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The Maya of Guatemala

1 September 1994

The survival of 21 different Maya speaking peoples in Guatemala is a living testimony to their powers of resistance. In recent years, the brutal conquest of their cities and mountain lands by Spanish conquistadores in the early sixteenth century, has been replayed in all its horrors. In the 1980s alone, the Guatemalan army is conservatively estimated to have murdered 20,000 Maya. Whole villages were wiped out, as at least 120,000 fled into Mexico and 500,000 became internal refugees.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

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