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Quetzaltenango Department

4.2
Landmarks · Volcanos · Bodies of Water
Quetzaltenango is a department in the western highlands of Guatemala. The capital is the city of Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in Guatemala. The department is divided up into 24 municipalities. The inhabitants include Spanish-speaking Ladinos and the K'iche' and Mam Maya groups, both with their own Maya language. The department consists of mountainous terrain, with its principal river being the Samalá River. the department is seismically active, suffering from both earthquakes and volcanic activity.Prior to the Spanish conquest the territory included in the modern department formed a part of the K'iche' Kingdom of Q'umarkaj. The kingdom was defeated by the Spanish under Pedro de Alvarado in a number of decisive battles fought near the city of Quetzaltenango, then known as Xelaju. In the 19th century the territory of the modern department was included in the short-lived Central American state of Los Altos. The department was created by decree in 1845, five years after the fledgling state was crushed by Rafael Carrera.
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Places to visit in Quetzaltenango Department