• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Preface
 Part I. Guatemala
 Part II. Nicaragua
 Part III. Costa Rica
 Part IV. Salvador and Honduras
 Conclusion






Title: Guatemala and the states of Central America
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078287/00001
 Material Information
Title: Guatemala and the states of Central America
Physical Description: 310 p. : map, plates. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Domville-Fife, Charles William, 1886- ( ed )
Publisher: F. Griffiths
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1913
 Subjects
Subject: Central America   ( lcsh )
Guatemala   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Charles W. Domville-Fife.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078287
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001053852
oclc - 22482733
notis - AFD7231

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
    List of Illustrations
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Preface
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Part I. Guatemala
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Introduction
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
        In the beginning
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 16a
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
        The Spanish conquest
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 32a
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 36a
        The Spanish conquest
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 44a
        Later history of Guatemala
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 48a
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
        The system of government - Political division - The army
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 64a
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 68a
            Page 69
        The Guatemala of to-day
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 76a
        The Atlantic coast
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 80a
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
        From Atlantic to Pacific
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
        Guatemala City
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 96a
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 100a
            Page 101
        Guatemala City: Life in the capital
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 108a
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 112a
            Page 113
            Page 114
        The fêtes of Minerva
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
        The famous ruins of Antigua, Quirigua, and Utatlan
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 128a
            Page 129
        The Pacific coast
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
        Coffee-growing
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
        The north and the west
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 144a
        Finance and commerce
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
        Minerals and mining
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 155
            Page 156
        Off the beaten track
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 160a
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
        The native population
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 176a
    Part II. Nicaragua
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Nicaragua the beautiful
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
            Page 184
        Nicaragua's share in the history of Central America
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
            Page 192a
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 196a
            Page 197
            Page 198
            Page 199
            Page 200
            Page 201
            Page 202
        The country, the cities, and the people
            Page 203
            Page 204
            Page 204a
            Page 205
            Page 206
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 208a
            Page 209
            Page 210
            Page 211
            Page 212
            Page 213
            Page 214
            Page 215
            Page 216
            Page 217
            Page 218
            Page 219
            Page 220
            Page 221
            Page 222
            Page 223
            Page 224
        Some characteristic features
            Page 225
            Page 226
            Page 227
            Page 228
            Page 228a
            Page 229
            Page 230
            Page 231
            Page 232
            Page 233
            Page 234
            Page 235
            Page 236
            Page 236a
            Page 237
            Page 238
        Railways, mining, and agriculture
            Page 239
            Page 240
            Page 240a
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
            Page 244
            Page 245
            Page 246
        Finance and commerce
            Page 247
            Page 248
    Part III. Costa Rica
        Page 249
        Page 250
        The history and the country
            Page 251
            Page 252
            Page 253
            Page 254
            Page 255
        The people, the cities, and railways
            Page 256
            Page 256a
            Page 257
            Page 258
            Page 259
            Page 260
            Page 260a
            Page 261
            Page 262
            Page 263
            Page 264
            Page 265
        Agriculture, mining, and commerce
            Page 266
            Page 267
            Page 268
            Page 268a
            Page 269
            Page 270
            Page 271
            Page 272
            Page 272a
            Page 273
            Page 274
    Part IV. Salvador and Honduras
        Page 275
        Page 276
        The middle states in history
            Page 277
            Page 278
            Page 279
            Page 280
            Page 281
        Salvador to-day
            Page 282
            Page 283
            Page 284
            Page 285
            Page 286
        Through Salvador to Honduras
            Page 287
            Page 288
            Page 288a
            Page 289
            Page 290
            Page 291
            Page 292
            Page 292a
        Honduras
            Page 293
            Page 294
            Page 295
            Page 296
            Page 297
            Page 298
            Page 299
            Page 300
            Page 300a
            Page 301
            Page 302
            Page 303
            Page 304
            Page 305
            Page 306
            Page 307
    Conclusion
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
Full Text














GUATEMALA





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London : Francis Griffiths.


27 Loiai 6egii L jnaltt







GUATEMALA

AND THE

STATES OF CENTRAL

AMERICA




BY
CHARLES W. DOMVILLE-FIFE
AUTHOR OF
"THE GREAT STATES OF SOUTH ARNICA," SUBMARINE ENGINEERING OF TO-DAY"
ETC. ET.


ILLUSTRATED









LONDON: FRANCIS 'G4IFFITHS
Niw'YoBK: JAMIBS POTT & COMPANY




















" THE lands under the political dominion of the Latin
American nations may be equalled in fertility, natural
wealth and abundance of mineral deposits elsewhere
on the surface of the globe; but they are nowhere sur-
passed. The coasts on the two oceans are generally
provided with numerous safe and commodious ports;
the mountains teem with all the mineral substances
known to man; gold, silver and platinum are found in
the spurs of the Cordilleras and in the main ranges, and
gold, especially, in the low valleys and in the beds of the
rivers and streams."-" Cambridge Modem History."














CONTENTS
PAGE
PREFACE 5

PART I
GUATEMALA
INTRODUCTION 9
CHAPTER
I. IN THE BEGINNING 13
II. THE SPANISH CONQUEST 28
III. THE SPANISH CONQUEST 37
IV. LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 45
V. THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT-POLITICAL
DIVISION-THE ARMY 63
VI. THE GUATEMALA OF TO-DAY 70
VII. THE ATLANTIC COAST 77
VIII. FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC 86
IX. GUATEMALA CITY 92
X. GUATEMALA CITY 102
XI. THE FATES OF MINERVA 115
XII. THE FAMOUS RUINS OF ANTIGUA, QUIRIGUA,
AND UTATLAN 120
XIII. THE PACIFIC COAST 130
XIV. COFFEE-GROWING 136
XV. THE NORTH AND WEST 140
XVI. FINANCE AND COMMERCE 145
XVII. MINERALS AND MINING 52
XVIII. OFF THE BEATEN TRACK 157
XIX. THE NATIVE POPULATION 169








2 CONTENTS

PART II

NICARAGUA
CHAPTER PAGE
I. "NICARAGUA THE BEAUTIFUL" 179
II. NICARAGUA'S SHARE IN THE HISTORY OF
CENTRAL AMERICA 185
III. THE COUNTRY, THE CITIES, AND THE PEOPLE 203
IV. SOME CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES 225
V. RAILWAYS, MINING, AND AGRICULTURE 239
VI. FINANCE AND COMMERCE 247


PART III

COSTA RICA

I. THE HISTORY AND THE COUNTRY 251
II. THE PEOPLE, THE CITIES, AND RAILWAYS 256
III. AGRICULTURE, MINING, AND COMMERCE 266

PART IV

SALVADOR AND HONDURAS

I. THE MIDDLE STATES IN HISTORY 277
II. SALVADOR TO-DAY .282
III. THROUGH SALVADOR TO HONDURAS. 287
IV. HONDURAS 293


CONCLUSION















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

GUATEMALA
Map of Central America Frotispiec
FACING PAG-
In Fonseca Bay. The Traveller's first Glimpse of the Atlantic
Coast of Guatemala ..
A Cloud Effect from the Crater of the Volcano Agua," Guatemala 7
Quezaltenango. Central America Square .32
Steamer on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala 32
A View over Guatemala City 37
The Boulevard, Guatemala City 44
The Central Railway Station, Guatemala City 49
The National Theatre, Guatemala City 64
The Market Place, Antigua, Guatemala 69
The Plaza, Quezaltenango, Guatemala 76
Ruins, Antigua,:Guatemala 76
Plaza de Centro-America, Quezaltenango, Guatemala 81
A Street Scene in Quezaltenango, Guatemala 81
Helvetia, Guatemala 96
A Coffee Estate, Helvetia, Guatemala 96
A typical Plantation of Maize, Guatemalan Pacific Coast o
A typical Plantation Scene on the Guatemalan Pacific Coast so
The Slopes of "Santa Maria" from the "Valley of Fertility,"
Guatemala .
In the Fertile Highlands of Guatemala 08
Cantel, from the surrounding Heights, Guatemala 1 I3
A typical Roadside Scene in the Guatemalan Highlands 3. 3
Native Huts, Palmar, Guatemala 28
A Domestic Scene (native) at Tzanhuji, Guatemala 128
A Group of Distinguished Guatemalan Natives at Chichicastenango 145
SA Village Scene in the Interior of Guatemala 160
The old Spanish Church, Palmar, Guatemala .

NICARAGUA
The Central Park, Managua, Nicaragua 177
Entrance of the "Campo de Marte," Managua, Nicaragua 192
Cadets of the Military Academy, Managua, Nicaragua 97
Scene on Lake Nicaragua near Rivas, Republic of Nicaragua 204
Washing and Drying Grounds on the La Palmera Coffee Estate,
Nicaragua 209









4 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

COSTA RICA
FACING PAGE
A Group of Indians, Central Costa Rica .224
An Indian King and his Family, Costa Rica 224
Costa Rican Infantry 224
The Cathedral, San Jos6, Costa Rica 229
The National Theatre, San JosA, Costa Rica 236
A Public Ceremony in Costa Rica 24
National Monument, San Jose, Costa Rica .41
A Group of Costa Rican Peasant Girls 241
San Jos6, Costa Rica 256
A Street in Port Limon, Costa Rica .256
A Street in San Jose, Costa Rica 256
Wharves, Port Limon, Costa Rica 261
A typical Country Scene on the Costa Rican Railway 261
Hotel Gardens, Port Limon, Costa Rica 261
A typical Coast Scene on the Costa Rican Railway 268
Picking Coffee on a Costa Rican Estate .268
Reventazon River (showing Railway Embankment), Costa Rica 268
Port Limon, Costa Rica 273
The Turialba Volcano, Costa Rica 273
Park Scene, San Jose, Costa Rica 273

SALVADOR
The Theatre, San Miguel, Salvador 288
The Cathedral, San Salvador .288
The Parish Church, Santa Ana, Salvador 293
A River Scene in "Sunny" Salvador 300
The Volcano of San Vicente y Pueblo de Guadalupe, Salvador 300















PREFACE


THE kind reception by the Press and public, both in
Europe and America, of my former works, The Great
States of South America," and "The United States
of Brazil," is in part responsible for the production of
the present volume, which continues the survey of
Spanish America.
There was, however, one other factor which prompted
the writing of this book-viz. the sincere admiration I
have for the makers of these young nations and the
many friends I have among them.
I wish specially to thank Sefior Don D. Bowman,
of the Guatemalan Legation in London; Sefior Don
Arturo R. Avila, Consul-General of Salvador; Sefor
Don Felipe E. Martinez, Consul-General of Nicaragua;
Senior Don J. de Lacheur, Consul-General of Costa
Rica, and Sefior Don J. Kelly, Consul-General of
Honduras, for the assistance they have so frequently
rendered me.
I have also cordially to thank Dr Tempest Anderson
for his kindness in permitting me to reproduce some of
the photographs taken by himself; Mr Percy Allen,
for his assistance with the early history of Guatemala ;
Mr Davidson Boughey, Sefior Don Carlos Morgan, and
the many others, both at home and abroad, whose
kindness will ever remain a pleasant memory.
5








6 PREFACE
About the difficulties of the task of unravelling the
tangled skein of Central American history, politics,
finance and commerce, with but very complicated and
contradictory data, I will say nothing, preferring to
allow readers to judge for themselves from the events
herein related.
CHARLES W. DOMVILLE-FIFE.

EXETER, I913.






















PART I

GUATEMALA













GUATEMALA


INTRODUCTION

THE Republic of Guatemala, following the same line of
progress as the whole of Latin America, has, during the
last ten years, greatly increased in prosperity, improved
economically, and assumed a thoroughly settled political
condition. The former statements are proved beyond
question by the steady rise in home and foreign trade,
and the ever-increasing interest evinced by European
and American financiers and merchants in the exploita-
tion of this undoubtedly rich country.
Many otherwise well-informed people know but little
concerning Guatemala. They have a vague idea that
it is situated somewhere in South or Central America,
and is .subject, consequently, to unbearable tropical
heat, accompanied by epidemic diseases, that it is also
constantly in a state of excitement and political unrest.
To these, the following pages, supported by that
strongest of arguments-fact-will come as a revelation.
It may be said at once that, owing to the elevated
position of the capital and the whole centre of the
country, the climate in this, the most important zone of
the state, is that of a perpetual European summer;
only the coast lands being considered tropical.
The settled state of the country and the peaceful
disposition of the inhabitants is proved conclusively
by the many years of tranquillity which Guatemala has
now enjoyed, notwithstanding the wars and revolutions
which have frequently raged around its frontiers.
9








10 GUATEMALA
The present Helmsman-of-the-Ship-of-State "-
Don Manuel Estrada Cabrera-by whose untiring efforts
Guatemala has attained her present position of import-
ance, is a patriot in the truest and best sense of the word.
He lives for his country, and works day and night for
its welfare. It is no idle compliment to say that no
president in Central America has ever yet exhibited
such wonderful powers of statesmanship, nor an
equal faculty for readily knowing what is good and
what is bad for the country which he is called to
govern.
Some people, no doubt, will be a trifle sceptical upon
this point; but, before passing judgment, let them
realise what Guatemala was, only a few years ago, as
compared with what it is to-day; let them know the
man, and then, doubtless, they will share the author's
feelings of admiration and respect for the greatest and
most powerful statesman in Central America, engaged
in the stupendous task of building up a first-class nation
in the New World.
When President Cabrera was first elected, the country
was in a terribly disorganised condition; and education
among the poorer classes was much neglected. Now
there are I8oo elementary schools scattered all over
the republic, and secondary education is compulsory.
The two oceans have been connected by a railway
system ; the telephonic and telegraphic nets have been
extended; the postal service is regular; the whole
country is settled in its administration, and the estab-
lishment of the Bureau of Central American Republics
in Guatemala City has united the four states of this
portion of the continent by a tie that, year by year,
should grow stronger. That which, perhaps, has been
the greatest cause of misunderstanding is the difference
existing between some of the disturbed surrounding
republics and Guatemala. Political unrest, in any
of these countries, has been held up as an example








INTRODUCTION 11
of the unsettled state of the whole of Central America
--an assumption as unfair as it is false.
One of the departments of public interest that has
most occupied the attention of the present ruler is
education; and it may safely be said that Guatemala,
in this respect, is now among the most advanced
countries of Latin America. The medical and sanitary
services also have been completely reorganised upon the
most up-to-date European methods.
Regarding the foreign trade of the republic, from
1865 to 1904, Great Britain was the chief exporter to,
and importer from, Guatemala; but, from that time,
the first place has been held by the United States, the
second by Germany, followed by England, France,
Mexico, Italy, and Spain.
The government is republican and representative,
being composed of the executive, legislative, and
judicial bodies. The first is controlled by the President,
who remains in office for a period of six years, being
responsible for his actions to Congress. He is assisted
by six ministers, or secretaries of State. The legislative
power is vested in the Assembly, composed of one
member for every 20,000 inhabitants. Foreigners are
entitled to the franchise.
Although the standard of currency is the silver peso,
or dollar, much paper money and fractional nickel coin
is in circulation, owing to political circumstances,
which rendered such an issue necessary during the
presidency of General Rufino Barrios. This, however,
is to be called in, as the Government is adopting the
silver standard, which is to be followed by the gold
standard. The paper peso, or dollar, is worth, approx-
imately (subject to fluctuations), about three English
pence.
These financial changes should do much to facilitate
commerce, by encouraging European traders to take
more advantage of the miscellaneous openings for







12 GUATEMALA
substantial business. A better standard currency is
of the greatest value, not only for internal trade, but
also in helping to allay, for merchants from without,
the terrors of the unknown.
With these brief introductory remarks concerning
a country that, before being worthily exploited, needs
only to be understood, let us ring up the curtain, and
endeavour to show to our readers Guatemala as it is.















CHAPTER I


IN THE BEGINNING

GUATEMALA has often been described, as in Mr Pepper's
book,1 for example, as the Land of the Future; and
certainly its prospects are as rosy as those of any country
in Latin America. But such sounding phrases should
not lead any reader to suppose that the country's past is
unworthy of attention. On the contrary, it may safely
be asserted that the early history of Guatemala is as
stirring and interesting as that of any Spanish-American
country, with the possible exception of Peru. I propose,
therefore, to devote the first chapters of this book to a
short account of the events that have raised the republic
to its present prosperous condition.
Long before the dawn of written history this portion
of Central America was inhabited by a nation skilled in
the arts of weaving by hand, carving, and metal-work.
When, in the sixteenth century, the Spanish adventurers
came from over the sea, they discovered, in ruined
temple and beside stately monolith, priceless treasures
of antiquity. Exquisitely carved vases, copper orna-
ments covered with hieroglyphics, curious images and
strange gods of gold and silver, all told them tales of
an early civilisation which historians and antiquarians
believe to have resembled that which flourished under
the famous Incas of the Bolivian tableland.
S" Guatemala-the Country of the Future," by Charles M.
Pepper.
13







14 GUATEMALA
These interesting, yet barbarous, people worshipped
their graven images with the intense devotion of the
heathen, and offered human sacrifices to appease the
wrath of their deities, who, to the superstitious native
minds, exhibited their anger by the lightning flash from
heaven, or by bidding the mountains spit forth flame.
Their temples were magnificently decorated with
pictures and altars of carved stone, adorned with finely
worked ornaments. The tiled floors were covered with
rich carpets, and the masonry of these holy edifices must
have called for the united labour of many hundreds,
so splendidly was it fashioned.
The true origin of this strange race of Guatemalan
Indians is a mystery the solution of which lies hidden
deep in the realms of myth and fable. Some believe
that they are the descendants of the yellow men, whom
ancient tradition asserts to be the first settlers in the
land. Certain it is that the Indians can understand and
be understood by the Chinese with more facility than
is the case with any other stranger race. We must
remember, too, that the sacred book, Popol Vuh,"
with which we shall deal later, states that primitive man
was made of clay; thus confirming the universal tradi-
tion that the primitive American was formed of red or
yellow earth. With these myths and legends we must
be content, until the patient researches of antiquarians
shall have given us the key to the hieroglyphics that,
upon the stones of Central America, at Palenque, at
Copan, at Quirigua, and elsewhere, tell us their tale of
the past.
In times very remote there came down from the north
a people called the Nahoas, whose great chief was
Quetzalcoatl-that is, the serpent with the plumes of
the Quetzal "-or Gucumatz, as he is called in Popol
Vuh," "the serpent with the skin of green and azure."
This Gucumatz succeeded in overthrowing Xibalbag,
another great chief then ruling in the land, whose sub-






IN THE BEGINNING 15
jects were scattered broadcast. Some went northward
to Mexico, and, when famine drove them thence, re-
turned, after some four hundred years, and founded,
in the seventh century, the kingdom of Hucytlat, in
Honduras; whose principal city, Copantl, is now
represented by the strange ruins of Copan.
Another inroad from the north appears to have
resulted in the foundation of the tribe known as the
Quiches, a powerful race, to whom the other neighbour-
ing tribes in turn submitted. The Quiche dominions
gradually grew in extent, until they stretched from
Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and eastward as far as
Lake Izabal. We do not know very much about the
history of these people, but from the chief source of
our information, their most interesting sacred book,
Popol Vuh," they appear to have had a certain civilisa-
tion and an established feudal system comparable only
with that of mediaeval Europe. The Spanish writers
credited these ancient kings with magic powers. They
tell how Gucumatz transformed himself into a serpent,
a jaguar, an eagle ; how he dwelt seven days in heaven,
and abode seven days in hell. Surely great was the
respect he gained by these miracles before all the lords
and all those of his kingdom." 1
The reader will wish to learn something of this
fascinating book, "Popol Vuh." Two translations
exist-one in Spanish, by Zimenes, and the other in
French, by the Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg, of part of
whose version I give an English rendering. I wish that
space permitted me to go into the story at greater length,
but what I quote will be enough to afford the reader
some idea of the Quiche's outlook upon life, and his
mode of thought. The opening passages give, in the
poetical diction natural to aboriginal races, a vivid
account of the creation of the world, and the beginnings
of Man.
1 Brigham, pp. 228-233.







16 GUATEMALA
This is the story of the time when all was in sus-
pense, when all was calm and silent ; all was motionless,
all was peaceful, and void was the immensity of the
heavens.
This then is the first word and the first of speeches.
There was not yet one single man, not an animal; no
birds, no fishes, no crayfish, no wood, no stone; no bogs,
no deep gulfs, no grass nor forests; only the sky
existed.
The face of the earth was not yet seen ; naught was
there save the peaceful sea and all the expanse of heaven.
There was nothing of which a body might be shaped,
nothing that clung to any other thing; nothing that
swayed, nothing that caused the slightest rustle, nothing
that would make a sound in the sky.
"There was nothing that stood upright, only the
tranquil water, only the sea calm and alone within its
bounds; for nothing existed.
There dwelt but immobility and silence in the
darkness, in the night. Alone, too, the Creator, the
Fashioner, the Ruler, the feathered serpent. Those
that beget, those that give being, brood over the
water like a kindling light.
They are clothed in green and azure, therefore are
they named Gucumatz 1; they take their being from
the greatest sages, even thus the heavens exist, thus, too,
the Heart of heaven; such is God's name; by that
name is he known. 'Twas then that his word came
hither with the Ruler and Gucumatz, in the darkness
and in the night, and that it spoke with the Ruler, the
Gucumatz.

SA serpent whose skin is green and blue. The green and blue
symbolise strange and mysterious clothing originating perhaps
in the colour of trees and sky.
The phrase "' darkness and night refers in this book, as
in all others of the same origin, to an epoch previous to the
Nahuatl civilisation.



















-.a -aa-


In Fonseca Bay. The Traveller's first Glimpse of the Atlantic Coast
of Guatemala


A Cloud Effect from the Crater of the Volcano "Agua," Guatemala
Facinggpage 17







IN THE BEGINNING 17
Then they spoke ; then they took counsel together
and meditated; they understood one another; they
joined words and opinions.
Then while they took counsel together the day
broke, and at the moment of dawn man was manifested;
while they held counsel upon the production and the
growth of the woods and the creeping plants; on the
nature of life and humanity (fashioned), in the darkness
and in the night, by him who is the Heart of heaven,
whose name is Hurakan.1
The Lightning is the first (sign) of Hurakan;
the second is the track of the Lightning; the third is the
Thunderbolt that strikes; and these three are of the
Heart of heaven. Then they came with the Ruler;
the Gucumatz; then they held counsel upon civilised
life how the swings should be done; how there should
be light 2; that should be the support and the nourisher
(of the gods).3
'So be it done. Be ye filled,'it was said. 'Let this
water be withdrawn and cease to hinder us, so that the
land may exist here, that it may be brought together
and show its surface, so that it may be sown and that
the day may shine in heaven and upon earth; for (we
receive) neither glory nor honour for all that we have
created and formed; until the human creature exist;
the creature gifted with reason.'
Thus they spoke, while through them the earth was
forming. Then truly did creation take place, thus the
earth came to be: Earth,' said they; and at that
moment it was formed.

1 This word, not found in the native dictionaries, appears to
have originated in the Antilles, where it signified tempest and
the growing of the storm; Hence our word hurricane;
2This word is almost always used in a metaphorical sense-
the light of civilisation to shine on a people still in darkness:
8 The reference is to the nobles and priests who by establishing
and retaining religion would support the gods.








18 GUATEMALA
Like a fog or a cloud it was formed in its material
state, when like lobsters the mountains appeared above
the water ; and in an instant the great mountains were.
Only by might and by a marvellous power 1 could be
done that which was resolved upon concerning the hills
and the valleys, instantaneously with the creation of
the woods of cypress and of pine (which appeared) upon
their surface.
"And thus was Gucumatz filled with light-hearted-
ness : Be thou welcome,' cried he, 0 Heart of heaven,
0 Hurakan, 0 Track of the Lightning, 0 Thunderbolt
that strikes I '
That which we have created and found, shall be
perfected,' replied they. And first were formed the
earth, the mountains and the plains; the watercourses
were separated; the streams flowed winding between all
the mountains; in this order the waters came into
being, when the great mountains had been unveiled.
After such fashion was the creation of the earth;
when it was formed by those who are the Heart of
heaven and the Heart of the earth; for thus are named
those who first made it fruitful, heaven and earth, still
inert, being suspended in the midst of the waters.
Then 2 they gave fruitfulness to the animals of the
mountain, who are the guardians of all the forests; of
the beings who people the hills, of the stags, of the birds,
of the lions, of the tigers, of the serpents, of the viper and
of the Qunti a guardians of the climbing plants.
Then spoke he who engenders, he who gives being:
'Is it then only for silence; is it then only for life with-
out motion that the shadows of the woods and of the
climbing plants exist ? Henceforth it is well that there
be beings to watch over them.'
1 Naual, generally used in a supernatural or supernormal
sense;
Here begins the second chapter of Popol Vuh;II
8 Qanti, a very dangerous serpent, beautifully coloured.







IN THE BEGINNING 19
"Thus they spoke, while they were bringing about
fruitfulness; while they were taking counsel together;
and immediately the stags and the birds existed. Then
they appointed to the stags and the birds their abodes :
Thou, stag, beside the streams, in the ravines, thou
shalt sleep; here shalt thou rest between the under-
growth and the grasses; in the woods you shall multiply
yourselves, upon four feet you shall go, upon four feet
you shall live.' So it was done as it was spoken unto
them.
"Then all the birds and beasts were created, and
their abodes given unto them, and he who is the Creator,
the Fashioner, he who engenders, he who gives being,
spoke again:
"' Roar, warble now, since the power of roaring and
warbling (is given to you); let your language be heard;
each according to his kind, each according to his race.'
Thus was it spoken to the stags, to the birds, to the lions;
to the tigers and the serpents. 'Repeat your name,
honour us, us who are your mother, who are your father;
invoke, then, Hurakan, the track of the Lightning, the
Thunderbolt that strikes, the Heart of heaven, the Heart
of the earth, the Creator and the Fashioner, he who
engenders, and he who gives being, speak, call us, and
salute us'; thus was it spoken unto them. But it was
impossible for them to speak like a man; they did
naught but cackle, cluck, and croak; without any form
of language appearing, each after his kind murmuring
in a different manner.
When the Creator and Fashioner heard that they
could not speak, they said again one to another: They
have not been able to name our name, though (we are)
their creators and their fashioners.' That is not good,'
repeated one to the other, he who engenders, and he
who gives being.
And it was said unto them (the animals) : Behold
you shall be changed, because you have been unable to







20 GUATEMALA
speak. Therefore we have changed our word; your
nourishment and your food, your dens and your habita-
tions shall you still have; (but) they shall be the
ravines and the woods, for our glory is not perfect, and
you invoke (us) not.
'There are such (beings), there are yet doubtless
such beings, as shall be able to salute us; them shall
we make capable of obedience. Now do your duty;
as for your flesh, it shall be broken between the teeth;
so be it.'
So all the animals, great and small, were warned of
their changed destiny, and in order to avert it they made
a great effort to agree together upon a new mode of
adoration; but all in vain, for they could not understand
one another's language. Then he who engenders and
he who gives being set about the creation of a new race
that should honour and salute and at the same time
support and assist the gods.
"Thus spake they. Then the creation and forma-
tion (of man took place); of clay they made his
flesh.1
They beheld that he was not well (fashioned) ; for
he was without cohesion, without consistency, without
movements, without strength; inept and watery; he
could not move his head, his face turning but one way ;
his sight was veiled and he could not see behind him;
he had been gifted with language, but he had no intelli-
gence; and, moreover, he wasted away in the water
without (being able) to stand upright.
Now the Creator and the Fashioner were still
thoroughly dissatisfied with their work,so theydestroyed
their own creatures and again counselled together how
they might bring forth beings who should adore and
invoke their makers. For that purpose they asked the
advice of Xpiyacoe and Xmucan6, the grandsire of the
1 Very curious to note that, according to all tradition, the
primitive American was formed of red or yellow earth:







IN THE BEGINNING 21
sun, and the grandsire of the light 1; and they took to
their counsels the heavenly astrologers and astronomers,
and the begetters of the jewellers, and the architects
that they might discover, by divination, whether or no
the mouth and face of the new men should be sculptured
in wood. And at last it was agreed that they should be
so fashioned.
"At that very instant was made the mannikin
in wood, men produced themselves, men reasoned
and these are they that (dwell) on the face of the
earth.
They existed and they multiplied ; they engendered
daughters and sons, mannikins fashioned in wood;
but they had neither heart not intelligence, nor remem-
brance of their Fashioner or Creator; they led a useless
existence and lived like the animals.
"They remembered no more the Heart of heaven,
and that is how there they fall away; it was no more
therefore than a trial and an attempt at men, who spoke
at first, whose faces withered; without consistency
(were) their feet and hands ; they had neither blood nor
subsistency, nor moisture, nor fat, their faces were but
withered cheeks, dried up were their feet and hands,
emaciated their flesh I
That is why they thought not (to lift) their heads to
the Fashioner and Creator, their father and the provider.
Now these were the first men who existed in great
number on the face of the earth.
" Then 2 (came) the end (of these men) their ruin and
their destruction, of those mannikins, wrought of wood,
who also were put to death.
"Then the waters were swollen by the will of the
Heart of heaven; and there came a great flood that
passed over the heads of these mannikins and of these
beings worked in wood.
These names mean here the authors of the calendar.
SHere begins Chapter III. of Popul Vuh.Al








22 GUATEMALA
Tzite 1 formed the flesh of the men; but when the
woman was made by the Fashioner and the Creator,
Zibak s was the woman's flesh.
But theyneither thought nor spoke of their Fashioner,
their Creator, he who had made them, who had caused
them to be born. And their destruction was in this wise,
they were swept away by a flood, and thick pitch fell
from the sky. (The bird) named Xecotcovach came
and tore their eyes from the sockets, the Cotzbalam
devoured their flesh, the Tecumbalan s broke and
smashed their bones and their cartilages; and for the
chastisement of their persons, their bodies were reduced
to powder and scattered.
Because they had given no thought to their mother
and their father, to him who is the Heart of heaven,
whose name is Hurakan, because of them the face of the
earth was darkened, and a shadowy rain began to fall,
rain by day and rain by night.
And so all these animals, great and small, their
dishes and their pots, the very stones on which the
women ground the maize, rose up in rebellion against
man doomed of the gods. And mankind began to
run hither and thither, filled with despair; they
sought to climb upon the roofs of the houses, and the
houses, collapsing, let them fall to the ground; they
sought to climb the trees, and the trees shook them
far away; they sought to enter the caverns, and the
caverns closed before them.
"Thus was accomplished the ruin of these human
creatures, people destined to be destroyed and over-

SA tree on which grow red beans called by the French
grainss d'Amfrique." The sorcerers or diviners of the
country used them for telling fortunes.
Zibak-the pith of a small reed, of which the natives make
their mats;
SThese names are those of various birds of prey, to-day
unknown.








IN THE BEGINNING 23
thrown, thus were their persons all delivered to destruc-
tion and shame. Moreover it is said that their posterity
(is still seen) in those little monkeys that live in the
woods to-day; that is the sign that remained of them,
because of wood only was their flesh made by the care
of the Fashioner and the Creator.
"That is why the little monkey resembles man,
sign that he is of another generation of human beings
(who were) but mannikins, but men wrought in wood."

The gods were already considering the creation of
a really superior class of man, when further trouble
arose through the overwhelming pride of one Vukub-
Cakix, who imagined himself to be a kind of Lucifer,
a god among men.

"'I am their sun ; I am their dawn and I am their
moon; so be it. Great is my splendour; I am he by
whom men move and walk. For of silver are the
balls of my eyes that glitter like precious stones, and
the enamel of my teeth shines like the face of
heaven. .
"Thus spoke Vukub-Cakix. But in sooth he,
Vukub-Cakix, was not the sun; only he was puffed
up by his jewels and his riches. But in reality his
sight ended where it fell, nor did his eyes range over
the whole world. For the face of the sun was not yet
seen, nor of the moon, nor of the stars; it was not
yet day."

Then comes the story of how the pride of Vukub-
Cakix was broken by two young people named
Hunahpu and Xbalanque.

This is now the story of the blowpipe shot fired
upon Vukub-Cakix by the two young people. .
This same Vukub-Cakix had a great tree of the kind







24 GUATEMALA
called Nanze, and that was the food of Vukub-Cakix,
who was wont to come-to the Nanze-tree and could
climb every day to the top of the tree, to see the
husks of the fruit that had been eaten by Hunhun-
Ahpu and Xbalanqu6.
"For their part, then, spying Vukub-Cakix at the
foot of the tree, the two young men hid themselves
in the foliage, awaiting Vukub-Cakicx who was coming
to devour the nanzes which were his food.
Then he was struck by a shot from the blowpipe
of Hunhun-Ahpu, who with a ball from his blow-
pipe shot him in the mouth; he uttered cries as he
fell from the top of the tree to the ground.
Hunhun-Ahpu hastened after him and ran upon
him at once to take him; but Hunhun-Ahpu let him-
self be seized by an arm by Vukub-Cakix, who instantly
wrenched it and tore it violently from the end of his
shoulder. ....
Carrying thus Hunhun-Ahpu's arm, Vukub-Cakix
reached his house holding his jaw.
"'What has happened to your lordship?' asked
Chimalmat, Vukub-Cakix's wife.
'What should it be but that these two rascals
have shot me with their blowpipe and broken my
jaw; so that they have shaken my jaw-bone and my
teeth, which are hurting me very much; (as for his arm
that I have torn out) I am bringing it to the fire to
hang it over the brazier till these demons come to take
it back,' said Vukub-Cakix, while he was hanging up
Hunhun-Ahpu's arm.
Hunhun-Ahpu and Xbalanqu6; having held
counsel together, spoke of the matter to an old man,
also to an old woman, and in sooth the head of this
old man was quite white, and truly this old woman
was bowed and bent in two with old age.
"The old man's name was the Great White Boar
and the Great White Thorn Pricker was the name of







IN THE BEGINNING 25
the old woman. Then the young man said to the old
woman and to the old man: 'Will you accompany us
to go and take our arm from the house of Vukub-
Cakix? We will go behind you (and you shall say);
11 These are our grandchildren we bring with us, their
father and their mother are dead. So they follow us
everywhere where it suits us to let them come; for
our trade is to draw the worms from people's teeth,"
you will say.
"' So Vukub-Cakix will think we are children and
we shall be there to give you our counsel,' said the two
young men. 'Very well,' replied (the two old people).
Then they set out towards the place where Vukub-
Cakix was lying at the foot of his throne; then the
old man and the old woman passed by, the two young
men playing behind them, and as they passed before
the king's house (they heard) the cries that Vukub-
Cakix was uttering because of his teeth.
"Now as soon as Vukub-Cakix perceived the old
man and the old woman and those who were with
them, 'Whence come you; my aged ones ? said the
king to them immediately. 'We are going in quest
of our livelihood, 0 my lord,' they replied.
"'By what means do you live? Are these your
children that accompany you ?' 'Not at all, my
lord; these are our grandchildren; but you see we
have pity upon them, we share with them and give
them half our food,' replied the old man and the old
Woman.
Now the king was at the end of his strength by
reason of the suffering his teeth caused him, and he
spoke with effort. 'I conjure you, now have pity
on me,' said he. 'What do you, what manner of
things can you heal ?' added the king.
"'We just draw worms from the jaw; we cure
(ills) of the eyeballs, and we replace bones, 0 my
lord,' replied they.







26 GUATEMALA
'Very well. Heal at once, I beg of you, my teeth
which in sooth cause me to suffer every day; for I have
neither rest nor sleep because of them and for pain in
my eyes.'
"'Two demons shot me with their blowpipe to
begin with, for which cause I can no longer eat: have
pity on me then: for everything rattles (in my mouth),
my teeth and my jaw.'
Very well, my lord. 'Tis a worm that is hurting
you; we have only to change (your jaw) by removing
your Highness' bad teeth.' Will it be well to take
out my teeth ? for by these alone am I king; and all
my beauty comes from my teeth and the balls of my
eyes.' 'We will at once put in others in exchange,
pure and clean bones shall be put in their place '; but
these pure and clean bones were nothing else than
grains of white maize.
"' Very well, draw them then and come to my aid,'
replied he. Then they took out the teeth of Vukub-
Cakix; but they put back only grains of white maize
in exchange, and at once you could see those grains
of maize shining in his mouth.
"Immediately his splendour fell, and he ceased to
appear kingly. They succeeded in taking from him
his teeth of precious stones that sparkled in his mouth.
While they were at work on the eyes of Vukub-Cakix,
they skinned his eyeballs, at the same time completely
despoiling him.
"But he was no longer in a condition to feel it;
he could still see well, but the cause of his pride had
in the end been taken from him utterly, by the counsel
of Hunhun-Ahpu and Xbalanqu6.
"So died Vukub-Cakix, whilst Hunhun-Ahpu took
his arm again, and then died also Chimalmat, the wife
of Vukub-Cakix.
"Such was the destruction of the riches of Vukub-
Cakix. The old woman and the old man who did these







IN THE BEGINNING 27
things were marvellous beings. For, having taken the
arms (of the two young men) they replaced them, and
having fastened them on again, the whole held firmly.
Solely to bring about the death of Vukub-Cakix,
they chose to act thus, for it seemed to them an ill
thing that he should be so puffed up. After that the
two people went their way, having carried out (in
this manner) the will of the Heart of the heaven."

Space does not allow us to carry further the adven-
tures of these and many other equally mysterious
beings, but we have told enough to give the reader some
idea of the charm and interest attaching to this naive
and confused, yet quite human and natural, attempt
of primitive intelligence to account for their own
existences, and to solve problems by which scientific
discovery, even, must, for ages yet to come, consent to
be baffled.













CHAPTER II


THE SPANISH CONQUEST

YEARS rolled by, and gradually the Quiches lost the
power they had formerly held. In the beginning of
the fifteenth century they had, for many years, been
amalgamated with the Toltecs of the northern portion
of the isthmus. This union formed a powerful race,
which had reached the high state of primitive civilisa-
tion at which we have already hinted, when Don
Pedro de Alvarado marched forth from Mexico, bent
on the conquest of Guatemala.
The story of this early empire and the autocratic
government of the Toltecs, as the Quiche nation may
now be called, was discovered, written in hieroglyphics,
on paper made from the bark of trees. These very
ancient and valuable records, according to Spanish
and American writers, tell us, as the reader will re-
member, that the Chinese were the first foreign people
to land upon the shores of Guatemala. Then came
the Portuguese ; other documents state that Columbus
also landed during one of his famous voyages of dis-
covery.
The story of the conquest of Guatemala by Alvarado
is best found, from the Spanish point of view, in the
memoirs of Castillo and the letters of Alvarado himself.
Cortes, who, according to Castillo, was always striving
"to emulate Alexander of Macedon," and must
therefore necessarily dream often of conquest and
dominion, hearing that there was gold in Guatemala,
determined to add that country to his fast-expanding
28







THE SPANISH CONQUEST 29
possessions. Having several times successfully
invited the inhabitants to submit, he sent Pedro de
Alvarado, with 300 foot, 153 horse, withfour field
pieces and an abundant supply of powder, to accom-
plish by force of arms the task of subduing these
warlike natives. Alvarado was accompanied also by
Father Olmedo; whose ardent attachment to the
Catholic faith had led him to hope that, with the
help of his interpreters, he would be able to induce
the inhabitants to abandon their human sacrifices
and other abominations, in favour of the rites of the
Christian Church.
Alvarado took leave of Cortes, and left Mexico, on
the 15th of December 1523, for the then thickly
populated land of Guatemala. He was well and
peaceably received at first; and was offered presents of
gold, but later, as he passed on, the natives began to
assume a warlike appearance, and, in the neighbourhood
of Zapotitlan, he came to a bridge over a river in a
dangerous pass which was defended by large bodies
of the enemy drawn up in battle array. A desperate
battle ensued, and though the Spaniards wrought
havoc in the enemy's ranks they were obliged to
renew the attack three times before their valiant
foes gave up the fight, and submitted, as vassals
of the Emperor of Spain. Another fierce battle at
Quetzaltenango followed, when Alvarado's men again
put the native army to flight, and strewed the battle-
*field with dead and dying. The Spanish losses
in these fights seem to have been comparatively
insignificant.
From this place his route lay through a dangerous
and very narrow mountain defile, about six miles in
length. The troop; therefore marched forward with
every military precaution, and began to ascend the
acclivity. When they arrived at the most elevated
point of the pass, they found a fat old Indian female







80 GUATEMALA
and a dog, which had been sacrificed to their gods;
a certain sign of war. This indeed was soon verified;
for they had not marched far before they came up with
immense bodies of the enemy, who were lying in wait
for them, so that Alvarado stood in great danger of
being hemmed in on all sides. At this spot the pass
was so narrow, and the ground so thickly strewed with
stones, that the horses were scarcely able to render any
assistance; but the crossbow-men, musketeers, and
the rest of the foot, armed with bucklers and swords,
closed the more bravely with the enemy, who retreated;
fighting, down the pass to some deep hollows, where
other bodies stood drawn up in order of battle. From
this place the enemy; by a preconcerted plan, fell back
as Alvarado advanced, to another position, where they
had posted 6ooo of their men. These were the warriors
and subjects of Utatlan, who had made sure they
would be easily able to cut off Alvarado, with the
whole of his men; but our troops fought with such
determination and courage that they put the enemy
to flight, having only three of their men and two horses
wounded. The enemy, however, rallied again, were
joined by other large bodies, and renewed the attack
with great intrepidity. The most desperate part of
the action took place near a fountain, where a strong
body of the enemy rushed forth from an ambush;
so that the Spaniards were compelled to fight foot to
foot with the Indians, who had in particular singled
out the cavalry, and each horse was attacked by three
of the enemy, while several others at the same time
strove to pull them to the ground by hanging to
their tails. Here the Spaniards were placed in the
utmost danger, for the enemy's numbers were over-
whelming; but Father Olmedo encouraged the men,
reminding them that they were fighting with the
intention of serving the Almighty, and to promote
His Holy religion; that the Lord would assist them,







THE SPANISH CONQUEST 81
and that they must either conquer or die in this
battle." 1
Ultimately, the Spaniards gained a complete victory,
and Alvarado took the opportunity to rest his wearied
troops, many of whom were wounded, at the town
of Quezaltenango. Shortly afterwards, however, he
was again attacked by an army of 16,ooo men,
determined, this time, to conquer the invaders or die.
But Alvarado was wary enough to await the enemy's
onset upon an open plain, where his cavalry had space
in which to manoeuvre. The horsemen promptly
put the enemy to flight, and at last really succeeded
in impressing upon the Indians the fact that they
were no match for the invaders, however greatly
the latter might be outnumbered. In these circum-
stances, the Indians resorted to trickery. They sent
peace envoys to Alvarado, with a small present of
gold, hoping thereby to induce the Spaniards to retire
to Utatlan, a town surrounded by deep hollows.
Once immured within these, treachery might succeed,
though battle had failed. The envoys duly handed
to Alvarado their "miserable present," as Castillo
terms it, and with courtesy and humility begged him
to pardon their late hostilities, to acknowledge them
as vassals of the great emperor, and to accompany them
to the excellent quarters provided for their reception
at Utatlan. Alvarado, suspecting nothing, acceded
to all their requests, and marched with his troops to
Utatlan. But the Spaniards, on arriving in the town,
were struck by the warlike aspect of the place. There
were only two gates by which the town could be entered,
one of which was approached by a flight of twenty-

Alvarado in his first letter to Fernando Cortes (z th April
1523) intimates that part of the Indians' discomfiture was due
to their fear of the horses: They had never seen horses;
they were terrified of them, and fled on all sides ( Castillo's
Memoirs," Chap. CLXIV.).







32 GUATEMALA
four steps, and the other by a causeway which was
intersected in several places. But here let Alvarado
speak for himself.1
As the houses of this town are very close together
and the streets very narrow, we should all indubitably
have been burned, or forced to throw ourselves down
from the rocks. Immediately on entering the town,
having noticed that it was very strong, and the streets
too narrow and too angular for horses to be of much
use to us, I decided to return to the country. The
chiefs nevertheless tried to dissuade me from it, telling
me to wait until they had supplied me with provisions,
when I could depart. Seeing what danger we were
in, I instantly ordered my troops to descend into the
plains by the causeway and the bridge. One could
scarcely ride a horse down this street; and all the
outskirts of the town were full of soldiers. As soon
as they saw me in the open country, they withdrew,
but not without inflicting some loss; nevertheless I
pretended not to notice it. Wishing to capture the
missing chiefs, I employed craft, and distributed
presents to keep them quiet. I captured them, kept
them prisoners in my camp. Their subjects, however,
never ceased from fighting; they killed and wounded
a large number of my Indians who had gone to get
forage for our horses. They killed with an arrow a
Spaniard who was foraging a cross-bow shot from the
camp. Persuaded that by ravaging and burning the
country, I could bring it to submission to his Majesty's
power, I resolved to have the chiefs burned. At the
moment of being burned, they avowed, as may be
seen moreover from their confessions, their plan to
burn us in the town, and the measures they had taken
1 These letters of Pedro de Alvarado to Cortes are given in
Voyages, Relations, et Memoirs originaux pour servir A
Fhistoire de la d6couverte de 1'Am6rique," by H: Ternaux
Compans;




























Quezaltenango. Central America Square


:.': --.



Steamer on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala


Fnei~qpayg 3







THE SPANISH CONQUEST 33
to that end ; they said that they had brought us there
for that purpose, that they had forbidden their subjects
to recognize the power of the emperor, our master,
and to do anything to help us. Having learned their
ill-will relatively to his Majesty's service, and believing
that it would tend to the peace of the country, I
ordered them to be burned, the town to be fired and
ruined from top to bottom. It was so strong and
dangerous that it was more like a bandit's haunt than
a habitation of citizens."
It appears from Castillo's diary, that before Alvarado
had carried out his amiable intention of burning the
chiefs at the stake, Father Olmedo begged permission
to be allowed to convert the chief Cacique to Christ-
ianity. He obtained for the wretched man one day's
respite, then a second day, at the end of which it
pleased the Lord Jesus to incline the Cacique's heart
to Christianity, and he allowed himself to be baptised
by the father, who then prevailed upon Alvarado to
commute his sentence into that of hanging." The
prisoner's son was graciously allowed to inherit his
hanged father's property.
Alvarado next made for Guatemala City, whose in-
habitants, as they were at enmity with the Utatlans,
received the Spanish well, and sent ambassadors to
them with a present of gold, at the same time declaring
themselves vassals of the emperor, and expressing their
willingness to serve, in Spain's behalf, against the other
inhabitants. Alvarado, to prove their sincerity;
asked for 2ooo men to join his army; saying that,
as he was unacquainted with the country, these re-
inforcements would be very useful as baggage-bearers,
and in clearing the roads that had been barricaded by
trees. Before long these men arrived. He had also
added to his camp-followers a large number of prisoners,
whom--after setting apart one-fifth for his Majesty of
Spain-he had branded with red-hot irons, and divided
C







84 GUATEMALA
among his troops. Let Castillo take up the tale
again.
Upon this Alvarado marched to Guatemala, where
the inhabitants gave him a kind and hospitable
reception. Here the men enjoyed some rest, and they
congratulated each other on the success that had
attended their arms, and now they thought with
pleasure of the fatigue they had undergone. Among
other things Alvarado declared to Father Almedo and
his officers that he had not been in any battle where he
considered himself in greater danger, than in the one
they had recently fought with the tribes of Utatlan,
who had combined excessive ferocity with uncommon
bravery, and he considered that his men had done
wonders on that occasion. It was the arm of God that
was with us,' remarked Father Almedo, and that He
may not desert us in future, let us appoint a day of
thanksgiving to the Almighty and the Blessed Virgin,
and celebrate a high mass, and I will preach a sermon
to these Indians.'
Alvarado and the other officers immediately fell in
with this idea, and after an altar had been erected, the
whole of the men made the communion, and high mass
was performed with every solemnity. A great number
of Indians were present on the occasion, to whom
Father Almedo preached so many excellent things,
and gave so many convincing proofs of the truth of
our Holy religion, that above 30 of them became
converts to Christianity. In the course of the two
following days, they were baptised, and several others
expressed a similar wish, when they found that the
Spaniards made more of the converts than of the others.
Upon the whole, there was nothing but rejoicing and
happiness between the troops of Alvarado and the in-
habitants of the place."
This curious scene comes as a refreshing change after
the tales of horror and bloodshed that form the major







THE SPANISH CONQUEST 85
part of Alvarado's story. I do not propose, therefore,
to follow him in detail through the remainder of his
campaign, the incidents of which are not very materially
different from those already recounted. Alvarado's
chief difficulty was, as it always has been, the moun-
tainous nature of the country that prevented him from
slaughtering the natives as indiscriminately as he had
hoped to do. But he seems to have done fairly well on
the whole, and it is gratifying to note that the Indians
succeeded in getting a little of their own back upon the
burner and brander of prisoners. This is the chief's
account of the incident. As Castillo admits that the
Indian arrows did very little harm, it may be that
Alvarado exaggerates the seriousness of the wound,
in order to unloosen more widely, on a future occasion,
the purse-strings of his most Christian Majesty.
When I had withdrawn for a quarter of a league
into a place where we could all fight, I made my army
face about; we attacked them and beat them so
vigorously that there was a frightful slaughter, so that
in a short time there was not one left alive; they were
so embarrassed by their arms that they would fall to the
ground unable to rise. These arms are casaques of
cotton three fingers in thickness that came down to
the feet. All those who fell were killed by the foot
soldiers; many of the Spaniards were wounded in the
mutiny. I received an arrow in the thigh that went
through it from one side to the other, and pierced the
saddle ; I am crippled by it; and have one leg shorter
than the other by fully four fingers' length. I was
forced to stay five days in the village to be attended to "
(Alvarado's letter to Cortes).
Father Olmedo, meanwhile, was still busy proselytis-
ing among all those Indians who had sworn allegiance,
or had otherwise escaped with their lives. He ordered
an altar with a cross to be erected, in front of which he
regularly performed mass, and the inhabitants on these







86 GUATEMALA
occasions imitated the Spaniards in all their religious
ceremonies. Father Olmedo also placed on the altar
an image of the Virgin Mary, which had been presented
to him by Garay in his dying moments. This image
was of such extreme beauty that the Indians became
4uite enamoured of it, and Father Olmedo explained
what was meant by such an image, and how Christians
prayed before it."
With Alvarado's graphic picture of Guatemalan
volcanoes, we will leave these tales of the Spanish
adventurers.
We saw in the province a volcano more frightful
than any known hitherto; it throws flaming stones as
big as a house, that break in falling, and cover all the
mountain with fire. Sixty leagues farther on, we saw
another volcano that threw up a frightful smoke that
rose to the sky; this smoke covers half-a-league in
extent; no one drinks the water of the streams that
come down from this volcano, because they smell of
sulphur; it gives rise in particular to a very fine river,
which, however, is so hot that a company of my men,
who had been inspecting the country, could not cross
it. While looking out for an ambush, they found an-
other cold river that joins the first. As the water at
this junction is tepid, they were able to cross it."
















































A View over Guatemala City


Facingrpage 37














CHAPTER III


THE SPANISH CONQUEST

A TRAVELLER standing in the plaza of the little town
of Coban will see, at the end of it, a great white church
built in the florid bastard-Renaissance style of Central
American architecture. This building owes its exist-
ence to the missionary efforts of Bartolom6 Las Casas,
Bishop of Chiapa, the Apostle of the Indies," and to
those of his companions of the Brotherhood of St
Dominic. Las Casas is the most important witness we
have-for he was an eye-witness--of the barbarities
of the Spanish adventurers, which he described in his
very interesting book, An Account of the First Voyage
and Discoveries made by the Spaniards in America.
Containing the most Exact Relation hitherto published,
of their unparallel'd Cruelties on the Indians, in the
destruction of above forty millions of people."
These barbarities, according to the curious wood-
cuts printed in the English translation, of 1699, in-
cluded burning, dismembering, the roasting alive of
children, the hanging of children by the neck to their
mother's waists, hanging above a fire, disembowelling,
flogging, impaling on stakes, and mauling by dogs.
Others were buried alive, thrown from hill-tops, shot
to death with arrows while tied to a post, and so forth.
If the reader has not yet supped full of horrors, he may
like to have some extracts from the Spanish mission-
ary's story. Thus Las Casas concerning Guatemala:
The Spaniards signalised their entrance into this
Kingdom by divers Massacres, tho' the King came to
37








88 GUATEMALA
meet 'em in his Chain of State supported by his Slaves,
followed by a great number of his Lords, and with
Trumpets, and Drums before him, to give the greater
Testimony of Joy; he showed 'em all the Courtesy and
Civility in the world, manifested a great deal of Kind-
ness in readily supplying 'em with plenty of Provisions,
and gave 'em whatever they could reasonably desire.
"The Spaniards lodged without the city the first
night, thinking they should not be secure enough in a
place so well fortified. The next day, they engaged the
Prince of the place to come out to 'em with the greatest
part of the Persons of Quality, obliging to bring with
them a certain quantity of Gold. The Indians made
answer that it was impossible for them to do what was
required, because their country did not yield this Metal.
However, this refusal so mov'd the Indignation of the
Spaniards, that for no other offence, without any formal
Process, they cast 'em all alive into a great Fire. The
most considerable Inhabitants of the Provinces, seeing
their Masters so cruelly treated, only because they gave
not the Spaniards all the Gold they demanded, retired
with all speed into the Mountains, ordering the common
people to submit to the Spaniards as their Masters, and
giving them a strict charge by no means to give the
least notice of the places where they were gone to hide
themselves. Abundance of these poor People came
accordingly to the Spaniards, begging of 'em to receive
them into the number of their Servants, and promising
to serve 'em faithfully as far as they were capable.
The Spanish Commander roughly assured 'em, that he
would not so receive 'em, but cut 'em to pieces without
Mercy, unless they would discover the places whither
their Masters were retreated; the Indians replied,
that they did not know; however, they readily offered
themselves, their Wives and Children to their Service;
and said, they would continue in their Houses expecting
their Orders; they further told 'em, they might treat







THE SPANISH CONQUEST 89
'em as they pleas'd, 'twas in their power either to kill
'em, or to save 'em-alive to employ 'em in their Service.
The Spaniards, upon this went into their Villages and
Towns, and found these poor Indians with their wives
and Children busy at their work, and in great security,
believing they had no need to fear the Spaniards would
attack 'em; yet these bloodthirsty men massacred 'em
without pity. After this they went to another great
Town, the Inhabitants of which, confiding in their
Innocence, thought themselves in no great danger;
but this whole Town was destroyed in less than two
hours, and the Massacre was so general, that no Age,
nor Sex, nor Quality met with Pity, but all were put to
the Sword, unless such as fled before the arrival of the
Spaniards.
The Indians at length finding it impossible either
by their Patience, their Submissions, or their Presents,
to soften the cruel and savage Temper of the Spaniards,
who cut their Throats without any Reason, or any
sentiment of Pity, resolved to get together in a body,
and take Arms to defend themselves, for seeing Death
was inevitable to 'em, and become a necessary evil, they
chose rather to die with Weapons in their hands,
thereby to sell their lives at as dear a rate as they could;
and to revenge themselves as much as possible on their
Persecutors, than to suffer their Throats to be cut lke
Sheep without making any resistance. They wanted
effectual Arms, they were quite naked, and knew their
strength was much inferior to that of their enemies;
they had no Horses, nor did they understand the use of
'em in Battle; they had to do with a furious and war-
like Enemy that gave 'em no quarter, and designed
nothing but their Extirpation. They therefore thought
it necessary to use Stratagems; it came into their heads
to make Pits up and down the ways by which the
Spaniards were to pass, and to cover 'em with Straw and
leaves that they might not be perceiv'd, that so their







40 GUATEMALA
Horses might fall in 'em, and break their Neck or Legs.
Some of the Spaniards were two or three times taken in
these Traps, but afterwards took care to avoid 'em,
and resolved to cast all the Indians they could take into
these Pits, whether Men, Women, or Children, of what
Age or Condition soever; they threw in women big
with Child, and old Men as well as others, till they had
quite filled 'em. It was a most lamentable sight to
see some Women impaled together with their Children,
and so exposed to the fury of greedy dogs, and others
run through with Lances and Halberts. They burnt
one of the greatest Lords of the Country with a gentle
Fire, and insultingly told him 'twas to do him the more
honour, that they put him to death after this manner.
In the province of Cuzcatan there came 300oo,ooo
Indians to the Spaniards laden with Indian Poultry, and
all other Provisions the Country would afford in great
abundance. After they had received these Presents,
the Spanish General ordered his Men to choose as many
Indians as each of 'em desired for their Service, while
they remained in that Province. Accordingly one
took a hundred, another fifty, as they had occasion
to carry their Baggage. These poor Wretches serv'd
them with all their care and diligence, and were even
ready to worship 'em. At length the General demanded
of 'em a great quantity of Gold, that being the main
business for which he came ; they with a great deal of
Humanity and Submission, told him they would readily
give him all they had, which was made of Copper gilt,
and which they took for pure Gold by the looks of it.
The General soon made trial of it, and finding what it
was, addressed himself to the Spaniards in those lines :
SWe must carry Destruction with us [says he] through
all this Country, seeing there's no gold to be found; Every
one of you may keep the Indians you have chosen for your
perpetual Slaves; You may load 'em with Chains, and
brand 'em with the mark of their Slavery'; Which was







THE SPANISH CONQUEST 41
immediately done; For they printed the King's Arms
with a hot iron upon all they could take.
"After this Expedition, the Spaniards returned to
Guatemala, where they built a City; but God was
pleas'd by his just judgment utterly to overthrow and
destroy it I They killed all without Mercy whom they
supposed to be in a condition to incommode 'em by their
Arms, and the rest were condemn'd to Slavery. They
extorted from 'em a Tribute of Boys and Girls, and
sent 'em into Peru to be sold. The other Inhabitants
of this Kingdom, which is ioo leagues in length, were
likewise destroyed. Thus one of the most pleasant and
fruitful Countries on the World was reduc'd to a melan-
choly desert. The Governor himself has freely con-
fess'd that this was the most populous Country in the
West Indies, not excepting Mexico itself, which is cer-
tainly true. In this noble country the Spaniards have
destroyed no less than four or five millions of Men in
fifteen or sixteen years, and continue every day to
treat those that remain after the same manner. These
inhuman creatures were wont when they declared War
against any City or Province, to bring with 'em as
many of the conquer'd Indians as they could, to make
'em fight against their own Country-men; sometimes
they had fifteen or twenty thousand of these new
Subjects among 'em. But because they were not able
to furnish 'em with all necessary Provisions, they
allowed 'em to eat those other Indians whom they took
in War, so that in their Camp they had shambles stored
with human Flesh. Infants were killed in the night,
and then boiled and eaten; Men were slaughtered like
Beasts, and their Legs and Arms dressed for food ; for
the Indians like the taste of those Parts better than
others.
Many of the Indians were worn out with carrying
the tackle of the Spanish Ships, which they would needs
have brought from the North to the South Sea, which







42 GUATEMALA
is x30 leagues distant. They made 'em carry Anchors
of a great weight all this long way; they laid great
Guns upon the Naked Backs of these poor Creatures,
under the weight of which they were not able to stand ;
so that the greatest part of 'em dy'ed by the way, not
being able to endure these Fatigues. To increase their
Misery, they divided their Families, taking Husbands
from their Wives, and Wives from their Husbands;
their Daughters were taken from 'em, and given to the
Seamenand Soldiers to satisfy their Lust,and to appease
their murmuring. They fill'd the Ships with Indians,
and suffered 'em to perish with Hunger and Thirst,
because they would take no care to furnish 'em with
Necessaries. But to give a particular account of all
their Cruelties would require large Volumes, the view
of which would astonish all that should have the curio-
sity to look into 'em."
It is pleasant to be able to turn now from these
Spanish murderers, to follow, for a moment, the for-
tunes of Las Casas, this bold spokesman of the Indians.
His doctrines, naturally enough, were vehemently
opposed by his fellow-countrymen, whose position,
although the Quiches were more than half subdued,
was not wholly secure. Indeed Tuzulutean was
already known as "La tierra de guerra," the land of
war. The Spaniards, therefore, decided to give Las
Casas an opportunity to practise what he preached,
and the then governor, Alonzo Maldonado, wrote to
Las Casas promising the Indians five years of absolute
freedom from molestation, provided that they could
be induced to accept the Catholic faith, to acknow-
ledge the Spanish crown, and to pay a moderate
tribute.
Las Casas at once accepted the challenge, and with
the help of his three brethren, Rodrigo de Ladrada;
Pedro de Angula, and Luis Cancer, they composed;
in the Quiche language with which they were familiar;







THE SPANISH CONQUEST 48
verses setting forth the fall of man, and the principles
of the Christian faith. These verses they taught to
four Indian traders who were in the habit of journey-
ing in those parts, instructing them to chant the verses
to the accompaniment of native music. The music, the
verses, the story that they told, all worked with magical
effect upon the impressionable and superstitious
natives; but when the cacique asked for further in-
formation and details, he was told that none save the
padres could give them. "Who are these padres ? "
said the cacique.
"The padres," replied the traders, dress in black
and white garments, they wear their hair cut in the form
of a wreath, they eat no meat, they desire neither gold
nor cloaks, nor feathers, nor cacao, they marry not,
yet live chaste lives, they sing praises to God, day and
night, they possess lively images before which they
kneel in prayer; and they alone can explain the mean-
ing of the verses."
It was soon arranged that the younger brother of the
cacique, a youth twenty-two years old, should return
with the traders to Guatemala, to arrange for the teach-
ing of the people, and secretly to find out whether or
not the traders had been romancing concerning the
character of their mysterious padres. He went, was
well received, and brought back a favourable report.
The conversion of the Quiches had begun. Not long
after, Las Casas himself visited Don Juan, as the cacique
was' called, and was welcomed, although there had been
much grumbling among the more stubborn devotees
of the old gods, and the first Christian Church had been
burnt to the ground. One great difficulty existed-
the distribution of the natives, in tiny hamlets, over so
vast an extent of country, made proselytising and visit-
ing matters of extreme difficulty. Las Casas, therefore,
sought to induce the Indians to live in towns, a measure
which, though perhaps good for the souls, was harmful








44 GUATEMALA
to the bodies of a race whose primitive habits and want
of cleanliness laid them open to all the dangers of
disease that threaten the town-dweller.
Las Casas and his faithful brethren, however, had
done good work. He himself, when he visited the
Province of Coban, gave testimony to the excellence of
the native government, and to the comparative absence
of the worst Indian abominations. Let us remember,
too, that through the influence of the Dominican fathers
the name "Land of War" gave way to that of "Vera
Paz," The Land of True Peace."












































The Boulevard, Guatemala City


Facirnga fge 44














CHAPTER IV


LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA

ENOUGH has been said concerning Spanish methods in
Guatemala to show that they were no better, no more
deserving of permanent success, than in the case of
other countries of America. It is one long story of
oppression, corruption,monopoly, culminating in risings
of the Indians that were ruthlessly suppressed. This
procedure could be, and was, carried on with immunity
for a century or two; but, gradually, as generations
of American-born Europeans began to rise, a national
spirit was born and grew with them, until it became
evident that the comparatively simple problem of
suppressing native Indians must henceforth take a
secondary place. The time had come for the Spanish
rulers to satisfy a Guatemalan nation. With the
opening of the nineteenth century was heard the first
mutterings of storm.
Napoleon, then at the height of his power, was one of
the principal means of breaking down the half-super-
stitious fears and reverence with which Guatemalans
had -regarded, hitherto, their Spanish masters and the
Spanish rule. The French Emperor's brother Joseph
was crowned King of Spain, after the detention of the
then reigning Monarch, Ferdinand VII., at Bayonne.
These acts of violence were an incentive to Guatemalans
to protest against tyranny that was fast becoming
unendurable. But, though the spirits of discontent and
of mistrust were in the air, no man arose of character
sufficient to compel confidence. Gradually the demand







46 GUATEMALA
of the natives for a voice in the management of their
own affairs became more clamorous. Spain made
promises of reform: they remained unfulfilled. Mutual
suspicion deepened. Spanish spies were everywhere.
Mexico gave a lead, when, on 15th September 18io,
Hidalgo issued a pronunciamento-the first of many
that were to follow-declaring the end of Spanish rule
in Mexico. Unrest increased; the weaker began to
despair. By the end of the year 1811, pronuncia-
mentos had been appearing right and left in Guatemala.
Protest began to translate itself into action. Even
promises of eighty days indulgence, made by the arch-
bishop to those who would undertake to hold aloof from
the revolutionaries, had little effect, except among the
most ignorant and degraded. The educated were not
to be so cheaply bought off. Nor could the malcon-
tents be as easily suppressed by force. Revolutions
were in progress in Mexico and elsewhere. Spain had
her hands more than full; soon they were to be empty.
For another ten years the struggle continued, each
attempt to blow out the flame of revolt acting only as
a force draught to a kindling fire. In 1813 came the
Butler conspiracy,thwarted bythe betrayal of its leader.
At last, in 1814, Spain, through her representative,
Bustamente, proclaimed a constitution. But it was
too late. Spanish constitutions, thought Guatemala,
will go the way of Spanish promises. So the Revolution
sputtered on, always gaining adherents, until, in 1821,
the Spanish representative, Senor Gavina Gainza, went
over to the patriots. Immediately, there were busy
scenes on the plaza of Guatemala City, cheers for
freedom, groans for Spain, a crowded meeting in Govern-
ment House, from which the anti-revolutionists thought
it wiser to withdraw while they could do so safely. On
the following day was proclaimed throughout the city
an Act of Independence, declaring Guatemalans a free
and independent nation, and inviting people to elect,







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 47
and send to a national congress, one representative
for each 15,ooo inhabitants. So it was done, and
the rule of Spain, that had endured from 1524, nearly
three hundred years, was at an end in Guatemala.
Other states, too-Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua,
and Costa Rica-were soon to follow that example.
But serious difficulties still cumbered the path of the
emancipated state. Even an act so brave and righteous
as the abolition of slavery-decreed forty years before
the United States dared to follow the example-brought
about practical difficulties, since it necessarily ended
the exploitation of the natives, by whose forced labour
the priests had erected their many churches and con-
vents, and who had done useful work in the repair of
roads, bridges, etc.; that, in a tropical country, need
constant attention and labour.
The state soon divided itself approximately into
two parties, the Conservatives or Central Groups, and
the Liberals or Democrats. To the former went the
majority of the clergy, the aristocracy, such as it was,
those who enjoyed monopolies, or privileges, or who, for
other reasons, were fundamentally opposed to change.
Most of the more enlightened, and many others, merely
because they had nothing to lose, joined the Progres-
sives. At first Guatemala, in common with the otner
freed states, having no very definite policy, and beset
with dangers, looked about for a strong ally. Her eye
fell, naturally enough, upon Mexico, and the idea of
union with that larger power soon became popular.
Negotiations to that effect were entered into with
Iturbide, the Emperor of Mexico, who favoured the
scheme. On 5th January 1822 annexation was decreed,
and Guatemalans were given all the rights of Mexican
citizens, including the right to be heavily taxed. But
to thus be swallowed up was not Guatemala's destiny.
The new union did not long survive the fall of Iturbide,
and, in 1823, the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente met,







48 GUATEMALA
and eventually proclaimed, in 1825, after a session of
nearly two years, a new Federal Constitution modelled
upon that of the United States.
Before long, however, trouble arose between the local
and federal authorities in Guatemala City, and on the
I3th of October 1826, the Vice President Flores, who
had withdrawn to Quezaltenango, was murdered,
stripped, and mutilated in the Parish church of that
city, where he had taken refuge, by a mob of native
women incited thereto by the fictions of a Spanish priest.
The following account of the murder is given by
Stephens :-
Flores, the vice-chief of the State of Guatemala,
a Liberal, had made himself odious to the priests and
friars by laying a contribution upon the convent at
Quezaltenango; and while on a visit to that place the
friars of the convent excited the populace against him,
as an enemy to religion. A mob gathered before his
house, with cries of 'Death to the heretic !' Flores
fled to the church ; but as he was entering the door a
mob of women seized him, wrested a stick from his
hands, beat him with it, tore off his cap, and dragged
him by the hair. He escaped from these furies and ran
up into the pulpit. The alarm bell was sounded, and
all the rabble of the town passed into the plaza. A few
soldiers endeavoured to cover the entrance to the
church, but were attacked with stones and clubs;
and the mob, bearing down all opposition, forced its
way into the church, making the roof ring with cries of
'Death to the heretic I' Rushing toward the pulpit,
some tried to unhinge it, others to scale it; others
struck at the unhappy vice-chief with knives tied to
the ends of long poles ; while a young fiend, with one
foot on the mouldings of the pulpit, and the other
elevated in the air, leaned over and seized him by the
hair. The curate, who was in the pulpit with him,
frightened at the tempest he had assisted to raise, held




































0 Or


The Central Railway Station, (;Guatemala City


Facing fage 49







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 49
up the Holy of Holies, and begged the mob to spare him,
promising that he should leave the city immediately.
The unhappy Flores, on his knees, confirmed these
promises, but the friars urged on the mob, who became
so excited with religious phrensy, that after kneeling
before the figure of the Saviour, exclaiming, 'We adore
thee, O Lord, we venerate thee they rose up with the
ferocious cry, 'but for thy honour and glory this blas-
phemer, this heretic must die !' They dragged him from
the pulpit across the floor of the church, and in the
cloisters threw him into the hands of the fanatic and
furious horde, when the women, like unchained furies,
with their fists, sticks and stones, beat him to death.
His murderers stripped his body, leaving it, disfigured
and an object of horror, exposed to the insults of the
populace, and then dispersed throughout the city,
demanding the heads of Liberals, and crying, 'Viva la
Religion !' "
The murder was followed by a furious outbreak of
religious fanaticism. The republic of San Salvador
sent troops into Guatemala to restore order; but their
attack on the capital failed, and only a desultory war
resulted.
A newCentral American herowas now about toappear,
in a land that urgently needed a strong and righteous
man to lead it. This was Francisco Morazan, born in
1799, in Honduras, to a French father by a native creole
woman-a brave, manly, impetuous, and, on the whole;
human personality, frank and open in manner, genuinely
patriotic, and in private life a quite unimpeachable
character. A further outbreak of revolution in Guate-
mala brought Morazan, then a senator of Honduras,
to Guatemala City, with a force of about 2ooo
men, on behalf of the malcontents. After a battle
lasting three days, the capital capitulated, the invaders
entered the city in triumph, suppressed the leaders of
the opposite party, and incidentally the convents also.
D







50 GUATEMALA
He was ever able to say, at the time, that, for a period at
least, in spite of many grievances, no one was put to
death nor had money extracted from him "-a very
unusual sequel to the triumph of a revolutionary leader.
General Morazan was elected President of Guatemala
in September 1830. During the ten years for which his
party held office, he seems to have administered the
state vigorously and justly.
The following sketch of General Morazan is from the
most interesting early chapters of Stephens' Incidents
of Travel," in which he recounts some thrilling episodes
of Central American revolutionary history:-
General Morazan, with several Officers, was stand-
ing in the corridor of the cabildo ; a large fire was burn-
ing before the door, and a table stood against the wall,
with a candle and chocolate cups upon it. He was about
forty-five years old, five feet ten inches high, then with
a black moustache and week's beard, and wore a military
frock-coat, buttoned up to the throat, and sword.
His hat was off, and the expression of his face mild and
intelligent. Though still young, for ten years he had
been the first man in the country, and eighth president
of the republic. He had risen and had sustained him-
self by military skill and personal bravery; always led
his forces himself; had been in innumerable battles
and often wounded, but never beaten. A year before
the people of Guatemala had implored him to come to
their relief, as the only man who could save them from
Carrera and destruction. .. From the best informa-
tion I could acquire, and from the enthusiasm with
which I had heard him spoken of by his officers, and, in
fact, by every one else in his own state, I had conceived
almost a feeling of admiration for General Morazan, and
my interest in him was increased by his misfortunes."
Meanwhile the struggle between clericals and anti-
clericals was being waged with increasing bitterness.
Many years passed before the people were able to free







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 51
themselves from the yoke of the Church ; and the light
of freedom, as it came, did but bewilder them for a time.
Morazan, for all his abilities and integrity, was hardly
a strong enough man for the task he had undertaken.
However, he did his best, and to him are due some
valuable measures dealing with education and freedom
of conscience in religious matters--a toleration which
naturally more and more incensed the Church party,
some of whom took advantage of an epidemic of cholera,
in 1837, to suggest to the ignorant and suspicious
native mind that the waters had been deliberately
poisoned. Revolt immediately followed, and some
unfortunate medical men found themselves compelled
to commit suicide by swallowing their own medicines.
Now another individual, destined to play a prominent
part in Guatemalan history, was about to emerge into
the light of fame. This was Protecting Angel Rafael,"
as some of the priests called him, otherwise Rafael
Carrera, a low-born Indian, the son of a market woman,
whose early developed love of adventure, courage,
determination and violence had placed him at the head
of a rabble army numbering among its ranks some of
the outlaws, robbers, murderers, and other choicest
scoundrels that thecountrycould furnish. Thecatalogue
of their weapons, from the knife at the end of a pole, to
a rusty musket, reminds one of the stories of the night
before Sedgemoor.
The Government, in great consternation, offered
15oo dollars, two caballarias of land, and a
free pardon for any crimes committed, to any who
would bring them the body of Carrera, dead or alive:
then, when this device had failed, they adopted the
futile policy of buying off Carrera and his army. But
they had mistaken their man. Carrera might be bought
off-but he would not remain off. He returned, to be
constantly beaten, and as constantly to retrieve his
fortunes. Fortune was with the extraordinary man.







52 GUATEMALA
At last Morazan was forced to flee from Guatemala-
never to return.
Stephens' account of Carrera's entry into Guatemala
City makes very picturesque and interesting reading.
One can hardly believe that we are in the nineteenth
century. The leader was on horseback at the head of
his rabble, with a green bush in his hat, which was hung
round with pieces of dirty cotton cloth, and covered with
pictures of the saints. A spectator, familiar with all
the scenes of terror that had taken place in the city, said
that he had never felt such horror as was inspired in
him by the entry of this mass of barbarians, all with
green bushes in their hats, a moving forest, armed with
every known and unknown weapon of offence, and
followed by two or three thousand women with sacks
for carrying away the plunder. They entered the plaza
shouting Death to the foreigners At sundown that
shout gave place to the "Hymn to the Virgin," and
Carrera entered the cathedral. After him trooped the
Indians, who, though mute with astonishment at the
magnificence around them, proceeded to set up around
the altar the uncouth images of their village saints.
Monreal broke into the house of General Prem, and
emerged bearing a uniform coat, richly embroidered
with gold, into which Carrera, still wearing his straw
hat and green bush, slipped his arms. A watch was
brought to him, but he did not know the use of it. Was
ever such a sight seen since the days of Alaric and his
Goths ? We should like to tell, had we space, how
Carrera was constantly beaten, as constantly escaped.
How his followers were scattered, his best men taken and
shot ; how he himself was penned up, and almost starv-
ing, on the top of a mountain, with a cordon of soldiers
at its base, only to escape by the remissness of the guard;
how, at last, he came to power in a city which was
exposed to almost equal danger, whether he or Morazan
came out on top.







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 58
Stephens mentions a little circumstance, as explaining
the position of things. Carrera's mother, an old market
woman, had died, and although, in those days of cholera,
burial in the churches was forbidden, Carrera signified
his pleasure that his mother should be laid in the cathed-
ral. And buried in the cathedral she was-by a govern-
ment that would spare no effort to keep in good temper
a leader subject to violent outbursts of passion, the
absolute master and King of Guatemala, called by
fanatic Indians, El Hijo de Dios," The son of God,"
and Nuestro Sefior," Our Lord." The following is
Stephens' account of his interview with the noted chief :
"Carrera was living in a small house, guarded by
sentinels, in a retired street. Along the corridor was
a row of muskets with shining barrels.
When I entered the room he was sitting at a table
counting sixpenny and shilling pieces. Colonel Monte
Rosa, a dark Mestitzo, in a dashing uniform, was
sitting by his side, and several other persons were in
the room. He was about five feet six inches in height,
with straight black hair, an Indian complexion and
expression, without beard, and did not seem to be more
than twenty years old. He wore a black bombazet
roundabout jacket and pantaloons. He rose as we
entered, pushing the money on one side of the table,
and probably out of respect to my coat, received me
with courtesy and gave me a chair at his side. My
first remark was an expression of surprise at his extreme
youth; he answered that he was but twenty-three
years'; certainly he was not more than twenty-five,
and then as a man conscious that he was something
extraordinary, and that I knew it, without waiting
for any leading questions, he continued that he had
begun (he did not say what) with thirteen men armed
with old muskets, which they were obliged to fire with
cigars; pointed to eight places in which he had been
wounded, and said that he had three balls then in his







54 GUATEMALA
body. At this time he could hardly be recognized
as the same man, who, less than two years before, had
entered Guatemala with a horde of wild Indians,
proclaiming death to strangers. Indeed, in no
particular had he changed more than in his opinion
of foreigners, a happy illustration of the effect of
personal intercourse in breaking down prejudices
against individuals or classes. Considering Car-
rera a promising young man, I told him he had a long
career before him, and might do much good to his
country; and he laid his hand upon his heart, and
with a burst of feeling that I did not expect, said he
was determined to sacrifice his life for his country.
With all his faults and crimes none ever accused him
of duplicity, or of saying what he did not mean, and
perhaps, as many self-deceiving men have done before
him, he believed himself a patriot. He could not
fix his thoughts upon anything except the wars and
Morazan; in fact he knew of nothing else. He was
boyish in his manners and manner of speaking, but
very grave; he never smiled, and conscious of power
was unostentatious in the exhibition of it, though he
always spoke in the first person of what he had done
and what he intended to do. My interview with
him was much more interesting than I had expected;
so young, so humble in his origin, so destitute of early
advantages, with honest impulses, perhaps, but
ignorant, fanatic, sanguinary, and the slave of violent
passions, wielding absolutely the physical force of the
country, and that force entertaining a natural hatred
to the whites. At parting he accompanied me to the
door, and in the presence of his villainous soldiers
made me a free offer of his services."
Stephens gives most vivid accounts of the quick
changes in the fortunes of the parties in these days.
During one year Morazan is sent for as the only one who
can save them from disaster at the hands of Carrera;







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 55
a year later the positions are exactly reversed. Car-
rera's triumphal entry into Guatemala City was made
beneath arches and flags, to salvos of cannon and
military music. By Carrera's side rode the secretary
of the Constituent Assembly; then followed the
prisoners, tied together with ropes, among them General
Guzman, a friend of many of the principal inhabitants,
the very man whom they themselves, a year before,
had summoned, with piteous entreaty, to their aid.
The general was seated sideways on a mule, his feet
tied under him, and his face so bruised, swollen, and
disfigured by stones and blows of machetes, that he
was quite unrecognisable.
Soon after this, Morazan's army attacked the city,
and there ensued a desperate battle, in which Morazan
and his army were utterly routed. Finally, after
suffering heavy losses, his whole force was penned in
the plaza by an immense body of Indians, who fired
upon him from all corners. At last, from want of
ammunition, the fire slackened, and finally ceased.
The neighboring streets were blocked with dead men ;
from every comer the Indians, unable, for the moment,
to kill, kept up against the patriot and his men a
running fusillade of obscene jests and abuse. Carrera;
meanwhile, was making cartridges with his own hands.
At sunset the mob of Indians who had invaded the
city fell on their knees. In mighty chorus rose the
Salve or Hymn to the Virgin." Morazan heard
it, and for the first time realized and expressed a sense
of the awful danger he was in. The prayer was fol-
lowed by terrific shouts of "Viva le Religion Viva
Carrera! Y muera el General Morazan!" The
firing recommended. At two o'clock in the morning
Morazan made a desperate effort to cut his way out
of the plaza, but was repulsed with great slaughter
of his men, including forty of his best officers and
his eldest son. At last, by concentrating his fire on







56 GUATEMALA
certain points, and throwing his powder into the
fountain, he took advantage of the confusion to fight
his way out, with 500 men, and by twelve o'clock
had reached Antigua.
A word or two on Morazan's subsequent career
will not be out of place. He soon became involved in
the political troubles of Costa Rica, fighting, as usual,
for freedom and justice; but he was defeated, cap-
tured by treachery, and condemned to immediate death.
On the morning of z2th September 1842, he boldly
faced the firing squad, and himself gave the word of
command. Posterity will do me justice" were his
last words. He did not misjudge posterity.
The scenes that followed Carrera's victory are
worthy of the Septembriseurs of the French Revolution.
Carrera's soldiers, in joyous anticipation of to-morrow's
massacre, fired cartridges all night. With daylight
the slaughter began. Colonel Arias, lying on the
ground with one of his eyes out, was bayoneted.
SMarescal, hidden beneath the cathedral, was dragged
out and shot. The fugitives were brought, in little
groups of from three to ten, into the plaza, where
Carrera stood. As the ruffian's lifted finger pointed
out this man or that, the wretched victim was removed
a few paces from his judge, and shot. Major Viera
was drinking chocolate in the house of a friend where
he had taken refuge, when he was sent for. His host,
Mr Hall, delivered him up, with a special recommenda-
tion to mercy. A moment later Mr Hall, a few paces
from his own door, found Viera lying on his back,
dead. During the morning vagabond soldiers over-
ran the city, begging money, pointing their muskets
at the heads of passers-by, to show how they shot the
enemy, and boasting how many they had killed.
This Carrera-unspeakable rascal and brigand, or
Son of God," according to the point of view you may
choose to take-was now, in this year 1839, the first







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 57
man in the country; but he was not formally elected
president until 1844. After a period of retirement, he
was made president for life, in 1852, a position that he
retained until his death, which, most inappropriately,
took place in his bed, on the I4th of April 1865.
Meanwhile his bust, with the legend, R. Carrera
Fundador de la Rca de Guatemala," had adorned the
coinage of this country.1 The body of the original
lies in the metropolitan church in Guatemala City.
Carrera was followed in the Presidental Chair by
one Vicente Cerna, a religious fanatic, whose very
moderate abilities appear to have been devoted mainly
to the support of the clerical party. Certainly he
was quite incapable of keeping the Indians and other
malcontents under control; consequently his rule
was marked by a series of insurrections, of which the
most serious, perhaps, was that conducted by Senapio
Cruz, a typical though corpulent brigand, who, from
the security of mountain fortresses, waged a guerrilla
warfare upon the Government monopoly. His efforts
were worthily supported by Miguel Garcia Granados,
and J. Ruffino Barrios, the latter of whom was destined
to play a great part in Guatemalan history.
In December 1869 a rebel army, that, as it crossed
the country, had swelled from twenty-five men to
a considerable force, approached the capital, whose
inhabitants quivered with fear; until the news came
that the invaders had been routed, and that the head
of Cruz, without his body, would soon be within the
town. Photographs of this trophy could be had in the
shops a few days later, at the not unreasonable figure
of fifty cents. With Granados, however, President
Cerna, as became a man of piety, dealt gently. The
revolutionary was merely banished; but, following
the example of Romeo, Bolingbroke, and many another
famous unfortunate, did not long consent to be so.
SThe head on this coin is distinctly of the negro type.








58 GUATEMALA
He invaded Guatemala with a small army, and was
at once joined' by General Barrios. The national
army, headed by Cerna in person, met the invaders
on the plain between Quezaltenango and Totonicapan,
where Cerna was repulsed, only to be finally defeated
at Chimaltenango and San Lucas, whence he fled into
Honduras.
On 3oth June 187o Granados was elected president,
though the real power was always wielded by his ally
and superior, General Barrios, through whom several
reforms were accomplished, including the freedom of
the Press, the abolition of the aguardiente monopoly,
the banishment of the order of Jesuits, and, in the
following year, of the Franciscans, Capuchins, and
Dominicans. Thirty years of Religious rule in
Guatemala, says Rancroft, had produced only "two
hundred lazy and stupid monks, two hundred almost
useless nuns, one archbishop, two bishops, fifteen
vicars and canons, and a foreign debt of five million
dollars." 1
Barrios, who succeeded Granados in 1872, was, by
common consent, a stronger, more enlightened, and
further-sighted man than any of his predecessors.
He was resourceful, too, and possessed a quality
invaluable to success in his position-an iron will.
In disposition he was by nature sympathetic and
affectionate, though cold and repellent with those
whom he distrusted. His vengeance was swift and
certain; his treatment of political enemies harsh in
the extreme. He thought and acted with great
rapidity. His work, which did more for Guatemala in
a few years than that of others had accomplished in
fifty, included, besides the reforms above mentioned, the
construction of a new institution, the encouragement
of education, and the confiscation of Church property
for public uses. He encouraged the development of
1 Ousted Winter, p. i88t







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 59
the country's resources ; he subsidized the construction
of railways, roads and telegraphs; he encouraged mis-
sionary effort, and the observance of the Sunday; and
he allowed the United States Presbyterians to open a
Sunday school in the capital.
His autocratic and somewhat drastic methods
naturally aroused bitter opposition in certain quarters.
A plot was discovered, and seventeen of the leaders
were executed in the plaza of Guatemala City. That
summary procedure did not end the trouble; for one
evening the president, while walking with some
friends through the little garden of the theatre, found
himself face to face with a fuse sparkling on a bomb.
He stooped, picked up the infernal machine, extin-
guished the fuse, and, turning to his companions,
remarked calmly: "The rascals don't even know
how to kill me."
One of the great principles of Barrios' policy-an
idea much strengthened by a visit to Europe, and by
two visits to the United States, where he was very well
received-was to consolidate the comparatively small
neighboring republics into one great, Central American
federation. Nicaragua and Costa Rica opposed the
idea; but, encouraged by the apparent consent of the
presidents of Honduras and San Salvador, Barrios
issued, on the 28th of February 1885, a proclamation
declaring the federation an accomplished fact, with
himself as temporary, supreme, military chief. San
Salvador at once openly opposed the scheme, and a
deadlock ensued. Barrios proceeded immediately to
invade the country, with the result that he was shot
dead from an ambush. The body of the great president
was taken back for burial in Guatemala City, and the
project of federation was at an end, though the decree
was not formally withdrawn until after the election
of the next president, Manuel Lisondro Barillas.
This man, a well-meaning though somewhat weak








60 GUATEMALA
individual, served one term of office, and then, on the
election of a relative of Barrios in his stead, retired in
dudgeon over the border, and began the usual guerrilla
warfare of the revolutionary. He had, however, been
well checked, before two knife-thrusts in the neck,
delivered by a young Guatemalan, in a tramcar in the
city of Mexico, in April 1907, abruptly terminated his
career.
Barillas was succeeded by the present occupant
of the presidential chair, Manuel Estrada Cabrera,
whose name has already added lustre to Guatemalan
history, and who, perhaps, may fulfil the hopes ex-
pressed of him to Mr Winter: Cabrera is a wonderful
man. He will do for Guatemala what Diaz has done
for Mexico." 1
The present president, though lacking somewhat
in qualities of the higher diplomacy, has done much to
carry on the good work of his eldest predecessor. Not
the least of his virtues is, that he is an active supporter
of the Central American Peace Conference, that
valuable movement promoted by the United States,
towards the establishment of a better understanding
between these neighboring republics of New America.
I have purposely refrained from giving the reader
more than a compressed account of the various political
incidents that have taken place since the Proclamation
of Liberty. During its young days Guatemala suffered
from many errors of administration; but they were
the stepping-stones to a better order of things. The
rapidly growing population had never been educated,
even in the most rudimentary subjects, and it was only
natural that they knew not how to use the power which
had been suddenly placed in their hands. The Reform
Movement separated the Church from the State, and
sowed the seeds of a system of general education; but
it was left to the last two rulers to lay the foundation
I Winter's Guatemala," p. 198;







LATER HISTORY OF GUATEMALA 61
of a comprehensive system of education, which has
placed Guatemala on a level, in this respect, with the
most advanced countries of Latin America.
The capital of Guatemala during the Spanish
Dominion was Antigua (Teepan-Guatemalan), founded
by the Conquistador Alvarado. This fine old city,
with its multitude of historical treasures, and its early
Spanish architecture, was destroyed by the earthquake
and deluge of water from the crater of Agua, in 1541.
The ruins alone remain to tell the story of the first great
capital in this portion of Central America. These
Spanish-Colonial remains are of great interest to the
archeologist and antiquarian. The crumbling walls
of solid masonry, carved and frescoed, speak eloquently
of bygone ages. The churches of massive stone, with
vaulted roofs, now covered with prolific growth; the
subterranean passages leading to the monasteries;
the remains of the Viceroy's palace, still showing the
Royal Arms of Spain, and the lofty ruins which rise
from the ground on every hand, intermixed with the
buildings of the modem city, present a curiously
fascinating contrast. Some of the magnificent old
churches are even now being used as places of worship,
though others have been appropriated for less holy
purposes--as stables, forges, and playgrounds for the
children.
The present capital of the republic is Guatemala
City, a growing metropolis, to the description of which
future chapters are devoted.

The progress of a newly developed country depends
almost entirely upon the means of communication
and transportation, and Guatemala, in these respects,
has made considerable progress during recent years.
The Central Railway, which was the first iron road
constructed in the republic, was opened to traffic in
188o. This line, running through the rich coffee







62 GUATEMALA
plantations on the west coast, connects the capital
with San Jos6, one of the chief ports on the Pacific.
The Northern Railroad, completed in 19o8, links
Guatemala City with Puerto Barrios on the Atlantic
coast. These two lines form a through Transcontinental
system connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific. In
all, Guatemala possesses six railway systems, having a
total length of about 300 miles; and the construction
of a new line to traverse the country from north
to south is now projected.
Owing to the initiative of the present administration,
in fostering the construction of the line to the Atlantic
coast, Guatemala possesses to-day more railways than
any of the other five Central American republics.













CHAPTER V


THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT-POLITICAL
DIVISION-THE ARMY

IT is by no means easy to understand a state in which
the system of government is representative and demo-
cratic, and yet is legitimately, and wisely, controlled by
the strong will and intelligence of one man. This sounds
paradoxical, and quite impossible; nevertheless, when
rightly considered, it is found, by actual demonstration,
to be not only possible, but probable in all forms of
government, and beneficial in most.
An ambitious man possessed of the brain, the will-
power and the knowledge necessary to enable him to
subdue all political rivals, and able to understand and
utilise the waves of tense political feeling which con-
stantly sweep over every country, is a born leader of
men; and, whether he be an hereditary shah, an em-
peror, a prime minister, or a president, in every state,
in every land, he will rule, more or less autocratically,
according to the power of his opponents; although, in
some cases, it may be advisable to cloak such govern-
ment beneath a certain outward deference to public
opinion, shown in a great variety of forms, both open
and concealed. But, as well in the most republican as
in the most despotic country, his will be the plans, his
the schemes, and his the policy that must ultimately
prevail.
France trembled beneath the great Napoleon, yet she
obeyed him, and became, for a brief period, the greatest
power on earth; Germany bowed before the Man of







64 GUATEMALA
blood and iron," who raised her from a collection of
petty, wrangling states to a united and powerful nation ;
America prospered under Lincoln and Roosevelt, whose
names will ever stand among the benefactors of their
nation; Great and Greater Britain has been fortunate
enough to possess many such in diplomacy and ad-
ministration, and others expert in the science of war.
So it has ever been, from the dawn of history to the
present day. A weak ruler means a restless and
impoverished nation; a series of weak rulers brings
national disaster.
Guatemala, although a small, and in comparison with
her great neighbours an unimportant, state, is, neverthe-
less, now, for the first time, blest with a strong leader.
That he has faults is true, but what truly great man is
without them in a marked degree ? The past tells us
that they are unavoidable adjuncts of genius. President
Cabrera has already done much for his country, and
there is little doubt that the near future will see the
successful completion of many schemes of which he is
the originator.
In order to gain a clear insight into any nation and
its affairs, it is necessary first to understand the ways
of government, and the hopes and aspirations of the
people. For this reason, it may prove interesting to
give here a few of the more important projects that have
recently occupied or are now occupying the attention
of the Government. Before doing so, however, it should
be pointed out that only during the last twenty years
has Guatemala possessed even a form of stable govern-
ment, and much time has been occupied, much
commerce and its profits have been lost, and develop-
ment has been greatly retarded, during the struggles
between political factions. The revenue decreased,
and financial complications ensued; agriculture was
neglected, because of the lack of means of transport;
public education was almost non-existent; the army










































The National Theatre, Guatemala City


Facing page 64


a
;a


mi,,,,,,


-^







THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT 65
was quite untrained ; the arm of the law was not power-
ful enough to enforce its judgments; crime remained
unpunished; bribery and corruption were the order,
rather than the exception-such was the state of affairs
in Guatemala less than a quarter of a century ago. It
would be idle to say that all is now well, and that further
reform is unnecessary; but it is an indisputable fact
that order has succeeded chaos; and that life and
property are now as safe as they are in many European
countries.
Some of the principal reforms and new institutions
placed here in review order may assist the reader to
understand what has already been done, what is being
attempted, and may enable him better to realise the
present political state of the country. Division of the
state into political areas ; the completion of the Trans-
continental Railway ; the linking-up of the Guatemalan
railways with the lines of the Pan-American system
from New York and Mexico City; reorganisation of
the army, and the addition of an adequate army
medical service; reform of the penal and civil codes;
promulgation of new mining and immigration laws;
establishment of five courts of appeal; improvements
to Guatemala City; vigorous promotion of industrial,
mineralogical, and agricultural exhibitions ; Guatemala
City chosen as the meeting-place of the fifth Pan-
American Medical Congress; establishment of asylums
and houses for aged poor; new hospitals, with English
and American nurses; reorganisation of the police and
detective forces; inauguration of the national fetes of
Minerva; the establishment of an extensive system of
education, comprising the following :-509 elementary
schools for boys, 439 elementary schools for girls, 168
mixed schools, 16 higher standard schools for boys, and
an equal number for girls, with normal schools in the
eastern, central and western districts of the country;
together with colleges of law, military science, letters,
E







66 GUATEMALA
medicine, art, pharmacy, commerce, and industry. To
these we must add-extension of the systems of public
roads, postal service, and telegraphic net (5848 kilo-
meters, 2o8 offices) ; postal union rates; redemption
of the International Loans; the establishment of a
system of charity stamps; formation of agricultural
colonies; the inauguration of an International Court
of Arbitration at Cartago (Costa Rica) and the forma-
tion of a Bureau of Central American Republics in
Guatemala City.
These are the principal schemes now occupying the
attention of the Executive. There are, of course, many
others of minor importance, which it is quite unneces-
sary to mention here. It will, however, be generally
conceded, from the above enumeration of the work in
hand, that the Government have a programme which
will take many years to complete, although some of the
reforms and new institutions given in the above list
have already been established, and, as later pages will
show, most encouraging results have been obtained.
Before giving a few notes on the army, and plunging
into a descriptive account of the country and the people,
it may prove of use to travellers, who propose visiting
the Land of the Quetzal," to give here, in tabular form,
the division of Guatemalan territory into political areas,
together with the chief towns and their distances from
the capital.
POLITICAL DIVISION
Departments Capitals Altitude GDstance
Guatemala Guatemala City 5000 ...
Chimaltenango Chimaltenango 5360 31 miles
Socatep6quez Antigna 5314 23
Amatitlan Amatitlan 4212 15 ,
Escuintla Escuintla 1248 41
Santa Rosa Cuajiniquilapa 3214 .
Jutiapa Jutiapa 2821 75 miles
Jalapa Jalapa 4777 65 ,








THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT 67


Departments
Zacapa
Chiquimula
Izabal
Baja Verapaz
Alta Verapas
Pet6n
Quich6

Totonicapam
Quezaltenango
Retalhuleu
Huehuetenango
San Marcos
Solol4
Suchilepequez


Capital
Zacapa
Chiquimula
Livingston
Salama
Coban
Flores
Sta Cruz de la
Quich6
Totonicapam
Quezaltenango
Retalhulen
Huehuetenango
San Marcos
Sololi
Mazatenango


Altitde Distu f
Guatemala City
536 120 miles
1231 iI8 ,,
45 209 ,,
2831 60
4010 106 ,
478 279

5492 88
7894 96 ,
7351 1o ,,
968 125
7052 159 ,
7150 135 ,
6974 73 ,
1085 104 i


The reorganised standing army of Guatemala com-
prises only about 5000 rank and file, with 150 officers,
including the staff, but as conscription is in force, and
many of the public schools give elementary military in-
struction, the Government in time of war would have at
their disposal nearly 80,000 men, most of whom would
be fairly good marksmen. The largest portion of both
the standing army and the levies is composed of
Indians and half-breeds, who, while obedient and
easily trained, often combine the endurance of the
aboriginal with the dash of the Spaniard. These men
make fairly good soldiers; but, like the Soudanese and
Hausas, they are prone to reckless firing and often
become very excited when in action, making instant
control by their officers very difficult.*
It would be idle to compare the military forces of the
republic with those of the Powers of Europe ; but they
are adequate in numbers for the territory they are in-
tended to protect. The training of the Guatemalan
army on the German principle is, however, undoubtedly
a mistake; as the conditions, both climatic, topo-
graphical, and military, under which fighting would be
There is also a Reserve Force of some 5o,ooo men.








68 GUATEMALA
carried on in Central America, and in all tropical and
butjlittle developed countries, make the semi-continental
methods of Europe--still based, in a large degree, on
the teachings of the war of 1870-I871--the least suitable
for producing efficiency in the science of semi-guerrilla
warfare, in which the Arme blanche," the momentum
of the mass," and the power of concentrated artillery
fire," for political, financial, and geographical reasons,
are mere phrases that, under the existing conditions,
could not possibly be acted upon.
An active military service of one year's duration is
obligatory in Guatemala: between the ages of eighteen
and twenty. But the rich may purchase immunity;
consequently recruiting is confined mainly to the poor.
The Government, however, reserves the right to send
out their press-gang when urgent necessity arises.
Occasionally, not so very many years ago, soldiers would
swoop down upon an unsuspecting village, seize all
males therein capable of bearing arms, and carry them
off to a neighboring village, where they would be con-
soled with draughts of white eye," the native liquor,
until even the weeping wives, mothers and sisters at
home were forgotten, and oaths and objurgations had
changed into roars of "Long live the Republic Long
live the President 1 During the last revolution, so
the story goes, the commandant of an inland town sent
down to a village for volunteers. Escorted by a com-
pany of soldiers, they came--some bound hand and foot
and slung on pack-mules, some tied together, others
walking, with their hands roped to the mules' tails.
With this consignment the commandant received, from
the officer in charge; the following :-" I send you here-
with the volunteers required. If you want any more,
send more rope." 2
The laws are based principally upon ancient Roman
N. D; Winter: "Guatemala."
2 N. H. Castle: In Guatemala."






















































The Market Place, Antigua, Guatemala


Facingpage 69


---
~----





)L'







THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT 69
law, and partly upon Spanish statute. They come
under three codes, criminal, civil, and commercial,
which are amended by edicts of the Congress, and
published in an official gazette. The lowest form of
tribunal is the police court, conducted by the Alcaldes,
but important cases are tried by the Courts of First
Instance, each having jurisdiction over one or more
departments, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme
Court, or Court of Cassation, which sits in the capital
only.
The procedure of these courts is somewhat lengthy
and tedious, as judged by our English standards All
legal documents must be written on stamped paper,
a source of considerable income to the Government.
Many of the Guatemalan lawyers are men of great
ability, who bring to their profession, knowledge, elo-
quence and probity.














CHAPTER VI


THE GUATEMALA OF TO-DAY

Just as the Continent has been called the Continent of
Opportunity,' so the Country, Guatemala, has been called 'The
Country of the Future.' "-CHARLES M. PEPPER.
THE dominant impression conveyed to any individual,
who, by travel or study, has made himself conversant
with the republic of Guatemala, must certainly be its
great possibilities. The ambitious man of affairs
marvels at the diverse opportunities for commercial
exploitation, of which, even in these days of keen over-
sea enterprise, so little use has as yet been made. The
traveller on pleasure bent delights in the scenery, in
the quaint, old-world customs, and the absence of the
tourist crowd; yet he, too, marvels that such a land of
virgin beauty should have so long been left untrodden
by the army of globe-trotters, and explored only by its
scouts.
The colony makers, the planter, the mining engineer,
the contractor, and the storekeeper, will all find room,
and to spare, for the exercise of their skill and enterprise
in the 46,700 square miles of territory composing this
Central American state ; for it is a land wherein, with
the expenditure of a small capital-as labour is cheap-
great things may be accomplished.
It is a mystery to me to know why so many English
farmers are content to waste their lives in our own
country when such opportunities await them as are to
be found in this favoured land of which I am writing.
During how many months can you grow crops at home ?







THE GUATEMALA OF TO-DAY 71
Here in Guatemala you may plant all the year round;
and your harvest is almost perpetual. Is it hard work
that you fear? I would not lure you with false promises;
I acknowledge that the work of the pioneer is hard.
But is not all work, that is worth doing, hard ?--even
though you do it for its own sake. And here you shall
not do it for its own sake. Here Nature rewards faithful
work with foison-with full measure pressed down and
shaken together. Do you fear the climate ? I venture
to say that the Guatemalan death-rate is not higher than
that of England or America. Do you fear strange lands,
strange laws, strange people ? If you do, you must
just stay at home-and prosper, or fail to prosper, as
best you may.
The reader will ask why-if such be the case-has
this country been:left out, when all the states of South
America have been raised on the mighty backs of British
and American capital, and are now well on their
way towards complete development. To answer this
question is difficult ; for the reasons are many. Until
recent years, Central America was looked upon as the
playground of the adventurer, and, as such, was an
extremely risky place in which to live, or to invest
capital; its climate has been the subject of much un-
intentional libel; its position, between the giants of
the north and south, has cast shadows upon its political
future ; and the errors of financial administration that,
from time to time, have been made by the statesmen of
these young countries have caused financiers to pause
and consider. These deterrent features, however, where
they really existed, are now things of the past, and in
Guatemala, at least, the spell, for some years, has been
broken, though, unfortunately, not to the proportionate
benefit of British commerce ; for the United States and
Germany have been first in this new field, and are fast
exploiting it. German firms own by far the largest area
of coffee plantations; consequently Germany is a large







72 GUATEMALA
importer of machinery, etc., while United States
financiers are interested in the railroad, the harbours,
the steamship communication, the banana plantations,
and, as recently as 1911, have obtained very wide
mining rights from the Guatemalan Government, on
most liberal terms.
The result of this competition has been, that England,
who once held the first place in the oversea commerce
of Guatemala, is now third on the list, with every
prospect of falling further behind in the race for com-
mercial supremacy, unless the financiers and merchants
of the Empire can be induced to turn their attention
seriously to this comparatively new field for exploita-
tion.
Having now given some idea of the history, political
position, and possibilities of Guatemala, I will defer
until another chapter further details of the commerce
and industries, and will endeavour to give a brief
topographical and general survey, to enable a clear
conception to be obtained of the country itself, before
describing the journey across the state, from the Atlantic
to the Pacific coast.
Guatemala is the largest, most populous, and by far
the most important state in Central America. It has
an area of 46,774 square miles, and a population of
nearly two millions. It occupies the northern portion
of the isthmus which joins the vast territories of North
and South America. On its northern frontier lie the
Mexican states of Yueatan and Campeche, British
Honduras and the Gulf of Honduras; on the west are
the Mexican states of Tobasco and Chiapas ; its eastern
frontier lies contiguous with the republics of Honduras
and San Salvador, and the southern shore is washed by
the Pacific Ocean.
The coastline on the Atlantic measures considerably
over one hundred miles, and, on the Pacific side, just
over two hundred miles. These extensive maritime







THE GUATEMALA OF TO-DAY 73
frontiers, on both oceans, give to Guatemala exceptional
geographical and climatic advantages-namely, great
facilities for oversea commerce, also the cool sea breezes
that temper the heat of the low coast lands.
The centre of the country is traversed by the cordillera
of the Andes, and the Arcaic cordillera, which, with
its spurs, forms the southern end of the great range.
This mountain system, forming an immense table-
land, some 30,000 square miles in extent, is the most
densely populated portion of Guatemala; its prosperity
being due to the absence of fever, which is somewhat
prevalent on the lowlands of the coast, and to the
equability of the climate, which can only be likened to
an almost perpetual English summer. On the high
plateaus, the climate, indeed, is all that one could desire.
The sun heat is tempered by the altitude, and at
Guatemala City, the capital of the republic, situated
in the centre of a wide plain elevated some 4500
feet above sea-level, the almost unbroken succession
of bright, sunny days makes life most enjoyable,
and imparts a feeling of freshness and exhilaration
to the traveller who has come up from the hot and
damp coast-lands. Guatemala City, however, has one
natural drawback. Being built on loose soil, it is
subject during the dry season to dust-clouds, which are
somewhat injurious to those suffering from pulmonary
complaints.
Guatemala may be divided climatically into three
zones. The narrow stretches of country bordering
the oceans are subject to excessive heat, although the
climate is not altogether unhealthy; the tablelands,
at a height of from 20ooo to 5000 feet, possess a more
temperate atmosphere; while the higher levels enjoy a
cold, though healthy, climate.
The name of winter is given to the rainy season,
while the dry season, which lasts from January to May,
is known as the summer. In by far the larger portion







74 GUATEMALA
of the country frost is quite unknown, but on the
lofty summits of the mountains a white snow-cap is
sometimes seen. The hottest months of the year are
April, May and August, when the sun, crossing the
latitude of the country, blazes directly overhead; but
even these months, in the highlands, are by no means
unpleasant, as the heat is tempered by the altitude.
The rate of development of a new country depends
almost entirely upon its accessibility from the outside
world, upon the efficiency of the ocean-carrying ser-
vices, connecting its ports with those of the great
shipping centres, and also largely upon the means of
transportation between the interior of the country
and the sea-coast. Therefore, before proceeding any
further with the description of the country, it is as well
to say something of the means of internal and external
communication. Guatemala, in these respects, has
made rapid strides during the last ten years. 'The
favourable geographical position of the country will
more easily be realized when it is pointed out that
the Atlantic coast ports are within four days steam
of New York, within three of New Orleans, and ten
of Liverpool. Those on the Pacific coast are ports of
call for regular lines of steamers to and from the
Far East, San Francisco, and all the ports on the west
coast of South America.
When once the shores of Guatemala are reached,
almost every populated portion of the country may be
visited by railway. The 44o miles of railroad being
laid out systematically, all important points are well
served, considering the vast area and sparse population
of the country through which the lines run. The most
important system is the Transcontinental, which runs
from Puerto Barrios on the Altantic, through Guate-
mala City, to San Jos6 on the Pacific. This wonderful
railway connects the capital of the republic with the
principal ports on both oceans. The variety and beauty







THE GUATEMALA OF TO-DAY 75
of the scenery bordering this line merits a full descrip-
tion in a later chapter. The road rises from the blue
waters of the Pacific, and passes through the sugar and
coffee plantations to the fir-clad cordillera of the Andes,
where the air is heavy with the scent of the pine.
Thence the line runs down to the Atlantic coast,
affording a view of 190 miles of ever-changing scene.
The tepid breeze is perfumed with the scent of the
northern rose ; then, as the train reaches the tropical
plains, orange groves take the place of pine forests,
and the rich perfume of wild magnolias, and other
flowers of the torrid zone, adds to the enchantment of
these wide stretches of banana, palm and fern.
The other railways of Guatemala are the Verapaz
and Ocos lines in the north of the state ; the Great
Western, which passes through Retalhuleu, and ter-
minates at Champerico, a relatively large port on the
Pacific; and the Urban Railway, which has for its sphere
of activity the capital and surrounding districts.
Second only to the means of transportation come the
systems for the quick transmission of messages. The
postal service of the republic has recently been re-
organised on a thoroughly efficient basis, and every
year sees an increase in the amount of correspondence
handled, and an equal increase in the rapidity with
which the mails are sorted, despatched and delivered.
The approximate number of post offices established in
the country, at the moment of writing, is 280, and the
actual extent of the telegraphic net is 4000 miles. The
remarkably cheap rate charged for the transmission
of telegrams causes this national system to be much
used, and consequently it yields an important annual
revenue. The telephonic net is also fairly extensive,
and the number of subscribers is steadily on the
increase.
The principal seaports of the republic, on the Pacific
coast, are San Jos6, Champerico, and Ocos; and, on








76 GUATEMALA
the Atlantic, or Gulf of Honduras, Puerto Barrios, Santo
Tomas and Livingston.1 These important shipping
centres are the doors through which the principal
foreign commerce enters and leaves the country.
The present importance of the oversea trade of
Guatemala is nothing compared with its future possi-
bilities. The opening of the Transcontinental Railway,
and the increasing interest evinced by European and
American financiers and merchants in the exploitation
of the rich virgin lands and forests, together with the
opening up of several mineral zones, and the stimulus
given to immigration by the recently enacted Liberal
laws, has already had an effect upon the maritime
commerce of the country ; and when the great natural
wealth of Guatemala; much of which at present lies
dormant, is exploited, as doubtless it will be during
the next few years, then both the internal and external
trade of the country will receive a great impetus.
Having now reviewed the country, its history, its
administration, and its commercial status and de-
velopment, details of finance and commerce must be
left for the present, and the exploration commenced
of this interesting portion of the once famous Spanish-
Colonial Empire.
2 Livingston is named after an English barrister to whom the
framing of the original Guatemalan Code was entrusted.





































The Plaza, Quezaltenango, Guatemala


Ruins, Antigua, Guatemala. An old Spanish Gateway,
a Relic of the Colonial Days
Facing page 76













CHAPTER VII


THE ATLANTIC COAST

ALL around are the weedy waters of the Gulf of Arma-
tique shimmering in the noonday glare. The coast is
scarcely discernible through the heat mist; then, as
the distance lessens, and the steamer approaches the
shore, tall coco-palms and tropical foliage, moist, green,
and exuberant, appear on every side. This is the ocean
voyager'sfirst glimpseof Guatemala after steaming down
the coast from New Orleans, or crossing the Atlantic
from Liverpool, Hamburg, or other European ports.
The 150 miles of north-eastern frontier, usually
termed the Atlantic coast, is in reality washed by the
waters of the Gulf of Armatique, which is an extensive
arm of the Bay of Honduras. This broad stretch of
water, sufficient in area to accommodate half the fleets
of Europe, is almost entirely enclosed by picturesque
growth-covered banks, sloping gently upwards to
ridges of low hills.
Dazzling white houses peep out from amid the tangled
vegetation, and everything looks lifeless and still in the
sweltering heat; but this peaceful view of tropical
beauty soon vanishes, as the vessel draws closer to the
shore, and the town of Livingston hoves in sight.
Getting disembarked at Livingston is comparatively
simple, but it must not be supposed that landing at
Guatemalan ports is always a particularly pleasant
operation. The harbour of Champerico, for example,
exists only in imagination, and between the steamer and
the land are some two or three miles of ocean swell,







78 GUATEMALA
which has to be crossed in a small lighter hauled by
a steam tug. As you near your destination the tug
casts off, and when the nose of your boat has bumped
a due number of times against the pier-head, you are
suddenly switched up some fifty feet into space, and
deposited, in a shaken condition, upon Guatemalan
territory. Even these watery and aerial flights do not
end your troubles, since the Government has developed
a bad habit of leasing the landing-places of the country
to private individuals or companies, who, consequently,
have you more or less at their mercy, which is small.
When they have duly levied toll upon you, you are
puffed off to a custom-house, whose limited officials
cast a keen eye upon your baggage ; and, unless you
have introductions to persons high in power, will teach
you at once that Guatemala is a protected country.
The voice of the Free Trader is not heard in the land.
But let us return to Livingston. This important
shipping centre is situated at the mouth of the Rio
Dulce, at the extremity of the Gulf. Previous to the
building of the Transcontinental Railway, which con-
nects the neighboring town of Puerto Barrios with
the capital and the Pacific coast, Livingston was the
most frequented port on the Atlantic side. Now, how-
ever, the newly planned modern city, Puerto Barrios, at
the terminus of the railway, has caused many merchants
and shipping agents to forsake the old for the new.
Livingston can boast of few fine buildings; neverthe-
less, it certainly has its attractions for the traveller.
A shallow bar prevents steamers, even of moderate
draught, from approaching the wharf, or entering the
river, although the Rio Dulce is one of the finest rivers
in Central America, and is navigable for many miles.
Steam tenders are used for disembarking passengers
and goods, which makes landing at times very difficult.
Livingston is a typical, small, Central American town,
consisting of the native portion, formed of one-storey







THE ATLANTIC COAST 79
whitewashed buildings; the plaza, which faces the
quay, and is surrounded by offices with projecting
roofs to shield the windows from the almost perpendi-
cular rays of the sun; and the one imposing building
of the place-the custom-house. At the back of the
town, on raised ground, are situated the more preten-
tious buildings and bungalows, in which the wealthy
portion of the population resides.
The surroundings of Livingston are, however, more
attractive to the traveller ; for here one may penetrate
into the depths of vast forests, or visit one of the many
banana estates. The native population are Caribs,
who, although of a peaceful and contented disposition,
are somewhat lazy. The tall, upright forms of these
women, carrying heavy burdens on their heads, and
the passing of mules laden with fruit and other mer-
chandise, form the usual street scenes ; while, lying off
the town, on the blue waters of the Gulf, numerous
large steamers may nearly always be observed. The
conveyance of merchandise between the ships and the
shore, in large lighters, forms a very important and
lucrative industry.
Not satisfied with the rapidly growing port of Living-
ston, the Government commenced the construction of
what, in a few years' time, will doubtless be one of the
most modern cities on the east coast of Central America.
Puerto Barrios was the name given to this new shipping
centre, which is situated not many miles from Living-
ston, on the opposite side of the Gulf, and within a few
miles of St Tomas, another small coast town.
Puerto Barrios, the Atlantic terminus of the Trans-
continental Railway, will be extended and improved
each year. The choice of a suitable site for the con-
struction of this important new seaport required much
patient deliberation. In the first instance, it was neces-
sary to choose a position where the water frontage was
unprotected by a shoal or bar, and where the depth of







80 GUATEMALA
water alongside the quays would never be less than that
required by large steamships; secondly, the surround-
ing country should be open, and free from serious ob-
structions which would interfere with the plans adopted
for the erection of the city. A large bay, situated some
three miles from St Tomis, offered all the necessary
qualifications and others besides, the only drawback
being the somewhat low ground. Eventually, after
the whole Atlantic coast had been thoroughly explored,
this was the site chosen, and, to-day, a growing seaport
and Trans-American Railway terminus occupies the
grass and palm-tree covered plain where, in bygone
ages, the Caribs landed and established a village, after
being driven from their homes on the islands of the
Caribbean Sea. The villages in this district, with their
huts made of palm and bamboo, resemble those of
Africa. Between the dwellings run narrow paths over-
grown with grass and weeds, and cumbered with thorns
and branches that catch and cling to one's clothing.
Huts are constructed merely of bamboo poles set in the
ground at the covers, the walls being constructed of
horizontal rods or poles, sometimes filled in with mortar
or stones. The steep roof is covered with a thatch of
palm leaves or banana stalks.
About Puerto Barrios little can be said, for it is a
city in the making; and any details which might now
be given would in a few months become out of date,
and in a year or two positively libellous.
The Atlantic coast of Guatemala is famous the world
over for its production of choice tropical fruits, especi-
ally bananas, which are exported to the United States
in immense quantities. The coffee production is also
very large, but at present not equal to the amount
grown on the Pacific coast. The dense forests on the
Atlantic slope abound with valuable woods and other
sylvan products. Mahogany, rubber-trees, ceiba and
mangroves, besides other varieties, rear their lofty




































Plaza de Centro-America, Quezaltenango, Guatemala


'1-


A Street Scene in Quezaltenango, Guatemala


Facing fage 81







THE ATLANTIC COAST 81
heads above the tangled mass of luxuriant foliage
which completely covers the rich brown soil in the
fertile valleys. Growing wild in these jungles, are
cocoa, rubber, sarsaparilla, vanilla, and many other
products of medicinal or of commercial utility.
In the almost dark recesses of the forest glades the
atmosphere is hot and damp, and one breathes the
peculiar, heavy odour of the tropical jungle, so
familiar to travellers in Equatoria. The rich green
foliage, and the lighter-hued fronds of the feathery
palm form an Arcadian background for the many bright
flowers which climb the tree trunks, or peep from
beneath the moist and exuberant vegetation. Orchids,
convolvuluses, and a hundred other species of flora,
intermingle with the many kinds of fern and tropical
growth.
Perhaps the most notable inhabitants of this leafy
Arcadia are the birds, whose brilliant plumage and
plaintive song is the one enlivening note that breaks
the silence of these woodland glades. Among the
many varieties in this natural aviary, the one deserving
special note is the quetzal, the sacred bird of Guatemala,
chosen, since it cannot survive captivity, as the national
emblem of liberty. The bright colours of the quetzal
form a striking contrast to the dark green and brown
of the boughs upon which it sits for hours in solemn
silence. Its body, jet-black and pale grey, the wings
of a brilliant green, and the breast of soft, fluffy feathers
coloured the brightest red, and the lovely tail feathers,
of hues varying from dark green to indigo, and of a
length that often reaches three feet, make it one of the
most beautiful birds of the American continent. In
ancient days, only the royal family might adorn them-
selves with these splendid plumes. They grow upon
the male bird only; consequently the female bird is
able to live a life of comparative immunity from the
Indian hunters, who bring the skins from the forests







82 GUATEMALA
for sale in the towns. This fact probably accounts
in part for the perpetuation of the species. The quetzal
perches itself on the topmost boughs of the most lofty
trees, in the thickest and least penetrable portions of
the forests, and will remain in one position for hours
without uttering the slightest sound. It is one of the
few specimens which it is almost impossible to tame,
and, for this reason, as well as for its beauty, Guatema-
lans regard the killing of this bright-coloured, sober
little fighter almost as a sacrilege, and, in their natural
admiration, have adopted it as the emblem of the
republic.
A steamboat trip from the port of Livingston, up the
Rio Dulce, affords, perhaps, one of the best ways of
visiting the interior towns of the Atlantic slopes, giving,
at the same time, ample opportunities for staying at
some of the largest fruit estancias which border the
river. At certain periods of the year the high banks of
the Rio Dulce present one of the most beautiful sights
to be seen anywhere. From the boughs of the most
lofty trees a fine network of green fibre hangs like a
gauze veil over the vivid colours of the flower-covered
banks.
Orange groves and banana plantations stretch away
for miles on either side. So important has the fruit-
growing industry become, that several lines of steam-
ships are almost entirely engaged in transporting the
fruit, rubber, and coffee grown on the Atlantic coast
of Guatemala to the great markets of North America.
Several small villages, principally inhabited by
natives, are situated along the banks of the river, but
the only town of any importance whatsoever is San
Felipe, which stands at the entrance to Lake Izabal.
A stone fort of Spanish origin guards the narrow water-
way leading to the lake, and with the custom-house,
and one or two other buildings, form the only objects
of special interest in the place.







THE ATLANTIC COAST 88
As the steamer crosses the narrows and enters Lake
Izabal, a magnificent view unfolds itself. Far away
to the south the lofty peaks of the Sierra de las Minas
form a rugged horizon against the deep blue of the
sky; in the foreground plantations of oranges, limes,
guavas, and bananas, with here and there the dazzling
white houses of estate-owners, facing the clear waters
of the lake, and everything, even the vegetation,
looking hot and sleepy in the noonday glare-for it is a
time when Nature seems to rest a while in the tropics-
makes a picturesque landscape, the charm of which lies
not only in the brilliant lights and shades, but in the
gentle, flower-scented breeze, the ripple of the water
against the steamers' bows, and the total absence
of all excitement and noise, which, to the traveller
accustomed to the buzz and hum of great cities,
brings a sense of unwonted rest in this veritable
Garden of Eden.
In the moist, sunny climate of Lake Izabal, Nature is
fecund and prodigal of plant and animal life. Well she
may be, since no rival ever comes to challenge perpetual
summer's supremacy. Her pageant of blue and green
never passes through autumn's gold and brown to
winter's silver and grey. Amidst an untold variety of
forest trees and ferns and plants hum myriads of mos-
quitoes and other insects; here, too, flit dragon-flies
in zigzag courses; gaudy butterflies, of every hue
and shape of wing, balance upon trembling flowers and
ferns; winged life, creeping life, is above you and
below.. Humming-birds, like midsummer fairies, on
sportive errands, dart from pool to pool, poise over
the flowers, and among the boughs. Each leaf and
blade, in Lowell's words, is "some happy creature's
palace."
The town of Izabal, in the time of the Spanish
dominion, the most important commercial centre on the
Atlantic coast, is now but a quaint collection of houses,







84 GUATEMALA
with few attractions, except the beauty of the surround-
ing district. The rapid progress in the cities of Central
Guatemala has robbed this portion of the state of
much of its former activity, and the advantages offered
by the railway lines running through other portions of
the country have caused many rich planters to quit their
holdings, and take others in districts where the transport
facilities are greater.
It must not, however, be deduced from these remarks
that the east and north of the country are destitute of
population and industry; on the contrary, the gentle,
fertile slopes from the cordillera to the Atlantic are
fairly well covered with rich plantations, and there are
several small towns, such as Babasco, Zacapa, San
Pablo, Cahabon, Panzos, Salama, and others; but the
great commercial activity of the country is carried
on in the cities of the highlands and the Pacific
coast, although a large quantity of fruit annually
leaves the country through the ports of Livingston,
Puerto Barrios and St Toms the harbour of the
latter place being one of the safest and largest in
Central America.
When leaving the Atlantic coast by the Northern
Railway (that branch of the Transcontinental system
which connects the capital with Puerto Barrios) the
traveller will experience but little feeling of regret,
for although the virgin forests, jungles of palms, orchards
of limes, groves of oranges, and plantations of bananas,
combined with the ever-changing beauty of tropical
scenery, where the maximum luxuriance of vegetation
is reached, certainly offer many attractions, the visitor
will naturally be eager to see Guatemala proper-
" the nation on the tableland "--and to feel the cool
breezes of the mountains which quickly dispel the
malaria of the coast. He will promise himself, too, a
visit to the wonderful ruins of Antigua, the capital in
the early colonial days, where even now one can live








THE ATLANTIC COAST 85
again, in imagination, the stirring lives of the brave
pioneers, who first conquered the land for the Crown
of Spain; and, with such a prospect in view, he will
hasten to quit the torrid regions of the coast, and
commence the journey from ocean to ocean.













CHAPTER VIII


FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC

THE Interoceanic Railway, which completely crosses
the republic, is divided into two distinct sections.
That portion of the line running from Puerto Barrios
to Guatemala City is known as the Northern Railroad;
and the line connecting the capital with the Pacific port
of San Jos6, as the Central. The distance from ocean to
ocean, by these two railways, is 269 miles.
The many difficulties encountered and overcome by
the constructors of the Northern Railway it would be
impossible to describe here ; sufficient to say that, in
a few hours from the time of leaving Guatemala City,
the train has traversed the plateau, crossed the heights
of the Andean Cordillera, and descended into the
tropical forests of the coast-the result of a marvellous
feat of engineering skill and administrative ability.
It is necessary, before commencing the journey over
these parallel lines of metal, to realise the commercial
importance of this road, both to the country across
which it runs, as well as to the other nations of the same
continent, and even, in a minor degree, to those of
Europe. It places the Pacific coast within eleven days'
journey of London, Liverpool, and Havre, and thus
considerably shortens the distance between Europe and
the Far East, and also the rapidly growing Pacific ports
of South America. It opens up the rich pastoral,
agricultural, and mineral lands of Central America, and
places Guatemala City within five days' journey of New
York, within eleven of London, twelve of Hamburg,
eleven of Havre, and four of New Orleans. The







FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC 87
advantages to Guatemala, both political and com-
mercial, of this Transcontinental Railway, cannot be
overestimated, and the foregoing should serve to
demonstrate its importance to the commercial world.
The Northern Railway, by far the longest and most
important section of this system, was commenced during
the presidency of J. Rufino Barrios; but, as has been
the case with many another sorely needed undertaking,
it was left to the present administration to give the im-
petus necessary for its successful completion. The line
was opened on I9th January 9o8, by President Cabrera,
and the representatives of many nations, who had been
invited to join in the ceremony of the inauguration of
the first Central American Transcontinental Railway.
The Central Railroad, connecting the capital with the
Pacific coast, was opened in the year 1884, and nearly
every year since its completion there has been a con-
siderable increase in the number of passengers and the
amount of merchandise carried. The success of this;
the first railroad constructed in Guatemala, prompted
the extension of this line from Santa Maria, through
the rich coffee-producing zones of the western coast to
Mazatenango, placing the latter important centre in
direct communication with the Mexican frontier.
SThe journey from Puerto Barrios to Guatemala City,
which occupies about twelve hours, takes the traveller
through three different regions-the tropical forest-
covered lowlands of the coast, the fir-clad mountains
of the low cordillera, on to the lofty plateau of Central
Guatemala.
During the first few hours of the journey, after leaving
Puerto Barrios, the train passes through dense forests
of palms, orange groves, and mangrove-trees; in the
far distance, blue mountains, with summits clothed in
cloud, complete the panorama.
The warm breeze, coming through the open windows
of the carriages, is heavily scented with the odour of the




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