United States.
The time could be greatly lessened with advantages both in the
transportation of freight and in the benefit to passengers. The policy
of the government towards steamship lines both as relates to port
charges and to other measures is a most liberal one and every inducement
is offered to engage in furnishing additional facilities, which will
shorten the time between the different points and increase the frequency
of communication.


The railway system of Guatemala under the administration of President
Estrada Cabrera is certain to be the most useful means of developing the
country. Every encouragement is given to capital to engage in railroad
enterprises. The general plan includes both an interoceanic railroad and
links in the intercontinental or north and south lines. No measure of
President Estrada Cabrera's administration has been of greater
importance than his action in securing the completion of the Northern
Railway, which will be open for traffic throughout its entire length by
the end of 1906. This places the capital and the whole interior of the
country in direct communication with Puerto Barrios and insures a very
heavy decrease in the cost of freight both for the agricultural exports
and for the merchandise and other imports. The line runs from Guatemala
City to El Rancho and thence to Puerto Barrios. At various times
concessions were given for building the different sections, but
circumstances caused many of them to be almost abandoned.

In the face of repeated discouragements President Estrada Cabrera took
up the subject with resolute spirit and with the sanction of the
National Assembly made a contract with a syndicate of which the
principals were Sir William C. Van Horne, the celebrated railroad man,
who completed the Canadian Pacific Railway in the face of monumental
difficulties and who subsequently built the Cuba Central Railway; and
Minor C. Keith, of the United Fruit Company, who for a third of a
century had been identified with various successful enterprises in
Central America. Subsequently the Guatemala Central Railway took a share
in the enterprise and also German banking and coffee interests. Under
the contract no export duty is to be laid on agricultural exports
transported over the railroad except coffee and the Company is given the
right to fix its passenger and freight charges on a gold basis. There
were many engineering difficulties to be overcome, the chiefest of which
was the bridging of the Motagua River. The material for this railway
construction was imported principally from the United States, the rails
from Maryland and the bridgework across the Motagua and other rivers
from Pittsburg.

The importance of this Northern Railway to the development of Guatemala
is incalculable. It insures the opening up of a very rich country which
means a great addition to the exports of Guatemala and it also should
bring a large immigration because of the facilities for easy
communication and access to the markets of the United States which it
will afford. With the operation of the Northern Railway in connection
with the Guatemala Central, the country will have a through railway line
from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, 270 miles in length. While the
interior development is the chief benefit of this through railway
system, it is not unlikely that during the years that must pass until
the Panama Canal is completed some of the international traffic which
cannot be accommodated on the railway line across the Isthmus will find
a cheap and expeditious passage across Guatemala.

On the Pacific slope the leading railway system is the Guatemala
Central. It was built by C. P. Huntington and is one of the best
railroads anywhere south of the Rio Grande. Though of narrow gauge the
roadbed was laid for standard gauge, and this change can be made at any
time. Unlike most foreign railways the Guatemala Central maintains the
American system of checking baggage. Its main line and branches cover
the coffee-raising districts of the Pacific coast section of Guatemala.
The Occidental Railroad has about 50 miles of track and the Ocos line 20
miles. Both of these are on the Pacific slope.


It is worth knowing that while the interoceanic line approaches
completion Guatemala is making decided progress in the links of the
Pan-American or intercontinental north and south trunk line. From a
junction with the Northern a branch will run south to Zacapa and
ultimately will be extended into Salvador. Towards the north there is
only a section of 30 miles to be completed in order to prolong the
Guatemalan system to Ayutla on the border of Mexico and this will be
done as soon as the extension of the Mexican lines to the boundary are
completed. These extensions are to be finished within two years, so it
may reasonably be said that by the end of 1907, if not sooner, a through
railway journey will be possible from San Francisco, Chicago, or New
York to the capital of Guatemala. The importance of this railway
building was shown by Senator Stephen B. Elkins, the chairman of the
Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce, in a speech made at the dinner
given the Pan-American Railway Committee by the Hon. H. G. Davis. In his
speech Senator Elkins said that the freight on coffee, which now
approximates $20 per ton or $1,000 on a carload of 50 tons, would be
cheapened till it came down to $250 per carload, or $5 per ton.


The railroad laws of Guatemala are thus explained in my official report
as Commissioner of the Pan-American Railway:

"The railways of Guatemala are regulated by the provisions of the
Commercial Code and by the general railway law known as Decree No. 566,
dated February 1, 1898. By the terms of this decree persons or companies
seeking franchises are required to submit the plans to the Department of
Fomento; when indorsed by that Department the sanction of the Council of
State is sought, and finally the approval of the National Legislature.
All contracts celebrated by the executive power have to be approved by
the National Legislature. The contracts may be with designated
individuals, with persons acting for others, or for companies that are
to be formed.

"Concessions can be granted with subsidy or without it, guaranteeing or
not the capital which may be invested, with an interest proportionate to
the product. The Government shall include in the estimates the share of
pecuniary responsibilities required for fulfilling the obligation

"The State may exempt the enterprise from the payment of every class of
contributions, from the use of stamped paper and fiscal dues, for the
time which it may consider just or opportune, but in every instance the
exemptions shall be specified in the contract.

"The right of eminent domain or expropriation for the benefit of
grantees holding franchises is enforced. The Government also undertakes
to procure uniformity in the gauge and the rails.

"The Government offers every inducement to promote the extension and
development of railroads in the country. The best evidence of its policy
toward legitimate and genuine capital is shown in the terms of the
contract for the completion of the Northern Railroad.

"The engineering difficulties of railroad construction in Guatemala are
not grave, as the lines skirt the foothills of the great agricultural
regions. The immense natural resources, consisting of the products both
of the tropical and the temperate climates, such as coffee, sugar,
tobacco, the cereals; the vast pasturage for live stock; the undeveloped
timber industries, and the unexploited mines, all open up prospects for
profitable traffic."

In addition to its railways Guatemala seeks to maintain a complete
system of highways or cart roads. Among the most important cart roads
which have recently been built or are now under construction, are those
from the capital to San Juan Sacatepequez, San Pedro and San Raymundo.
There is also a cart road between Huehuetenango and Quezaltenango; one
from Coban to Quiche which will join the departments of the north with
the rich western section of the Republic; from Totonicapan to Quiche;
that between Ovejero and Trujillo, which will place in communication the
departments of Jutiapa and Jalapa; that from Tumbador to San Marcos;
that from Solola to Panajachel; that from Chicacao to Nahualate; and
finally the highway from San Jeronimo and Rancho San Augustin, which
will join the department of Baja Verapaz with Zacapa. All these roads
serve as new arteries for the development and the enlargement of
commerce and agriculture and this has been the special care of President
Estrada Cabrera, who has provided the means for opening, wherever
possible, the necessary ways of communication.

Distances between the capital city and the principal points of the
country are as follows:

     GUATEMALA TO               MILES.
     Antigua                        27
     Chimaltenango                  36
     Amatitlan                      18
     Escuintla                      43½
     Cuajiniquilapa                 42
     Solola                         90
     Totonicapan                   111
     Quezaltenango                 120
     Mazatenango                   138
     Retalhuleu                    153
     San Marcos                    165
     Huehuetenango                 195
     Santa Cruz de Quiche           96
     Salamá                         69
     Coban                         126
     Flores                        321
     Izabal                        216
     Zacapa                        126
     Chiquimula                    135
     Jalapa                         75
     Jutiapa                        87


The means of facilitating intercourse both among its own people and with
the outside world has always been encouraged by the government of

The Republic is a member of the International Postal Union. It has an
excellent post-office service, both foreign and domestic. Complete
information is given in the Postal Code of the Republic. During the last
year the number of pieces of mail received in all the offices of the
Republic was nearly 5,000,000, while the mail matter transmitted
amounted to 3,653,000 separate pieces. The telegraph and telephone are
nationalized and are controlled and operated by the Government, though
there are also some private telephone lines in the capital. The national
telegraph lines have a total length of about 5,300 kilometers, 3,290
miles, and the telephone lines of 500 kilometers, 310 miles. The number
of telegrams transmitted in a given year was 1,106,832. The Government
is constantly constructing new lines both for telegraph and telephone
service. At the present time there are nearly 200 telegraph offices and
about 100 telephone offices. The rates both for telegraph and telephone
messages, which are payable in Guatemalan currency, are quite moderate.
A telegram of 10 words to any part of the Republic costs about 5 cents
in gold. The long distance telephone service is at the rate of about 15
cents for a five minutes' conversation.

The cable service is maintained by the Central and South American
Telegraph Company, whose main office is at San José. The following are
the charges per word in gold:

     Guatemala to points in the United States     55 cts.
         "           "      "   Great Britain     80 cts.
         "           "      "   France            80 cts.
         "           "      "   Germany           80 cts.
         "           "      "   Canada            58 cts.
         "           "      "   Central America   29 to 32 cts.
         "        Havana, Cuba                    66 cts.
         "        points in Mexico                31 to 44 cts.
         "        City of Panama                  37 cts.
         "        City of Colon                   47 cts.



Guatemala in order to fulfil its destiny as the country of the future
must be assured of stable and progressive government hospitable to
foreign capital. To insure these things it is necessary to have the
right man at the head of affairs. No one now questions that Guatemala
possesses this advantage in the person of Manuel Estrada Cabrera, whose
term as President will not expire till 1911.

The best test of any public man entrusted with the responsibility of
government is the opinion of disinterested foreign observers whose
position gives them the opportunity to judge. This opinion was voiced by
Mr. Leslie Combs, the American Minister Plenipotentiary to Guatemala, on
the occasion of a New Year's reception by President Estrada Cabrera
(1905), when the diplomatic corps called on the President in a body.
Speaking for himself and for his colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps
Minister Combs on that occasion said:

     "Upon such an occasion as this criticism or compliment would alike
     be out of place, but it may be permitted to mention the wonderful
     development in Mexico in the past ten years, the great work now in
     hand to the south and to predict that Guatemala in material wealth
     and well-being has a great future before her. We hope this will be
     realized in your next administration and that this year will
     distinctly mark its advent.

     "The wise base their hopes of the future upon their experiences of
     the past and we look to the peace and order maintained by your
     administration in the past seven years as a guarantee that your
     people may expect as much in those that are to follow.

     "We remember that called to your position of responsibility by a
     tragedy you have firmly held the authority with which you have been
     entrusted. We remember that by the diplomatic settlement of 1902,
     by arbitration and negotiation, you have settled all the foreign
     claims of importance against your government and have given rise to
     not one yourself. We remember that hardly had the ashes cooled
     after the terrible disaster of Santa Maria when railway spikes were
     being driven to its base and the Mazatenango Railway opened, that
     the Northern Railway contract seems to guarantee the completion of
     that highway to the Atlantic at an early date.

     "These achievements in a period of depression, in the face of
     natural phenomena of almost unparalleled destructiveness, warrant
     the hope that conditions may enable you to direct the destiny of
     Guatemala still further along on the highway to that position all
     hope she may one day occupy. A noble field lies before you. That
     you may be able to occupy it to the greatest advantage of your
     country is our earnest wish."

The tribute from Minister Combs, as will be noticed, especially
emphasizes President Estrada Cabrera's qualities as a man of
achievement. That is the keynote of his character, to do something for
his country.

President Estrada Cabrera is a civilian executive. His public life has
been that of a lawyer eminent in his profession.


In his participation in public affairs President Estrada Cabrera always
has supported liberal principles. It was therefore natural that he
should be prominent in the councils of the Liberal party and should
become the leader of that organization. His career has been one to
familiarize him with all the departments of the government. He served as
Secretary of Government and Justice, and it was while, holding this
position that in order to investigate a land controversy he went out
into the wilderness himself and spent several weeks going over the
sections concerning which he desired to be fully informed. The result
was that this controversy which had been in dispute for a long term of
years was finally settled in the manner most equitable and just for the
parties interested. This is the way President Estrada Cabrera works when
the interests of the State are involved.

In 1898 when President-General José Maria Reyna Barrios was killed, Mr.
Estrada Cabrera was _Primer Designado_, the position which corresponds
to vice-president in the United States and under which he became acting
President until an election could be held. At that election he was
chosen President by a substantially unanimous vote. An indication of his
public policies was given by him when he outlined his programme on
coming into the responsibility for the government of Guatemala during
the interim which he served in the character of _Primer Designado_. On
that occasion he said:

     "My administration will be brief and of a temporary character, but
     not for that reason shall it be left for History to demand of me a
     strict account of my acts during this period. I declare in the most
     solemn manner before my fellow citizens that I wish to hand back
     the beautiful standard of my country without stain. I desire that
     the Constitution, the sacred repository of our liberties, be not
     soiled in my hands. My hope is that all of my compatriots may enjoy
     the life and public liberties that are rightfully theirs. I wish
     that all the guaranties may protect them in the moment when they
     approach the ballot boxes to cast their vote for the person to whom
     it will be given to direct the destinies of our common country."

It was after this declaration and after several months' experience under
President Estrada Cabrera's administration that in September, 1898, the
people chose him to fill out the full presidential term and then in 1904
re-elected him for the term which will expire in 1911.

When President Estrada Cabrera became charged with the full
responsibility of power in 1898, Guatemala was in the midst of political
complications and of a very severe industrial crisis. His first labor
was to insure political tranquillity. When this was accomplished he gave
all his energies and his talents to developing the resources of the
country and to the improvement of public administration. From this point
a recent writer, confirming the eulogy of Minister Combs, said:

     "Guatemala now enjoys unalterable peace. Her progress is most
     notable and instead of investing the public funds exclusively in
     swords and cannons there have been instituted the annual festival
     of Minerva, the most splendid work of Estrada Cabrera as ruler and
     as patriot, arousing in this manner in the people the desire for
     instruction and fostering by all possible means the material
     progress of the country; giving facilities and opening new ways to
     traffic and commerce; nourishing industries, science and the arts;
     beautifying the cities and villages; affording to all the
     advantages of modern improvements and spreading the knowledge of
     hygiene among the masses."


In a general way the administration of President Estrada Cabrera has
been described as the political emancipation and the administrative
emancipation. The former topic will be considered in the explanation of
Guatemala's international relations. The administrative reforms which
President Estrada Cabrera has introduced are numerous. He has reduced in
a large measure the public debt and has paid almost entirely the
recognized foreign claims incurred by previous administrations, has
given marked impulse to the construction of highways, bridges, and other
public works; has systematically fostered agriculture; has reformed and
liberalized the Civil Codes and Proceedings; has extended the system of
posts, telegraphs, and telephones; has established patriotic
celebrations of an industrial, agricultural, literary and scientific
character; has reorganized the army and the branch of military hygiene,
has enacted rigorous measures of quarantine against yellow fever,
smallpox, and the bubonic pests; has enlarged considerably the public
schools and the charitable institutions by constructing the fine Asylum
for Invalids and Convalescents which bears his name: has improved the
fiscal systems of the municipalities by bringing them to a modern basis,
and has secured special advantages in supplying them with light, water,
and other municipal necessities.

Generally it further may be said that Guatemala owes to President
Estrada Cabrera:

The rehabilitation of her railway system.

The stability of the legal regimen.

Important reforms in land holdings in the interest of the small land

The institution of closer relations with all the nations of the world
and especially with the United States.

The restoration of public credit.

A satisfactory immigration policy.

The re-establishment and reorganization of the public school system, and
a great variety of other measures which form a solid foundation for the
continued development of the country.


People in the United States who believe in the "Little Red School House"
as the basis of good citizenship cannot fail to appreciate how
thoroughly President Estrada Cabrera has made primary education a part
of his policy. In the midst of his many measures for the material
development of the country he never has lost sight of the moral
advancement which comes from the school. He believes in education also
as the very best means of creating and fostering the national patriotic
spirit. During his first term he published a decree relating especially
to the education of the youth of the country. He fixed the last Sunday
of October of each year for the celebration of a popular festival
throughout the Republic consecrated exclusively to commemorate the
education of the youth of the country and requiring that all the
directors, professors, teachers, and scholars of all the schools take
part in it. This was known as the Festival of Minerva. It is a
sentimental recognition of the value of education, and is the complement
of the practical steps which have been taken. One of his first measures
on coming into the presidency in 1898 was to decree the reopening of the
public schools. From that time he exerted himself constantly to elevate
their standing by providing them with the best facilities, by
reorganizing them in conformity with the most modern plans, and in a
word by encouraging their extension and their progress in every sense.


Besides the primary schools a system of higher education is supported,
and there are normal schools and various faculties such as those of law,
medicine, engineering, etc. Especial attention, however, has been given
to practical education, that is, the fitting of the common people for
their occupations. There are schools of commerce, of manual training,
and of agriculture, as well as an Institute especially for the native
Indians. On this subject of technical education Consul General of the
United States Winslow in a special report said:

     "There are few villages in the country where there are no schools.
     In the city of Guatemala of late much attention has been given to
     education, under the direction of President Manuel Estrada Cabrera,
     who has done more along this line than any of his predecessors.
     There are in the city of Guatemala 25 public schools, 8 institutes,
     and 3 colleges.

     "President Estrada Cabrera has given much attention to his pet
     scheme of establishing an industrial school for boys and girls at
     his own personal expense, aided by several of the more progressive
     citizens of Guatemala city, where the most improved methods of
     instruction are to be employed. The President has engaged two able
     educators from the United States, and proposes everything shall be

     "The Boys' Industrial College is in charge of Prof. Y. C. Pilgrim,
     a well-known educator of New Jersey, assisted by Professor
     Bellingham and wife, who have charge of the languages, and
     Professor Lorenzo de Clairmont, who instructs in gymnastics and
     military tactics. These are assisted by several native teachers.
     The boys are selected from the best families in the Republic and
     are limited to 50, and are all required to live in the dormitory.
     The college buildings are situated in a tract of land of about 60
     acres, convenient to the city, with a campus where the boys are to
     be instructed in the modern sports and military tactics as taught
     at West Point, and all orders are to be given in the English

     "The Girls' Industrial School is in charge of Miss Alice Dufour, a
     prominent educator of New York City, assisted by several native
     instructors. This institution is located in the city and is to be
     conducted on the same high plan as the boys' college. The idea is
     to teach the principles on which the American home is founded.

     "President Estrada Cabrera means these institutions shall be the
     nucleus around which a solid and up-to-date system of education
     shall be built for this Republic. It is his ambition to firmly
     establish an educational system modeled after that in use in the
     United States, where the watchword shall be industry, promptness,
     and honesty."

The New York _Tribune_ in a Washington dispatch had this to say on the
same subject:

     "American teachers who went to Guatemala some time ago at the
     request of the government are sending back interesting accounts of
     the progress which that country is making in adopting the
     educational methods that obtain in the United States. The
     newspapers also have a good deal to say on the subject. President
     Estrada Cabrera, who is a progressive man, for several years has
     had the ambition to give a new turn to public instruction, and to
     make it practical after the system of the United States. His idea
     is that the youth of the Latin-American countries are especially in
     need of newer methods, and of getting away from the metaphysical
     systems which created a large class of professional men, for whom
     there was no room and who were a drawback to material progress.

     "Some time ago President Estrada Cabrera established what was
     called the practical school, which combined technical instruction
     and manual training. A few weeks ago exercises were held at the
     Escuela Practica, or technical school, and it is concerning this
     that the New York teachers have written so encouragingly. The
     President delivered an address on the value of work and of
     developing through the schools an aptitude for everyday life.
     Heretofore he said there had been too much theory and too much that
     was purely professional in the system followed. Now that the
     aspiration of many years had been realized he was hopeful that the
     experiment would be beneficial in giving a new direction to the
     national spirit, and would result in the kind of business training
     that would fit the Guatemalan youth for the activities of practical
     life rather than incline them to the traditions of the past. Under
     the direction of the President fields for farm experiments have
     been established, and the youth are taught the care of horses and
     other farm work, as well as the manual trades. There is special
     provision made for athletic sports."


The Government of Guatemala is republican--democratic and
representative--and the supreme power is exercised by three governmental
branches, each independent of the others, called "the legislative
power," "the executive power," and "the judicial power."

The legislative power is vested in a National Assembly which consists of
a single house composed of one deputy for each 20,000 inhabitants or
fraction of that number exceeding 10,000. The deputies are elected by
popular vote for four years, but one-half of the Assembly is renewed
each two years so that each time that it meets it contains an adequate
number of experienced members. Annual sessions are held lasting two
months, beginning March 1, but they can be extended one month longer in
case of necessity. For the transaction of business during its recesses
the Assembly appoints seven of its members who form a body called "the
Permanent Commission." This commission, as well as the executive, can
call the Assembly to meet in extraordinary sessions.

The executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, who,
for the transaction of public business, appoints six Ministers or
Secretaries of State, who have charge of the portfolios of Foreign
Relations, Government and Justice, the Treasury and Public Credit, War,
Public Works, and Public Instruction.

There is also a Council of State, a purely advisory body, which is
composed of the Cabinet Ministers and nine other members, of whom five
are appointed by the Assembly and four by the President. These
appointments are for two years.

The judicial power is exercised by the courts and judges of the
Republic, organized as follows:

The Supreme Court of Justice, which sits at the capital of Guatemala and
is composed of the President of the Judicial Power, four Magistrates,
and an Attorney (Fiscal).

Six Courts or Tribunals of Appeals, composed of three Magistrates, of
whom one presides, and an Attorney (Fiscal). Three of these Courts sit
at the Capital and one in each of the capitals of the Departments of
Quezaltenango, Alta Verapaz, and Jalapa. The Magistrates and Attorneys
are elected, by popular vote.

The Judges of the Courts of First Instance, of whom there are six in the
Capital, three in Quezaltenango, two in San Marcos, and one in each of
the remaining Departments of the Republic. These Judges are appointed by
the Executive from three names proposed by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Finally, the Justices of the Peace who pronounce oral judgments and are
elected by the people of the districts in which they exercise their

For the exercise of the political, civil, and military administration
of the country it is divided into twenty-two Departments, each of which
has a Governor (Jefe Politico) invested with the executive functions.
For the administration of the local affairs of each district there are
popularly elected Municipal Councils. The service of the members of the
Councils is for one year, is obligatory for the citizens of the
respective districts, and is not remunerated.

The Constitution of the Republic gives to all those who live in the
country the most ample guaranties of liberty, equality, and security of
their persons, their honor, and their property; of freedom of movement
and of assembly, of professions, of industries, and of commerce; of the
right to dispose of their property, to address petitions to the
authorities and to defend their interests before them; of liberty of
conscience, inasmuch as there is no official religion; of the right to
freely express their opinions, whether by speech, or by writing, or by
means of the press, without being subject to censure; of liberty to give
or receive instruction, if they should so prefer, in private educational
establishments; of the right to have their residences, their property,
their correspondence, and other papers respected as inviolable; of the
right of _habeas corpus_; of liberty of defence in judicial proceedings,

Primary instruction is obligatory, and that which is sustained by the
nation is secular and free. There is no imprisonment for debt. Marriage
is considered a simple civil contract; but those who desire can have it
solemnized in a religious form. Absolute divorce can be obtained in
cases defined by the law.



The soil of Guatemala is remarkable in the vast extent and great variety
of two classes of products which are unusual within the same degrees of
latitude, that is, it produces both tropical and temperate staples of
agriculture in great profusion. The soil grows coffee, sugar-cane,
cacao, bananas, tobacco, cotton, india rubber, vanilla, sarsaparilla,
and a long list of medicinal plants, while it likewise produces the
cereals, wheat and Indian corn, which are only found in temperate
regions, giving two and in some places three crops of these annually.
There are also endless kinds of valuable hardwood, mahogany, rosewood,
ebony, cedar and the like, which are especially tropical timber, and at
the same time pine and oak exist in the mountain regions of the
interior. Besides all this the grasses grown are especially adapted to
live stock, and cattle raising and dairying are very profitable

The British Consul General in an official report to the Foreign Office
in London had this to say about the capabilities of the soil:

     "The tropical situation of the country, the proximity of every
     portion to the sea on both coasts, the diversity of altitude and
     consequently of temperature, combine to make the agricultural
     capabilities of Guatemala equal to any in the world. Every kind of
     crop, from those of the tropical coast regions to those of the cold
     highlands (the latter having a climate corresponding with that of
     northern Europe in summer) may be raised. There are districts where
     even four crops of maize (Indian corn) are obtained in one year. It
     is a common theory that the manures are unnecessary, as the heavy
     rains wash down the rich soils from the sides of the mountains and
     fertilize the plains. The great secret is therefore for the
     agriculturist to adapt his cultivation to the nature of the soil
     and climate and his interest would be advanced by a judicious
     rotation of crops."

A breezy description, though an accurate one, was given of the soil of
Guatemala by a correspondent of the Washington _Star_. Wrote this

     "Instead of my own impressions of the country I would rather give
     those of a North Carolina business man. He was taking the rest cure
     by means of a sea voyage to San Francisco and deflected his
     itinerary for a week's land journey. We traveled together to the
     capital and also made a trip to the port of Champerico over the
     railroad extension which has opened up new and untouched territory.
     It was his first view of tropical lands except from the ship's

     "On landing at San José the North Carolina man looked with awe and
     admiration as every tourist is bound to do on the dominating
     volcano peaks Fuego and Agua, Fire and Water. But while he never
     ceased to wonder at the richness of the scenery his practical
     instincts asserted themselves and he punctuated the information
     given him about climate, soil and products with keen observations.
     He confessed that on the vessel he thought they were 'stringing'
     him when they told him that the posts for the barbed wire fences
     just grew, but when he saw countless miles of trees in straight
     rows with the wire stretched along the trunks he paid his tribute
     also to climate and soil. He knew that naturally trees don't grow
     in straight rows and he found the explanation. The posts are poles
     cut from the trees' branches and when stuck in the ground they
     shoot up so rapidly that they soon are trees.

     "The North Carolina observer never got over his wonder at the soil.
     The railroad cuts gave him a chance to see that it was not surface
     richness and he easily grasped the explanation. The vegetation
     grows to a certain height, then dies away, rots and forms fresh
     layers of richness. This process going on for centuries has made
     the fertility of the land inexhaustible.

     "The utility of volcanic eruptions was new to him and was explained
     on the trip to Champerico. This is the great coffee region. It
     comes within the sphere of influence of the volcano Santa Maria.
     When Santa Maria was sprinkling both the sea and land with pumice
     stone and ashes, on many of the fincas (plantations) there was just
     enough of this lava soil after the rains had come and washed away
     the surface of the deposit to renew the productiveness."

In another way an idea of the varied products of agricultural industry
can be had from an account given in the British Consular reports of a
model plantation. This plantation consisted of 3,000 acres. In a given
year it produced 1,200,000 pounds of coffee, 300,000 pounds of sugar,
300,000 bottles of the by-product of sugar known as aguardiente or cane
rum, 22,000 gallons of milk. Two thousand head of cattle were raised. On
this plantation from 900 to 1,300 laborers were employed.


As is well known, Guatemala's most valuable agricultural product is
coffee. The fame of Guatemala coffee is worldwide and it commands the
highest prices. The production in average years is about 70,500,000
pounds, though in a recent year it exceeded 80,000,000 pounds. The most
productive regions are in the departments of Guatemala, Amatitlan,
Sacatepequez, Solola, Retalhuleu, Quezaltenango, San Marcos, Alta
Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Santa Rosa and Escuintla.


The altitudes at which the coffee plant is most successfully cultivated
are between 1,500 feet and 5,000 feet above sea level, according to the
locality and quality of the soil. The temperature at which the greatest
productiveness is obtained varies from a minimum of 60° Fahrenheit to a
maximum of 90°. In the lowlands the trees have to be shaded in order to
prevent the leaves from being scorched by the heat. There is an
abundance of native trees which answers this purpose. Occasionally, too,
bananas are raised in conjunction with coffee since their broad leaves
furnish an excellent protection.

In districts where the mean altitude is 4,500 feet a different sort of
protection is necessary in order to shelter the coffee leaves from the
northern winds which blow during the months of December, January, and
February. In these high altitudes the ranges of hills form the best
natural protection. To bring the coffee plant to full production from
five to seven years are required, though after two years the bush will
produce about two pounds of the berry annually. The coffee plants are
raised in nurseries and afterwards transplanted to the cafetales or
coffee plantations. The critical season for the crop is the blooming
period. A heavy rainfall while the trees are in flower will seriously
damage the plants by washing away the pollen and thus preventing
fructification. This period lasts three or four days when the blossoms
fall and the cherry or berry begins to appear. The cherry reaches
maturity in October and is ready for gathering and pulping, that is, for
the removal of the outer shell and pulp. After this process it is washed
and carried to dry, spread out in brick paved yards exposed to the sun.
The grain is known as _pergamino_, or shell coffee, after the removal of
the red pulp, while it retains the inner white or yellow parchment
covering. After this parchment is removed it is known as _oro_, clean
coffee, and this is the common commercial term.

So many elements enter into the cost of planting and bringing to
maturity a coffee plantation that it is difficult to estimate the
expenditure necessary to ensure a given profit. Experienced coffee
growers are guided largely by their knowledge of the local conditions
and requirements. However, a reasonable amount of capital in the
beginning is necessary and many investors possessing the capital prefer
to buy fincas or plantations that are already producing.

The government of Guatemala lays an export tax of one dollar in gold.
Germany takes the bulk of the Guatemala product, though Great Britain is
a large buyer and the United States is receiving larger quantities from
year to year. With the increased facilities for transportation there
would appear to be an excellent opportunity for dealers to make a
specialty of Guatemala coffee in the United States, for the article once
introduced would be sure to have an increased consumption.


In 1890 Guatemala was producing barely enough sugar for its own
consumption. In 1904 it exported 6,000,000 pounds to the United States.
New Orleans is the nearest market, though shipments also may be made to
Brooklyn. The product consists of white loaf sugar, panela or coarse
brown cakes, from which the cane rum is made, miel or molasses, and
mascabado, or inferior grades. The sugar cane is of excellent quality
and the production is abundant, especially along the hot coast
districts. The departments of Escuintla, Amatitlan, and Baja Verapaz are
the districts in which the largest areas are under cultivation. As a
rule the small sugar mills are crude and modern machinery has not been
introduced to a great extent, although the largest plantations are
already supplied with the latest improvements. With the introduction on
a larger scale of modern machinery and the latest processes the sugar
industry would be certain to afford satisfactory profits.

Cacao of a very high quality is produced in Guatemala and the native
article commands much higher prices than that produced in other
countries and brought to Guatemala for sale. The productive regions are
the _tierras calientes_ or hot coast lands. The principal cacao
producing districts are Escuintla, Suchitepequez, Solola, and
Retalhuleu. The bean is most productive at an altitude of 800 to 2,000
feet. In some cases the shrub produces a pound of beans every four
months and after reaching maturity it is said to produce without
interruption for one hundred years.

Notwithstanding the superior quality of the Guatemala cacao the
industry has not been carried on systematically, possibly because five
or six years are required to secure the first crop. In the last year the
total output was only 34,000 pounds, but the steady demand for cacao and
the certainty of good prices justifies the investment of capital which
can await five or six years for the first returns. The gathering of the
cacao beans requires very little machinery and few laborers. Chiefly
care must be taken not to hurt the bean or almond when breaking the
fruit wherein they are contained. One day of fermentation must then be
given to them, after which they remain exposed to the sun for six or
eight days, when they are ready to be sent to the market.

One of the most profitable of future industries in Guatemala undoubtedly
is that of banana culture. There are vast productive regions on the
Atlantic slope and these are certain to be cultivated since the building
of the Northern Railway insures opening up the lands by giving access to
the New Orleans market within the time that is necessary for gathering
and shipping the fruit. The annual production is now about 800,000
bunches, of which one-half are consumed at home and the balance shipped
to the United States. It is estimated that within a year after the
Northern Railway is completed the shipments to the United States will
exceed 750,000 bunches per annum and will soon amount to 1,000,000

Tobacco is produced in a number of districts and there is much suitable
soil for it, but up to this time it has been raised only for local
consumption. Rice is also produced in the hot coast lands. Cotton is
grown and experiments have shown that the Sea Island cotton thrives in


For investments of capital that is willing to wait returns there is no
more inviting field than the cultivation of india rubber, which grows
wild in Guatemala. Each year the demand for rubber increases and the
price rises. The coast regions where the wild tree flourishes are
especially adapted to the cultivation of the product. The subject has
been given very careful attention by the Guatemalan government, which
caused investigation to be made by scientists who were familiar with the
native agriculture. The result of these investigations has been
published from time to time.

The wild gum tree is tall with smooth greenish white bark. The milk
which is the mercantile product is contained principally in the fibres
which are attached to the woody portion of the tree between it and the
bark. The milk contains about 60% of water and other substances, while
the remaining 40% represents the salable product. The climate most
appropriate for the growth of the rubber tree is that of the hot coast
lands at an altitude not exceeding 1,500 feet. The yield of the
cultivated rubber trees has been estimated as high as three pounds
yearly from the sixth year, but the best authorities do not think that
the trees should be tapped before the ninth year and then the grower
should be satisfied with an annual yield of two and a half to three
pounds of milk, which will insure one pound of rubber.

An estimate of the cost and probable yield of a rubber plantation as
made by Señor Horta, a leading authority, was that a plantation of
100,000 trees would require ten caballerias (about 1,100 to 1,200
acres), and would have cost after ten years about one dollar per tree.
This expense could in part be met by secondary cultivation. According to
the calculations one crop after ten years should produce double the
amount expended in that time.

The government encourages the cultivation of rubber, a decree having
been issued in 1899 which provided that for every 20,000 rubber plants
of four years of age and planted after the date of the decree the owner
should receive one caballeria (112 acres) of uncultivated national land.
The government, however, does not endorse nor recommend the promotion of
rubber plantations by stock companies which seek chiefly to sell the
stock among small investors in the United States. All such schemes
should be carefully investigated before the shares are bought and the
leading facts in regard to rubber production, including the necessity of
a period of at least ten years for the successful development of a
plantation, should be kept in mind.


The soil of Guatemala in the opinion of experts is especially adapted to
the cultivation of fibre plants of which the most valuable is hennequen
or hemp. Maguey or wild hennequen grows in various localities,
particularly in the eastern districts, where there is a large area which
it is believed can be brought under profitable cultivation for
commercial purposes. President Estrada Cabrera, in order to encourage
the cultivation of hennequen, has provided that a bounty shall be paid
to the cultivators of the plant, the scale of payment being graduated
according to the size of the plantation. Since it takes from four to
five years for the plant to mature the cultivators are allowed to
receive one-half the bounty two years after the hennequen is planted and
the balance at the end of the four years. A bounty is also to be paid
for the exportation of each 100 pounds of hennequen and the machinery
necessary on the plantation is to be imported free of duty. As a further
inducement to engage in the cultivation of the fibre the natives who
produce hennequen are to be exempted from military service in a
proportion fixed relatively to the number of acres under cultivation.
This experiment with hennequen is especially important in view of the
fact that soil which is not suitable for coffee, sugar cane or cacao is
thought to be especially well adapted to this plant.

The number of medicinal plants produced in Guatemala is infinite. One
scientist gives a list of 339, which includes many balsams and the
aromatic plants, such as sarsaparilla and vanilla. The conditions of
vanilla cultivation are similar to those in Mexico. The vine after five
years is in full bearing and will produce from 15 to 40 beans. It is
estimated that a five-acre vanilla plantation will yield sufficient
income to render its owner independent, but this is only by the most
careful attention in cultivation.


There are said to be 150 kinds of Guatemala wood which are commercially
valuable, and the number of species exceeds 400. The timber area
includes the littoral forests in a narrow belt along the Pacific and
Atlantic coasts; the humid forests mixed with the prairie fields which
cover the plains from the foot of the Andean Cordilleras to the Pacific;
the moist forests of the hot zone and the temperate zone found along the
foothills of the volcanic chain and in the northern and eastern parts of
the country; the humid forests of the cold zone; the pine and oak
forests in the upland plains; the savannas and chaparral consisting of
small trees and bushes; the savannas with pines along the Atlantic coast
and the savannas of the cold zone on the highest tablelands of the

In the report of the Intercontinental Railway Survey Lieutenant Hill
gives a list of trees found in southeastern Guatemala which is another
illustration of the varied timber resources of the country. The list is
as follows:

Aconacaste, conacaste, guanacaste--a light brown wood rather soft and
resembling inferior walnut.

Amarillo--yellowish, hard, plentiful, strong; lasts well in water or
ground; used for pillars and girders in native houses.

Cedro--reddish, easily worked; used much for boards, not very strong,
warps easily.


Chichipate--hard, fine-grained; used in wagon-making.

Chiche--straight grained; lasts well above ground.

Chico--straight grained; takes high polish.

Granadillo--dark brown, strong, plentiful; good for construction.

Guachipilin--good for construction.

Guapinol--hard, resembles oak in texture.

Jicaro--bears gourdlike fruit; plentiful on llanos, used in making

Laurel--resembles chestnut; used for furniture.

Madre cacao--hard, takes fine polish; good for posts.

Mario or Palo Colorado--a fine wood somewhat like mahogany.

Matilishuate--grows large and straight; used for wagon boxes.


Jocote de Fraile--handsome wood, takes high polish.

Ronron--fine, hardwood, takes high polish.

Tempisque--reddish, resembles mahogany in weight and texture.

Volador--fine tree, tall, straight trunk; good for bridges and roofs.

With such a vast wealth of timber the importance of the railway projects
which open up the forest regions and make the markets of the United
States and Europe accessible will be appreciated.


Cattle raising and dairy farming are among the most profitable
agricultural industries of Guatemala, while horse-breeding also can be
made to pay unusually well. The native horse is small but very strong
and is tireless. The race horses and others obtained through the
crossing with foreign breeds imported from the United States and from
Spain, England and South America have given most satisfactory results.

Dairy farming especially in the vicinity of the cities yields large
dividends. The cattle are largely three-quarters or half-bred natives
and Holsteins and Durhams. The pure native cows give much richer milk
than the imported stock, but they yield a very small quantity. The milk
of the thoroughbred imported cows is thin, owing probably to the
unsuitable nature of the fodder, and thus the half-bred cows are the
most profitable.

The highlands of the interior afford very fair grazing for cattle
throughout the year. The climate is mild and equable and the stock can
remain in the pastures from January till December, while no losses are
suffered from severe weather in winter. Most of the country is well
watered. The native mules are superior to the horses for long journeys
or heavy loads and as a rule they command higher prices. Pigs are raised
with little difficulty and fetch a high price, since pork is one of the
favorite foods on many of the plantations and in the villages inhabited
by Indians. The hogs are allowed to run loose and feed on nourishing
roots, acorns and maize. The sheep industry is capable of development at
the hands of experienced sheep-raisers. There are many flocks and the
quality of both the mutton and the wool is capable of improvement.


The mineral riches of Guatemala, while not unknown, may be said to be
unexploited. Owing to the varied geological formations the belief both
of geologists and of practical miners is that they offer a promising
field for development. The minerals include quartz and gold, silver and
galenas, copper, coal and lignite, manganese, asbestos, graphite,
kaolin, opals, slate, alum, marble, silver, mica, iron, sulphur, lead.

The mining archives of colonial days show that between the years 1627
and 1820 more than 1,300 mines of gold, silver, lead, copper, tin, iron,
and one of quicksilver, were discovered and worked, and were a source of
great revenue both to the Church and the State. History records that
during the earliest Spanish occupancy of that country enormous
quantities of gold and silver were taken from those mines. At one time
more than one hundred and fifty very rich mines were worked there. From
one group the mint of Guatemala coined silver to the amount of
$43,000,000, besides what was shipped directly to Europe.


In an official report made by the Director of the chemical laboratory to
the Minister of Finance these statements are made, based on samples that
had been submitted for analysis and which were obtained for the most
part in the eastern region of the country.

     "Zinc, copper, lead, and silver predominate in these regions,
     being generally found in argentiferous blends and galenas, and
     sometimes both metals in conjunction with carbonates of copper. The
     proportion of the lead varies from 20 to 25% in the galenas and the
     blends contain from 15 to 40% of zinc.

     "The proportion of silver varies from 200 grammes to 7 kilos (17
     pounds), allowing one to calculate on an average of from 2 to 3
     kilos. The beds extend to the tablelands on which the capital is
     situated, stretching as far as the Department of Jalapa, where the
     lead disappears sometimes completely, the silver being found alone.
     The veins stretch to the valley of the Motagua, disappearing for
     some time on the left bank of that river and reappearing again to
     the north of Solamá, following a straight line to Huehuetenango,
     although the quantity of silver in this region is less than in the
     beds in the southeast of the Republic.

     "Copper, one of the metals which is most abundant in the country,
     is generally found in oxicarbonate in beds of sediment. It appears
     in the neighborhood of the capital and various other points. These
     beds continue up to the Mexican frontier along the banks of the
     river Salega and round the town of Cuilco, but the nature of the
     metal changes little by little, passing from the carbonates to
     oxisulphates mixed with iron and soon the copper disappears
     altogether. In the eastern region abundant deposits of carbonates
     of copper are found principally in the Department of Chiquimula,
     mixed in many cases with other metals such as zinc, lead, and

     "Lignite of excellent quality is found in beds near the Atlantic
     coast, a very great consideration in the development of mineral

Captain Rae of the United States, who spent several years in Guatemala
and who wrote authoritatively concerning the mineral resources of the
country, said that he had found near the northwestern frontier large
quantities of low grade gold sulphuret ores and also rich lead ores
carrying a small percentage of silver as well as some good copper
carbonates. He said that the lead ores were of the best clean
carbonates, easily smelted by fuel alone, and had been rudely exploited
principally for the lead they contained. These silver lead mines of low
grades of silver were in the vicinity of Chiantla, and the belt
extended, he said, northwest, breaking out again in heavy deposits
bearing silver from $12 to $40 a ton and lead 80%.

Captain Rae gave the following further details:

     "Still further east in the Lacodor country are found immense
     deposits of the same character of ore, which seemed to lie as if
     thrown up in volcanic upheavals. In some places the lead is found
     in small nuggets entirely pure. Large deposits of black lead or
     plumbago exist both north and south of Huehuetenango of a good
     class and ready for commerce.

     "Auriferous gravel beds are found at different points on the Rio
     Grande in the Department of Baja Verapaz which prospect well for
     heavy course gold. The working of these beds is confined to the
     immediate river banks, done by the natives in a very rude manner,
     merely scooping out the choicest streaks of goldbearing gravel and
     washing it in wooden bowls. These beds seem to be well defined and
     extend back through the flats to the hills.

     "Also some gold formation is found along the Rio Plátanos and Vacas
     two affluents of the Rio Grande that flow into it from the south
     side and nearly opposite to one of these goldbearing gravel beds.
     Further down the river on the north mountain range there exists
     asbestos in several places and from a surface prospect the texture
     is of a good variety and free from all foreign substances varying
     in color from deep gray to snowy white, the fibres measuring as
     much as 6 inches in length.

     "In the Department of Izabal lying on the Atlantic or gulf coast,
     on the lower waters of the Motagua and Polichis rivers, there
     exists rich and extensive beds of gold placers which have been
     worked for several years in a primitive way and have yielded a
     large amount of gold dust.

     "In the foothills of Livingston stone coal has been found of the
     lignite variety and said to make good combustible. On the opposite
     side of the Gulf of Dulce from the coal deposits are large deposits
     of magnetic iron ores, ranging from 60 to 70 per cent. of iron.
     These deposits lie only a few leagues from water communication on
     the Gulf and also close to the Northern Railway."

The following description of the various mineral districts is from _The
Bristol Board of Trade journal_:

     "The principal known mining districts of Guatemala are situated on
     the eastern boundary, both to the north and also the south, in the
     Departments of Chiquimula and Izabal, adjoining the Republic of
     Honduras and that of Salvador. These districts are mountainous,
     and, owing to their complete isolation and lack of communication
     with the other parts of the Republic and the difficulty of
     procuring supplies, there being at the moment very few roads, this
     part is not generally known to the outer world.

     "On the western boundary, in the Department of Huehuetenango and
     near to Chiantla, there are said to be very rich copper mines,
     similar to those of Chiapas, in Mexico. These are now being
     explored, but so far no copper has been found, though the district
     is rich in lead and a small percentage of silver. The assays that
     have come to hand show 56 per cent. of lead and 40 ounces per ton
     of silver. In many other parts of the Republic mines have been
     discovered and mining rights secured, such as at San Cristobal and
     Aguil, in the Department of Alta Verapaz; near Rabinal and Pichec,
     in Baja Verapaz; at San Pedro, in the Department of Guatemala; also
     at Mataquescuintla, in the mines of Algeria and Rosario, in the
     Department of Santa Rosa; at Zalcuapa and Joyabaj, on the Rio
     Grande, in the Department of El Quiche; but the only mines that
     have recently been worked, and which have given and are giving fair
     results, are those of Quebradas de Oro, on the River Bobos, in the
     Department of Izabal, where gold has been washed in paying

     "The district where mines have been denounced (pre-empted) and in
     some instances worked, lies between the Rio de Concepcion to the
     north and the Rio de las Minas to the south; the mining district
     alluded to is nearly due east of Los Sillones, on the finca of San
     José. This estate is in the Department of Chiquimula, and a society
     was formed under the name of Société Horta y Cia., which obtained
     mining rights from the Government for a term of fifteen years with
     the right to import free of duty all material, machinery, and
     necessary appliances. But until the present time very little has
     been done, owing to the isolated position of these mines and the
     difficulty of establishing communication, though the construction
     of a small line, which might connect with the Guatemala or Northern
     Railway at Chiquimula, has been under consideration, but the funds
     for the carrying out of this project have, it is understood, been
     lacking. This, if built, would do away with the transportation

There is no difficulty in the work of mining in Guatemala since the
climate in the mining regions is temperate and healthful.



Guatemala, because of its nearness, is an unusually good market for the
products of the United States. With the increase in the transportation
facilities which will result from railway building and other
transportation enterprises that will add to the ocean shipping
facilities the business should increase greatly if merchants and
manufacturers in the United States choose to take advantage of it.

Official support is given this view by the reports of the American
Consuls in Guatemala. Consul General Winslow has frequently called
attention to the advantages which may be obtained. In one report he
stated that large quantities of groceries, flour, potatoes, shoes,
drygoods, and clothing come from the United States, but Germany and
England seem to have the lead in machinery and hardware. There is surely
a fine opening in these latter lines for exporters of the United States,
but they must be in position to push their goods personally, to give
longer credits, and to take more pains with packing. In all, it is safe
to say, there are $8,000,000 of American capital invested in Guatemala
and there is an opening for much more, if it is backed by the right kind
of management.

In a report, to the British Foreign Office in 1905 Mr. Hervey, the
English Consul, stated that as far as actual volume of business was
concerned, as shown in the imports and exports, there appeared to have
been a distinct improvement in the general trade of the country compared
with immediately preceding years. The imports were the largest for the
past seven years. The revenue of the country showed a great improvement
all around, being, in fact, nearly double that of 1903, the most
important increases being shown in import and export duties, the former
benefiting by the 50 per cent. of their total payable in gold, and the
latter by the tax of $1 gold per quintal which has been collected
throughout the year.

The outlook for the future was, the report said, more favorable than it
had been for many years. The completion of the Guatemala Northern
Railway would shorten the distance from Europe and the United States and
promote trade. Already German and British steamers were calling at
Puerto Barrios in addition to those of the United Fruit Company. The
greater steadiness of exchange and the fall in the gold premium were
further factors of importance in restoring confidence. With continued
peace, and with it the prospect of increased labor facilities, so that
the agricultural and mineral wealth to be won from the soil may attain
to its fullest development, brighter days were dawning for Guatemala.


A general statement regarding the articles which Guatemala buys abroad
and which therefore are of interest to exporters is as follows:

The principal imports consist of drygoods, almost exclusively cotton
manufactures, brought from Great Britain, the United States, and
Germany. In this branch British manufacture commands the market, the
imports from the United States and Germany being relatively small. The
more important articles are gray cloths; bleached shirtings, 7-8 and 9-8
prints; fancy cloths; gray, white, and blue drills; colored drills;
handkerchiefs; gray and dyed yarns; Turkey red yarns; sewing cottons;
trimmings; cotton blankets, etc. Of these goods about 75 per cent. are
of British origin, 15 per cent. American, and 10 per cent. German.
American manufacturers compete chiefly in drills, denims, blankets,
prints, gray cloths, and bleached shirtings, while German goods imported
consist chiefly of drills, prints, Turkey red yarns, blankets, and

Woolen goods are not in very great demand; the principal lines are
blankets, shawls, braids, hats, Berlin wool, and but few piece goods.

Hats are imported mostly from the United States, Germany, and only a few
from the United Kingdom; shawls from Germany, principally; piece goods
from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.

Silks are not in demand, excepting floss silks imported from China,
ribbons from Switzerland, France, and Germany. Regarding hardware
generally, approximately 50 per cent. is imported from Germany, 30 per
cent. from the United States, and 20 per cent. from the United Kingdom.

The principal imports from the United States consist of machetes, axes,
and hoes, besides tools generally of the better classes, corn mills,
plows, sewing machinery, outfits for building purposes, saws, barbed
wire, files, screws, cutlery, ropes, brushes, enameled goods, paints,
and varnishes and breadstuffs.

The imports from the United Kingdom are chiefly composed of
galvanized-iron sheets, galvanized-iron goods, coffee machinery, copper
sheets, tin goods, machetes, hoes, sickles, picks, pickaxes, saltpeter,
pans (used on sugar plantations), iron sheets, saws, padlocks, cutlery,
saddlery, bits, spurs, brass valves and cocks, pottery, cartridges, also
preserves and biscuits.

From Germany are brought all kinds of cheap tools, machinery, sewing
machines, cutlery, machetes, bar iron, enameled goods, pottery, locks,
screws, nails, window glass, brushes, paper, matches, stearin and
ceresin, part of these goods being also brought from Belgium and the
Netherlands, while France ships tools for shoemakers' and saddlers' use.

The articles which Guatemala buys in exchange for her coffee, sugar,
fruits, woods and other products in the customs classification are
divided into three groups; that is, articles of prime necessity,
articles of luxury or convenience, and articles for the industries.

The first and most important group includes cotton and woolen goods,
wheat flour, rice, corn, potatoes, salt, wax and stearine candles,
matches, soap, petroleum, glass and earthenware, and kitchen hardware.

The second group covers the finer grade of woolens, silks, mineral
waters, liquors, preserves in cans, manufactured tobacco, glassware,
porcelain, toys, musical instruments, perfumery, etc.

The third group consists of coal, woodworking machinery, cured hides,
raw cotton, sacks, lubricating oils, farm implements and a variety of


The shipments with which up to this time the United States has been most
successful in furnishing Guatemala can be understood from a summary of
the articles sent out under a consular invoice from various ports. The
exportations from the port of New Orleans during a recent year were as

       NAME OF ARTICLES.                           VALUE.
     Linseed oil                                      $168
     Petroleum, etc.                                 2,534
     Tar                                               255
     Live animals                                    5,447
     Rice                                              974
     Empty barrels                                     116
     Coal                                              185
     Cement                                            422
     Cistern materials                                 648
     Dynamite                                          249
     Drugs                                           1,972
     Hardware                                       19,468
     Cotton goods                                   45,733
     Iron bars                                         338
     Wheat flour                                    15,817
     Surgical instruments                              281
     Locomotives                                     7,465
     Earthenware                                     1,122
     Manufactured woods, railroad ties, etc.        55,772
     Indian corn                                    16,335
     Malt                                              474
     Cable rope                                      1,874
     Gentlemen's furnishings                         2,724
     Gasolene motors                                   285
     Furniture                                         657
     Umbrellas                                         444
     Provisions                                     23,127
     Bridge material                                18,794
     Salt                                            2,136
     Hats                                              452
     Whiskey                                           978
     Shoes                                           1,531

From the port of Mobile shipments were as follows:

     Wheat flour                                   $10,196
     Cotton goods                                    9,916
     Canned meats                                    2,108
     Cornmeal                                        1,316
     Hardware                                          804
     Alimentary conserves                              777
     Butter                                            676
     Beer in bottles                                   572
     Petroleum                                         523
     Vegetables                                        507
     Coal                                              420
     Hay                                               405
     Dried fish                                        376
     Footwear                                          362
     Stearine candles                                  317
     Matches                                           300
     Condensed milk                                    238
     Soap                                              228
     Lard                                              206
     Fruit preserves                                   204
     Cheese                                            173
     Rice                                              168
     Miscellaneous food products                     1,700

The exports from New York, which average about $75,000 per month, are
composed chiefly of the following articles:

     Galvanized wire          Lubricating oil
     Alimentary articles      Electrical equipments
     Betum                    Iron pipes
     Glassware                Cured hides
     Beer                     Drugs
     Photographic material    Hardware
     Cotton goods             Agricultural implements
     Soap                     Jewelry
     Earthenware              Sewing machines
     Railway material         Medicines
     Typewriters              Miscellaneous machinery
     Plated goods             Perfumery
     Paper                    Petroleum
     Watches                  Weighing scales
     Hats                     Whiskey
     Chintz                   Leather ware

From the port of San Francisco the annual shipments amount to
approximately $1,000,000. The principal articles are flour, wheat, hops,
corn, barley, oats, cotton, furniture, machinery, beers, wines, and
whiskies. The articles imported at San Francisco are chiefly coffee,
sugar, cacao, rubber, hides and lumber.


While the United States has a fair share of the trade the proportion is
not as large as it might be if systematic efforts were made. In the last
year for which statistics are available the foreign commerce of
Guatemala amounted to $12,593,000, of which $5,041,000 was imports and
$7,552,000 exports. Germany, which takes the bulk of the coffee crop, is
the largest consumer. In the year quoted it took 53.79% of the total
exportations from Guatemala North America (chiefly United States)
25.86%. England, 15.37%, and France 2.4%.

The exportation of the various countries to Guatemala in percentage
terms was as follows: United States 36.59%; England, 22.62%; Germany,
19.97%; France, 9.21%; South America, 2.82%; Central America, 1.83%;
Mexico, 1.69%; Spain, 1.54%; Italy, 1.32%; Belgium and Holland, 1.27%;
other countries, 1.14%.

In detail the value of the goods imported by Guatemala in the given
year was: from Germany, $1,019,000; United States, $1,442,000; England,
$1,038,000; France, $175,000; Belgium, $114,000. No other country except
the above exported to Guatemala goods exceeding $100,000 in value. Of
the exports from Guatemala, chiefly coffee, as previously stated,
Germany took $3,508,000; the United States $2,292,000; England,

President Estrada Cabrera in his annual message commented on the balance
of trade in favor of Guatemala and expressed himself very hopefully
concerning the measures of internal development which could be carried
on while the conditions of foreign commerce were so satisfactory.

Since a portion of the revenue of Guatemala is raised from the export
tax on coffee it is possible to maintain a very moderate schedule of
import duties and this is done. The average duty on the group of
articles described under the heading of prime necessity is 23.67% _ad
valorem_. On the second group 30.84% and on the third group 7.60%. The
duties are equitably distributed so as to bear lightly on everything
that enters into the industrial upbuilding of the country. Moreover,
special concessions are sometimes made on material for railway and other
enterprises which enter into the national development.

The general rules regarding the application of the tariff are very
clear. They are formulated with a view to saving annoyance to shippers
and are specific enough to avoid uncertainty. Import duties are not
high. The list of articles which it is prohibited to import is a short

The charges for invoices on shipments to Guatemala are as follows:

     Ship's manifest                              $10.00.
     Validating invoices of from  $1 to $100        7.00.
          "         "        "   100  "  500       10.00.
          "         "        "   501  " 1000       14.00.
          "         "        "  1001  " 3000       16.00.
          "         "        "  3001  " 6000       20.00.

For each additional $1000 the Consuls will collect $2.

The government officials of Guatemala and the merchants gave hearty
support to the project of an exposition ship or floating exposition
which was undertaken on the Pacific coast in order to display American
products and manufactures and at the same time familiarize American
firms with the products of other countries.


In the conduct of its foreign commerce reasonably long credits are
required by the merchants of Guatemala, but always under fixed
conditions. When the coffee crop is shipped bills on Europe and on New
York can always be procured at reasonable exchange and the obligations
be met in this manner. Since the balance of trade is in favor of
Guatemala there is always the certainty of funds for exchange.

Under President Estrada Cabrera's administration the banks of the
country are subject to a regulation somewhat similar to the national
banks of the United States. Various decrees have been issued governing
the emission of banknotes. The latest decree institutes a special bank
examination project and requires all the financial institutions to give
an account of their condition and operations to this Department.

The following statistics as to the leading banks of Guatemala have been
compiled from recent reports:


     Capital subscribed and totally paid    $2,500,000 00
     Reserve fund                              655,000 00
     Contingent fund                           292,208 67
     Fund available for dividends              200,000 00

     Manager: Carlos Gallusser.


     Capital authorized          $2,000,000 00
     Capital paid                 1,650,000 00
     Reserve fund                 1,200,000 00
     Contingent fund              1,200,000 00

     Manager: Rufino Ibarguen.


     Capital subscribed and totally paid    $2,000,000 00
     Reserve fund                            1,507,000 00
     Contingent fund                           281,918 76

     Manager: Carlos B. Pullin.


     Capital paid                      $1,776,000 00
     Reserve fund                         797,747 94
     Sinking fund                         454,189 84
     Fund available for dividends          69,227 74

     Director: F. L. de Villa.


     Capital authorized                   $1,200,000 00

     Manager: A. Beckford.


     Capital authorized              $12,000,000 00

     Manager: A. Prentice.

All these are banks of emission and discount with headquarters in
Guatemala City and with branches in the other principal cities of the
departments. They also to some degree supply the place of mercantile
agencies and report financial standing of individuals, firms and
companies upon solicitation.

It is known to be the great ambition of President Estrada Cabrera to
place the finances of Guatemala on a solid basis during his present
term. The rate of exchange under the stability now afforded and the
improved industrial and commercial conditions has been steadily falling.

A final word concerning the opportunities for American enterprise is
convincing when it comes from official sources. In one of his reports
Consul General Winslow said:

     "During the past few months the exporters of the United States have
     been doing some effective work in this Republic. There have been
     several commercial travelers here studying the conditions and
     taking sample orders. Many others have been asking for information
     from this Consulate-General, which has been able to give valuable
     information. If this field is properly worked and sufficiently long
     credit is given, practically nothing but American goods need be
     found in the markets of Guatemala, for they are generally conceded
     to be the best. This market is worth cultivating, for the next few
     years will see great development here. Everything points that way,
     and the natural resources are great. The opening up of the new
     railroad to the Atlantic coast at Puerto Barrios will do wonders
     for the country. More attention is being paid to the packing of
     goods shipped to this country. It is an important matter and cannot
     have too much attention on the part of exporters. Packages should
     be very firmly nailed and bound by band iron, so they would be
     difficult to open, as there is much complaint about goods being
     stolen from boxes in transit. I have had several compliments of
     late from the custom officers for the way shipments of American
     goods have come packed. It will pay exporters to pack well
     everything they ship. Dollars spent in this line will bring
     hundreds in profits. This is especially true for Central American

Supplementary to the above was a report from Vice-Consul General Owen in
which these observations were made:

     "The following drygoods of American manufacture are becoming quite
     popular here: Brown cotton, all grades; cotton duck, Lindale, up to
     6 ounces; light domestics; long cloth; gingham; cotton drill,
     checks and stripes (cheviot); blue and brown cotton drill; fancy
     calicoes and lawns; cotton ware, all colors. The piece of 24 yards
     is the most popular, although cotton cheviots, gingham, etc., come
     put up in larger pieces. Dress patterns in lawn and calico are
     frequently imported.

     "It must be borne in mind that the importers of this Republic are
     for the greater part Germans, and their interest and inclination
     lead them to trade with the fatherland. England also is preferred
     over the United States, possibly because Guatemala merchants can
     more easily identify themselves in England and get better credits.
     American goods therefore are imported only when their quality
     places them so far ahead of the European article that the merchant
     is almost compelled to have them in stock. The American
     manufacturers should become better acquainted with this trade,
     ascertain who are worthy of credit, and extend it. The long voyage
     and delay _en route_ compel the importer to ask long credits. It is
     sometimes two or three months after shipments destined for this
     city leave the manufacturer before they can be displayed in the
     store of the importer. The custom duty on about all cotton goods is
     collected on gross weight of the package. Great care should be
     taken with invoices for custom-house purposes; the goods must be
     described in exact phraseology of Guatemala custom tariff."



The population of Guatemala according to the general census of the
Republic taken at the beginning of 1904 was 1,842,000. This was the
actual enumeration, but as there were many cases in which a complete
account was not possible the inhabitants probably number 2,000,000. Of
those enumerated by races 750,615 were Ladinos, and 1,091,519 were of
the aboriginal race. The Ladinos are the descendants of the white race
and of a mixture of European and Indian. The Indian population is
principally engaged in farming and in small commercial enterprises in
the interior. The Ladinos are much more energetic. The natives of the
high and cold regions are the most vigorous.

For many years it has been the aim of the Guatemalan government to
attract foreign immigration. Under President Estrada Cabrera's
administration systematic measures for this purpose have been taken and
the policy of encouraging immigrants and colonists, especially from the
United States, has become a settled one. Practically one-half the
fertile territory is yet uncultivated for want of tenants and there are
many agricultural industries which require a very small amount of
capital while they assure independence to those who follow them.

The first question asked is whether the natives of the temperate
regions, Europeans and North Americans, can live and work in the
climate. The answer is that there are large areas suitable for them
where they may engage in coffee-growing, dairying, stock-raising and
similar occupations.

The districts known as the Highlands or "Los Altos" are at an average
elevation of 5,000 feet and comprise some of the most inviting sections
of Guatemala. The uplands include Quezaltenango, Solola, Quiche,
Huehuetenango, Totonicapam, and San Marcos.


Usually in describing the country it is divided into three zones. The
_tierra caliente_, or hot lands, comprise the coast of the Atlantic and
the Pacific ocean.

The _tierra templada_, or temperate zone, covers the central plains
which range from 2,000 to 5,000 feet above the sea level.

The _tierra fria_, or cold zone, comprises the highlands as noted above.

The year is divided into two seasons, the winter or rainy season lasting
from May till October, and the dry season. The hottest months are March
and April and the coldest ones December and January. Except along the
coast the average temperature throughout the year is about 72°
Fahrenheit. The climate on the coast is rendered endurable by the
refreshing sea breezes which blow for several hours every day. Many
people who live in the uplands in the rarefied atmosphere find it
agreeable and beneficial to their health to spend a few weeks every
season on the coast lands. The climate would be hot and moist except for
the variations caused by the mountains which oppose themselves not only
to the prevailing winds but also in rainfalls to the humidity of the
air. The winds are from the east and north, although along the Pacific
coast there are southern and southwestern winds at certain times in the
year. In regard to rainfall the general rule is that the regions
confronting the moist winds from the ocean have abundant precipitation
while those defended by mountain ranges from the sea winds are dry.

The climate taking the country as a whole is an unusually healthy one.
Fevers are not common and when they exist are confined to the warm and
humid coast regions. No peculiar climatic disease exists in Guatemala
and the country rarely suffers from epidemics. This is largely due to
the strict sanitary measures which are enforced by the government.


The following account of the climate in popular language is given by a
well-known authority:

     "The territory of the Republic belongs to the torrid zone comprised
     among the intertropical countries which are exempt from the
     rigorous winters of the countries of Europe, North and South
     America, and the Far East. The vegetation which droops in the dry
     season recovers a marvelous exuberance in the season of the rains.
     In every part it is encountered then rehabited in the most splendid
     garb of nature. The tropical countries at this period certainly are
     the motherland of all the plants which are cultivated throughout
     the world when as in the case of our Republic there are hot,
     temperate and cold zones in which the vegetation is perpetual and
     flourishes in the regions which possess perennial springs of
     flowing water to moisten the cultivated lands in the season of the

     "The knowledge of the climates is of the highest importance for the
     agriculturist. It is his guide in the experiments for acclimatizing
     exotic plants which he seeks to introduce into his properties.

     "The climate of a locality varies through the background of the
     mountains, through its sloping direction, its nearness to the sea,
     to the lakes, and to the selvas; through the direction and the
     forces of the periodical winds.

     "Setting out from the low coastlands and ascending to the regions
     of the Altos or highlands, the naturalist admires successively the
     exuberant vegetation of the tropics and that of the cold countries.

     "On account of the topography of the territory we have in the
     different zones of the Republic different climates characterized by
     our two seasons--that of the rains, our winter, and that of the
     dryness, our summer; characterized too by the intensity of the heat
     in the low zones of the coasts and by the crisp cold in the high
     plateaus of our mountains; by the force and duration of the
     periodic winds of the Northwest which in certain regions of the
     Republic blow with a violence harmful to agriculture.

     "The temperature in the low zones fluctuates between 26° and 35°
     centigrade, averaging 28°. In the zones ranging from 3,000 to 5,000
     feet above sea level the temperature fluctuates between 16° and
     24°, the average being 20° to 22° centigrade. In the high zones or
     cold lands the temperature varies from 8° to 15°, the medium being
     12° or 13°. In these zones from December to the end of March the
     temperature drops during the night to 1° centigrade and other times
     to 3° or 4°.

     "The rains commence in May or June and continue until the middle of
     November. They are most violent from July to October. In the months
     of September and October there are sometimes storms and copious
     rains which last almost continuously from one to two weeks.

     "Heavy dews are numerous and at times very copious in the summer in
     the low zones close to the sea, the lakes and the big marshes and
     also in the higher zones through the condensation of the vapors
     which absorb the sun's rays and become more condensed on reaching
     the colder regions of the atmosphere.

     "The northeast winds are periodical and blow almost without
     interruption throughout the summer and with great violence on the
     coasts of the north and in the eastern sections of the country. The
     winds on the south coast are much milder and those in the western
     sections are insignificant.

     "Under this drouthlike action the vegetation withers in the hot and
     dry zones. It flourishes most in the districts which possess
     perennial springs of running water for fertilizing.

     "In the season of the rains there are strong hurricanes of southern
     winds which cause damage to agriculture, but happily they are not

     "From the description of the varied climates of the Republic it
     will be seen that they are adapted to the cultivation of the
     richest tropical plants and for all the agricultural and industrial
     produce which is cultivated in the cold and temperate zones of the
     entire world.

     "Besides, its vegetative season is one of perpetual cultivation,
     and in the plantations which possess water for irrigating the
     cultivated lands three crops a year can be raised in the hot zones
     as well as the temperate regions, and two crops of the cereals,
     wheat and Indian corn, in the cold regions; that is to say, the
     feeding of 30,000,000 inhabitants is possible besides fruits for a
     very extensive exportation."


In a country so largely agricultural as Guatemala is the measures for
the encouragement of farming may be taken as a means of judging the
interest shown by the government. On this point President Estrada
Cabrera in a recent message said:

     "Agriculture as the prime factor of our richness has been the
     object of special attention during the last seven years of my
     administration. In order to broaden and improve it there has been
     established in the capital the General Department of Agriculture
     and in the districts and municipalities Boards for the same
     purpose. This Department has been authorized to publish a
     periodical _The Bulletin of Agriculture_ which is given over
     exclusively to important farming studies. Seeds and plants have
     been brought from other countries and distributed among our farmers
     in order to establish new sources of production. Strict orders have
     been issued to secure the cultivation of the largest areas possible
     and also for establishing common seed grounds. Regulations have
     been made for the exploitation of rubber. In every possible manner
     the importation of farm tools and agricultural machinery has been
     facilitated. Contracts have been made for the exploitation of the
     woods in the forests of the north. Schools of agriculture have been
     created in order to further the study of these subjects by the
     issue of special bulletins under the direction of the Department of

[Illustration: STREET IN ESCUINTLA.]


A general immigration law was passed several years ago which has been
supplemented by other laws since that time. At the outset immigration
contracts with the Chinese are prohibited and the latter are not to be
accepted as immigrants. The purpose of this is to insure white
immigration and to prevent cheap coolie labor of a temporary character
interfering with settlers who wish to establish themselves permanently.
Immigrants are described as those foreigners having a profession,
occupation or trade, whether day laborers, artisans, workingmen in
factories, farmers or professors, who give up their own homes to come
and settle in Guatemala and accept their transportation to be paid
either by the Guatemalan government or by an immigration company.
Immigrants also include the foreigners whose transportation is not paid
by the government or by private companies. The wearing apparel and
household furniture, tools, domestic animals and other possessions of
immigrants are entered at the custom-house free of duty.

An important provision authorizes the government to grant gratuitously
to immigrants lots of public lands in certain districts provided that
the immigrants bind themselves to cultivate within two years the third
part of the land granted. For this purpose zones of tillable land are
set apart in the districts named.

Immigrants are exempted for a period of four years after their arrival
from service in the construction or repair of the public roads and from
the payment of municipal taxes. They are also exempted from military
service except in the case of foreign war. They enjoy all the rights and
privileges granted by law to Guatemalan citizens.


Under a general law a body of official engineers was created for
surveying and distributing the uncultivated public lands and fixing the
prices therefor. The price varies according to the nature of the land,
whether it is for grazing, raising cereals; whether capable of raising
sugar, banana, etc.; whether adapted to coffee and cotton, or whether it
contains forests. Public lands may also be granted to immigrants
gratuitously. Information on these points can be had through
correspondence with the Department of Agriculture called "Dirección
General de Agricultura," in Guatemala City.

President Estrada Cabrera's land policy has been directed especially to
prevent great areas from being kept out of cultivation. He has dictated
many measures with the purpose of breaking up the huge estates that
often are uncultivated for want of capital and making them productive
through the encouragement of small capitalists or farmers.

The general system of highways and cart roads as well as of the
railroads has been devised for this purpose.

With regard to colonization and immigration the policy of securing the
benefit of the favored soil to settlers has been indicated in the
correspondence with various companies and individuals. In a report by
the Director of Agriculture he declared that immigration from North
America would be very pleasing to Guatemala and would strengthen the
cordial relations existing between the two countries. That the
immigrants will be well received he was assured. Their practical
character would be especially valuable in developing the resources of
the country. The Director, however, called attention to the fact that in
many places of the country the geological conditions were not similar to
the prairies of the United States where in the beginning very much could
be accomplished on a large scale by machinery. In many of the districts
open to settlement in Guatemala much of the work of clearing would have
to be done by hand. That is one reason why encouragement is given to the
individual settlers instead of to companies.

To broaden and strengthen the present immigration law the Department of
Agriculture has recommended that certain lands be thrown open to
settlement on the following conditions:

1. The government shall make the plan for the colony dividing the lands
into lots of one caballeria (112 acres).

2. The settler shall take immediate possession of the lot which is
granted him.

3. The government shall aid the removal of the colonists from their
present place of residence to the point where they intend to settle.
This aid to be extended under conditions which will insure its

4. The colonists on taking possession of their land shall obligate
themselves to begin cultivating some of the following articles: rice,
corn, beans, coffee, cacao, vanilla, rubber, cotton, hemp, etc.

5. The government shall designate from among the colonists some one who
shall give general instruction with regard to the farming.



Friendly relations with all countries, both neighboring and distant, is
a leading point in President Estrada Cabrera's programme. The relations
of Guatemala with the United States are particularly close and cordial.

In his annual message President Estrada Cabrera said:

     "It is well known that the grand Republic of North America always
     has shown the most sympathetic regard for our country and the
     earnest effort of my government has been to strengthen the ties of
     friendship which unite the two nations. With this feeling existing
     there has been achieved during the period since 1898 the most
     flattering results, so that it can be confidently stated that never
     before have the relations between Guatemala and the United States
     reached so great a degree of cordiality as to-day, and it may be
     said that never has any cause of discord between the two
     governments been so remote as now. The death of the illustrious
     President McKinley, which was felt so deeply in Guatemala, and the
     advent into the Presidency of Mr. Roosevelt in no way interrupted
     the progress of affairs with our Republic and those which were
     pending followed their tranquil course towards a satisfactory

The Secretary of Foreign Relations in his annual report said:

     "Motives analogous to those which in foreign governments have
     caused congratulation over the re-election of Señor Estrada Cabrera
     as President of Guatemala have made it pleasing that the government
     of this Republic on its part could extend its congratulations over
     the re-election in the United States and Mexico respectively of
     Messrs. Roosevelt and Diaz, two eminent statesmen whose
     conciliatory policies are well known, as likewise their sympathetic
     regard for Guatemala. The continuation of these illustrious
     personages in power is considered by this government as a guaranty
     of the increasing cordiality of the relations of Guatemala with
     them and it has also enabled at the same time to be placed in
     evidence with all sincerity the satisfaction which has been
     produced by their re-election in their respective countries."

These are correct statements, for the sentiment of profound sympathy and
admiration which President Estrada Cabrera and the whole people of
Guatemala entertain for President Roosevelt and for the American people
are very marked. For President Roosevelt on account of his grand traits
of character, of mentality and of heart and the spirit of humanity,
justice and rectitude which make of him the chief magistrate most
conspicuous, most respected, most popular and most cherished of the
present day; and for the American people on account of their
intelligence, their enterprising disposition and their unceasing labors
for progress, which have gained for them so pre-eminent a place among
all the nations of the earth as one of the grandest, most nourishing and
most powerful.


These quotations indicate the sentiment of Guatemala towards the two
countries with which geographically and otherwise it is most closely
allied. Further evidence of the friendship for the United States and of
the desire to sustain its policies of international peace were afforded
in the promptness with which President Roosevelt's suggestion of a
second Peace Conference in The Hague was accepted. With regard to the
United States the Secretary of Foreign Affairs stated:

     "Knowing the importance of our relations with the great American
     nation it was a grateful duty to send a special mission to
     Washington with the sole object of congratulating President
     Roosevelt. For the discharge of this function Señor Jorge Muñoz was
     selected and he discharged it with entire satisfaction to the
     government. This mission having been disposed of he was accredited
     permanently as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.

     "Inasmuch as it was not one of the ancient nations of Europe, but a
     young and virile Republic, the strongest in America, which launched
     the project through its distinguished President of a second Hague
     Conference to perfect and complete the works of the first one in
     favor of universal peace, it is to be hoped that this effort will
     be seconded by all the countries of the civilized world and that at
     no distant time when experience shall have shown the deficiencies
     in the conclusions adopted by previous Congresses those which may
     be adopted in the coming Peace Conference will be more efficacious
     for the success of the humanitarian and praiseworthy end which the
     United States proposes."

Guatemala previously had given its adhesion to the principles of
arbitration promulgated under The Hague Convention. It was represented
in the Second International American Conference held in Mexico
1901-1902, and the various treaties and recommendations made by that
Conference were ratified or endorsed as in the case of the other
signatory governments. The action taken by the government of Guatemala
on the respective conventions and recommendations was officially
transmitted to Señor Mariscal, Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico,
in accordance with the resolution of the Conference.


Among the treaties promulgated by the Pan-American Conference in Mexico
was one relating to pecuniary claims. This required the ratification of
five governments in order to make it effective. Guatemala was one of the
first to give its formal adhesion to this convention. This treaty was
ratified by the United States Senate and promulgated by the Department
of State from Washington in the spring of 1905, so that United States
citizens can now claim its benefits. The treaty consists of five
articles. Under its terms the high contracting parties agree to submit
to arbitration, through the Hague Court, all claims for pecuniary loss
or damage which may be presented by their respective citizens and which
cannot be amicably adjusted through diplomatic channels and when such
claims are of sufficient importance to warrant the expenses of

By virtue of Article 26 of the convention of The Hague the high
contracting parties agree to submit to the decision of the Permanent
Court of Arbitration established by that convention all controversies
which are the subject-matter of the Treaty unless both parties should
prefer that especial jurisdiction be organized according to Article 21.

If for any cause the Permanent Court of The Hague should not be opened
to one or more of the high contracting parties they obligate themselves
to stipulate in a special treaty the rules under which the tribunal
shall be established as well as its forms of procedure.

In 1902 the administration of President Estrada Cabrera negotiated and
the National Assembly ratified an agreement with Germany, Belgium,
France, England, and Italy, which disposed of many subjects that had
been in controversy.

Spain, the United States and Mexico did not enter into the agreement
because those governments preferred to postpone the claims of their
citizens until the industrial crisis was over and the financial
conditions were improved. Since that time a number of claims have been
adjusted satisfactorily. President Estrada Cabrera stated in a recent
message that there were no claims at the present time which were
weighing upon the national treasury. These matters having been arranged
satisfactorily he said that no subject had arisen which could alter the
friendly relations with the countries of Europe. This friendship was
shown in the tribute paid by the Diplomatic Corps on New Year's day.
Subsequently the governments of Germany and France had shown especial
consideration by conferring on the President the Order of the Red Eagle
and of the Legion of Honor respectively.

With Mexico the relations of Guatemala have been cordial since the
boundary dispute was settled in 1895. Recently the commercial relations,
on account of the construction of the Pan-American Railway through
Mexican territory to the Guatemalan border have required the
establishment of various consulates in important places in Mexico, and
the exequaturs have been granted by the Mexican government.



With respect to the neighboring republics of Central America the
attitude of Guatemala has been open and pronounced. It desires to
destroy every cause of discord among the Republics and to maintain a
perfect equilibrium. Guatemala took part in the conference which was
held at Corinto, Nicaragua, in August, 1904, and at which Salvador,
Honduras and Nicaragua also were represented. Through its delegate
President Estrada Cabrera's government subscribed to the following

     1. To maintain peace is the principal objective of our government,
     not only because it is a necessity for the various peoples, but
     also because it imposes itself as a duty which all Spanish American
     nationalities should fulfil. For this reason we firmly believe in
     the proposition to overcome in Central America every obstacle that
     may stand in the way of peace and we will put forth our strongest
     efforts to frustrate the schemes of those who seek to sow distrust
     and jealousy among us impelled as they are by the spirit of
     ambition or disorder.

     2. The strict compliance with the international compacts which bind
     us shall be the test to which we submit our acts so that every
     effort to the contrary will be vain and barren since it is
     necessary to recognize that the generality of the labors of the
     enemies of each administration tend to no laudable ends but rather
     are the work of selfish egotists, of personal enmities or the
     aberration of unbalanced judgment.

     3. We do not hesitate then in declaring that whatever scheme of
     discord, subversive attempt, or suggestion which proposes to break
     our loyal friendship shall receive no support among us because the
     sincerity and firmness of our relations as representatives of the
     peoples whom we serve are and always will be affirmed in this
     solemn agreement, which we make at the instance of Central America;
     an agreement which is the fruit of the efforts we have made as
     public men on different occasions.

     4. We expect that all good citizens will give us in the sense
     indicated their patriotic co-operation inspired in ideals of peace
     and fraternity and contributing by supporting us in this accord to
     place an end to the discord which the enemies of the public
     tranquillity cause. And also upholding the liberal and progressive
     policy which governs our acts.



Guatemala is a fascinating country for the traveler and visitor.
Antiquarians, deep delvers in the majestic monuments of the long
forgotten past, seek in the myths, the traditions, the temples and the
ruins the riddles of prehistoric civilization. Modern tourists traveling
as they will be able to do within a short time by railway from New York
or San Francisco to the very heart of Guatemala may lose themselves in
admiration of the sublime scenery, the lovely landscapes of valley and
mountain lake and forest (the Indian name for Guatemala means abounding
in trees), volcanic caps, giant outlines, and cloud-clad craters.
Everywhere they will encounter that diversity which is the chief
attraction of natural scenery. They will find also superimposed on the
prehistoric Indian civilization the charm of Spanish architecture,
customs, character and institutions.

Men of the stamp of President Estrada Cabrera who are engaged in the
material upbuilding and the political progress of the country may prefer
to talk of its agriculture and commerce, its opportunities for the
energetic and resourceful people of the northern regions rather than to
discuss its picturesque ruins audits fascinating history. Yet they would
not have these subjects neglected. Hence the traveler and the tourist
always are welcome, and whether they be deeply learned scientific
investigators or mere birds of passage seeking novelty every provision
is made to aid them in their travels.


In the very accurate and complete physiographic description of Guatemala
contained in the report of the Intercontinental Railway Survey the
following description is given of the great chain of volcanic cones and
peaks which add so greatly to the bold picturesqueness of the country.

     "The Pacific coast extends generally from the northwest to the
     southeast. From the sea the ground rises with a very gentle slope
     inland for almost 25 or 30 miles when the country becomes broken by
     the lava foothills of the volcanoes which extend from one end of
     the country to the other and which stand like a giant wall between
     the coast and the interior. Beginning at the Mexican boundary the
     line of volcanoes extends nearly parallel to the coast. Back of
     this is a plateau limited on the other side by the Continental
     Divide and much broken by spurs which unite the volcanoes with the
     Divide and the deep valleys between the spurs. The plateau is
     drained by rivers which run to the sea through the deep canyons
     between the volcanoes. The Continental Divide begins with the
     volcano Tacana and making a semicircular bend to the north and east
     rises again in the volcano Tajumulco. From this point its general
     direction is easterly as far as the Cerro Tecpam. Tacana and
     Tajumulco are the highest points on this are being respectively
     13,334 and 13,814 feet above sea level. From Tajumulco to near
     Totonicapam the general altitude of the Divide is about 9,000 feet,
     the most prominent peaks being the Cerro Cerchil 11,830 feet, and
     the Cerro Calel 10,813 feet. From Totonicapam to Cerro Tecpam the
     general elevation of the Divide is about 10,500 feet with one peak,
     the Cerro Quiche of 11,160 feet. From Cerro Tecpam 10,050 feet, the
     Divide turns to the southeast and drops to a general elevation of
     about 7,000 feet, crossing the plateau and rising again in the
     Cerro Santa Maria Cauqué. Following the hills of Mexico, it crosses
     the plain near Guatemala City, the suburb of Guarda Viejo, 5,060
     feet, being on the Divide."

The heights of other principal volcanoes are given opposite:

     Acatenango            13,012
     Fuego                 12,821
     Agua                  12,300
     Atitlan               11,849
     Santa Maria           10,535
     Quezaltenango          9,358
     Pacaya                 7,675
     Ipala                  6,801
     Chingo                 6,019


In the geological structure of the country unusual variety of character
is shown. The quarternary formation, aluvium and diluvium, covers the
greater portion of the Pacific coast from the foot of the mountains to
the sea. The same formation is also observed in the neighborhood of
Guatemala City, the valley of the Passion River, Puerto Barrios and
various other localities on the Atlantic Slope.

The tertiary formation and particularly limestone covers the entire
Department of Peten. Furthermore, limestones and dolomites of the upper
cretaceous age are noted from La Libertad toward the Usumacinta River
and toward British Honduras. In the localities of San Luis and Santa
Bárbara there are tertiary limestones and sandstones of Eocene and
miocene ages.

The limestones and dolomites of the upper cretaceous age are also found
in various localities mixed with tertiary limestone and sandstone as
well as conglomerates, dolomites, and limestones of the lower cretaceous
age. In other sections they are mixed with limestones and dolomites of
the upper carboniferous age mingled with slate, sandstone and pudding
stone. The latter formation is found in other sections with
precarboniferous limestone and also with crystalline limestone of the
azoic age.

The tertiary formation is followed by an azoic formation of gneiss, mica
slate, and phylada with large intrusions of granite. A kind of
horn-blend slate has been observed in some parts of Izabal.


The eruptive formations are composed of porphyry in the north and
northwest; of diorite, obsidian, rhyolite, and dacite and of trachyte,
together with basalt, rhyolite, obsidian and granite in other sections.
The eruptive formations are further composed of basalt in Pacaya and
several other volcanoes; and mostly of ambesite in the rest of the
Cordilleras and the highlands.

For the present-day traveler who is interested in earthquakes and their
effects and in the ruins of Spanish architecture, nothing more
entertaining can be found than a visit to La Antigua, which can be
reached from Guatemala City by a few hours' ride in carriage or on
horseback. Antigua stretches through the beautiful and fertile valley
which in the Indian language means dry lake because the tradition exists
that in prehistoric times there was a fine sheet of water covering the
land. The panorama which delights the eye from any elevated point of
Antigua is glorious. The three volcanoes of Acatenango, Agua (water) and
Fuego (fire) lose their majestic combs in the clouds. In every direction
spread fertile fields with an infinite number of coffee and sugar
plantations in every state of production. The borders of the city are
bathed by two charming rivers, the Pensativo and the Portal. In the
immediate neighborhood are hygienic baths of pure crystalline water.


Many volumes have been written about the prehistoric ruins of Guatemala
and especially of Copan. One of the most recent and most sumptuously
illustrated is that by Anne Cary Maudslay and Alfred Percival Maudslay
entitled "A Glimpse at Guatemala." It was published in London. In this
book Professor Maudslay gives the following description of a visit to
the ruins at Quiriguá:

     "The ruins, which are completely hidden in a thick tropical forest,
     stand about three-quarters of a mile from the left bank of the
     river Motagua and about five miles from the miserable little
     village of Quiriguá, from which they take their name. They consist
     of numerous square or oblong mounds and terraces varying from six
     to forty feet in height, some standing by themselves, others
     clustered in irregular groups. Most of these mounds were faced with
     worked stone and were ascended by flights of stone steps.

     "The interest centers in the thirteen large carved monoliths which
     are arranged irregularly round what were probably the most
     important plazas. Six of these monuments are tall stones measuring
     three to five feet square and standing fourteen to twenty feet out
     of the ground. The other five are oblong or rounded blocks of stone
     shaped so as to represent huge turtles or armadilloes or some such
     animals. All these monuments are covered with elaborate carving.
     Usually on both back and front of the tall monoliths there is
     carved a huge human figure standing full face and in a stiff and
     conventional attitude. The sides of the monuments are covered with
     tables of hieroglyphs, most of them in fairly good preservation. In
     addition to these tables of hieroglyphs there are series of square
     or cartouches of what appears to be actual picture writing, each
     division measuring about eighteen inches square and containing
     usually two or three grotesque figures of men and animals. The
     design of these picture writings shows considerable variety and
     freedom of treatment as compared with that of the large sizes human
     figures in the execution of which the artist seems to have been
     bound by conventional rules.

     "The largest of the stone animals is perhaps the most remarkable of
     all the monuments. Its measurement is roughly a cube of eight feet,
     it must weigh nearly twenty tons and it rests on three large slabs
     of stone. It is shaped like a turtle and is covered with a most
     elaborate and curious ornament and with tables of hieroglyphics and
     cartouches of picture writing. The greater part of the ornament
     throughout these carvings is formed from the grotesque
     representations of the human face or the faces of animals, the
     features frequently so greatly exaggerated that it is most
     difficult to recognize them, but a careful examination enables one
     almost invariably to trace back to this facial origin what at
     first sight appears to be merely conventional scroll work. Forms
     derived from leaves or flowers are altogether absent; occasional
     use is made of a plaited ribbon and a very free use of plumes of
     feathers which are oftenmost gracefully arranged and beautifully
     carved. The fifteen monuments are divided into two groups; in one
     the figures are all those of men, in the other of women."

The same authors give the following vivid description of the famed Lake

     "Our tent was pitched so close to the precipice that even from my
     bed I had a grand view into the Lake and could watch the black
     masses of the volcanoes looming clear-cut and solemn in the
     moonlight or changing from black to gray in the early dawn; then a
     rosy flush would touch the peak of Atitlan and the light creep down
     its side, revealing for a brief half hour every detail of cinder
     ridge and chasm on its scarred and wounded slopes until with a
     sudden burst of glory the sun rose above the eastern hills to
     strike the mirror-like surface of the Lake and flood the world with
     warmth and dazzling light. Every peak and mountain ridge now stood
     out clear and sharp against the morning sky, and only in the shadow
     of the hills would a fleecy mist hang over the surface of the lake
     far beneath us; then almost before the sun had power to drink up
     these lees of the night from the deep gap between the hills to the
     south, a linger of white cloud, borne up from the seaward slope,
     would creep around the peak of Atitlan only to be dissipated in the
     cooler air; but finger followed finger and the mysterious hand
     never lost its grasp until about noon great billowy clouds rolled
     up through the gap and the outpost was fairly captured although the
     crater itself often stood out clear above the cloudy belt. It was
     not, however, until the sun began to lose its power that the real
     attack commenced and the second column deployed through the gap on
     the southern flank of San Pedro and then from five o'clock until
     dark there followed a scene which no pen and no brush could
     adequately portray. The clouds seemed to be bewitched; they came
     down on us in alternate black and sunlit masses, terrible in their
     majesty; then rolled aside to show us all the beauty of a sunset
     sky, tints of violet that shaded into pink, and pink that melted
     into the clearest blue, whilst far away beyond the mountain seaward
     rolled vast billowy masses, first red and yellow and then pink
     fading to the softest green. Again and again would the clouds roll
     down upon us, the mist at times so thick that we could not see
     beyond a hundred yards; then just as quickly it would roll away and
     reveal a completely new phase of this ever shifting scene of
     beauty. As the sun sank behind San Pedro all turned again to dark
     and angry purple with contrasts and reflections like the sheen of a
     shot silk. Slowly the mists melted away with the fading daylight,
     Venus hung for a while like a splendid jewel in the air and the
     mountains turned again to shadowy masses outlined against a crystal


Historically every period of Guatemala is fascinating. Usually the
history of the country is divided into the epochs of the aborigines, the
Spanish Conquest, Independence, and the era of liberal governments.

Across the centuries the path of history can be traced. A book written
in the 16th century by one of the aborigines of the time of the Conquest
and called "Popol-Vuh" or "Book of the People," speaks of the Quiches,
vigorous and hardy natives of the soil, forerunners of the Guatemalan
people as having reached at that time a degree of advance which singled
them out from among the other primitive inhabitants of America. Their
religious system was in essence a kind of animal worship whose gods were
personified by the fox, the coyote, and the wild boar to be soon
reemployed through natural evolution by the forces of nature such as the
heavens, the earth, and the sea. They left as evidences of their worship
the multitude of monuments whose imposing ruins are preserved today.
Pyramids which seem to bear traces of Egypt and characters indicative
of a remote Asiatic origin; temples, such as the Temple of the Sun, of
grand architecture; and the Palace, dwelling of the King, a holy being
and the Supreme Arbiter. The latter is among the most notable of
American antiquities and it causes admiration through the graduated
pyramid, the triangular vault and the arch forming an harmonious whole.
The Quiche civilization was an advanced one and its government was a
theocracy in which the High Priest was both the Supreme Governor and
inherited the name of the primitive god Votan. This theocracy was drawn
from among the warriors while the people in complete servitude tilled
the fields in order to sustain the worship and raise grand monuments and
built numerous cities on the borders of the lakes and rivers.

Agriculture was well advanced. Cacao was cultivated with grand
ceremonies and maize or Indian corn which was guarded with profound
veneration because according to the ancient tradition man was formed
from it. Cotton was also grown and brilliant garments woven from it
which were dyed with cochineal and pigments formed from various plants.
Tobacco was cultivated and yucca, beans, potatoes, etc. Various textiles
were fabricated of the finest quality and many of the palaces and
temples were hung with this tapestry.

Ceramics and various kinds of pottery were manufactured both for use and
for ornament. The sciences and the arts were developed. The fame of the
Quiche calendar exists today. The aborigines also understood painting,
sculpture, and music. They made plumes and cloaks from the feathers of
the birds and they wrote upon a paper prepared from the Amatl. Their
language was liquid and possessed few inflections. It was the most
perfect of the six hundred or more languages which the Spaniards
encountered in the Isthmus of Central America. They had a literature of
their own and from this fragments have been preserved notably the drama
"Rabinal Achi."


Guatemala was conquered by the Lieutenant of Cortez, Pedro de Alvarado.
In April, 1524, he crowned his series of victories over the Quiches by
routing them on the plains of Urbina, capturing and condemning to perish
by hanging the two last Kings of the most powerful monarchy of Central
America; Oxib-Queh and Beleheb-Tzy. In July of the same year he founded
the city of Guatemala, although this was not definitely established
until November, 1527.

Within a few years all the regions of Central America had submitted to
the Spanish Crown and formed the Kingdom of Guatemala, to the capital of
which was transferred in 1549 the Royal Audiencia or High Court.
Guatemala was the head of Spanish power in Central America under the
general term of the Spanish Captain Generalcy for two centuries.

During the two hundred and fifty years following the Conquest the
country had three capitals in turn, all named Guatemala City. The first,
founded by Alvarado, was on the very spot where he fought the battle
which made him conqueror. The Indian kings of the South having heard of
the exploits of Cortez in Mexico, sent an embassy to him which he
received with distinction. He sent his favorite Lieutenant Alvarado back
to take possession. Alvarado and his three hundred Spanish soldiers were
nearly a year in making the journey through the forest. When the Indians
opposed him he gave continuous battle and finally conquered. He
destroyed their capital, razed the temple of their idols to the ground,
and built on its site a church.

For seventeen years Alvarado kept the Indians at work building a new
capital on the site of their old one. Then came the earthquake which
destroyed the place and buried nine-tenths of the inhabitants under the
ruins. A new location was found, but again, in 1773, by the eruption of
Santa Maria the capital was destroyed. This is the group of picturesque
ruins now known as La Antigua. With the destruction of this capital a
third and final movement to the splendid situation in the Hermit Valley
was made and the new capital which is the Guatemala City of today was

After years of struggle against the Spanish domination, beginning in
1811, Guatemala secured its independence, which was proclaimed September
15, 1821, when in place of the Kingdom of Guatemala there was
established "A nation free and independent of every other nation." The
history of subsequent years is interwoven with the events of other
Central American countries. After many evolutions and disorders as well
as revolutionary changes of government, the era known as the period of
reform and the re-establishment of the liberties of the country began in


The events which led to the adoption of the liberal Constitution of
1879, which is today in force, do not need to be recounted here. General
Justo Rufino Barrios, who had been the leading spirit in the Liberal
revolution, was a pronounced advocate of the union of all the Central
American States in a single federal republic. He endeavored to
accomplish this against the opposition of Salvador and was killed at the
battle of Chalchuapa in 1885. He was succeeded by General Manuel
Lisandro Barillas, who exercised the government from 1887 to 1892. After
him came General José Maria Reyna Barrios, who during the first four
years of his administration gave a good government and worked much for
the prosperity of his country. In the last two years, however, through
the bad counsels of selfish advisers foreign to his government he sought
to extend the term of his authority and was resisted by successive
revolutions. He was assassinated by a personal enemy of European
nationality in February, 1898, and Guatemala was then left in the midst
of a most disastrous condition, both industrial and political.

It was at this period that Manuel Estrada Cabrera, the lawyer, came into
power and began the series of administrative reforms and measures for
the material development of the country which have so vastly improved
the condition of the people, have re-established credit and given
assurance of further progress under continuous peace and tranquillity.
It is these beneficial measures which have caused President Estrada
Cabrera to be signalized as the chief of the modern emancipation of
Guatemala in its policies, in its intellectual and moral advancement,
and as the author of its present progress. Under his government order in
administration has been secured, respect for the rights of all, material
development in countless forms, the general improvement of the people
and the most perfect harmony and equity in international relations have
been obtained. It is the success of these policies, which is now
assured, that makes Guatemala so clearly the country of the future and
entitles Estrada Cabrera to rank with the most distinguished heads of
State of the present day.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Guatemala, the country of the future" ***

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