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Guatemala:
Geography

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Background
Definition
The Mayan civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had left more than 100,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees.
Location
Definition
Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize
Geographic coordinates
Definition
15 30 N, 90 15 W
Map references
Definition
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 108,890 sq km
land: 108,430 sq km
water: 460 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Tennessee
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1,687 km
border countries: Belize 266 km, El Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km, Mexico 962 km
Coastline
Definition
400 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
Definition
tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
Terrain
Definition
mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m
Natural resources
Definition
petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 13.22%
permanent crops: 5.6%
other: 81.18% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
1,300 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
111.3 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 2.01 cu km/yr (6%/13%/80%)
per capita: 160 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
no natural harbors on west coast


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