In Guatemala history, the first proof of human setters dates back to 10,000BC. Pre-Columbian Guatemala history is divided into 3 periods, the Pre-Classic Era (2000 BC to 250 AD), the Classic Era (250 AD to 900 AD) and the Post-Classic Era (900 to 1500 AD). During the Pre-Classic Era, early Maya cities were established. Among them, El Mirador was the most populated city in pre-Columbian America. It was also the first politically organized state in the region. During the Classic Era, the Mayan civilization flourished throughout Guatemala and surrounding regions. The greatest Maya cities were built such as Tikal, Palenque and Copán. By this time, Maya fully developed the most advanced form of writing, mathematics, astronomy and arts in the region. During the Post-Classic Era, the Maya civilization became in decline and the Aztecs began dominated in Mesoamerica. The Spanish expeditions to Guatemala began in 1519. Pedro de Alvarado, who was the Spanish soldier authorized to conquer Guatemala, defeated the Mayans in 1524 and conquered the land. The colonial capital was moved to the present location after a series of earthquakes in 1776. Guatemala declared independence from Spain in 1821. It briefly became a part of the Mexican Empire and then joined the United Provinces of Central America for a period. After passing through a series of dictatorships, coups and insurgences, a civilian President Juan José Arévalo Bermejo was elected in the first democratic election in Guatemala in 1944. Jacobo Arbenz, a successor of Arévalo and also freely elected, continued agrarian reform of Arévalo’s government, but was overthrown in a US-backed coup led by Col. Carlos Castillo Armas in 1954, which eventually led to a long-term insurgence. In 1960, the Guatemalan Civil War broke out and continued until 1996, when a peace accord between the guerrillas and the government was signed. Since then, successive democratic elections were held. Tourism has become an increasing source of revenue for Guatemala.
I went on an overnight trip to Tikal. I took an hour flight to Flores Airport from the port of Puerto Quetzal aboard a small airplane. It was a comfortable flight with very clear weather. From the air, I could see the volcano erupting.
*DMC-ZS10/TZ20 records images in max.14-megapixel and DMC-ZS7/TZ10 in max.12-megapixel.
My plan for today was to go sightseeing in Flores Island. Flores Island was a small island with a perimeter of about four kilometers. I heard that the ancient Mayan imperial families created the island to use it as a resort. It was an artificial but old island.
One of the most attractive sites in the island was a church built at the center of the island. According to a guidebook, there was once a pyramid at that site but the Spanish destroyed it to build the church. It also said that the church had objects influenced by both Christianity brought by the Spanish and the native religion. Unfortunately, it was not open when I visited there. I walked around a small island. It was very charming island with a music school, small souvenir shops and small colorful houses.
I was talked to by a woman who introduced herself as a staff of the sightseeing association or something. She asked me a lot of questions; where I came from, how I got to know Flores, and where I planed to go for sightseeing and so on. I wondered if they were struggling for promoting tourism of the island.