On Sept. 15, 1821, the Central American colonies declared their independence from the Spanish crown.
Guatemala Independence Day History
From 1811 to 1818, Captain General José de Bustamante ruled the Kingdom of Guatemala. He suppressed all attempts toward independence thus preserving the region’s allegiance to Spain. King Ferdinand VII was restored to the Spanish throne after the French were defeated in Spain in 1814. However, a revolt ensued around 1820 in Spain thereby restoring the constitution of 1812. During this period local election campaigns followed in Central America and an intense political rivalry emerged between the liberal and the conservative factions of the elite.
Guatemala was fortunate to have gained independence from Spain without much blood being spilt compared to the wars that occurred to most countries of Latin America. On September 15, 1821, a council of distinquished personages in Guatemala City proclaimed independence from Spain and they formed a government with Gabino de Gainza, as the chief executive.
From 1898 to 1920, Guatemala was ruled by the dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera, whose access to the presidency was helped by the United Fruit Company. It was during his long presidency that the United Fruit Company became a major force in Guatemala.
Secretary of State
On behalf of the people of the United States, I would like to extend my warm congratulations to the people of Guatemala as they celebrate the 188th anniversary of their Proclamation of Independence on September 15.
As school children parade through the streets and Guatemalans across the country and around the world join in the celebration of Independence Day, they can be proud of Guatemala’s accomplishments as a unique, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic nation. This is an opportunity to honor their rich cultural heritage and to reaffirm their commitment to democracy, equality, justice, and prosperity for all.
It will also be a day of celebration for Guatemalans in the United States, who are valued members of our own diverse nation and have contributed so much to our culture and our economy.
On this historic occasion, let me reaffirm the commitment of the United States to strengthen our partnership with Guatemala and work together to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.