Guatemala ((listen) GWAH@-MAH'l@; Spanish pronunciation: [gwate’mala]) is a country in Central America. It borders Mexico to its north and west, Belize to the northeast, Honduras and Belize to the east, El Salvador (the southeast), and the Pacific Ocean (the south). It is home to approximately 17.2 million people and ranks 11th in the Americas in terms of population. Guatemala is a representative democracy. Nueva Guatemala de la Asuncion is the capital and largest city. It is also known as Guatemala City.
Historisch speaking, the Maya civilization's core, which spanned Mesoamerica, was based in modern Guatemala. The Spanish conquered most of this region in the 16th century and made it part of the viceroyalty New Spain. In 1821, Guatemala gained independence from Mexico and Spain. Guatemala was annexed to the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823. It was then dissolved in 1841.
Guatemala was plagued by civil unrest and instability from the middle to late 19th centuries.