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Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast. Its area is 108,809 km2.
The Mayan civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, 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 left more than 100,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some one million refugees.
Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for nearly 15% of GDP and half of the labor force; key agricultrual exports include coffee, surgar and banannas. The 1996 peace accords removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and since then Guatemala has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) entered into force in July 2006 spurring increased investment and diversification of exports, with the largest increases in ethanol and non-traditional agricultural exports.
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