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Regional History

The majority of the Pacific Coast’s long and glorious history is lost to the past. Archeological sites have been destroyed or are hidden amongst extensive farmlands and from what is known, experts argue as to exactly when, how and who. However, there is still hope as continued excavations at sites like Abaj Takalik reveal structures buried several feet underground.

The Olmecs had a thriving civilization during the pre-classic period, the most notable remnants of which are several big heads and one of the earliest forms of writing found in Guatemala, but then that could have been the Mayans - it all depends on whether they intermingled or not. The legendary symbol of the Jaguar God, and symbol of Santa LucĂ­a Cotzumalguapa, definitely first appeared in Olmec art and was later adopted by the Mayans as a representation of earth and night.

After the Olmecs, came the Ă“cos and Iztapa cultures, followed by the Pipil who moved in sometime between 400 and 900AD. The Pipil were the ones to fight the Spanish, and many of the indigenous people of the Pacific Coast today are descended from them, but Pedro de Alvarado conquered all and continued up to Xela. Pedro also established the first seaport of Guatemala in Iztapa where he harbored his fleet.

Modern Pacific Coast is a hodge-podge of farmland, coastal villages and inland towns displaying various degrees of development. The farms have mostly turned to sugar-cane and the large factory just outside of Santa Lucia is the main aggregator in the area. However, coffee, bananas, rubber and maize are still popular crops and there are a small number of eco-conscious fincas on the outskirts of Reu.

Largely overlooked in the past, except as a source of agriculture, the Pacific Coast is beginning to show the benefits of increased investment as town squares are renovated and infra-structure is improved. More towns and villages are starting to actively encourage tourism, both resident and overseas, but the impact on the environment is rarely considered. Monterrico is more aware than most and their efforts to develop within a fragile eco-system, by keeping businesses small and local, should be encouraged.










By Kathryn
Independent and optimistic, I believe in following your dreams and have been doing just that, traveling the world for the last 9 years. British by...
09 Mar 2010






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