The majority of indigenous peoples in Guatemala are of Mayan descent
It is a reality that the Mayans of Guatemala are perhaps the only indigenous culture that constitutes a majority of the population in the Central American country. Not surprisingly, 21 different Mayan communities in Guatemala make up an estimated 51 per cent of the national population.
The people are dispersed throughout Guatemala mostly in the western highlands. The biggest concentrations are in rural departments north and west of Guatemala City, most notably, Alta Verapaz, Sololá, Totonicapán and Quiché. They are also found on farms in Guatemala’s southern area known as Boca Costa.
Large numbers of Mayans of varying social classes live in all of Guatemala’s cities, as well as in Belize, Honduras and especially Mexico.
There is no doubt that the ancient Maya possessed no metal tools, no wheels, no cattle and no pack animals. They also lived in a swamp-ridden and storm-battered region of central America where the landscape seemed resistant to the presence of humans.
A recent aerial survey used lasers to penetrate the vegetation of the Guatemalan country. This confirmed the glories of the Mayan civilisation. It revealed more than 60,000 structures, including pyramids, canals, fortifications and causeways stretching from city to city.