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Prepared in Cooperation with the United States Department of 

Stale as a Project of the Interdepartmental Committee 

on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation 










Prepared in Cooperation with the United States Department of State as a I'rojttt of the 
Interdepartmental Committee on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation 


a ^u,i^ 2Z, \^47 

For sale hy the Superintendent of Documents, U. S, Government Printing Office 

Washington 25, D. C. 


Smithsonian Institution, 
Institute of Social Anthropology, 
Washington 25, D. C, June 21. 1945. 

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a 
manuscript entitled "Cuhural and Historical Geogra- 
phy of Southwest Guatemala," by Felix Webster 
McBryde, and to recommend that it be published as 
Publication Number 4 of the Institute of Social 
AnthroiDolog}% which has been established by the 
Smithsonian Institution as an autonomous unit of the 
Bureau of American Ethnology to carry out coopera- 
tive work in social anthropology with the Anu-rican 
Republics as part of the program of the Inter- 
departmental Committee on Scientific and Cultural 

Very respectfully yours, 

Julian H. Stf.ward, Director. 

Dr. Alexander Wetmore, 

Secretary of the Siiiilh.uiiiiaii Iii.ititiiliou. 


I ' JUL 28 1947 



Foreword ix 

Preface xii' 

Introduction 1 

Field studies 2 

Landscape types 4 

The Coastal Plain (/o casta) 4 

The piedmont (la boca casta) 5 

The recent volcanoes 6 

The Cordillera (Liis Alios) and Contincnlal 

Divide 6 

Interior valleys: Kio Cuilco, Rio Negro, and Rio 

Motagua 7 

The limestone massif: Los Altos Cuchumatanes 7 

Demography 9 

Population () 

Ethnographic elements in the modern population 9 

Indians ') 

Ladinos ] 2 

Negroes 13 

Population densities and centers 14 

Physical factors affecting population density 14 

Cultural factors affecting population density 15 

Towns and villages 15 

Agriculture and food supply 16 

Maize cultivation : the milpa 16 

Highland milpas 17 

Lowland milpas 22 

New World crops other than maize grown in the 

Highlands 25 

Beans 25 

Cucurbits 25 

Manioc 26 

Tomatoes 26 

Potatoes 27 

Old World crops of post-Conquest introduction 27 

Highland field crops 27 

Highland fruits 29 

Lowland crops 29 

Money crops 30 

Vegetable-garden culture 30 

Solola-Panajachel area 30 

Almolonga 31 

Aguacatan 32 

Plantation culture 2i 

Cacao 33 

Coffee 34 

Bananas 35 

Cinnamon and sesame 36 

Domesticated animals 37 

Cattle 37 

Beasts of burden 37 

Sheep and goats 38 

Pigs • 38 

Fowls 39 

Undomesticated food animals 39 

Iguanas 39 

Caymans 41 


Houses 41 

House plans : dwellings .' 41 

Construction 42 

Frames and walls 42 

Roofs 44 

Shape 44 

Pitch 44 

Materials 44 

Crests 46 

Houseliold furnishings 47 

Structures other than dwellings 47 

Indian costumes 48 

Early types 48 

Modern costumes 49 

Men's dress 49 

Women's costumes 51 

Crafts and industries 54 

Pottery , 54 

Basketry 56 

Tree calabashes (jicaras) 57 

Foodstuffs 57 

Lime 60 

Metates (grinding stones) 60 

Textiles 61 

Stick-loom weaving 61 

Treadle-loom weaving 62 

Cotton 62 

Wool 63 

Wool dyeing 65 

Cantel electric cotton mill 66 

Palm-leaf raincapes (suyacalcs) 67 

Palm hats 67 

Mats 68 

Sandals and other leatherwork 68 

Dance regalia 68 

Lumber 69 

Furniture 69 

Ropes 69 

Brooms 70 

Soap 70 

Candles 70 

Charcoal 71 

Incense 71 

Commerce and markets 71 

Ancient trade 71 

Local specialization 72 

Mineral and forest products 72 

Agricultural products and associated goods 74 

Fish, reptiles, and wild game 79 

Pottery SO 

Textiles 80 

Coarse fiber goods 81 

Miscellaneous products 81 

Markets 81 

Factors underlying markets 82 

Vendors and the market place 83 

Market days 83 


Commerce ;iiid markets — Continued 
Markets — Continued 

Selling and taxation 83 

Fairs and pilgrimages 84 

Settlements and settlement patterns 85 

Size and composition 85 

The Spanish town pattern 86 

Town names ■. 88 

The municipio 88 

General features 88 

Cultural unity of municipios 89 

Santiago Atitlan : municipio boundary changes 91 

Land tenure 95 

Clustered and dispersed settlements 96 

Nucleating factors in settlements around Lake 

Atitlan 97 

Santiago Atitlan 97 

San Lucas, San Pedro, and San Juan 101 

North shore villages 102 

Ropemaking centers : San Pedro and San 

Pablo 103 

San Marcos 120 

Santa Cruz and Tzununa 121 

Garden villages 121 

Santa Catarina Palopo 123 

San Antonio Palopo 124 

Granaries of the eastern Lake region 125 

Environmental basis of settlements away from 

Lake Atitlan 126 

Quezaltenango-Totonicapan Valley region . . . 126 

Summary and conclusions 128 

Appendix 1. Summary notes on the physical environ- 
ment 131 

Geologic foundation of the landscape 131 

Climate and weather 131 

Soil types 132 

Natural vegetation 132 

Regions of special emphasis in the field work .... 132 

Appendix 2. Major cultivated plants native to the 

Americas or early introduced 134 

Chief crops in Guatemala subsistence agriculture 134 

Maize, or Indian corn 134 

Beans 134 

Probable origins of I'hascolits species in 

Guatemala 135 


Appendix 2. Major cultivated plants native to the 
Americas or early introduced — Continued 

Chief crops in Guatemala subsistence agriculture — 

Squashes, pumpkins, and gourds (family 

Cucurbitaceae) 136 

Cucurbila spp 136 

American cucurbits not in the genus 

Cucurbila 137 

Exotic cucurbits probably of pre-Colum- 
bian introduction 138 

Chiles (Capsicum spp.) 138 

Secondary American starches: tuber and root 

crops 139 

Miscellaneous native American plants 140 

Cultivated and semicultivated plants employed in 

textile crafts ■ 142 

Century plant (maguey, Agave spp.) 142 

Tuna ("prickly pear," Nopdca spp. and 

Opuatia spp. ) 142 

Blue-dye plants 143 

Cotton 143 

Native Highland fruit trees 144 

Appendix 3. Useful plants of the (/luatemala Pacific 

region 145 

Palms 145 

Cohniie (corozo) 145 

Coco 145 

Coyol 145 

Pacaya 146 

Native fruit trees 146 

Exotic fruit trees 147 

Minor fruits (probably indigenous) 147 

Miscellaneous useful planis 147 

Herbs 147 

Swordbcan 147 

Annalto 148 

Palaxte ' 148 

Calabash, or gourd, tree 148 

Hedge plants 148 

Plants used for roofing, furniture, etc 148 

Minor planis 149 

Glossary 150 

Bibliography 157 

Explanation of plates ' 161 

Inde.x of place names and geographical regions 181 


(All plates at end of book) 

Frontispiece. A San Andres Xeciil Indian soap vendor 

counting her change in the San Francisco el Alto market. 

(Sketch by Frances Van Winkle McBryde.) 

1. Pacific Littoral, a. Dugout canoes at Tahuesco. b, 
Fresh-water well in the high sand barrier beach of 
Tahuesco. c. Washing clothes with well water carried 

in a gasoline can. d. Salt extraction from playa de- 8. 

posits at Tahuesco. e, Sun-evaporated salt at Puerto 
San Jose. 

2. Pacific Coastal Lowlands and piedmont, a, Corozo palm 
{Orbignya' cohuHc) forest about 5 miles inland from 
Tahuesco. b. Sewing a sttyacal (corozo palm-leaf rain- 
cape) at San Sebastian Retalhulcu. c. San Sebastian 9. 
suyacales for sale at Solola by San Sebastian merchant. 

d, San Sebastian girl of 16 years carrying a water jar 
(tinaja) . e, Anvil top of an intense coastal thunderhead 
near Mazatenango looking southwest from Highland 
Panajachel. /, General view of San Pedro Cutzan. 
g, San Pedro Cutzan dwellings. 

3. Pacific Coastal Lowlands and piedmont, a, Cartload 10. 
of hoja de sal (Calathea) leaves for thatch, fc. Thatch- 
ing a house with hoja de sal at San Pablo .focopilas. 

c. Dwelling at Santo Domingo Suchitepequez. d. Clear- 
ing weeds for planting milpa at San Bernardino, r, 
Load of Aguacatan (Highland) baskets near Pueblo 
Nuevo, headed for San Felipe market. /, Mazatenango, 
looking north from railway station. 

4. Pacific Coastal Lowlands and piedmont, a, Ladino 
fisherman making a net at Dolores Apulo, on Lake 11. 
Ilopango, El Salvador, b. Men fishing with small hand 

nets in the Tarro River, San Pedro Cutzan. c, Load 12. 

of Totonicapan tinware near Chicacao carried by an 
itinerant merchant. d. Young cattle from eastern 
Guatemala sold at Santo Tomas la Union by an Indian 
of Santiago Atitlan. e, Chicacao market scene. 

5. Guatemala Lowlands and piedmont, a, Market of San 
Antonio Husita (Department of Huehuetenango). b, 
Atitlan volcano viewed from Finca Moca, elevation 
about 1,000 m. c, Heavy vegetation in the rainy mon- 
soon area of the Pacific versant. d, Finca Helvetia, U. 
coffee drying m foreground, e. Cutting bananas at 
Finca Santa Adela, just east of Mazatenango. /, In- 
dians loading bananas on freight cars for rail shipment 

to east-coast Puerto Barrios. 

6. Lake Atitlan region map and index of costumes worn 
in Lake municipios. 

7. Costumes of Lake Atitlan region (from water colors 14. 
by Frances Van Winkle McBryde). a, Solola man 
(Sololatcco). b, Solola man wearing coat, c, SololS 
woman (Sololateca). d, Panajachel man (Panajach- 
elefio), new style, e, Panajachel man, old style. /, 
Santa Catarina Palopo man (Catarineco). g, Santa 
Catarina Palopo woman (Catarineca). h, San Andres 

Semetebaj woman (Sanandresana). i, San Pedro la 
Laguna man (Pedrano). j, Santiago Atitlan man 
(Atiteco) old style. k, Santiago Atitlan woman 
(Atiteca), old style. /, Santiago Atitlan man, new style. 
m, Santiago Atitlan woman, new style, n, Cerro de Oro 
woman, o, San Antonio Palopo man (Antohero). 
Indian types in the Lake Atitlan region, a, Nahuala 
woman (Nahaulefia, Xancatal). b, Santo Tomas 
Chichicastenango man (maxeiio). c, Santo Tomas 
Chichicastenango woman (Maxeiia). d, Tecpan woman 
(Tecpaneca). c, San Juan Comalapa woman (Comala- 
pena), in Tecpan market. 

Stick-loom weaving and spinning, a, Panajachel woman 
weaving: lifting licddle and pushing batten through, b, 
Panajachel woman weaving: packing down weft thread 
with batten, c, San Antonio Palopo woman weaving: 
lifting heddle and pushing up reeds which maintain warp 
cross, d, San Pedro la Laguna girl spinning white 

Solola and vicinity, a, Solola seen fro.m steep slope to 
north, looking due south, b, Adobe and thatch Indian 
dwelling in east central Solola. c. Lower course and 
delta of Quixcap River, flowing into Lake Atitlan. d, 
Looking south along a Solola street, e, Cornfield about 
4 miles north of Solola ; elevation about 2500 m. f, 
Father and son making adobe blocks in the lower part 
(south) of Solola, looking northwest, g, Northwest 
edge of Solola (Quixcap River valley). March 1932. 
Indians going to Solola market. Ancient trail to Con- 
cepcion just east of .Solola. 

Indians going to the Solola market, a, Adjusting a 
muleload of onions at Panajachel. b, Selling honey from 
Antigua at Solola during the Semana de Dolores fair. 
c, Santiago Atitlan men arriving at Solola with Lowland 
cargoes in carrying frames (^cacastes). d, San Jorge 
(Solola) man climbing trail to Solola market with a 
gasoline-box load of panela. c, Load of iguanas from 
Chicacao passing Panajachel en route to the 

Animals to market, a, Two iguanas, a [larrot, and trop- 
ical fruit on the trail just below Solola (from a water 
color by the author), b, Solola women in their Friday 
market with a turkey and two chickens for sale, c, 
Chichicastenango and Quiche (extreme left) men sell- 
ing young pigs from Chiche at Solola. Inset shows 
manner of driving pigs. 

Solola market and vendors, a, Argueta (Totonicapan) 
pottery vendors, headed for Guatemala City, pause for 
lunch on the central square, b, Santo Tomas Chichi- 
castenango merchants selling miscellaneous "ten-cent- 
store" items, c, Totonicapan man selling maize to a 
Solola woman, d, Argueta woman, left, selling vege- 
table pears (giiisquiles) ; two Chichicastenango men 


willi roast cayman (center) from near Tahucsco and 
plantains from Mazatenango; San Antonio Palopo man 
(right) selling aniseed, e, Patanatic (Cliichicastenan- 
go) men selling quicklime. /, Local onion vendors, y, 
In front of the liot-luncli Imollis durin;.^ the Scmana dc 
Dolores fair, 1932. 

15. Solola Easter procession. "El Senor de las tres caidas" 
(image of Christ carrj-ing His cross) moving down east 
side of central park on hooded men's shoulders. 

16. Patron-saint's day procession at San Jorge, below 

17. Ceremonial scenes, a, Maize-planting mass inside a leaf- 
covered shelter near San Jose Chacaya. b. Close-up of 
an altar for a planting ceremony, with corn ears 
dressed as saints, c, Solola chirimia player and his 
drummer son during a fiesta, d, Solola marimba players 
at a small modern instrument, e, Chichicastenango man 
playing old-type marimba with gourd sound-boxes. /, 
Ceremonial dance masks at Solola, en route to a fiesta, 
g, Conijuislador masked dance at San Andres Seme- 

IR. Panajachtl. a, Panajachel River delta and village. 
b, Tzanjuyu (Panajachel) terminal pier and motor 
launch in 19.52. c, Former mouth of Panajachel River, 
flooded by rising lake water, d, Tzanjuyu pier in March 
1936, when water was about 15 feet higher than in 1932. 

19. Panajachel and vicinity. a, Mosaic panorama of 
Panajachel as seen from a 20n-foot cliff at the northern 
edge of the village, b, Indian laborer beside a 3-year-old 
coffee bush (at his right) and shade trees at Finca 
Jaibal, west of Panajachel. c, Jocote varieties grown at 
Panajachel. d, Zacaulpa Indian youth on his way to 
work on a Lowland coffee plantation, spinning black 
wool while waiting for a motor launch, e. Large gully, 
caused by a flood in 1933, just east of the Panajachel 
delta, below San Andres Semetabaj. /, Foot of the 
gully shown in e. 

20. Panajachel vegetable gardens, o, Preparing flat plots 
(tablones). b, General view of gardens in southwestern 
Panajachel (upper right in plate 19, a), c, Panajachel 
man watering onions, using a pan to throw water from 
an irrigation ditch, d, Panajachel women watering hills 
{montows) of pepinos as in c. 

21. Panajachel and vicinity, a, Local products, mostly 
jocotes, sold by women in the Panajachel market, b, 
The mountain road from Panajachel to Solola, blocked 
by a landslide during the rainy season, c. Fine Chinautla 
water jars (tinajas) sold by an Argueta (Totonicapan) 
merchant, d, Typical wattle-and-daub, grass-thatched 
house in northern Panajachel (on road just off section 
shown at bottom of plate 19, a). 

22. Santa Catarina Palopo. a, The village viewed from a 
slope to the west, b, The village from a higher point at 
a greater distance, c, Onion tablones at the lakeshore. 
d, Indian men with fishing equipment, e, Small fish on 
bunchgrass stems, sold by Santa Catarina men in the 
Solola market. /, Santa Catarina crabs as they are sold 
in the market, g, The 1935 intendente (Indian political 
chief) of Santa Catarina with crabbing equipment. 

23. San Antonio Palopo. a, General view of the village, 
looking northwest, b, View of the village looking south- 


west, c, Threshing wheat with horses' hoofs just south 
of Godines, about 500 m. immediately above San An- 
tonio Palopo. d, Santiago Atitlan men on a trail near 
the scene of c, headed for the Tecpan market with 
Lowland fruit. 

24. Boats on Lake Atitlan. a, Santiago mail canoe about 
to land at San Pedro, b. Disembarking and beaching a 
Santiago canoe at Panajachel. c, Large dug-out from 
San Pedro landing at Santiago, d. Motor launch at 
Sanlander pier, Panajachel, loading for a regular trip 
to San Lucas, e, Passengers disembarking from a San- 
tiago canoe at Panajachel. /, Same as d, to show a line 
of pottery merchants about to get aboard. 

25. Santiago Atitlan. a, Thatching a house, b. Arrange- 
ments of houses at the southern edge of the village. 

c, Southern portion of the village, from a lava terrace 
to the east, d. Northern jiorlion of the village (over- 
lapping (■).. e, Scene of the Santiago market. /, Local 
woman carr\ing a timija of water from the Lake to her 

26. San Pedro volcano and village, a, Sununit of the 
volcano as seen from a Pan American transport plane 
flying westward over the village of San Juan, b, Spin- 
ning agave (maguey) strand from raw fiber, c, Com- 
pleting the spinning of three-strand rope at the forked 
stick, d. Scraping flesh from a maguey leaf that has been 
soaked in water, e, Spinning rope. 

27. Santa Cruz and Tzununa (on Lake Atitlan). a, Setting 
of Santa Cruz on a ridge top on the north central Lake 
shore, b, Santa Cruz as viewed from a high slope to 
the northwest, c, Santa Cruz man and woman catching 
small fish with a trap made of burlap coffee sacks. 

d, Tzununa (Santa Cruz) men seine-fishing, e, Santa 
Cruz (Tzununa) men, with old-style dress (three in 
center) and new (ends). /, Santa Cruz men selling 
limas in the Chicacao market. 

28. Santo Tomas Chichicastenango. A portion of the 
market as viewed from the top of the church. 

29. Chichicastenango and vicinity, a, The market seen from 
the pottery section, with the church in the background. 
b, Indian church official ministers to vendors in the 
market, c. Gullying of an overgrazed hillside just west 
of Chiche ; San Pedro Jocopilas pottery, foreground, 
going to the Chiche markcl. 

30. Maize, cornfields (milpas), and erosion, a, Clearing 
high bunchgrass with a hoe, in the Cuchumatanes 
Mountains between San Pedro Soloma and Santa 
Eulalia. b, Cornfield and rural dwellings just south of 
Momostenango. c. Digging deep furrows of a cornfield 
between San Pedro Jocopilas and Sacapulas. d, Maize 
ears from Santa Cruz (Lake Atitlan). e, Head of a 
deep, gullied ravine (barranca) by the main road just 
south of Santa Cruz del Quiche. /, Pinnacled erosion 
features, locally termed "hs riscos," at Momostenango. 

31. Huehuetenango region, a, Todos Santos father (right) 
and son. b, Men of San Juan Atitan. c, Ladino plow- 
ing on the outskirts of Huehuetenango. d. Close-up of 
guitar making by Ladino of Huehuetenango. e, Church 
and market at San Juan Atitan, showing outside cross 
typical of the Cuchumatanes region. /, Todos Santos 
Indian man plowing while his wife, with baby, leads the 
oxen, g, Todos Santos dwelling, showing "scissors" 
sticks commonly used here to weight down roof crest. 

32. Highland sheep pastures, a, Rolling alpine meadows 
in the summit country, above 3,000 m., about 8 miles east 
of Totonicapan. b, Meadows at nearly the same eleva- 
tion 2 or 3 miles farther west, with afternoon clouds 
closing in. c, Sheep in high bunchgrass country at 
about 3,000 m., a mile or so nortli of San Juan Atitan. 
d, Field between San Cristobal Totonicapan and San 
Andres Xecul, showing a sheep pen which is shifted 
every few days to fertilize the soil, e, Field showing 
similar sheep pen between Quezaltenango and Cantel. 

33. Wool weaving in Momostenango. a, Weaver spinning 
"black" (natural brown) wool, b, Weaver and his 
grandsons carding and spinning white wool, c, Spooling 
black wool thread from a reel, d, Spooling thread 
(right) and setting warping frame (left) from the creel 
(right), e. Three generations of weavers twisting fringe 
ends of a finished blanket. 

34. Wool weaving in Momostenango. a, Hot springs by 
the stream just north of the village, where men, women 
and children soak and bathe, and men felt blankets 
(inset: see also d and e). b, Indian family carding, 
spinning, and weaving. c, Dyewoods, mostly from 
Coban, sold in the Momostenango market, d, Momos- 
tenango men felting a blanket by stretching and snap- 
ping it. e, Treading blankets with bare feet; part of 
the felting process. /, Long rows of vendors of woolen 
goods in the market as seen from a church tower, g, 
Heavy figured "muneca" (lit., "doll") blanket of the 
finest tyi-ie made at Momostenango. (In.set shows close- 
up figures of deer-mask dancers, important in local re- 
ligious ceremonies.) 

35. San Francisco el Alto, a. View from church roof show- 
ing a section of the Momostenango market where new " 
blankets are drying in the sun. b, Indian worshippers 
inside the church on market day (Friday), c. View 
from the church roof on market day, showing the main 
market in the square (left) and the animal market on 
higher ground (right) behind the municipal building, d, 
Scene in the market, overlooking the church 
and square. 

3f). San Francisco el Alto market in the centra! square, as 
viewed from the roof of the church. 

37. San Sebastian Coatan and the weaving of shaggy wool 
rugs (f>eyones). a. Home and surroundings of one of 
three related families of weavers, above San Sebastian 
Coatan, at about 2,600 m. elevation in the Cuchumatanes 
Mountains, b. Spinning and weaving beside the house 
at left in a. c. Summit (2,800 m.) meadow and forest 
of pine and cedar shrouded in fog, and five wooden 
crosses over a wayfarers' shrine (right) between Santa 
Eulalia and San Sebastian Coatan. d, Close-up of 
weaver twisting weft loops in bunches to be cut later, 
leaving loose ends 3 to 4 inches long, c. Pulling weft 
thread through the loom. 

38. Upper Samala valley, a, Panoramic mosaic of the 
valley, looking east (left), southeast, and south (right) 
from a slope immediately above Olintepeque (fore- 
ground), b, Chile vendor in the Quezallenango market. 
c, Pie de Volcan women in front of the Quezallenango 
market enclosure, selling firewood from the slopes of 
Cerro Quemado and Santa Maria volcano, d, Santa 
Maria volcano viewed from the nortli base, near the 

settlement of Pie de Volcan. e, Watering place (pita) 
on the central square at San Andres Xecul. /, Pano- 
ramic mosaic of San Andres Xecul from a ridge im- 
mediately west of the village. 

39. Western Guatemala Highlands, a, San Andres Xeciil 
women selling soap in the Salcaja market, b, Party of 
about 30 men thatching a house at San Martin Saca- 
tepequez. c. Three men and a woman of San Martin 
Sacatepequez. d. Electric power dam at Santa Maria, 
on the Samala River below Quezaltenango. e, Aban- 
doned electric railway track just above Santa Maria, 
now used only as a trail by itinerant Indian merchants. 
/, Corozo palm spalhes and palm leaves from San 
Sebastian Retalhuleu sold in Quezaltenango. g, San 
Juan Ixcoy women selling blocks of brown cane sugar 

40. Brocading and foot-loom cotton weaving in the Upper 
Samala valley, a, Ladino weavers at Salcaja, arranging 
strands of jaspe (tie-dyed) yarn with a wooden comb to 
keep a pattern, for winding on the loom as warp thread. 
b, Indian girl of San Andres Xecul brocading a wine- 
colored, figured collar on a \v.hite machine-made cotton 
huipil such as the one she is wearing, c, Totonicapan 
Indian man and his wife weaving bright-colored, figured 
cotton head bands on special treadle looms, d. Trans- 
ferring a strand of white yarn from a number of spools 
on a creel, preparatory to tying and dyeing it with 
indigo, e, Strands of cotton jaspe yarn which has been 
bound with cord at regular intervals so as to form a 
white pattern on indigo blue. 

41. Pottery in western Guatemala, a, Common types of 
pottery for cooking and washing, made in San Cristobal 
Totonicapan and sold in the local market, b, Ladino 
potter using a wheel at Huehuetenango. c, Open-air 
firing of lottery with twigs and bunchgrass at San 
Cristobal Totonicapan, while a Totonicapan pottery 
merchant, having bought a load here (right), prepares 
to set out for a Lowland plaza, d, Three Totonicapan 
merchants with assorted pottery bought in the San 
Francisco el Alto market, head for Lowland Maza- 
tenango via Quezaltenango. e, San Miguel Ixtalniacan 
pottery sold in the San Juan Ostuncalco market. /, 
Small, figured ceramic ware from Totonicapan sold in 
the Chicacao market, g, Assorted pottery, bought in 
the San Francisco el Alto market, sold by merchants 
in the Mazatenango market. 

42. Inland salt, pottery, and other products, a. Two loads 
of San Pedro Jocopilas jars arriving in Santa 
Cruz del Quiche, brought by San Pedro merchants, b, 
Water jars (tinajas) from Chinautia, the finest of this 
type vessel made in Guatemala, sold by an Argueta mer- 
chant in the Santiago Atitlan market, c, Chinautia women 
arriving barefoot with cargoes of water jars carried by 
tumpline (mecapal) from their homes to the Guatemala 
City market, d, Sandals made of discarded automobile 
tires for sale in the San Salvador market ; commonly 
seen also in Guatemala, e, Sacapulas viewed from the 
northeast, showing broad salt playa (light areas left of 
center) just east of the to\vn. /, Sacapulas woman pour- 
ing thick brine, leached from playa (e) dirt, filtered 
and boiled down, into molds, g, Part of a textile woven 
on a stick loom at Concepcion Chiquirichapa (left) 


compared willi a modern Italian textile piece to show 
design similarity. 

43. Rabinal tree-calabash (jicara) industry, a. Preparing 
a pitch pine smudge for soot accumulation in a special 
stone oven, h. Smearing soot on a tree calabash wliich 
has been smoothed with an alder leaf and smeared with 
yellowish wax boiled out of the scale insect Llavca axiii. 
c, Cutting traceries on a blackened tree calabash by turn- 
ing it against a sharp carving tool, d, Female Llavea 
axin and eggs, enlarged 3 diameters, c. Finished jicara 
reduced about 3 diameters. /, Calabash tree (Crescentia 
ahihi) in a dry valley of eastern Ciuatemala, near San 
Pedro Pinula. 

44. Scenes in the Guatemala Highlands, a. Antigua market, 
in the ruins of a colonial church, b, View of the Guate- 
mala Highlands from northwest of Tccpan (fore- 
ground), c, San Antonio *Aguascalientes man near 

' Anti.nua with a load of rushes for mats, d, Antigua and 
volcanoes Fuego (left) and Acatenango, as seen from 
an air transport in the northeast, r, Oxcart in eastern 
Guatemala, near the El Salvador border. /, Selected 
ears of maize for seed, hanging up by a dwelling in San 
Pedro la Laguna. 

4.S. Lake Atitlan shore, northwest sector. (All photographs 
overlap except d and c.) a, San Pedro (center) ; lookin.g 
west, b, San Pablo (center) and San Marcos (right) ; 

looking west-northwest, c, San Pablo (extreme left), 
San Marcos (left center) and Tzununa (right) ; look- 
ing northwest, rf, Tzununa (left) and Jaibalito (extreme 
right), municipio of Santa Cruz; looking northwest, e, 
Santa Cruz (left center) ; looking northwest. /, Solold 
(right center, middle distance) ; Rio Quixcap delta and 
Finca Jaibal (right foreground) ; San Jorge (e.xtreme 
right, above Jaibal) ; looking almost due north. (Photo- 
graphs courtesy of U. S. Army Air p'orces.) 

46. Lake Atitlan shore, eastern half, a, Rio Quixcap delta 
and Finca Jaibal (left) ; I^inca San Buenaventura 
center) ; Rio Panajachel delta and Panajachel village 
(right); Solola (upper left); looking north-northwest. 
h, Panajachel (left) ; Santa Catarina Palopo (extreme 
right) ; San Andres Semetabaj (upper right center) ; 
looking northeast, c, San Antonio Palopo, extreme 
right ; looking east-northeast, d, San Lucas Toliman, 
village and bay ; looking almost due south, e, San Lucas 
Tollman (extreme left) ; coffee groves (left half) ; 
Tzanguacal Peninsula (right) ; Atitlan and Toliman 
(right) volcanoes in background; looking south-south- 
west. /, Cerro de Oro, parasitic cone (left) on north 
base of Toliman volcann; looking southeast. (Photo- 
graphs courtesy of U. S. Army Air Forces.) 

47. Southwestern Lake Atitlan, Santiago Bay and village ; 
looking south-southwest. (Photograph courtesy U. S. 
Army Air Forces.) 


Selected Guatemala climographs (see map 6) : 
L Quezaltenango; 2, Panajachel; 3, El Rosario 
Tumbador ; 4, Las Mercedes ; S, Helvetia ; 6, 
Buena Vista; 7, San Sebastian; 8, Santa Cecilia 

2. Explanation of symbols used in map 14 




F.'^crNr, I'.AGF. 
L South Guatemala x 

2. South CiuaU-mala, relief shading xiv 

3. Southwest Guatemala 2 

4. Limits of rir;l-liand observation in Southwest 

Guatemala 4 

5. Major geological regions of South Guatemala .... (i 

6. Climatic regions of Southwest Guatemala X 

7. Natural vegetation of Southwest Guatemala (gen- 

eralized) 10 

8. Population density of Soulluvest Guatemala (gen- 

eralized) 14 

9. Agriculture: major producing centers and zones 

of Southwest Guatemala based on elevation IS 
10. Agriculture : truck-gardening centers and trade 

of Southwest Guatemala .W 

IL .•\griculture: cacao-producing region of South- 
west Guatemala in the 16th century 32 

12. Agriculture : modern coffee-producing region of 

Southwest Guatemala and migrant labor 34 



13. Livestock, wild animals for food, and animal by- 

products of South Guatemala 38 

14. Houses of Southwest Guatemala 40 

15. Pottery centers and trade of Southwest Ciiiatemala 54 

16. Textile crafts of Southwest Guatemala 62 

17. Basketry, matting, cordage, and other coarse fiber 

products of Southwest Guatemala 68 

1!-!. Mineral and forest products of Southwest Guate- 
mala 72 

19. Indian markets and trade streams in Southwest 

Guatemala 84 

20. Lake Atitlan region 98 

21. Solola and vicinity I(X) 

22. Solola market 104 

23. Panajachel 122 

24. Quezaltenango market 124 

25. Santo Tomas Chichicastenango market 128 


By Julian H. Steward 

Director, Institute of Social Anthropology 

In its studies of native American communities, the 
Institute of Social Anthropology not only seeks to 
present cultural descriptions and analyses that will 
constitute valuable data for a practical understanding 
of the peoples, but it strives to contribute to the 
formulation of the scientific problems involved and 
to the development of a methodology for their solu- 
tion. The most important fact about these peoples 
is that they have always been and are today intensive 
horticulturists, despite many changes since the Span- 
ish Conquest. Consequently, if their potentialities 
for future change under the stream of national influ- 
ences are to be appraised, it is of the utmost impor- 
tance to understand their agrarian basis of life and 
the behavior patterns influenced by it. 

Anthropology in general has paid very inadequate 
attention to land use and to the complex of socio- 
economic activities revolving around it. An obvious 
explanation of this is that studies of environments 
and their exploitation lie beyond an anthropologist's 
technical skills and require the special knowledge of 
a cultural geographer. A more fundamental reason, 
however, is that the problem of environmental con- 
ditioning of culture has not been properly formu- 
lated and that anthropologists approach it with some 
trepidation. They tend to think of the problem as 
one of production and consumption, that is, of eco- 
nomics. But to avoid the suspicion of advocating 
economic determinism, little effort is made to relate 
exploitative activities to social structure and social 
behavior, and cultural determinants are sought in 
other directions. Another reason for the slight con- 
sideration given economic factors is that the concepts 
are taken from Euro-American civilization. In this 
culture, technology is so advanced that essential sub- 
sistence needs are quite secondary in importance, and 
man's adaptation to his environment is cushioned by 
thousands of technical processes and scores of socio- 
economic institutions. Economics has become a 
series of specialize^ considerations dealing with the 

production and consumption of goods, and if any 
thought is given its limitations on social and political 
structure it is mainly intuitive or philosophical. In 
more primitive cultures, ever}' exploitative activity 
requires the adaptation of many other activities that 
are not ordinarily thought of as economic. In stating 
the problem, therefore, the term "human ecology" is 
preferable to "economics." This term has the advan- 
tage of implying that the problem is not one of 
demonstrating that certain institutions which are eco- 
nomic in the narrow sense directly cause certain 
social institutions, but that a series of modes of 
behavior and institutions are connected through vari- 
ous kinds and degrees of interdependency. 

The main problem of human ecology is to ascertain 
the limitations which each set of exploitative activi- 
ties places on other modes of behavior. To meet its 
essential wants of food, clothing, housing, and manu- 
factured goods, any society exploits its particular 
environment by means of its special technolog}^ 
There are only a limited number of ways in which 
seeds of different kinds can be gathered, game 
hunted, or the soil cultivated. Each set of subsistence 
activities in turn somewhat restricts the manner in 
which individuals may associate with one another, 
live together in social groups, and carry on certain 
group activities. In some cases, the limits of varia- 
tion in socioeconomic patterns are so narrow that a 
change in the social structure could be effected only 
through a revolution in technology. In other cases, 
considerable latitude is possible, and purely historical 
factors can be seen to have a definitive role. 

Certain very primitive peoples, such as the seed- 
gathering Paiute and Western Shoshoni, had a soci- 
ety that was predetermined within narrow limits by 
ecological factors. To survive, these people had to 
disperse in family units during the greater part of 
the year. Large and permanent villages were pre- 
cluded for want of ability to acquire and transport 
sufficient stores of food to central points where 



people could remain together. Life revolved around 
the individual family, which was only in temporary 
association with other families, and strong political 
controls and various sociopolitical features depend- 
ent upon prolonged and intimate contacts between 
persons were lacking. The only variations were in 
such patterns as shamanism or preferential marriage, 
the origin of which is therefore a historical problem. 
In the case of the more advanced horticultural 
peoples of America, a recognition of the ecological 
limitations is fundamental to an understanding of 
their present patterns and of their potentialities for 
change. In aboriginal times, the environment was 
exploited through fairly intensive hand cultivation 
of farm crops. Surplus production allowed leisure 
for developed handicrafts in which there was some 
local specialization. Under the aboriginal type of 
land utilization, various socioeconomic patterns were 
logically possible. People might have been scattered 
in individual families, each owning and living on its 
own land, as in the modern United States. Actually, 
however, the rural community became the prevalent 
pattern, and in many cases it appears that the sur- 
rounding lands were communally owned, being 
assigned annually to families. Despite a great popu- 
lation density, the size of these communities was 
limited by primitive transportational devices. Towns 
never exceeded a few thousand, and cities in the 
modern sense were unknown. Production was pre- 
dominantly for family consumption, and essential 
social and religious activities, the precise patterns of 
which varied widely in each region, were community 

The Spanish Conquest introduced new exploitative 
devices that greatly widened the latitude of possible 
ecological patterns. The plough, steel tools, new 
crops, and domesticated animals increased farm out- 
put, while beasts of burden and in some places 
wheeled vehicles made it possible for larger popula- 
tion centers to develop and for goods to be exchanged 
over greater distances. Presumably, these new 
factors permitted several possible social and eco- 
nomic arrangements, the choice of which was deter- 
mined by historical factors. Where the Indian was 
left comparatively unmolested, he could and evidently 
sometimes did continue more or less in the aboriginal 
patterns, the greater productivity serving mainly to 
increase his wealth. But in large areas, the hacienda 
system, an entirely new socioeconomic pattern, was 
introduced by the conquistadors. Under this system 

a single Spaniard came to own a large estate, on 
which he produced a limited number of cash crops 
in great quantity for sale on an outside market. He 
hired Indians, whose lives he strictly regimented, to 
do the farm labor. Whether or not Indians came 
under the hacienda system depended above all on 
whether the crops that were in demand in the national 
or world market could be grown in and transported 
from the region in question. 

In most areas where the Indian came under the 
hacienda system, he rapidly lost not only his basic 
economic patterns but the essential social structure 
and behavior depending on them. Only residues of 
native attitudes and fragments of surreptitiously prac- 
ticed native religion remain. Under haciendas, 
acculturation was sudden, drastic, and undoubtedly 
traumatic, and at first it was imposed by force. But 
there is no reason to assume that ecological changes 
which slowly infiltrated without compulsive adoption 
were any the less compelling for being more gradual. 
Where Indians have had environmental potential- 
ities for surplus production, an accessible market, and 
opportunity to learn the cash system, acculturation 
has already taken them far toward assimilation to 
national culture. Crop specialization and cash sales 
have led to individual land ownership which in turn 
has disrupted the aboriginal family structure and 
community work habits. When the Indian comes 
to rely predominantly on a cash crop, his ignorance 
of improved farm techniques, together with his lack 
of capital for improved equipment, so handicaps him 
competitively that the process of acculturation com- 
monly terminates in his selling his land and becoming 
either a farm laborer or a worker in manufactures. 
Meanwhile, exposure to outside influences gradually 
eradicates his Indian characteristics. 

It appears that in many respects Indian accultura- 
tion throughout the area of aboriginal intensive 
horticulture has been very similar, but it would be 
hazardous in the present stage of knowledge to gen- 
eralize too broadly. The particular need is to estab- 
lish more precisely the limitations on land use in each 
locality. Then only will the role of historical and 
personality factors be clear. For Southwest Guate- 
mala, McBryde has clearly set forth the land-use 
factors which caused widely different acculturational 
trends in nearby areas. In the Lowlands and lower 
mountain slopes where sugarcane, bananas, cacao, 
coffee, and other crops could be grown in abundance 
for export, the hacienda system was implanted and 


9Cf W.Lo,». 

Finca (planioiion. uiuolly coHae)* A'choeoloQi 

Dapartmvnl capiloli |*cob«c*tai*J undarllntd 
Norionol Capitol (^' 

Mac l.-8oulh Oumtenala |»poiu*p J> 


the natives ceased to be "Indians." In the High- 
lands, which are unsuited to these cash crops and 
which lack important mines and other resources of 
interest to Europeans, the Indians have retained a 
large number of their aboriginal ecological patterns, 
while their inaccessibility has spared them many 
acculturating influences. And here, local cultural 
variation is more or less commensurate with geo- 
graphical variation from one locality to another. 

Clarification of the ecological limitations on cul- 
tural variability clears the ground for identification 
of the precise historical factors that bring about 
acculturation. \\'hen the ecological and historical 
factors have been identified, it is of value to examine 
the processes of acculturation in detail, focusing 
attention on the individual through recording case 
histories, analyzing personality structure, and re- 
vealing attitudes that expedite or inhibit change. 

Such analyses are important in two respects. First, 
individual conflicts and resistance to new patterns of 
behavior affect the rate of change. Second, psycho- 
logical orientations determine the direction of change 
where ecological patterns allow a choice of alterna- 
tives. The general trends of acculturation in the 
New World, however, have had little reference to 
the Indians' feeling about them. While new ecological 
adaptations have broadened the range of socio- 
economic possibilities, persistent acculturational 
forces have actually narrowed the choice. Economic, 
social, and even religious influences have all been 
fairly compulsive. But so long as the Indian remains 
agrarian, the primary need is to understand the 
potentialities of his land-use systems. This means 
that cultural studies must be made in conjunction with 
analyses of the type that McBryde so well presents 
in the present monograph. 



The present monograph, based primarily upon a 
thesis completed at the University of California for 
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in geography in 
1940, is the result of field research which extended 
over many years. The work was made possible by 
the assistance and cooperation of a number of institu- 
tions and persons both in the United States and in 
Guatemala and several other American republics. 

Experience in this field began in 1927-28, when I 
accompanied i\Ir. Frans Blom on a trip of archeolog- 
ical reconnaissance for Tulane University through 
the almost uninhabited Maya country of Chiapas, 
Guatemala, British Honduras, and Yucatan. This 
expedition was a memorial to John Geddings Gray, 
of Lake Charles, La., and was financed by the Gray 
family. In 1932, as a Fellow at Clark University, I 
took part in the program of Maya research of the 
Carnegie Institution of Washington, and made an in- 
tensive field study of Solola, Guatemala, a major mar- 
ket center in a region of diversified and active native 
commerce. This work, supported by both Clark 
University and the Carnegie Institution, projected 
into the modern period historical studies of Mayan 
trade which I began the previous year while a Fellow 
at the University of Colorado. The field notes were 
prepared for publication at Tulane University during 
the following year. It is hoped that many of the 
errors in that preliminary report (McBryde, 1933) 
are corrected in the present monograph. 

From October 1935 to November 1936, as a Pre- 
Doctoral Fellow of the Social Science Research 
Council, I conducted a study of regional economic 
specializations among the present-day Maya of Guate- 
mala. My wife, Frances Van Winkle McBryde, ac- 
companied me and made water-color sketches of the 
Indians. I am indebted to the Department of Middle 
American Research of Tulane University, the United 
Fruit Company, and the International Railways of 
Central America for helpful cooperation, and to 
Captain and Mrs. Richard B. McConnell, of New 
Orleans, for financial assistance on this trip. 

Between 1937 and 1940, on periods of leave from 
Ohio State University, I supplemented field informa- 
tion with further historical material from the Bancroft 
Library and from the Sauer Collection of photo- 
copies of Spanish Colonial manuscripts made in 
Madrid by Dr. Sanford Mosk. The historical and 

field data formed the basis of the doctoral disserta- 
tion, "Native Economy of Southwest Guatemala, and 
its Natural Background," which is deposited in the 
University of California Library. 

The thesis was augmented and revised in the light 
of material gathered in 1940-1941 in Guatemala, 
Oaxaca, and Chiapas, when I made field studies pri- 
marily of native crops, agriculture and ethnobotany, 
and collected seeds of economic plants, especially 
species of Phaseolus. This trip was made possible 
by a National Research Council Fellowship in the 
Natural Sciences supplemented by a grant from 
the Graduate Division of Ohio State University, in 
the form of a graduate assistantship for my wife. 
Other material assistance and courtesies were ac- 
corded by the Institute of International Education in 
administering a Pan American Airways Travel 
Fellowship ; the United Fruit Company ; Tulane 
University; the Carnegie Institution; the Bureau of 
Plant Industry of tlie United States Department of 
Agriculture ; the Botanical Museum of Harvard Uni- 
versity ; Mrs. R. Maury Sims, of Berkeley, California, 
who accompanied us into the field; Mr. Robert D. 
Feild, director of the Art School of Newcomb Col- 
lege; and Mr. Giles Healy, of New York. 

During the research periods outlined above. Dr. 
Carl O. Sauer, Chairman of the Department of Geog- 
raphy, Univ'ersity of California, has been my main 
source of inspiration and guidance. Mr. Frans Blom, 
a veteran of jungle archeology and exploration, has 
also been extremely helpful and encouraging. Others 
who have taken an active part in furthering my field 
excursions are Dean Alpheus Smith and Dr. Eugene 
Van Cleef, of Ohio State University; President 
Samuel Zemurray, of the United Fruit Company; 
Dean Robert Redfield, of the University of Chicago ; 
Prof. W. W. Mackie, of the University of California, 
who experimented with the beans collected in Guate- 
mala ; Prof. J. W. Gilmore, University of California ; 
Dr. P. C. Mangelsdorf, curator of the Botanical Mu- 
seum of Harvard University, who studied my maize 
collections from Guatemala; and President W. W. 
Atwood, of Clark University. 

In all my field seasons in Guatemala, the mem- 
bers of the Carnegie Institution of Washington have 
been extremely cooperative and helpful. These in- 



eluded, besides Dr. Redfield, Drs. A. V. Kidder, 
Oliver Ricketson, Sol Tax, and Robert and Ledyard 
Smith. During 1935-36 we worked in the Lake 
Atitlan area at the same time as the Taxes and I 
was able to get the ethnologist's point of view and 
observe his field methods. The importance of the 
ethnological approach in cultural geography cannot 
be overemphasized. All too frequently the geographer 
is prone to regard the inhabitants of a region as just 
so many clusters of dots on the map, and to discuss 
them as he would the plant cover. Dr. Tax lent 
me several of his preliminary field reports and 
critically read my manuscript. Dr. Kidder likewise 
read certain cultural portions of the dissertation. I 
am grateful for their helpful suggestions. 

Dr. Lila M. O'Neale, chairman of the Department 
of Decorative Art, University of California, and a 
leading e.xpert on the native textiles of Peru and 
Guatemala, read the sections of the report dealing 
with weaving and textiles. She accompanied us on 
many of our field trips in Guatemala in 1936, when 
she was making a study for the Carnegie Institution, 
and provided valuable technical information concern- 
ing weaving and related crafts. 

During 1940 and 1941. in Huehuetenango and 
Quezaltenango, we spent several weeks at the same 
pension with Dr. Paul C. Standley, of the Field 
Museum of Natural History. Having written stand- 
ard reference books on the flora of nearly every other 
Central American country, he was making collections 
and observations for his work on the plants of Guate- 
mala. Dr. Standley's suggestions both in conversa- 
tions and in connection with reading the sections 
of my manuscript dealing with useful plants were 
most valuable. Mr. B. Y. Morrison, of the United 
States Department of Agriculture, read the sections 
concerning crops and agriculture, and I am grateful 
for his comments and criticisms. 

In the preparation of base maps, I found the 
American Geographical Society Millionth Map, 
Ciudad Guatemala Sheet, especially useful. In 1937 
I made a pantograph enlargement of it on a scale 
of 1 : 500,000, incorporating a few revisions and cor- 
rections based on field observations, especially for 
the Lake Atitlan region, and adding symbols to 
show the approximate numbers of Ladinos and 
Indians in each community according to the 1921 

For certain items of equipment, including a 
1 : 48,000 scale, essential to my work of mapping 
Lake Atitlan with a Brunton compass in August 

1936, I am indebted to American members of the 
Guatemala-Honduras Boundary Survey Commis- 
sion (Comision Tecnica de Demarcacion de la 
Frontera entre Guatemala y Honduras). These 
included especially Mr. Sidney H. Birdseye, director, 
and Mr. David Lindquist, who were mapping the 
boundary by means of aerial photography. 

Senor Don Moises Rivera, of Panajachel, owner 
of Hotel Tzanjuyu and several fincas and other 
properties on Lake Atitlan, gave us ample quarters 
for our own housekeeping in his large cofifee planta- 
tion house at San Buenaventura, Panajachel. We 
made our headquarters and operational base here for 
several months during 1936. He furnished us 
with a small outboard motorboat in which I was 
able to traverse nearly every part of the deep 
and treacherous lake. Without this assistance it 
would have been impossible for me to make a satis- 
factory map of the entire area in the short time 
available. Sefior Rivera also provided us with rooms 
in his rum warehouse at Santiago Atitlan, where we 
lived for 16 days during September 1936. 

Other coffee planters who were especiall)' hos- 
pitable and helpful were Mr. and Mrs. Gordon 
Smith, Finca Moca, the Donald Hodgsdons, Finca 
Pacayal, and Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Buxton, Finca 
Santa Adela, where we made headquarters for 
several weeks during our sojourn in the Lowlands in 

In the Indian country of the Highlands, we en- 
joyed the kind hospitality and friendly cooperation of 
the late Padre lldffonso Rossljach, of Chichicaste- 
nango. the late Padre Carlos Knittel and his late 
sister, Maria, of San Francisco al Alto, and Padre 
Francisco Knittel, of Momostenango. 

Through the courtesy of Dr. Rudolph Matas, 
noted New Orleans surgeon, who wrote letters for 
us to his good friends in Guatemala City, we had the 
privilege and pleasure of meeting Drs. Mario J. 
Wunderlich and J. M. Fiallos and their families. To 
them we are indebted for many kindnesses ; they did 
much toward making us feel so completely at home 
in Guatemala. 

Other special friends in Guatemala City who went 
out of their way in our behalf were Mr. Deane Wells, 
formerly of the United States Consulate, Mrs. Lilly 
de Jongh Osborne, and Mr. Peter Clark Wilson. 

Several Government officials in Guatemala proved 
to be almost indispensable to the success of our field 
work. As Director of Roads, General Miguel 
Ydigoras Fuentes in 1940 gave us information, maps, 




Stale 1500,000 r 

" ; " '! " " '.° !' KiIomete>» ^~> 

' t ■ 1 I • 1 . t ■ . I. laagoaj lleguoit 

,' ' ; '\ 7, V, r; \ MilM 

(One inch to 8 mllw. opp»o«imolely) 

Conleur iniervol 500 mel«n [IOO-m«ter line eaccpred) 

El not Ion in 

Rallfood: iiondofd guogi 

Roll food I norfow guoge 


Mute I'oll or (oolpalh 


Inietnolionol boundory * 4 * 

DapoTtrnanlol limit • • • 

Finco (plontation. uiualiy (oM*e)« Aiehaeologicol lile ;. (Population doto bawd lorsoly 

Dcporlmeni copilolt ('(obetiKoi') underlined _ , 

. Compoiition ol population 

Nolionol Copilot &*">" '**'*^ , ,. 

"" I"™- ladinot and Indloni 

(rather evenly mlied) 

Mainly Lodlnot 

Mainly IndJ 

M«r 3. — Soutb auumuls, relM Aedlnii 


and a letter to highwa)- employees, which were of 
inestimable value to us on a great many occasions. 
As Jefe Politico of San Marcos in 1935-36, he had 
performed similar services for us. In 1944 he ob- 
tained under difficulties some rare plant inaterial 
which was essential to certain bean identifications. 

Our cordial friend, Senor Don Manuel Tejada 
Llerena, Director of Customs in Guatemala during 
the years when we were there, personally arranged 
for exemptions from duties on our equipment, in- 
cluding our car in 1935. 

Seiior Don Delfino Sanchez Latour, of the Foreign 
Office, facilitated diplomatic negotiations for us on 
a number of occasions. Dr. Erwin Deger, of the 
Institute Ouimico-Agricola Nacional, made tests of 
soil samples for me. Prof. J. Joaquin Pardo, director 
of the National Archives, assisted in my search for 
historical sources, and has faithfully provided me 
with his quarterly Bulletin for many years. 

The jefes politicos (governors) of all the depart- 
ments in which we worked extensively were most 
cooperative in writing letters to local town and 
village authorities. This was done in Solola, Totoni- 
capan, Quezaltenango, Huehuetenango, San Marcos, 
Retalhuleu, Escuintla, and Suchitepequez. Almost 
without exception the local officials went far beyond 
the requests in extending courtesies and genuine hos- 
pitality as well as routine assistance. Indian guides. 
informants, interpreters, and carriers helped us on 
innumerable occasions. Empty schoolrooms or 
municipal headquarters were furnished us as places 
to sleep if no other facilities were available, as was 
often the case when we circled the Cuchumatanes 
region on muleback in 1940. 

It has been upon the friendly attitude of thousands 
of individual Indians throughout the regions where 
we worked that the completion of our studies has de- 
pended. Their willingness to answer hundreds of 
apparently nonsensical questions, often with giggling 
and obvious embarrassment, regarding their farm- 
ing and crafts and trading activities, even to provid- 

ing seeds and samples of their workmanship, has 
made it possible for us to wander among them at 
will and obtain almost any information we needed 
at first hand and with a minimum of distortion. 

To my father, Dr. John M. McBryde, Dean of 
the Graduate School and Professor of English 
Emeritus of Tulane University, I am indebted for 
assistance in preparing the manuscript and in reading 
the proof. 

Dr. Julian H. Steward, Director of the Institute 
of Social Anthropology, made valuable suggestions 
and editorial criticisms concerning the organization, 
context, and wording of the monograph. The final 
phase in the preparation of the manuscript was 
completed in the Institute. 

Parts of this study have been presented as illus- 
trated papers and map exhibits at the annual meetings 
of the Ohio Academy of Science : geography and 
botany sections, in 1938, 1939. and 1940, and in 
1942 botany, zoology, geography, and anthropology 
sections. In 1941 my illustrated paper and map ex- 
hibit at the New York meeting of the Association 
of American Geographers was based on material 
now incorporated in this monograph. 

An exhibit of photographs and my wife's water 
colors of Indian types, arranged around the Lake 
Atitlan map, was on display at the Golden Gate In- 
ternational Exposition, San Francisco, during 1939 
and 1940. 

Except for plates 45-47, all photographs, maps, 
and diagrams in this report were made by the author. 
Permission to use the aerial photographs in plates 
45-47 was granted by the United States Army Air 
Forces. I am grateful to my wife for her excellent 
water-color sketches and for assistance with lettering. 
Miss Edna Kelley, cartographic draftsman in the 
Topographic Branch, Military Intelligence Service, 
rendered important aid in the mounting of photo- 
graphs and the preparation of legends and overlays 
on several of the maps, especially Nos. 3, 8, and 23. 


Cultural aud Historical Geography of 
Southwest Guatemala 

By Felix Webster McBryde 

Geographer, Military Intelligence Service, War Department* 


Without risk of being justifiably branded an en- 
vironmental determinist, a geographer may point out 
direct and striking relationships between man and his 
Jiabitat in Southwest Guatemala. In such a moun- 
tainous region within the Tropics, to understand the 
culture it is essential to have a good knowledge of 
the physical elements, especially those which most 
strongly affect human activities. High, rugged 
mountains, some mostly of limestone, others, lava 
and ash with many volcanic cones; deep sharp-cut 
gorges; low-lying plains; and lofty but limited 
plateaus: these contrasted relief regions largely 
determine the major patterns of drainage, climate, 
vegetation, and soils. The physical complex is 
closely reflected in the distribution of population and 
human activities. 

These general facts are evident in a measure even 
from a casual perusal of maps of the region, and 
they may be observed in similar settings in other 
parts of the world. It has been my purpose, in ad- 
dition to studying cultural manifestations, to attempt 
an analytical description of the physical landscape, 
especially in terms of those elements which are 
critical to the native economy. The economic scene 
and the material adjustments of man to his milieu 
constitute the core of the research upon which this 
report is based. It is hoped that the extreme diversity 
and complexity of the cultural landscape will be 

• On leave from Ohio State University. Since manuscript went to 
press, Cultural Geographer, Institute of Social AntIiropolog>', Smith- 
sonian Institution. 

654162—47 2 

demonstrated and explained in part, at least, by de- 
picting the extent of coincidence of human and 
natural phenomena. 

In view of an almost complete lack of preexisting 
data detailed enough for the study which I was 
undertaking, it was necessary from the start to col- 
lect almost all information by direct field observation. 
This meant not only original base maps, plans, and 
photographs, but also endless "cabbage counting" 
for which geographers are sometimes mildly ridiculed, 
and not always without some justification. Only the 
most general and obvious statements may be made 
without being accurately qualified, unless the field 
observer checks his conclusions constantly with 
counts and measurements. If these are not intelli- 
gently sjTithesized, correlated, and shaped into signifi- 
cant generalizations, they lack geographically even 
the merits of a good stamp collection. 

But any counting and measuring will result in 
truer pictures than many of those contained in some 
of our leading reference books on Latin America. 
It is commonly believed, for example, that the native 
markets of Central America and Alexico, and else- 
where in Latin America where there are simple cul- 
tures, are mainly social gathering places, of little 
economic significance. This is based upon the false 
assumption that every community is self-sufficient, 
producing all of its own goods with no real de- 
pendence upon other communities for an}1;hing. If 
this statement were reversed for Guatemala it would 
come nearer to the truth. 


There is probably no region in the New World that 
surpasses western Guatemala for illustrating direct 
relationships between culture and nature. Here is 
one of the largest concentrations of individualistic 
Indian populations, preserving much of its Maya 
background. This important cradle of pre-Columbian 
American Indian civilization, which is well docu- 
mented historically and archeologically, is centered in 
Guatemala and Southern Mexico. A great number 
of important New World domesticated food plants 
appear to have originated in this region. The maize- 
beans-squash complex was probably developed to a 
high degree by the Maya in the Guatemala-Chiapas 
Highlands before they expanded northward into 
Yucatan. There the civilization advanced, a unique 
example in the Americas of a high culture based on 
maize in the Lowlands. The explanation lies prob- 
ably in the long dry season (too dry for manioc) and 
the lack of streams for irrigation in the Yucatan 

With the invasion of the Spaniards in the early 
16th centur}' and of European and North American 
industrial adventurers after the mid-19th century, 
new elements of blood and culture were injected, 
providing an excellent field for the study of accul- 
turation in its historical stages. 

In view of the great range of physical and cultural 
variables which enter the scene, the only adequate 

geography is microgeography. In this monograph 
an attempt is made to describe in some detail the 
material culture of Southwest Guatemala and to 
point out the variations and distributions in terms 
of the physical setting. Food, shelter, and clothing 
are examined as to their nature, sources of raw 
materials, methods and places of production, and 
their movement in trade. Native and exotic agricul- 
tural products and crafts are listed and described 
also with reference to the areas and communities 
which produce them, and to the smaller groups within 
the communities. Possible physical reasons for spe- 
cializations are suggested, and products are traced 
from producing areas to markets and consumers, by 
the routes followed and by the transportation means 
employed. Though ancient traditions are often the 
only factors which can explain economic localizations 
(and the almost invariable answer the Indians give to 
the question, "Why?"), emphasis in the field work 
was placed upon observable physical factors.^ With 
these we may block out environmental limits within 
which human activities are subject to choice and, 
once established, are maintained through tradition. • 
Distributions of population, land tenure, culture 
areas, and settlement patterns are considered as 
related to relief, water supply, and other environ- 
mental elements, as well as historical background, in 
an effort to explain the complex and varied cultural 


For purposes of comparison, to bring out various 
human relationships in diverse environments, three 
interrelated areas, each having quite distinct physical 
and cultural characteristics, were selected, one in each 
of the so-called "zones," tierra caliente, tierra tem- 
plada, and tierra fria. These, which are treated in 
more detail in Appendix 1, are summarized as fol- 
lows : ( 1 ) low Piedmont-Coastal Plain ( Patulul to 
Retalhuleu), (2) intermediate Lake Atitlan Basin, 
and (3) high Valley of Quezaltenango (San Juan 
Ostuncalco to Totonicapan). 

Piedmont-Coastal Plain. — The east-west extent of 
my sur\'ey here during the months of February and 
March, 1936, was approximately 35 miles (56 km.), 
from Patulul to Retalhuleu. This was extended in 
1941 westward to Coatepeque and eastward to 
Escuintla. Most time and efifort were concentrated 
in the western portion of this section, between Chica- 

cao and Retalhuleu, from as low as 200 m. (656 ft.), 
at Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, to as high as 1,000 
m. (3,280 ft.), at Santo Tomas la Union. I traversed 
the Lowlands by road along the Rio Tulate to 
Tahuesco, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, in 1936, 
and to Puerto San Jose in 1941. In all, 24 towns, 
settlements, and fincas were visited and studied in 
more or less detail, including analyses of 12 markets, 
and a diagram of that of Chicacao. The largest is 
the market of Mazatenango, having well over 1,(XX) 
vendors per week. 

This region includes the physical provinces of the 
Coastal Plain and a portion of the boca casta, up to 
1,000 m. Geologically and edaphically, it is mostly 
unconsolidated volcanic material, young eruptives 

» Two ethnologists, Sol Tax and Robert Redfield, have concerned 
themselves especially with social aspects in their studies of communi- 
ties in Guatemala, made as a part of the Carnegie Institution program. 


and alluvium, the piedmont of the cone chain, with 
numerous small rapid streams entrenched across it, 
flowing from north to south. The climate is mainly 
"tierra caliente" : tropical monsoon (short dry period 
in winter) with annual rainfall between 300 cm. (118 
in.) and 425 cm. (165 in.) and a southern margin 
of savanna (long dry period in winter). Natural 
vegetation consists of monsoon forest, and deciduous 
park-savanna at lower levels (map 7). 

The most important economic fauna, of no great 
significance, includes large fish and shrimp in the 
ocean and lower rivers near the ocean ; small fish and 
large shrimp (genus Macrobrachium) in the moun- 
tain streams, though not in merchantable quantities ; 
iguanas, in abundance, and caymans, now becoming 
scarce, in the outer Coastal Plain. The last two 
named are particularly important Lenten commodi- 
ties. Iguanas appear in quantity in the markets, 
alive, only during laying season (December to 
March, inclusive). I was told at Pueblo Nuevo that 
deer hunting was a common sport. 

There is easy access to all the area by roads and 

Lake Atitlan Basin. — In all, there are about 23 
settlements, villages, and towns, close to the lake. 
During a total of approximately 6 months (a portion 
of every month of the year, so as to observe seasonal 
aspects) on the lake in 1935-36, I visited all but one 
village. In 1932, I spent nearly 3 months at Solola 
(McBryde, 1933), and returned many times in 1935- 
36 and 1940-41. In 1936 and again in 1940, the 
related outlying centers of Tecpan, Patzum, and 
Chichicastenango were also visited. Market lists 
were made for 7 centers and diagrams for 2. 

Fourteen villages have been built close to the Lake 
shore, but high enough to avoid inundation. 

The highest degree of microgeographic diversifica- 
tion anywhere in Guatemala is to be found here ; it 
is probably not exceeded elsewhere in the world. 
Many of the villages may be separated from their 
neighbors by 2 miles or less, and yet, being isolated 
by physical barriers such as precipitous headlands, 
cliff shores, and a dangerous lake surface, they may 
have distinct economies, dress, and even vocabularies. 
(See pp. 97-126). At one point on the Lake shore, 
villages are not even connected by trail ; at others, 
there is only a tortuous path skirting a precipice. 
•High altitude range brings about climatic contrasts, 
from hot tropical conditions at the lower levels, to 
cold mountain summits, with vegetation from heavy 
monsoon forest conditions, as behind San Buena- 

ventura, to markedly deciduous, scrubby oak-pine 
woods and chaparral interspersed with areas of open 
bunchgrass and meadows. Within an almost vertical 
600 m. (1,968 ft.) elevation zone, crops range from 
sugarcane to wheat and potatoes ; fruits, from 
papayas to peaches. 

Add to this the convergence of three linguistic 
areas, also the recent injection of several small com- 
munities from remote regions in different directions, 
and the picture of complexity is fairly complete. It 
is in marked contrast to the more populous and 
homogeneous areas of the Pacific Piedmont and the 
Ouezaltenango Valley. 

Valley of Qucsaltcnango. — Extending east-west 
about 18 miles, between San Juan Ostuncaico and 
Totonicapan, the more thickly settled portion of this 
almost level, open valley ranges in elevation from 
2.350 m. (7,710 ft.) at Ouezaltenango to 2,500 m. 
(8.202 ft.) at Totonicapan. I concentrated upon 
this valley and its surroundings during April and 
portions of May, July, and August, 1936, going down 
the canyon of the Samala as far as Santa Maria 
(1,650 ni. or 5,413 ft.) and up on the northern wall as 
high as San Francisco el Alto (2,600 m. or 8,530 ft.), 
one of the most elevated Indian villages in the coun- 
try. During this time I visited San Marcos in the west, 
and Momostenango and Huehuetenango in the north, 
the first two having about the same elevation as 
Ouezaltenango, the latter somewhat lower (1,900 m. 
or 6,234 ft.). Of these, Momostenango is the only 
one having close commercial connections with the 
Quezaltenango ^'alley. 

In this Highland region, I studied 25 Indian com- 
munities, and analyzed 12 markets, making a dia- 
gram of that of Quezaltenango, probably the largest 
Indian market in the entire Republic, with the pos- 
sible exception of the capital. There are two others 
in the valley region that each have over 1 ,000 vendors 
a week, namely, those of Totonicapan and San Fran- 
cisco, the latter meeting but once a week (map 19). 

Physically the Ouezaltenango Valley region is 
entirely Quaternary volcanic (Sapper, 1925, p. 2). 
Forming the northern watershed of the valley is the 
high Continental Divide range, mainly striking north- 
west to southeast, with elevations between 2,800 m. 
(9,186 ft.) and 3,300 m. (10, 827 ft.), and belonging 
to the older period of volcanism. The young cones 
of Santo Tornas, Zunil, Cerro Quemado, and Santa 
Maria constitute the south wall. The northern con- 
tinuation of the first two encloses the valley along 
the east, near Totonicapan, while in the west it is shut 


in largely by the range of the Continental Divide, 
which swings southward near San Juan Ostuncalco. 
Thermal springs are fairly numerous. There are at 
least seven important ones : two near Quezaltenango, 
two near Momostenango, and three near Totonicapan 
(which gets its name therefrom). All are utilized 
for washing clothes and bathing, often for therapeutic 
purposes. Near Momostenango, hot water is essen- 
tial in the felting of blankets and woolen cloth, which 
represent the chief basis of the local economy. One 
thermal spring below Zunil has the characteristics of 
a small geyser. 

The floor of the open valley is so level as to re- 
semble an old lake bottom, though there are no beach 
lines, lacustrine deposits, or other apparent evidences 
to indicate the former existence of a lake here. Strat- 
ified pumice beds, though probably wind-laid in places 
have the appearance of having been sorted and de- 
posited by water. Undoubtedly, thick strata of yel- 
lowish to cream-colored ash, ejected from the four 
adjacent cones, filled up a former canyon which may 
have been cut to a considerable depth. This pyro- 
clastic material, along with alluvial and colluvial 
detritus of volcanic origin washed down from the 
steep slopes, is the chief constituent of the deep and 
fertile soil of the valley. The tributaries of the 
Samala River curve and zig-zag through rather 
narrow entrenchments 10 to 15 m. (33 to 49 ft.) 

deep, with a gentle gradient that averages about 150 
ft. per mile (about 28 m. per km.). The climate of 
the only station for which data are available, namely, 
Quezaltenango, is cool, with light annual rainfall 
concentrated almost entirely in summer. The rainfall 
is probably somewhat heavier along the north side of 
the valley, which is less sheltered from moist south 
winds. The area, almost treeless (pi. 38, a and /), 
is mainly planted to corn, vetch, wheat, potatoes, and 
beans, though short-grass pasture is considerable, 
mostly fallow crop land. It is grazed almost en- 
tirely by sheep ; by systematically shifting their pens, 
soil fertilization is accomplished. This practice is 
very widespread in the Highlands (pi. 32, d and e). 
Bunchgrass and pine border the valley higher up 
along the slopes, the latter being particularly abun- 
dant toward Totonicapan. 

An examination of map 1 will reveal a network of 
trails and roads across the Upper Samala Valley, in 
the region around Quezaltenango. There are many 
more, almost innumerable footpaths leading out from 
the numerous centers of population to the rural dwell- 
ings and crop lands of this densely settled basin. It 
is so level and open that intercommunication is free 
and markedly developed. This is apparently reflected 
in a far greater cultural uniformity here than in the 
Lake Atitlan region, where communities are isolated. 


Along the Pacific shore there are high barrier 
beaches (pi. l,b and c) and, especially at the mouths 
of the numerous rivers, hooks, spits, and sand bars. 
These enclose inlets and lagoons, of various degrees 
of brackishness, some of them estuarine — narrow, 
coastwise embayments, which in Louisiana would be 
called "bayous." They extend along almost the en- 
tire littoral, generally referred to by the natives 
as "orillas del mar," to distinguish it from the greater 
cosfa, or Pacific Lowland. A number of widely 
separated Ladino (non-Indian; see p. 12) shore 
settlements have been established, two of them ports 
with rail connections ; but for the most part they are 
tiny hamlets clustered on the sand as at Tahuesco, 
shaded by graceful coco palms. The inhabitants here 
take full advantage of the quiet, black waters of these 
lagoons, where canoe navigation is safe (pi. 1, a). 
They live by seine fishing and by evaporating salt 
from sea water, or "cooking" it from salt-crusted silt 

Back from the beach, mainly along the lower river 
banks and inner margins of the lagoons, areas of 
massive mangrove swamp alternate with jungles of 
low-growing fan palms where the ground is drier. 
Farther inland, groves of magnificent corozo palms 
(pi. 2, a) are scattered through the Coastal Plain, 
relics of more extensive and luxuriant forests of 
former times. For the most part, however, the flat 
alluvial Lowland is covered with rather open vege- 
tation (pi. 3, a, h, d) ; large, grassy pastures and 
sporadic cornfields and canebrakes, shaded in patches 
bv tall, spreading trees, the branches of which are 
draped with the sprays of orchids, bromeliads, and 
other epiphytes. Large fleet-footed, gray-green and 
brownish iguanas, like miniature ghosts of prehistoric 
monsters, may be glimpsed, especially during the dry 
season, sprinting across the trail on tiptoes, their long 
tails held well above the ground as they scurry to the 
safety of giant tree trunks. 

Sparseness and a seared aspect of the vegetation 
are especially apparent during the long dry season 

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{verano, literally, "summer") which lasts from 
November through April (McBryde, 1942, a and b). 
With the heavy rains of the wet months, especially 
along the south slopes of the mountains, the outer 
Lowlands are flooded. Roads and trails become 
mires, and transportation is extremely difficult. 
These conditions account in large measure for the 
sparse population which has always characterized the 

The many slightly meandering streams and small 
rivers that flow across the Coastal Plain are bordered 
for the most part by heavy gallery forests, where tall 
trees and dense undergrowth obscure the banks and 
cast heavy shade. 

Since shortly after the Conquest, the Lowland 
savannas have served as important grazing lands for 
cattle, introduced by the Spaniards, and large estan- 
cias, or ranches, still dominate the cultural picture. 

For an average width of about 25 or 30 miles (40 
to 48 km.), this flat, thinly peopled, park-savanna 
landscape stretches inland from the seashore, along 
the entire Pacific coast of Guatemala (map 7). 
The narrower western section is called Costa Cuca; 
the wider central part, Costa Grande; and the narrow 
eastern Lowlands, Costa de Guaza<:apan. Where 
visibility is not obscured by low-hanging clouds or 
broad-leaved trees, there is a striking northern sky 
line of blue mountains, studded with sharp volcanic 
cones and cleft by deep canyons. 


As one approaches the mountains, the gradient 
steepens, and the forest closes in more and more. 
There are immense trees having wide, buttressed 
■bases and great, spreading branches matted with 
orchids and ferns, and hung with fine, rubbery lianas 
and aerial roots. Many of the massive trunks are 
gripped, Laocoonlike, by heavy twisted vines. Such 
a foreground as this frames the occasional glimpse 
of the verdant wall of foothills beyond, dominated by 
steep-sided, mist-shrouded blue volcanoes. The 
shaded air is cool and damp, smelling of rich, moldy 
earth, for plant life is lush. Bright-colored birds of 
infinite variety dart through the sheltering foliage. 

The Pacific versant here is ribbed with narrow 
ridges that divide innumerable straight, parallel rivu- 
lets, swift-flowing, sharply entrenched, often deep, 
so that in traveling along the piedmont one must 
be constantly ascending and descending at frequent 
intervals. This is what made journeying a series of 
"dangerous crossings" for Fray Alonso Ponce (16th 

century priest, the comisario general, who traveled 
through New Spain) and other early voyagers; it 
is what made railroad building, 300 years later, in 
places almost a matter of laying trestles end to end, 
and made maintenance a serious problem. 

Through the lower piedmont there are a number 
'of small Indian settlements, some of them, as in an- 
cient times, colonies of Highland aborigines seeking 
to augment and diversify their agricultural returns 
(map 11). These settlements are strewn between the 
line of railroad towns, which are centers of supply 
for the cofifee plantations above and the cattle ranches 
below. About the villages there are but few small, 
inferior remnants of the cacao groves that once cov- 
ered the region, the famous "mines" ^ of the Low- 
lands from Soconusco to Salvador. 

Higher up are the coffee plantations, or fincas, 
to which economic emphasis has shifted within the 
past 80 or 90 years. Here the natural forest has 
been thinned, leaving only enough trees' to shade the 
neat rows of well-cleared coffee bushes. Along 
many of the rocky stream courses, however, the heavy 
monsoon forest remains as if in primeval state. Some 
humid slopes are covered by almost pure stands of 
giant treeferns (pi. 5, c). Rainfall is exceedingly 
heavy from April through November, and tempera- 
tures are warm all the year (map 6). 

Occasionally, a finca is adorned, as at Moca, by an 
artificial lake, bordered with tropical flowers and 
shrubs (pi. 5, ^). The dark water now and again 
reflects the jerky flight of majestic serpent-necked 
egrets, startlingly white against the deep green wall 
of forested slopes and the towering blue cone of 
Atitlan. On most of the larger plantations, lawns 
and gardens, graced by treeferns and palms of many 
sorts, surround the clusters of large buildings which 
are the homes and administrative offices of the 
aristocratic planters of the boca costa. A short 
distance away .compact rows of little tin-roofed 
shacks (ranches) house the Indian mozos, or la- 
borers, who clear and harvest the coffee. 

In certain sections, where secondarj' cones and 
foothills rise sharply above the bases of volcanoes, 
the lower piedmont is quite mountainous (pi. 46, /). 
As the ascent toward the Highlands progresses, the 
forested stream courses become deeper and wider, the 
clear waters tumbling in rapids and cataracts. 

' Cacao was the "money" of the Mayas and Aztecs, and certain 
early chroniclers referred to the groves as "mines." Some of these 
were owned by Pipil (Mexican) colonists, but most of them belonged 
to Highland Maya planters. The coast of Soconusco was especially 
famous for cacao. 



Abysmal indeed are the canyons where rivers flow 
between lofty volcanoes, providing narrow lines of 
communication between Highland and Lowland. The 
spectacular grandeur of this landscape defies descrip- 
tion. Many of the long-dormant cones are wooded 
to their summits, except for open patches cleared 
for cornfields (pi. 26, a). High up, the natural vege- 
tation becomes less luxuriant, with oaks and pines 
sprinkled over slopes covered with bunchgrass. 

Some volcanoes are sharp-edged, grayish, and 
bare at their summits, the recent ash having not yet 
been invaded by vegetation. These are only lightly 
etched with gullies, whereas the older ones are deeply 
dissected. Quite commonly there are clusters of 
cones, lined up across the main file. In these groups, 
invariably the oldest cone is at the northern end and 
the youngest at the southern. This is best illustrated 
near Quezaltenango. At the southern edge of town 
is old, eroded Cerro Quemado; 5 miles (8 km.) to 
the south is high, conical Santa Maria, which erupted 
violently in 1902; an equal distance still farther south 
is the new volcano "Santiaguito" which began to 
grow after the lateral explosion of .Santa Maria (pi. 
38, d). Similarly Atitlan, a high, sharp cone with 
fumaroles, is south of older, rounded Toliman, in a 
single cluster (pis. 23, b and c ; 24, c) ; and Fuego, 
with a consistent history of frequent eruptions since 
prehistoric times, is immediately south of Acatenango, 
which has no such record of activity, though the two 
form one great double cone (pi. 44, rf) . 

So straight is the row of peaks, ranged along the 
inner margin of the Coastal Plain, that from the top 
of one near the center the others appear to be bunched 
on opposite horizons, northwest and southeast. 
Ordinarily it is only in the early morning, however, 
that they stand out sharp and clear; for the rising 
sun often ushers in a sea of clouds that soon en- 
velops the summits. During the rainy months they 
may be thus obscured for days at a time. And when 
the roca, or burning, is in progress, before the corn 
is planted, the air is filled with an almost impene- 
trable blue haze. This is especially noticeable during 


The term "Los Altos" is popularly applied to tl^e 
lofty Cordillera, the Continental Divide range, along 

the seaward slope of which the file of recent cones 
has developed, in many instances to the same height 
as the older range, or even slightly higher, and in 
a line that parallels its a.xis. Today, as apparently 
was the case in late pre-Columbian times, this is the 
most populous homeland of the Central American 
Indians. The high basins that have been formed 
between these ranges offer almost ideal conditions 
for human settlement, with cool climates the year 
around, volcanic ash of enormous depth, which 
weathers to excellent soils, and abundance of streams, 
fed by heavy rains from May through October. 

The asymmetry of the physical landscape in this 
zone reflects the geologic contrast (map 5) : to the 
north, gently rounded mountains of older volcanic 
structure, with occasional subdued peaks and flat- 
topped remnants ; to the south, siiarp cones, geo- 
logically recent, with great canyons between them, 
through which, on a clear morning, the broad ex- 
panse of Lowland verdure may be seen stretching 
hazily, flecked with occasional lagoons, to the faintly 
gleaming band of the Pacific Ocean on the distant 
horizon (pi. 47). 

Oak and pine woods are scattered through the 
Highlands, remnants of forests once far more ex- 
tensive, which have fallen before the axes and fires 
of shifting native planters. Cornfields and grassy 
and bushy clearings that have periodically yielded 
crops in the past, cover great areas, even on steep 
slopes that were once heavily wooded. Coarse, 
sedgelike tufts of giant bunchgrass share with pines 
the upper elevation zones, while rolling, misty sum- 
mits among the highest mountains are crowned with 
cypress groves (pi. 32). In this lofty land are 
flowered meadows, always damp and green, where 
shepherds find a winter haven for their flocks of black 
sheep, far above the seared pastures of the lower 
country. On the summits, when the afternoon 
clouds have swirled in from below, one has the sensa- 
tion of being on an island floating in vaporous space. 
Sometimes, when the fog is especially hea\'>', there 
is the impression of being under water, and the 
feathery branches of cypress and pine loom like giant 

Except for limited plateau areas, and the open, 
level basin around Quezaltenango, the Highlands 
may be cliaracterized as a land of barranca (ravine 
or gorge) landscapes in dissected mountains. The 
immensely deep canyons are often so sharp and 
abrupt that the unwary traveler is likely to come 
upon them most unexpectedly. The white buildings 

lO N. L*T. 



Scale I-IOC 

(One Inch to 16 mile 

Contour intervc 

N ambers rtftr to eJevali 

RAilroad: standard S^ug 

Road ; Mule-tr^i 

International boundary ♦ 

Department cap{taUCc»b«c 

Mfftropeli*, mixed poMWti> 

COoctOtOCO UJiui and •yvmrMifi' 


Ls. — Limestones, Cretaceous and Tertiarv. 

Cr. — Ancient crystallines, igneous and metamorphic rocks. 

Granites mostly west of Huehuetenango. 

Mici schists mostly soutti and east of Huehuetenango. 

tContinental Divide 

■ (Norttiera limit of cones) 

v. — Voicanics, lava and ash; geologically recent, but older than V'. 

)01d volcanic cone {probable). 
•Hot spring. 

LLuLIN y — Young voicanics; most recent and active cones, lava and ash. 

©Volcano (active: iSantiaguilo, Fuego; geyser: Zunil). 
OPenon (basal dome). 

V.Al. — Alluvium, chietlv of volcanic origin. 


Ls. — Limestones, Cretaceous and Tertiary. 




(On. i„(h I, I6n>,l.,..pp„„,„.„|,) 

Contour interval 500 meters (inn - , 

N-^. „v ,. d„., «., .wl Jf I JOO-matr l,„e excepted) 


Railr«ai: 4tandanl jxuj* f^t^^m ■ 

R„d , MuU-tr»il or footprth 

Intem«I\onal boundary • • •; O.^.i-*. 

rr >*-.—*■ ™.t*wj (T.ui^^ -^>.»^-.4wiDei.^,.^ 

Map 5.- Major geological regions of south G 

V.Al— Alluvium, chiefly of volcanic origin. 

3«, -Q«.i*^t«-*«»o-PUi*T, 

cwAwio **eA eMPHASiiro - W»b«Ur M(8'r'«. ^t, ilM. 

DollfusTd^M!' f™""'''"''';, '^'-o'o^J' "f" S«PP";Ter„a.r. I„„.rc„n,i„e„tal Kadway Commission Survey, 
uoiuusand Moiit-Serrat, and original observalioiiB, 1932-41.) 

aMI62 0-47 (Fwe p. 6) 




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An estimated (1936) 2,450,000' inhabitants of 
Guatemala, some 60 percent of them Indians, and 
most of the rest Ladinos (middle and lower-class 
native-born inhabitants of white, mixed, or even 
Indian blood, but culturally Spanish),* live in an 
area of about 108,000 sq. km. (about 43,000 sq. 
miles). The percentage of Indians varies widely, 
from approximately 14 percent in coastal Amatitlan 
to 97 percent in highland Totonicapan. 




The Indians of Southwest Guatemala are short 
(men about 5 ft. or 152.4 cm., women 4 ft. 8 in. 
or 142.3 cm.) ,^ slight of bone, of medium musculature, 
and for the most part, dark reddish brown in color. 
Marked prognathism, large mouths with thick lips, 
and poor teeth are common facial characteristics, as 
are Mongoloid eyes ; hair is black, straight, and 
copious, and baldness is rare. Variations in skin 
color are numerous, the dark shade of the Xanka- 
tales (Nahuala-Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan) suggest- 
ing an admixture of Negro blood; Santa Cruz la 
Laguna natives also appear quite dark; while 
Pedranos are noted for their lighter skin color and 
relatively handsome appearance. Various legends 
tell of a band of white settlers, pirates according to 
one common version, who came in and intermarried 
at a very early date. Physical traits are often found 
to characterize entire municipios or larger groups 
wherein relationships are close. Medel wrote that 
Indians of the Tropics were darker than those of 
extratropical regions, who appeared but little 
different from the Spaniards (Medel, Ms., p. 193, 

' My estimate is close to that of the Foreign Commerce Yearbook 
for 1937 (2,420,273). (See U. S. Bureau of Foreign and Domestic 
Commerce, 1938.) The 1939 Statesman's Yearbook gives an estimate 
for 1937 of over 3,000,000, while the official Guatemala Government 
figure for 1941 is 3,283,209. When this is compared with the 1921 
total of 2,004,900, the growth of over 60 percent seems phenomenal. 
I estimated an increase of approximately 30 percent, or 2,600,000, for 
1940, on the basis of past rate of population growth. 

* For a fuller definition of "Ladino," see p. 12. Ladinos and upper- 
class whites of Spanish descent (the aristocracy of Guatemala are not 
called "Ladinos" except in the census) are politically, socially, and 
economically superior to the Indians, who generally occupy a position 
almost comparable with that of Negroes in the South of the United 

■According to measurements listed by Strong (1934, p. 32), the 
average height of 251 men, from 5 different villages was 154.1 cm. 
(5 ft., 54 in.); 121 women, 141.4 cm. (4 ft., 7'/, in.). Chichicaste- 
nango men and women were shorter than those farther north. 

Musculature is unbalanced, particularly among the 
men, who generally have tremendously developed 
necks and legs, yet slight, almost frail arms. Since 
they travel long distances at frequent intervals with 
heavy loads on their backs, and climb steep trails 
much of the time, such a condition is not difficult to 
understand. However, even canoemen on the lake 
show little better development, despite frequent use 
of paddles. Their lifting power in back and arms is 
not great; I have found that two or three men will 
struggle painstakingly to beach a small dugout that, 
judged by American standards, requires no great 
effort for one (McBryde, 1938, p. 14). Traders carry 
loads commonly weighing 100 pounds (45.36 kg.) 
or more, but one may observe that they do nearly all 
the work of lifting with their legs. The loads are 
generally set up on some object (cacastes or carrying 
frames have legs to aid in this purpose), the cargador 
squats very low, adjusts the tumpline across his fore- 
head, then lifts the load from the ground by 
straightening up with a powerful push. (For illustra- 
tions of cacastes. which are made in Totonicapan, see 
pis. 12, c; 13, a; 23, d; 39, e.) The back plays 
little part in this process, though often there is 
some aid with the arms in "shoving off," by using 
the long pointed stafif (5 or 6 ft. or somewhat less than 
2 m., long, with sharp metal tip) frequently carried 
by merchants (pis. 4, c; 12, r,- 13, a; 23, d; 39, e). 

Women seem to have arms as well muscled as 
those of men, for they spend much of their time 
grinding corn and washing clothes, operations that 
not infrequently are performed with a sizable baby 
slung on behind. In many regions, especially along 
the lake shore, they derive considerable exercise also 
from climbing 2,000 feet up a steep trail to market 
with such a burden, then adding a large basketload 
of produce, balanced on the head, during the return 

Better than words can describe, the sketches and 
photographs show characteristic native types seen 
in various villages, particularly those around the Lake 
(pis. 6, 7, 8, 9), bringing out their physical type as 
well as their dress. 

Whereas in Mexico and in El Salvador a great 
proportion of the Indians have dropped their native 
languages and speak only Spanish (which makes the 
linguistic census classification unsatisfactory), this is 
not true to the same extent in Guatemala. Except in 



the eastern departments, where Ladinos predominate, 
most Indians of the region under consideration in 
this report still speak varieties of Maya known as 
Quiche, Cakchiquel, Zutuhil, and Mam. These are 
mutually unintelligible, for the most part. Even 
within one linguistic region, there are local expres- 
sions and idioms which are used only in certain 
municipios. As a consequence of these linguistic 
differences, Spanish is the trade language largely de- 
pended upon in markets where diverse tongues 

The present inhabitants of Guatemala, especially 
tiie Indians, are essentially vegetarians. Maize sup- 
plies perhaps as high as 80 percent of the total food 
consumed. It is eaten mainly in the form of tortillas 
(thin, unseasoned griddle cakes) and tamales, though 
gruels, hot (atol) or cold (posol), and pinol (ground, 
toasted maize and spice drink ; see p. 148) are com- 
monly made from maize, and the ears in milk stage 
{elotes) are often roasted and eaten during the season 
of their immaturity. An extensive survey throughout 
the area indicated that tortillas are eaten more than 
tamales only where firewood is abundant. This is 
because much more fuel is required to heat a griddle 
with a few flat cakes on it than to boil enough water 
in a deep jar to cook a large number of closely packed 
tamales. Consequently, in an open area where fire- 
wood is at a premium, as in the high Valley of 
Quezaltenango, nearly all maize is eaten in the form 
of tamales, and tortillas are rare. Toasted tortillas 
(totoposlcs), the only ones that are sometimes salted, 
are taken on long journeys, for they do not become 
sour. Nearly dry paste of black Ijeans is also a com- 
mon food for the trail. 

Beans, especially black kidney varieties from bush 
and vine, are second in importance to maize in the 
■diet, and they supply a large proportion of the pro- 
tein requirements. A variety of fruits and vegetables, 
mostly native and including many wild greens (as 
■chipilin, pp. 142, 147) that are gathered, provide much 
of the rest of the food. Special beans have been devel- 
oped for eating in the pod (cjotes). Little wheat 
bread and meat are eaten, and then nearly all on 
festive occasions, as both are relatively expensive. 
Ladinos eat more of these introduced foods, along 
with European vegetables, than do Indians (see 
p. 37). 

Coffee is the common drink. Water is almost al- 
ways heated before it is drunk by the Indians, as cold 
water is considered "bad for the stomach." Thus, 
imknowingly they check dysentery, typhoid, and 

other water-borne diseases. Chicha, widely made 
ferment of maize (usually black), is also boiled in 
the process. 

Native Indian population is especially concentrated 
in the Guatemala Highlands as it apparently was also 
before the Conquest. Most of the archeological sites 
of Southwest Guatemala are in the Highlands and 
along the piedmont,^ while they are almost lacking on 
the low Pacific Coastal Plain. Kroeber (1939, p. 161) 
has concluded that ". . . in general, prehistoric, 
historic, and modern populations in Mexico and 
Central America tend to be dense and sparse in the 
same areas." Population figures in Spanish Colonial 
records are vague and unreliable, so that we can, at 
best, only approximate the numbers of Indians living 
in the region even during historic time. For this 
reason, estimates must be only expert guesses, and 
authorities vary widely in their tabulations. Whereas 
Sapper (1924, p. 100) arrived at a total of 5 or 6 
million inhabitants for Central America (including 
Chiapas) in 1500, Kroeber's more moderate and care- 
fully thought-out estimate is only 3,300,000 for all of 
Mexico and Central America (ibid., p. 160). 

The temporary impact of the Conquest, with con- 
sequent reductions and eventual recovery of native 
populations, has been summarized by Kroeber as 
follows : 

The Conquest no doubt did cause shrinkage in numbers; 
but in the well-settled regions this effect seems to have been 
transient, and probably began soon to be made good by an 
increase attendant on the new experience of internal peace 
under Spanish Colonial government. ... If our 3,000,000 
[for areas of high culture in Mexico and Central America 
(Guatemala and El Salvador)] be accepted as anywhere 
near the truth, there has been a definite increase not only of 
total population, but also of Indian population in Mexico, 
[and Guatemala and El Salvador] since aboriginal time 

Kroeber's estimate of 12,000,000 Indians (including 
half of the Mestizos) in Mexico and Guatemala in 

* It was here that Alvarado encountered tlie greatest resistance during 
liis invasion of Guatemala in 1524. Of this, Bernal Diaz writes that, 
after passing through (friendly) Soconusco, "which was in that time 
very populous with over 15,000 inhabitants," (archeological and his- 
torical evidences, especially Ponce, 1S73, indicate that this was mainly 
in the piedmont), they met resistance at Zapotitlan, where "many 
squadrons of warriors" defended a bad river (Samala?) pass. They 
were "not only from tlje 'poblaciones' of Zapotitlan, but from other 
neighboring towns" as well — the account indicates that these were 
piedmont centers — and w-ere so numerous that the Spanish forces could 
hardly "get by tlie injured." Continuing toward Quezaltenango 
(Xelaju). they were met on the open plain by "all the forces of those 
neighboring towns" (around and including Quezaltenango), which 
amounted to more than 16,000 ("dos xiquipiles"). If we may base an 
estimate upon such a report, it will be concluded that there were 
considerably fewer Indians in that valley just after the Conquest than 
there are today. 


"#/ * 



1930 indicates a fourfold increase in the number of 
Indians in these two countries since the time of the 
Conquest. On the same basis, his 1930 calculation 
for Guatemala is 2,000,000 Indians. This country 
contains by far the greatest concentration of "pure" 
Indians to be found anywhere in Central America 

Factors in the post-Conquest decline of the 
Indian population. — For the southwestern piedmont 
of Guatemala specifically, the 1579 description of 
(Japotitlan lists the following causes of reported pop- 
ulation decline immediately following the Conquest : 

(1) Polygamy, practiced in pre-Columbian times, was 

forbidden by the Spanish. 

(2) Former living conditions of scattered populations 

were healthier than in insanitary towns into 
wliich hidians were forced by reduccioiics. 

(3) Indians have imitated the Spanish in going on 

long-distance trade and labor journeys, in which 
the "change of airs and waters" seems harmful ; 
also, bathing after sweating from such labors. 

Indian numbers were much reduced by the Con- 
quest through battle casualties, executions, and exces- 
sive exploitations in quests for high-value resources, 
especially gold.' 

In those sections of Central Ainerica where gold 
w-as lacking there were disastrous results of exploita- 
tions of other ready sources of wealth. In the area 
of the modern Republic of El Salvador, where there 
has been much oppression of natives, the "gold" was 
cacao, as indicated by a letter froin officials of the 
Audiencia de Guatemala to the Spanish King, April 
8, 1584, in which extraordinary depredations of the 
Indians of El Salvador (especially the Izalcos) are 
described in detail. With Spanish recognition of 
Aztec demands for cacao, the value of this com- 
modity more than trebled (as I calculated the new 
price, $13.50 to $15.00 per load of 24,000 beans), 
and certain Spanish planters near Sonsonate began 
intensive exploitation of the Indians. 

"They began to put pressure upon their Indians 
and to make them plant great groves [milpas] of 
cacao, . . . making them work in them day and 
night . . . they became very sick because of the 
huiTiid and hot country . . . thus many died and 
they went on dying because of. this new work" 
(Anon., Ms. 1584, p. 12). Palacio (1866, p. 15) says 
in 1576 of cacao production in El Salvador that "in 
the four places of the Izalcos alone" more than 
50,000 cargoes of cacao beans, worth 50,000 gold 

"See Brinton (1SS5, pp. 177, ISl, 183, 1S7, 189), regarding the 
futile search for gold in the volcanic Highlands of Guatemala. 

pesos on the market, were produced. The cultivated 
area was estimated at "2 leagues [8 km.] square," or 
about 25 square miles. A cargo was three xiqui piles, 
or 24,000 beans (a xiquipil was 20 contles of 400 each, 
or 8,000). If this estimate is accurate, 1,200,000,000 
cacao beans were produced annually on an area of 
not over 30 square miles (p. 33). In the "Relacion 
de la Provincia i tierra de la Vera Paz" (Anon., Ms. 
1574 b, pp. 8-9, f. 96) there is an account of the losses 
through sickness and deaths among the Vera Paz 
Indians who went into the Pacific Lowlands. It is 
stated that Highland Indians could not go into the 
Lowlands beyond Tucurub toward the Golfo Dulce, 
because they would "quickly get sick and die." Owing 
to this and to the deserted or "heathen"-infested lands 
in the vicinity, these Vera Paz Indians went to rent 
lands in Sonsonate, Soconusco, Chiquimula, and 
Zapotitlan, 8 to 12 days walking distance away. Here, 
too, many became sick and died. 

Velasco (1894, p. 302) says of Soconusco, about 
1571 : 

Although on the plain in the lower part of this province 
there are very good town-sites, the Indians inhabit the 
wooded slopes through their love of cacao, which yields 
best in country that is hilly, hot, and humid. The Indians of 
this province have declined greatly in number, due to the 
trials and tribulations associated with cacao cultivation: the 
2,000 Indians of this province produce 400 loads (24,000 
beans each) of cacao a year. 

Fray Alonso Ponce's companions, in 1586, refer to 
the Soconusco lowlands as "el Despoblado," a region 
of well-watered cattle pastures where there are no 
towns (Ponce, 1873, p. 294). (See maps 8 and 15.) 
Pineda (1908), writing about 1570, says of Istapa : 

The town of Ystapan is ne.xt to the Pacific ocean, half a 
league from the shore . . . ; this town is very rich in cacao, 
there being many groves [munchas myllpas], with so much 
cacao that the Indians cannot process it, for, though it used 
to be a large town, it has declined greatly because of the 
nuinerous deaths, so that many groves had to be abandoned 
without anyone to harvest and process it. 

Diseases. — The ravages of diseases were extremely 
disastrous in Guatemala. Shattuck (1938) has 
described these in some detail, though he said little 
concerning the three great decimating epidemics of 
the 16th century, which were described in the 
Cakchiquel history (Brinton, 1885). The first of 
these occurred in 1523 (an oft-repeated accompani- 
ment of or prelude to the European impact, which 
here occurred in 1524), the second in 1559, the third 
in 1576. Though smallpox, the early occurrence of 
which in Mexico is well known (Carter, 1931, p. 53, 




ftn. 5), and measles have been much blamed for epi- 
demic reductions of native populations at the Con- 
quest, the symptoms enumerated in the Annals of the 
Cakchiquels (Brinton, 1885) regarding these three 
major 16th-century epidemics strongly suggest influ- 
enza of the virulent (autumn) 1918 type in the 
United States and elsewhere. This diagnosis was 
tentatively made after consultation with Dr. K. F. 
Meyer, University of California bacteriologist. 
Brasseur's suggestion of spyhilis can hardly be con- 
sidered, because of the symptoms ; also, s)'philis was 
probably endemic, while this epidemic came with the 
Spanish. Shattuck's suggestion that it was smallpox 
is little more acceptable in view of the nature of the 
disease and the fact that smallpox was known as 
"virurlas." Nor is Brinton's idea that it was measles 
(ibid., p. 207) in keeping with the symptoms, which 
were fever, coughing, sore, swollen throat and nose, 
accompanied by nosebleed. There were a "lesser" and 
a "greater" pestilence, the latter of which may have 
been the pneumonic type (ibid., p. 194). The sud- 
denness of seizure, rapidity of spread, and great num- 
bers infected (ibid., p. 171) as well as relative 
immunity of children (ibid., p. 173) and high adult 
mortality (ibid., p. 171) are also in keeping with the 
characteristics of influenza. 

Most convincing of all, however, is the fact that, 
prior to the 1559 epidemic, which was said to have 
come "from a distance," "six months after the arrival 
of" a President Royal from Spain (ibid., p. 194), 
there was a 1557 influenza epidemic that ravaged 
"all of Europe," occurring in Madrid in August 
(Vaughan, 1921, table 1, p. 7; Hirsch, 1883-86, vol. 
1, p. 8, dates the disease in Sicily, July, and Spain, 
October). The Thomson monograph (1933, p. 5) 
mentions the same epidemic (from Hirsch, 1883-86, 
vol. 1), characterizing it as "mild," and "from Asia," 
and quotes Stowe's "Annales" to the effect that an 
epidemic raged in England during the harvest of 1558. 
The 1559 outbreak in Guatemala was said to have 
been of the same type as that of 1523 (Brinton, 1885, 
p. 194). An epidemic of influenza was "widespread 
over all of Europe" in 1510 (Vaughan, ibid., whose 
data were apparently from Hirsch, 1883-86, vol. 1, 
p. 8; for a fuller discussion of this subject, see Mc- 
Bryde, 1940; for reference to other diseases, see 
Shattuck, 1939). 


Because of the importance of the term "Ladlno" 
in Guatemala, and the common misinterpretation of 

it by foreigners, it is well to consider the significance 
of the word. The greatest differences between an 
Indian and a Ladino are in culture rather than in 
blood. The latter speaks Spanish as a native tongue, 
though he may know an Indian dialect as well ; he 
probably wears a necktie, shoes, and any other ele- 
ments of European dress that he can afford ; usually, 
though not always, he lives in town, and his house 
is ordinarily more elaborate than an Indian hut. The 
possession of a significant number of these traits 
makes one a Ladino (pis. 40, a, d, c, and 41, b). 
Only Indians have "cofradias" (religious brother- 
hoods) and "brujos" (medicine men), and speak 
Indian dialects when conversing among themselves. 

The distinction is sometimes so hard to draw that 
illustrations will be necessary for clarification. In 
the Chicacao market during 1936 I frequently saw a 
large blonde woman with reddish hair and ruddy 
complexion, dressed like her Indian mother, in full 
Atitlan costume. Her father was French, yet she 
lived like an Indian, and was so regarded by every- 
one, despite the fact that her European traits were 
unmistakable. Ladinos on the other hand may have 
pure Indian blood, and it is only their mode of life 
which puts them into the presumably physical cate- 
gory of "Ladino." This must be borne in mind in 
considering the 1921 Guatemala census figures. 
Census takers were instructed merely to note "dis- 
creetly," on the basis of "easily recognized" charac- 
teristics, whether a person is Indian or Ladino, with 
no embarrassing questions asked. "The character- 
istics of each race are clearly marked. Note them in 
a discreet manner. . . . The race of each person shall 
be written without asking questions. . . ." (Mini- 
sterio de Fomento, 1926, vol. 1, p. 82.) 

Simply wearing shoes and speaking fluent Spanish 
does not make an Indian a Ladino. The Atitlan 
butcher in the Panajachel Indian market certainly 
qualified in at least these two respects, and seemed 
to want to be a Ladino. But no native ever con- 
sidered him one. If he moved to another community 
and opened a store, however, he could pass for a 

Though the etymology of the word "Ladino" is 
obscure and somewhat confusing, the definition given 
by Velazquez de la Cadena (Dictionary, 1868 edi- 
tion) is enlightening : "1. Versed in an idiom, speak- 
ing various languages fluently. 2. Sagacious, cun- 
ning, crafty. 3. 'Negro ladino' (Am.). A negro who 
speaks Spanish so as to be understood." All but the 
third meaning were given also in the Dictionary of 



the Spanish Royal Academy, 1791 edition. 

Fuentes y Guzman (late 17th century) refers to 
"Mestizos and Spanish Ladinos" (1932-33, p. 409). 
A late 18th-century manuscript relating to Chiapa, 
in the Museo Naval, Madrid, reads as follows: 
". . . they are called ladinos, because they speak 
Spanish, they are mulattoes, zambos, and other castes 
which are not Indian . . ." (Anon;, Ms. 1783(?), 
p. 44). The early significance, then, was usually 
linguistic. Juarros defined a Ladino as an Indian 
who "professed Christianity" (Baily translation, 
1823, p. 24). 

The opposing factors of isolation and acculturation 
are of primary significance in the matter of speech. 
The Spanish language, like the wearing of shoes or 
the putting of full-sized windows in a house, is 
adopted by the Indian as he becomes "Ladinized," 
and it may well be taken as an index of this process. 
Accordingly, where the two racial types are in close 
contact, there will be more Spanish spoken by Indians 
than where they live apart. Such, for example, is 
the case in the Quezaltenango area, where many 
Ladinos live, and in the Totonicapan and Momo- 
stenango areas, where, though there are few people 
of European culture, many Indians are long-range 
merchants, and travel often as far as Salvador. They 
must speak fluent Spanish, as it is the trade language. 
A large proportion even of women (usually last to 
learn it) speak the national tongue in such areas as 
Quezaltenango, Totonicapan, etc. 

Since Indians rarely settle permanently below the 
lower limit of the cofifee belt, Spanish is consequently 
the language of the outer Lowlands, especially under 
200 m. (656 ft.). The percentage of Indians in 
shore towns ranges from (Tahuesco) to about 10 
(Champerico) : the proportion is usually about 2 
percent. The few Indians here speak the European 
tongue almost exclusively. This was not considered, 
apparently, by Stoll (1884) when he drew his lin- 
guistic map. Sapper, however, made the correction 
(1897, Map 5), and it has been followed by others 
since. In the mixed villages of the piedmont most 
Indians, including women, have a good knowledge 
of Spanish, and many speak it well. 

In remote areas, on the other hand, a considerable 
number of men may even be found who cannot speak 
enough Spanish to carry on an intelligent conversa- 
tion. Native "intendentes" are chosen largely for 
their ability to speak Spanish, and usually in isolated 
settlements there are very few men to choose from. 
This is especially true of the villages of the more 

secluded northwest shore of Lake Atitlan — San 
Pablo, San Marcos, Tzununa, and Santa Cruz — 
where there are practically no Ladinos; there is a 
1,000-m. wall at their backs, and a wave-furrowed, 
wind-swept lake before them ; nor do they have more 
than a very few canoes to traverse it. Those of the 
south-shore villages (and to a much lesser degree, 
those of the northeast), traveling frequently to the 
Lowlands, for the most part speak Spanish fairly 
well. It is almost the rule that Indian women of the 
Lake region lack knowledge of the national tongue, 
except for the most frequent vendors in the markets ; 
and even there, in the plaza of Santiago Atitlan, 
many women do not even understand Spanish nu- 
merals. That is distinctly a local market, however, 
and there are few Ladinos, most of whom know a 
little Zutuhil. In the mountains behind Solola it will 
be found that most of the Indian women and many 
of the men are equally inarticulate in Spanish. On 
the other hand, there appear to be more Ladinos 
about the Lake than elsewhere in the southwest, 
except in the case of merchants dealing largely with 
Indians, who could speak one or more of the Maya 
dialects. Many of the non-Indian residents, even of 
a town with as many Ladinos as Solola, can carry- 
on conversations in Cakchiquel ; for it is often a 

That Ladinos have long been established in the 
towns and villages of western Guatemala is indicated 
by DoUfus and i\Iont-Serrat through their population 
figures. Santa Cruz del Quiche, e. g., is said to have 
3,000 Mestizos and only 1,500 Indians (DoUfus and 
]Mont-Serrat, 1868, p. 524). 


The first appearance of Negroes in Guatemala 
dates back almost to the Conquest of that area. Garcia 
Pelaez discusses this rather fully, citing an edict of 
Guatemala in 1553, a cedula of 1540, and testimony 
of Alvarado (recorded by Remesal, 1932, bk. 1, 
ch. 15) to the effect that African slaves were men- 
tioned among_ the servants, characterized as "indus- 
trious workers," and were forbidden to bathe in rivers 
and springs where there were white women and 
girls. A ship in 1543 brought 150 Negroes, and a 
1547 edict offered 3 to 6 pesos for the return of 
runaway slaves. Garcia Pelaez concluded, however, 
that the early Spaniards would rather marry Negroes 
than Indians (Garcia Pelaez, 1851-52, vol. 1, p. 63). 
This may in part explain the disappearance of 



Negroes here, for they are rarely seen in Southwest 
Guatemala today; mulattoes along the' Httoral and 
elsewhere in the Lowlands represent perhaps the 
modern vestiges of this miscegenation. Most of 
Guatemala's small Negro population live in the east- 
ern Lowlands, in Livingston and Puerto Barrios, 
where they are employed as stevedores. 

Pineda, later in the 16th century, tells of certain 
Indians in Soconusco who had "male and female 
negroes as servants" (Pineda, 1908, p. 442). Alonso 
Ponce in 1586, when near Grionda, a place at the 
fork of the Camino Real where it branched to Chiapas 
and to Soconusco, passed "some negro women and 
others" (Ponce, 1873, vol. 1, p. 291). Later, at 
Quetzalapa, near Tonala, in Soconusco, his party was 
given a calf and some salt, to make jerked beef, for 
"that uninhabited road which had to be traversed, by 
a negro cstaticiero" (ibid., p. 298). 

Ponce also mentions (1873, vol. 1, p. 403) the 
appearance of "many Negroes" near Sonsonate (in 
modern El Salvador), a few near Los Esclavos, in 
eastern Guatemala (ibid., vol. 1, p. 406), and Negro 
laborers in Chiapas, (ibid., vol. 1, p. 437). From this 
widespread distribution before the end of the 16th 
century, mentioned quite casually, we see that Ne- 
groes were fairly numerous, and that their principal 
concentration was apparently in the Pacific area of 

There may be some implication of Indian-Negro 
cross (zambo) in the same Santiago Zambo, the 
early village of the piedmont which today is Finca 
Zambo, in Suchitepequcz. It is not far from the 
coastal lands of the Xankatales (Highland Nahuala- 
Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan Indians), who are among 
the darkest-skinned of the Guatemala Indians, possi- 
bly because they may have absorbed some of the early 
Negro blood. Although Negroes as such apparently 
fade from history after the 17th century, it may be 
noted that even today, in various parts of the Low- 
lands, particularly in the shore towns, mulattoes and 
zambos can be recognized. I saw them in Tahuesco, 
and had reports of them also in other littoral centers. 
In the story of Los Esclavos as told by Dollfus and 
Mont-Serrat (1868, p. 33) it is stated that "almost 
all of the inhabitants are zambos. . . ." The ac- 
count of Negro slaves does not agree with that of 
Ponce's companion, who said that a former president 
had released 10,000 Mexican Indian slaves, and even 
in 1586 the place was called Los Esclavos (Ponce, 
1873, vol. l,p. 318). 


The great, forested plain of Guatemala's largest de- 
partment. El Peten, comprising over one-third of the 
Nation's land area, is in large part almost uninhabited, 
having an average density of about one-half per sq. 
km. ( 1 J4 per sq. mile) if we exclude Flores, a town of 
1,500, wherein a fifth of the district's people reside. 
Three-fourths of the total are clustered in miserable 
little villages and cliicle camps, scattered over this 
low, fever-ridden region. By contrast, the High- 
lands farther south present the other extreme, with 
thickly settled agricultural communities occupying the 
more favorable valleys and basins. 

Exclusive of El Peten, the Guatemala density of 
population is about 35 per sq. km. (87.5 per sq. mile). 


Distribution of population is extremely spotty, with 
limited favorable areas having densities well over 100 
per sq. km. (250 per sq. mile), adjacent to unpeopled 
volcanic slopes or deep barrancas (map 8). The line 
of demarcation is often sharp in the Valley of Quezal- 
tenango, where the municipio of that name has a rural 
density of 127 per sq. km. (317.5 per sq. mile), while 
the adjacent volcanic mountains of El Haul, Cerro 
Quemado, and Santa Maria are virtually uninhabited 
above about 2,700 m. (8,858 ft.). Water supply is 
a determining factor of the first magnitude here ; dur- 
ing the half-year dry season, springs cease to flow on 
the higher volcanic slopes. The steepness here is, 
furthermore, unsuited to house construction. Along 
the precipitous shores of Lake Atitlan (pis. 45 and 
46), villages are crowded upon low ridges and ter- 
races above high-water lines of both lake and streams 
(map 20). Only in the piedmont are terrain and 
water supply alike usually favorable, except on the 
sides of small ravines and secondary volcanic cones. 
Climatic advantages favor the Highlands, and often 
outweigh such detrimental factors as rugged terrain, 
remote water supply, and isolation. 

It is in the Highlands, then, that population is 
primarily concentrated (map 8). Most Indian 
villages are between elevations of 1,500 m. (4,921 ft.) 
and 2,800 m. (9,186 ft.) ; plantation settlements be- 
tween 350 m. (1,148 ft.) and 1,500 m. There is a 
distinct alinement of villages and towns, chiefly finca 
markets, along the lower isohyps (350 m.), with 14 
major ones (over 1,000 population) and 11 minor 
ones, between about 250 m. (820 ft.) and 400 m. 



(1,312 ft.), in the 80-niiIe stretch from Coatepeque to 
Chiquimulilla.* Only nine of these are on the rail- 
road, which winds above and below the 250-ni. 
isohyps. Lower than this there are virtually no 
towns except the ports, which are small, open road- 
steads, and most of the land is in large cattle ranches ; 
above, the few centers are mainly concentrated along 
trade routes that lead between volcanoes to the High- 
land centers of San Marcos, Quezaltenango, Totoni- 
capan, Solola, Chimaltenango, Antigua, and Guate- 
mala City. 

The 1,400-m. (4,593 ft.) to 1,500-m. (4,921 ft.) 
dividing zone between independent farming and 
plantation concentrations is strikingly coincident with 
the upper limit of the orographically conditioned 
zone of tropical monsoon climate (Koppen defini- 
tion, hot and extremely rainy, except for a short 
winter-dry season, here December to March ; map 6) . 
This climatic region is essentially the same as the 
settled portion of the coffee belt (map 14), cultiva- 
tion usually extending somewhat higher in elevation 
than settlements of coffee planters. The upper limit 
of coffee growth is about 1,650 m. (5,413 ft.) on 
slopes bordering Lake Atitlan. Above a variable ele- 
vation zone, the center averaging about 1,450 m. 
(4,757 ft.), climates are cool to cold, and below it, 
warm to hot ; there is but one annual corn harvest 
above, and two below ; the independent subsistence 
Indians live mainly higher, their plantation kins- 
men lower than this level. At low elevations there 
are a few Indian villages, such as San Sebastian 
Retalhuleu, whereas in the mountains there are oc- 
casional small plantations, as of wheat. Yet. in broad 
terms, the generalization of Llighland-village and 
Lowland-plantation holds true for Indian settlements. 

In pre-Columbian times, just as today, there were 
Highland and piedmont concentrations, the latter 
for cacao and, to some extent, for maize plantation 
settlements, colonized from the Highlands. The 
centers of population were strung along the pied- 
mont as they are now; but the mid-19th century 
shift from cacao to coffee here put the settlements 
at the base of the present plantation belt, instead of 
near the top, as in the case of lower-level cacao 
(maps 11 and 12). The only outer coastal cacao 
settlement to which I have found reference is that 
of 16th-century Ixtapa (Pineda, 1908, p. 429). 

* These are, from west to east (italicized if over 1,000 population), 
Coatepeque, Geneva, Flores, Nuevo San Carlos, Retalhuleu, San Se- 
bastian, Mulud, San Andres, Cuyotenango, Macatenayigo, San Ber- 
nardino, San Antonio, San Miguel, Chicacao, San Pedro Cutz5n, Santa 
Barbara, Patuhil, Santa Lucia Cotsunialguapa, Siquinala, Guachipilin, 
Escuintla, Guanagazapa, Taxiscd, Guacacapdn, Cftiquimulilla. 

Pineda's statements tend to exaggerate the Indians' 
wealth, however (see p. 91). 

A distinction may be made in the Highlands be- 
tween certain almost purely agricultural areas of 
dense population and those where industrial pursuits 
have an important supplementary place in the re- 
gional economy. Since agriculture and trade are 
important in some measure to nearly all, these per- 
haps should be called, respectively, "agricultural- 
commercial" and "industrial-agricultural-commer- 
cial." In the southwestern Guatemala "Altos" 
(Highlands west of Patzicia and south of Huehue- 
tenango) all the major areas of dense population 
fall into the latter category, with the exception of the 
Lake Atitlan Basin. Here some of the Lake villages 
have minor industries, such as the making of rush 
mats, or even fairly large-scale craft production, as 
in the fabrication of rope. Yet, generally speaking, 
it is an area without industries (nearly all artisans 
are imported), there being in their stead, as in the 
case of Solola and Panajachel, specialized, intensive 
vegetable culture, or, as at Santa Catarina Palopo, 
fishing, until a law was passed prohibiting it. Such 
substitutions seem to account for this exception to 
the general rule that Highland Indians are mainly 
craft Indians, having areal specializations, with goods 
produced by specialists among their communities. 

Of all the well-peopled regions, that of Momosten- 
ango is perhaps the one in which more of the inhabi- 
tants are craftsmen and the population as a whole is 
less dependent upon agriculture than elsewhere. They 
market their woolen goods in large quantities as far 
as El Salvador and Honduras. It seems significant 
that here soil erosion has completely ruined more land 
than almost anywhere else in the Southwest. Areas 
around Santa Cruz Quiche and Chiche and between 
Patzite and Totonicapan offer the only comparable 
examples of destruction with which I am familiar, 
and these are not so far advanced as are the rilled red 
clay lands and the famous pinnacled riscos of Momo- 
stenango (pi. 30, /). Here Indians from far-off 
Todos Santos Cuchumatan bring maize to sell in large 
quantities in April, when it is usually still plentiful in 
most Highland communities, but is very scarce in 
Momostenango. Much maize also comes from Quiche. 

Maps 1 and 3 show by symbols the relative abun- 
dance of Indians and Ladinos in all the towns and 
villages which are included in the present study, as 



well as a number of others. Figures are based usually 
upon the 1921 census, except where reason has been 
found to revise them, e.g., for boundary changes. 
From the maps it will be observed that the seashore 
centers are mostly villages of less than 1,000 popula- 
tion (under 150 Indians), in every case predomi- 
nantly Ladino. Beyond the thinly settled park- 
savanna of the lower Coastal Plain, villages and 
towns lined up along the piedmont are for the most 
part rather evenly divided between Ladino and 
Indian inhabitants, and they contain, on the average, 
populations of around 1,000 (about half have more, 
and half less; see p. 15, ftn. 8). Where they 
are larger, Ladinos usually predominate, as in the 
instances of Mazatenango and Retalhuleu, having 
over 5,000 Ladinos and from 1,000 to 5,000 Indians. 
Only one sizable Lowland village, namely, Santo 
Tomas la Union, is predominantly Indian (1,000- 
5,000 Indians ; under 500 Ladinos). The major con- 
centration of Lowland Indians is in the monsoon cof- 
fee belt, where they have settled permanently in great 
numbers on the fincas. This is not to be thought of as 
a dispersed rural population. The laborers are housed 
in small, compact settlements, much like our factory- 
labor districts or, even more, like the slave quarters 
of the Old South. The tiny, simple dwellings are built 
usually in close, even rows, near the administrative 
center, for convenience. Since many of the colonos 
or rancJieros (permanent colonists) as well as the 
temporadisfas or jornaleros (migrants) are from va- 
rious parts of the Highlands (map 12), often repre- 
senting several dialects, a finca-belt map of languages 
would look in places like a patchwork quilt. 

Above the elevation of the coffee fincas, predomi- 
nantly Indian villages appear in great numbers. Only 
Santiago Atitlan and Comalapa have over 5,000 In- 
dians and under 500 Ladinos (see p. 85). It will be 
noted that Indian villages are particularly common 
around Lake Atitlan, where every shore settlement is 
of this general type except Panajachel, a tourist cen- 
ter, and the only one having a main highway connec- 
tion (San Lucas has a secondary one). Though the 
tourist trade is fairly recent, the route significance 
here is centuries old. Often Indian villages occur mar- 
ginal to large areas of dense population ; e.g., around 
the Quezaltenango Valley there are nine fringing vil- 
lages, consisting almost entirely of Indians. The Ladi- 
nos, on the other hand, live mostly in the larger towns, 
such as Quezaltenango and Salcaja. They prefer this 
habitat, and the company of their fellows, just as most 
of the Indians prefer rural surroundings in their own 

communities. From certain sections Ladinos are 
virtually excluded (except for a small official staff, 
including teacher, garrison commander, etc.) ; e.g., 
Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan and Nahuala Indians, 
though they drink as much rum as any of their 
neighbors, have decreed prohibition of the sale or 
manufacture of intoxicating liquor, apparently to keep 
out the Ladinos who would control its production, 
which is regimented by national law (McBryde, 1933, 
p. 103, ftn. 52; see also Dollfus and Mont-Serrat, 
1868, p. 71). Ladinos feel that their lives would not 
be safe among these "Xankatales" ; probably they are 
right. Certainly, life would be neither prosperous 
nor pleasant for them. Many exceptions will be seen, 
of course, to both generalizations (Ladinos as town- 
dwellers ; Indians as rural) but particularly in the 
industrial Indian towns of Totonicapan and Momoste- 
nango. These are the only two which have the char- 
acter of towns, with over 5,000 Indians, and yet with 
only 500-1,500 Ladinos; the latter, town-building 
element being at a minimum. In every other case, 
centers that have been classed as towns have at least 
as many Ladinos as Indians (p. 86). 

An arrangement of concentric circles has been 
used on the base maps to indicate towns (as dis- 
tinguished from villages) of various sizes and ethnic 
compositions. Most Highland towns, usually De- 
partment seats, or administrative centers in large 
municipios, are rather evenly divided between Indian 
and Ladino elements. The commonest town tvpe on 
the map is that having 1,000 to 5,000 Indians and 
1,000 to 5,000 Ladinos. Patziim, Solola, and San 
Pedro Sacatepequez (San Marcos) may be cited as 
good illustrations of this type. Salcaja, Zaragoza, 
and the Port of San Jose are the only towns in which 
the Indian element is almost negligible (under 500). 
In all Guatemala, Quezaltenango is the only town 
besides Guatemala City having more than 10,000 of 
both elements. A map that classifies centers of 
population merely by numbers of inhabitants gives 
little idea of settlement types in Guatemala, for it 
ignores the all-important element of ethnic compo- 
sition of the population. 


(See also Appendix 2) 


The widely accepted term "milpa agriculture" 
used by O. F. Cook, of the United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, retired, to characterize native 




Central American farming ("the planting of crops in 
temporary clearings," Cook, 1909, p. 308) is quite 
misleading as far as most of the southwestern Guate- 
mala Highland region is concerned. So thoroughly 
worked is the soil, and so deeply furrowed with the 
broad hoe, that such a paradoxical term as "hoe plow- 
ing" is necessary to describe it (pi. 30, b, c). The 
hand implements of the Indians of this region are used 
with even greater effectiveness than a plow in prepar- 
ing "contour" furrows. Yet fields so laboriously 
worked are "milpa" to them, and to anyone who visits 
the area ; and hardly fitting the definition implied by 
the statements that "milpa agriculture appears well 
adapted to the needs of very primitive peoples, since 
only a minimum of labor and equipment is required. 
The ax or the cutlass is the only tool that is neces- 
sary" (Cook, 1909, p. 308). That this definition of 
milpa is not fully applicable as far as the southwest 
Highlands are concerned is clear from the following 
comparison : "The v^'ord that corresponds to milpa 
in Peru and neighboring countries of South America 
is 'chacra,' but this is applied also to lands that are 
terraced and tilled continuously in the higher valleys" 
(ibid., p. 308, ftn. 2). The implication here is that 
if land is cultivated continuously it is not "milpa 
agriculture." Though Highland milpa land in Guate- 
mala today is not elaborately terraced,® it is contour- 
furrowed, and much of it is tilled as continuously as 
that of Peru. "Chacra" in Peru is applied to any 
cultivated field, not necessarily maize, and the term 
is also applied to a small farm ; sometimes even to the 
amount of land included in a family subsistence farm. 

There is not an individual in the entire area who 
would not call his cornfield "milpa" •"' (except when 
speaking in his own dialect), as that is the one 
universal word for it, there being no general syno- 
nym. If a writer wishes to refer to "digging-stick 
culture," it would be preferable that it be done in 
those terms to avoid confusion. 

That the word "milpa" was applied in colonial 
times to other than cornfields has already been 
brought out. Many 16th-century chroniclers wrote 
of "myllpas de cacao," though perhaps more com- 
monly they were called "heredadcs." Whether the 
Indians themselves used "milpa" in connection with 
cacaotalcs (cacao groves) is open to question. The 

* Distinct terraces, 3 or 4 feet wide, are to be seen near Totcnicapan, 
in fields cultivated at the present time; ancient, stone-faced terraces 
are common in parts of Chiapas, notably near Ocosingo. 

^'^ "Milpa" is also used to designate individual maize plants, or the 
maize considered collectively: often even "milpas" is heard as a plural 
when the plants are referred to. 

Indians of Atitlan in their letter to the King (Anon., 
Ms. 1584) spoke of "hcrcdades de cacao" yet even 
for maize, "milpa" was not mentioned, but rather 
"scmcntcras dc niaiz." The Spaniards so often took 
names and words just as used by the Indians that 
their terminologj- presents fairly good evidence of 
native parlance. Today, any cornfield is a milpa, but 
in order to be a milpa it must have maize, and not 
some other field crop such as wheat, beans, or barley. 
It may have extraneous crops interplanted, however, 
especially beans, vetch, squashes, rice, sweetpotatoes, 
garlic, and sometimes maguey. Pure field plots of 
other crops than maize are generally referred to as 
siirco or de suclo (e. g., beans : frijolcs de suclo). 


Clearing and rotation. — A 16th-century \'era 
Paz report states that new clearings were made in 
the forest every 2 years (limit of yield in one place), 
after which the land was abandoned for 10 or 15 
years (Anon., Ms. 1574 b, p. 8, f. 94). 

In the Highlands today the 7-oca, as the process of 
clearing and burning is termed, is generally confined 
to new fields prepared on land which has been idle 
long enough for a regrowth of bushes or trees. The 
same field is usually under cultivation for a number 
of years, until the yield declines excessively, then the 
plot is left fallow for 5 or 10 years or more, depend- 
ing upon edaphic conditions. At San Andres 
Semetabaj, where there is good ash soil, though not 
so good as the decomposed lavas of Santiago, 5 years 
was said to be the limit of good yield, with virtual 
exhaustion and poor harvest at the end of IS or 20 
years. At nearby Panajachel, 5 years was also given 
as the limit of good 3-ield ; land is left then to go back 
to "bush" for 5 or more years. In that area, beans 
are sometimes interplanted,^^ and annual alternation 
of beans and maize is common. At Santiago it was 
stated that about half the natives interplant beans 
with maize (and some pole beans). In the higher 
milpas there, beans are not planted, and good maize 
yields are said to be limited to 3 or 4 years, ^- after 
which the land may be left fallow for 15 or 20 years, 
when vegetation returns. Lower down, land (much 
of it alluvial) is reported to be good for annual 
planting for 10 or 15 years, after which beans are 

" This practice was said to be objectionable at San Andres, because 
the vine-burdened cornstalk offers more wind resistance and falls more 
easily. Beans are usually planted in special fields at San Andrds. 

"This discrepancy as compared with north-side estimates of 5 years, 
even on poorer soil, may reflect the fact that Atitecos, having more 
good land per capita, can afford to shift milpas oftener. 

654162 — 47- 



Agriculture: viajor producing centers and cones of Southzuest Gtuiteniala based on elevation. 

Zone No. 

Zone 1 : Outer Lowlands 

Zone 2 : Inner Lowlands 
and piedmont (costa and 
boca costa) 

Zone ^ : 

Highlands (Los Altos) 

Northern valleys (Rio 
Negro and Rio Se- 
le-^uk) . . 

Zone 4: Summits of moun- 












Over 3,100 









Over 10,1/1 

Native American crops and 
length of vegetative period 


First, or main planting (pri- 
tnero, fttego); 3-4 months... 

Second (segundo) ; 3-4 months 

Irrigated; in humid depressions 
(chahuite, or de ricgo, or de 

( First iprimero, fuego, or ton- 
I porada) ; 4-5 months 

Second (segundo), 5 months.. 

] Cuarenteno (quick-growing); 

2-3 montlis 

I Chile 

; Manioc 

L Pineapple „ 

6—7 months (roasting ears, 4 

7-8 months^ 

10-11 months 

11-12 months 

12-13 months 

Kidney beans and tomatoes 

Maize, 2 plantings; 6-7 months . . 
No plantings (only sheep pastures) 

Average planting and harvesting period 
(if annual) 


May . . 

All year around 




April . , . 

March . . 
May .... 

(1) Verano, January- 

(2) Invierno, Tune- 

July '■ 



3 months. 


















Exotic crops 


Coffee (see map 12) 

Sugar (panela to Highlands in trucks) 


Habas (broadbeans) 

Potatoes : 
. Small, native . . . 

I Large "American" 


In Cuclmmantanes Mountains 

Average planting and harvesting period 
(if annual) 

Planting . 









* At Santa Atitlan and San Bartolm^, there is also an earlier planting, in February, with harvesting in August; vegetative period 7 months. 





planted for a year ; thereafter beans are planted every 
second or third year, until the bean yield declines 
notably, which may begin after the second rotation. 
The field may then be abandoned for 4 or 5 years, 
and beans planted again, followed by maize. 

Such repeated plantings, even with rotation inter- 
spersed by short periods of rest, result in the ex- 
tremely high proportion of cleared land that is so 
characteristic of the Highland landscape. The state- 
ment sometimes made, however, that the forest is 
never permitted to return (Kempton and Popenoe, 
1937, p. 213), is widely refuted by observations 

In much of the Highlands, there are monthly weed- 
ings for the first 3 months of growth. 

Where newly cleared .brush or woodland, felled by 
ax and machete (pi. 31, b) is to be disposed of, it is 
usually burned after a period of drying, a month or 
less before planting. In wooded areas, there are 
often a few large trees left standing in the milpa 
(pi. 10.^). 

The time of planting and length of vegetative period 
are chiefly a matter of elevation (map 9). The fol- 
lowing tabulation summarizes my observations in this 
regard : 


Average planting date 

Average major harvest period 



1 SOO-2 250 

4 921-7,382 

Apr. 15-May IS (wet season) 

Mar. 15-30 (dry season) 

Feb. 15-30 (dry season) 

December— January. 






around Solola,' Totonicapan, and other areas, where 
furrows are clearly visible under pine forests. It is 
nevertheless true that some areas, as in the Quezal- 
tenango-Totonicapan Valley, are largely deforested, 
and have been so since before the Conquest. Here 
there is little burning, and the rosa is virtually re- 
stricted to weed cutting; for, even where there is a 
bit of brush or forest, it is conserved for firewood. 

Planting. — Preparing the field and planting maize 
is usually men's work, as seems to have been the case 
since ancient times. Neither Oviedo nor Medel refers 
to planting ,by women. In part this division of labor 
is probably due to the heavy work involved, especially 
in felling trees and hoeing, but it seems to have also 
a symbolic significance, with the man regarded as the 
logical sower of the seed. Of the early writers which 
I have consulted, only Torquemada (1723, vol. 1, p. 
328) refers to planting by women, which undoubtedly 
was exceptional. That women today plant other 
crops than maize, and aid in the harvest, will be 
brought out later. 

The various steps in the preparation of a milpa (not 
new land) were outlined and named by Santiago 
Atitlan Indian informants as follows (lands near the 
village, elevations not over 1,700 m.) : 

In September, October, and November the corn- 
stalks are gathered for fuel, temporary fences, and a 
number of other uses. The leaves (the only fertilizer 
used) are cut and dug under. Weeds are cleared 2 
weeks before planting. Any burning of stumps, roots, 
and brush is done 1 week before planting, which takes 
place usually during the first 2 weeks of February. 

Highland planting at elevations below about 2,250 
m. (7,382 ft.) is, for the most part, begun after the 
first two or three heavy rains (sometimes called 
scmbradores for this reason, especially in the Low- 
lands). Above that, colder conditions make it neces- 
sary because of the long growing period (nearly a full 
year) to plant as soon as possible following the month 
of frost hazard (January). Low temperatures, cloudi- 
ness, and fog retard the evaporation of moisture from 
the soil at these levels, compensating somewhat for 
the lack of rain. 

Planting before the rains is to be found at San 
Bartolome Aguascalientes (2,500 m. or 8,202 ft.) and 
Santiago Atitlan (1,660-1,700 m. or 5,446-5,577 ft.), 
an exception to the general rule at this level. In both 
these regions, planting is begim during the first 
half of February and harvesting from the middle of 
August to December. For this early planting before 
the rains, the soil is said to be hoed deeper (as in dry- 
season planting in general), for better moisture con- 
ditions, than in plantings after rains, and hoed early, 
right after the previous harvest (Santiago Atitlan). 
In both of the above-mentioned localities, there is an- 
other planting in May with the rains, apparently a 
short-growing season variety, for it is harvested 
along with the earlier planted maize, beginning in 
August and September. 

Fertilizers. — Throughout the Highlands above 
about 1,500 m. (4,921 ft.), fertilizing of the land is 
common and widespread, for climatic and soil condi- 
tions are less favorable there than in the Lowlands, 
where it is seldom practiced. The fertilizer consists in 



some regions merely of old leaves of maize and other 
plants where the soil is good (Santiago Atitlan, Pana- 
jachel), or animal manure, which may be bought or 
gathered from the stables by the Indians, as at Solola. 
It is mainly obtained from their own animals (espe- 
cially cattle; Cajola, Chiquilaja, San Andres Xeciil) 
and mixed half-and-half with leaf litter. Estimates at 
Solola and at San Juan Ostuncalco agreed tliat about 
10 or 12 sacks (80-100 lb. each) of this mixed leaf 
and maiuire fertilizer are used per cuerda (about 30 
yd. sq.) . A small amount is generally applied to each 
hill. The commonest and most important manuring 
practice of the Highlands in the sheep country, above 
2,000 m. (6,562 ft.), is that of keeping the sheep at 
night in small movable pens, each about 10 to 15 yards 
square, made up of broad, vertical boards. These 
pens are shifted every fourth to seventh day, depend- 
ing upon the number of sheep, each time to a new spot 
contiguous to the previous one. In this manner, a few 
dozen sheep may enrich a field of considerable size 
during a year. Special benefits to soil fertility are at- 
tributed to sheep urine. I have observed this prac- 
tice at Solola, Cantel, San Francisco el Alto, San 
Juan Ostuncalco, San Andres Xeciil, Pie de Volcan, 
and all through the Cuchumatanes Mountains, and 
have been informed of it in many other parts of the 
high sheep country. In many cases one may observe 
these enclosures, next to rows of adjacent squares of 
uniform size, the darker ones nearer to the pen obvi- 
ously being those recently occupied (pi. 32, d, e). 
Pigs furnish fertilizer at San Francisco el Alto. 
Chicken manure is often saved (observed especially 
at Santa Cruz la Laguna), and human refuse was re- 
portedly used at many localities, notably San Andres 

Tilling of the soil. — Before planting milpa in the 
Highlands of the southwest, the Indians do as good 
and often even a better job of furrowing with a hoe 
than they could do with a plow and animals, though 
the labor involved is enormously greater. Furrows 
as deep as 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.5 cm.), about 
3 feet (91.4 cm.) apart, extremely even and straight 
(and, on irregular slopes,^^ always "contoured") are 
made with a giant, heavy hoe about a foot wide and 
almost square, having about a 5-foot handle, and 
used like a mattock, cutting deeply (pi. 30, a, b, c). 
Probably this was a Spanish Colonial introduction 
to replace pre-Columbian types, doubtless of bone 
and wood. 

Only in one Highland locality of the southwest 
was the digging stick reported for tillage. That was 
in jMomostenango, canton of Tunayac, according to 
Don Ernesto Lang, an intelligent German store- 
keeper who has long lived in that town, and who is 
married to a native Indian woman. He said that 
"prior to about 50 years ago (1886)" all Indians 
used hardwood digging sticks of the Tunayac type, 
6 feet (nearly 2 m.) long, with a wedge point. 

In rows along each side of these freshly turned 
furrows, several grains (usually 5)" are planted in 
each hole, a few inches deep.^^ The holes, about 
2 feet (60 cm.) apart, are made in some sections by 
sticks but often they are made by the hoe blade. 
They are usually made to alternate in adjoining rows 
so that the transverse space between the holes is the 
width of two rows. 

As the maize grows, earth is hilled up around each 
group of plants, sometimes into mounds 2 feet or more 
in height, probably a defense against the frequent 
high winds of the plateau and mountain regions 
(pi. 10, c). Ox-drawn plows are not uncommon in 
the western Highlands. I have seen a few on the 
nearly level terrain near Ouezaltenango, notably at 
San Mateo, and many near Huehuetenango, where 
they are used mostly by Ladinos (pi. 31, c). In the 
Cuchumatanes Mountains many Indians as well as 
Ladinos plow. This is especially true at Todos 
Santos Cuchumatan (pi. 31, /). Though plowing 
is usually confined to fairly level terrain, it is some- 
times practiced on remarkably steep slopes, following 
contours as nearly horizontally as possible. 

In Huehuetenango farmers said that, for the rainy- 
season planting, they plowed once, early in May, 
after two or three rains. The furrows were about 
5 inches deep. Often some animal manure was 
added. For the dry-season planting, during January 
and February, there were three plowings — the first 
about November 1, some 10 inches (25 cm.) deep ; the 
second about November 20, 5 inches (12.5 cm.) deep, 
and crossing the furrows of the first at right angles ; 
and the third about December 10, the same direction 
and depth as the first. The growing period during 
both wet and dry seasons is 7 or 8 months. 

13 Tremendously steep slopes are cultivated. The angle of slope of a 
milpa on a lava terrace at San Pedro was 40", or nearly the limit at 
which man can stand upright. 

1* Information as to the number in each hole runs as follows: San 
Pedro Laguna and Santiago Atitlan, 5: San .\ndres Semetebaj, 5 aver- 
age, 4 good land; San Francisco el Alto, 5-7; San Cristobal Totonica- 
pan, 5; San Andres Xeciil, 7; Cajola, 6-S. This varies with soil 
fertility; apparently, more seeds are used in poorer soil. 

"Usually 4-6 in. (10-15 cm.) except in dry-season planting, where 
it is deeper (S in. or more); at Santiago Atitlin 6-S in. (15-20 cm.) 
seemed usual, as also at San Juan Ostuncalco in the high valley. 



The harvest. — Various preharvest practices such 
as the doblando, bending over the top of the maize 
stalks, leaving the ears pointing downward, or cutting 
off the top of the plant a month or two before the 
maize is gathered, are commonly though not univer- 
sally employed to facilitate ripening. The harvest is 
often protracted, with net loads of maize ears being 
brought in as needed, and stored; when storage 
facilities are inadequate, the maize must be left in 
the field and gathered a few loads at a time. Various 
animal pests, however, discourage this practice. At 
Santiago Atitlan the maize is harvested as soon as 
possible, and is kept in the owner's yard. Women 
do a large share of the work of harvesting in many 
parts of the region, sometimes even carrying home 
heavy loads of maize, in addition to gathering it in 
the field. ^^ jNIaize is ordinarily shelled with the hand, 
as needed, being stored on the ear, sometimes in part 
of the house and sometimes in outside cribs (trojes). 

Maize colors. — It is almost universal practice to 
plant maize according to color, keeping each separate 
insofar as is possible. The common colors in 
descending order of importance and abundance are 
yellow, white, black (actually, dark purple and, to a 
lesser extent, blue), red, "calico," and mottled (pi. 
30, d). The first is most common throughout the 
entire region. Observations and informants' state- 
ments at 15 widely distributed centers from Low- 
lands to Continental Divide showed that yellow was 
first in quantity and was preferred for eating in all 
but one locality, where white seemed to have equal 
rank; white is a close second throughout the area, 
with black (purples and blues) and reds far less 
abundant. At San Andres Semetebaj a good in- 
formant stated that the dark-colored maize thrives 
on poor soil, where the others do not grow well. All 
different colors are eaten immature (elote), roasted, 
but much less than ripe, as tortillas and tamales. Red 
and especially black are preferred, as in Peru, for 
making chicha, a fermented drink. 

Along the north shore of the Lake at both Pana- 
jachel and Santa Catarina Palopo, it was said that 
yellow maize was planted exclusively near the shore, 
mainly on alluvial land, whereas white (and a little 
black) was grown up on the steep slopes. ^'^ One ex- 
planation for this was as follows : Yellow maize rip- 
ened earlier and if anyone put in a patch of yellow 
among the white, up where it could not be watched, it 

would become a special prey to pests, particularly the 
tepeizcuinte (probably Cimicidiis paca). There was 
no explanation as to why the slopes were not sown 
entirely to yellow, which should also nearly all ripen 
at once. Perhaps the yellow is more exacting as to 
soil, and, being preferred, it is planted on the best 
alluvial land. 

Ciiarenteno ("40-day" maize) is generally limited 
to elevations below 1,500 m. (4,921 ft.) and occurs 
in the three common colors, yellow, white, and black. 
It has a growing season of about 2 months. 

Yield. — Average Highland yields, based upon a 
number of estimates made in various parts of the 
region, range from about 1 quintal (about lOV/i 
lb.) to 2 quintals per cucrda}^ {2>2 varas of 33 in., 
squared, or somewhat less than one-fifth acre). This 
is roughly from 550 to 1,100 pounds (or about 10 to 
20 bu.) to the acre." Tax (1937) and Stadelman 
(1940) have recorded average yields near the higher 
figure. Kempton and Popenoe (1937) give 10 
bushels as the usual maximum yield for high corn- 
fields, with 20 bushels the probable top yield lower 
down. Medel gave 16th-century yields as averaging 
60- to SO-fold (ratio between amount of grain har- 
vested and amount planted) in Guatemala and Tlax- 
cala on good maize lands ; 200-fold, exceptional ; yet 
for Nuevo Reino 25- to 30-fold was good (Medel, 
Ms., p. 140, f. 190). The probable average yield in 
highland Guatemala today is about 100 to 1, as in the 
fertile valleys of coastal Peru. In the United States 
Corn Belt the yield is commonly 200 to 1. 

Secondary milpa crops. — The principal crops 
other than maize that go into the milpa are usually 
beans and squashes of various sorts. These depend 
upon the individual locality, where taste and often 
climatic conditions are the determining factors. 
They can best be illustrated by citing several ex- 
amples of actual practice in different sections. 

A large percentage, perhaps half, of the Atitecos 
(Santiago, 1,600 m. or 5,249 ft.) plant beans, along 
with maize, four to each hill at the same time as the 
maize. Near the Lake shore, back to about 100 m. 
(328 ft.), almost all milpa is interplanted with 
squash (some report giticoy, a form of Cucurbit a 
pepo, higher up), manioc, and sweetpotatoes, all be- 
ing about 7 or 8 varas (of 33 in.) apart except the 
manioc, which is planted by each maize hill. Chila- 

" For 16th-century notes regarding harvest methods in Vera Paz, see 
p. 24. 

" None of these reports could be personally verified, but they checked 
in diilerent localities. They are recorded with reservations. 

'5 One quintal per cusrda is the estimate determined by Termer for 
the Cuchumatanes region, and quoted by La Farge and Byers (I93I, 
p. 71), who reported similar yields. 

^^ By miscalculating the size of a cuerda, I gave the correct ctierda 
yield at Solold in 1932, but estimated it as 2 tons per acre (McBryde, 
1933, p. 107). It should be about 10 bushels (5S0 lb.) per acre. 



cayote (Cucurbita ficifolia) is planted in the milpa 
at higher elevations. 

At San Andres Semetebaj (1,900 m., 6,234 ft.) 
beans are sometimes planted along with maize, one 
bean to a hill. Squash and chilacayote are often 
planted in the milpa, usually about 20 feet apart, the 
vines running widely across the intervening spaces. 
Habas {Vicia jaba L., the European broadbcan ; p. 
28) are planted by a few, always in the milpa, usually 
1 to 2 weeks later, at the time of the replanting of 
maize to fill gaps left by sterile grains. 

At San Juan Ostuncalco (2,400 m. or 7,874 ft.) 
habas are planted in the milpa, always two to a hill 
(as is the case throughout this entire region), from 
1 to 3 weeks after maize is planted, and when it has 
grown to about 4 to 8 inches ( 10-20 cm. ) . Sometimes 
both are planted together, but it is better to put the 
habas in later so that they will not shade the maize. 
Beans (usually black) are little planted, then always 
in the milpa ; there is some piloy (Phaseolus vulgaris 
macrocarpa), but it is not planted annually and it 
appears adventive in the milpa, coming up before the 
maize. Large chilacayotes that look like water- 
melons, but have white flesh and black seeds, are also 
planted in considerable numbers in the cornfields. 

Habas are the most planted of the intramilpa 
crops at San Francisco el Alto (2,600 m. or 8,530 
ft.). Two grains by each mala (hill, or cluster of 
plants) of maize, are put in the ground usually 8 
days later, both being harvested at about the same 
time. Beans are planted as are habas, but in far 
lesser quantities. Many people plant a small, globu- 
lar squash, one to every 15th or 20th maize mala.^" 
Chilacayote is far commoner in the milpa than is 
squash, however, and perhaps twice as abundant,^^ 
it being better adapted to lower temperatures. 

Religious beliefs and superstitions connected 
with agriculture. — At several localities, notably San 
Andres Semetebaj and San Francisco el Alto, it was 
said that planting was done with the waxing moon. 
At the latter place an unusually intelligent Indian in- 
formant specified the time as between the first quarter 
and full moon. 

Usually there are religious ceremonies associated 
both with planting and harvesting, particularly the 
former, and primarily in the Highlands (pi. 17, a, b). 
Any detailed elaboration of these is beyond the scope 
of this study. Planting ceremonies in the Solola 
region have previously been described, and parallel 

practices in Chiapas and Yucatan cited (McBryde, 
1933, pp. 77-81). Planting time is often locally 
stated as beginning on a specific date, probably a day 
in the native calendar. Lang of Momostenango, 
said that only within recent years (suggested 1920- 
25) have some Indians learned to disregard such 
days in favor of suitable weather conditions. 


Though maize in the Lowlands is inferior and less 
important as a basic crop than it is in the Highlands, 
it is far from being rare, as some authorities have 
indicated.-- From the literature one would judge 
that the Coastal Plain is terra incognita. Even the 
16th-century chroniclers who trod the length and 
breadth of the land usually said only that maize was 
grown in the Lowlands, where there were two or 
three harvests (the growing season here being 4 or 
5 months), as well as in the Highlands, where there 
was but one (Medel, Ms., p. 140, f. 190). Maize is 
little grown in the outer, lower Coastal Plain, owing 
to flooding, short rainy period (May-October), and 
sparse population. An informant at Tahuesco, a Pa- 
cific shore settlement, said that probably less than 
half the inhabitants there planted maize, and, of 
those, many went somewhat "higher up" for plant- 
ing. Much of the outer plain is flooded during the 
rainy season. Some of this lack of interest in agri- 
culture is, however, due to the almost universal par- 
ticipation of the populace in saltmaking and fishing, 
activities which occupy much of their time. 

Planting and harvesting months around San 
Pedro Cutzan, in the inner Coastal Plain near the 
piedmont, are shown in table 1. At Finca Pacayal, 

T.\BLE 1. — Planting and harvesting months in the region 
around San Pedro Cutzan 

(1,000-1,300 m. or 3,280-4,265 ft.) 

Spanish names 

Native names 



Primero, fuego, tern- 

N'acatic xinjop 

("burn? of the rainy 

N'acatic xin sak'ij 

("burn? of the dry 










("40-day" corn) . . 

^ It serves as a vegetable when immature, and confection when ripe; 
the flowers and greens are sometimes eaten also. 

-* Green, it is put into soups; ripe, it is cooked with sugar (p. 137). 

23 "Maize is seldom planted by the Indians below 1,200 meters . . ." 
(3,937 ft.) (Kempton and Popenoe, 1937, p. 213). On the contrary, 
there are three harvests, and truckloads go to the Highlands, with 
surplus above the needs of thousands of nwsos in Highlands and Low- 
lands alike. 



above the upper edge of the double-harvest region, 
about 1,300 m. elevation, maize is planted in jNIarch 
and harvested in September (one harvest). 

The degree to which these practices are attuned to 
the seasonal rhythm of rainfall is seen in the fact 
that the first planting in the piedmont is done follow- 
ing the initial heavy rains (sembradores or "planter" 
rains) of late March and April, while the harvest 
comes during the relatively dry interval, the canicida 
or veranillo of July and August. The second plant- 
ing, often in the same field, follows the rainiest month 
(September), with the ground well soaked and an- 
other month of good rain ahead, yet with the dangers 
of excessive flooding and washing mainly past. For 
the ripening there are several dry months (January 
and February have minimum rainfall). 

In the outer Coastal Plain, where there is much less 
rain than in the piedmont, and the rainy season is 
shorter (May-October) the first two crops are 
planted and harvested during the rainy period (maps 
6 and 9). At the port of San Jose the dates are as 
follows : Fuego (best yield, biggest ears) , plant May, 
harvest end of July (canicida, minor dry period) ; 
scgundo (minor yield, yet commonly practiced), plant 
August, harvest late October (end of rains) . A third 
planting, chahuite, or de humedad, may be made in 
November, but only in low spots where the soil is 
wet; harvest is in February, and yield is generally 
good ; cuarcntcno is planted little if at all, as it is said 
to be unsuited to the climatic conditions here. The 
growing season for all corn is very shorf anyway. 

Methods of cultivation. — For the most part, cul- 
tivation along the Coastal Plain and piedmont is prac- 
ticed with implements of the type depicted by Bukasov 
(1930, p. 157, fig. 83, from Kaerger) for Michoacan, 
Mexico. Instead of the spearlike coa for piercing the 
ground, a long, pointed, fire-hardened pole {ma^ana) , 
held vertically in both hands, is employed. The machete 
de escarda or weed-hook of Mexico, is also used along 
the Guatemala Pacific Lowlands, where it is generally 
called garavito. It is a simple L-shaped stick, held in 
the left hand, pointing outward. Following each 
stroke of the machete, wielded with the right hand, 
the stick is rhythmically swung in its wake, flinging 
aside the severed weeds (pi. 3, d) . The hoe plays an 
insignificant role in this region if, indeed, it appears 
at all. Thus, we might call this Lowland cultivation 
"dibble" or "planting-stick" culture. 

The various steps in Lowland cultivation were out- 
lined by an informant at Santo Tomas la Union 
(850 m. or 2,789 ft.) as follows : 

The clearing and burning {roza) take place 
during the first 2 weeks of March, before the rains 
have begim. The planting is then done, beginning 
on Ijhe dia de San Jose (March 19) -^ and continuing 
through April, the final day being the dia dc la Cms 
(May 10), though most planting is completed before 
the end of April. In the latter part of May. when 
the maize is about 2 feet (60 cm.) high, the first 
weeding (lamegud) is performed, the fast-growing 
Lowland weeds being removed from active com- 
petition with the aid of machetes. During July there 
is a second clearing (pcinado), and then comes the 
harvest in August. For the scgundo or second 
(October) planting,-^ the ground is cleared off in 
September. As in the first case, weeding is practiced 
twice, during November and December ; the harvest 
is in February. In addition to having two harvests of 
maize, this municipio is well supplied with other basic 
starches. Cassavas, sweetpotatoes, bananas, and 
plantains are produced in abundance. Coffee is the 
chief money crop. 

In at least one piedmont locality (San Pablo 
Jocopilas, 625 m. or 2,050 ft.) there was no first 
planting, but only the scgundo. A good explanation 
for this is that a notorious insect pest, a large white 
grub (gorgojo) called "gallina ciega" {Lechnosterna 
sp.),-5 attacks the roots. The sccretario of the 
municipio said he knew of no other place where this 
grub was so numerous as to discourage an entire 
planting. The grubs do not survive the heavy rains 
of summer, however, so that the "second" planting 
can proceed with impunity. 

My impression is that there is less harvest labor 
performed by women in the Lowlands. 

Highland-Lowland maize exchange. — With 
Highland and Lowland harvests coming at different 
times of the year, price fluctuations result in inter- 
regional movements of maize. Between the first and 
second harvests of the Lowlands, especially in 
November and December, when thousands of High- 
land Indians are down for the coffee harvest. High- 
land grain is taken to the Lowlands in quantity. 
At Chicacao it was said that Highland vendors, 
especially Atitecos, bring maize down in November, 
and sell mostly to finqueros. Highland maize also 
goes to the Lowlands from May to July, when 

23 This same date was given independently at San Pedro Cutzan as tlie 
day when the first planting begins. 

-* The second planting was said at San Pedro Cutzan to be divided 
into two parts: early variety, September 15-30; late, "60-day" variety, 
October 1-lS {dia de San Lucas). 

^ Anuario del Servicio Tecnico, 1932, p. 90. For reference to 
gorgojos in 16th-century Vera Paz, see p. 24. 



Coatepeque, for example, imports approximately 8 
tons a month. Alaize goes up into the mountains 
between August and October (harvest of primer o), 
even as late as December upon occasions, and again 
to some extent, after the harvest of the scguiido (Feb- 
ruary), probably mostly in March, for the month of 
plenty in the Highlands is Januar\', continuing into 
February. It is for this reason that the scguudo goes 
less into the mountains than the primero.-'^ 

There appear to be numerous instances of High- 
land Indians who rent milpa land in the Lowlands (or 
have coastal colonies) and thereby supplement their 
maize supply. This was particularly in evidence in 
the small northwest Lake Atitlan municipios. It 
was well illustrated at Tzununa (aldca of Santa 
Cruz) on Christmas Day, 1935, when a man arrived 
from the Lowlands with a cacaste load of large- 
grained yellow flint, most of it badly perforated by 
weevils, from his August han'est, on rented land at 
Finca Mercedes (on the railroad, near Nahualate). 
He had planted about an acre (4 cnerdas of 40 varas 
square) ; there are perhaps 10 men at Tzununa who 
do this. They plant both primcro and scgimdo, har- 
vesting the grain all at once and storing it in Low- 
land cribs, going for it as it is needed. Supplemen- 
tary maize has doubtless been an important incentive 
for migration to and colonization in the Lowlands 
since pre-Columbian times. 

Such procedure seems to throw new light upon 
certain migratory agricultural practices in Central 
America which have been explained by other pre- 
sumed conditions, such as soil exhaustion, whereas 
climatic conditions may well account for them. 
Cook, for example, calls attention (1921, p. 315) 
to the custom of Indians from San Pedro Carcha 
near Coban, who "may plant milpas in the district 
from Senahu and Cajabon and carry maize home 
on their backs 50 or 60 miles" (80-97 km.). Sapper's 
climatic map (which is apparently most accurate 
for Vera Paz) shows that the Coban area has con- 
stantly humid (Cf) climate; Senahu tropical mon- 
soon (Amw), with a distinct, though short, dry 
period in winter (Sapper, 1932, vol. 2, pt. H, p. 59, 
fig. 13). (For Koppen climatic symbols, see map 6 
and Appendix 1, p. 131.) Cook, in an earlier para- 
graph, writes of the detrimental effects of the ex- 
cessive and prolonged rainfall of the Coban area, but 
makes no comment upon the possibility of this affect- 
ing migrations. 

Xot to lose a possible chance that dry weather may 
come late in the season the Indians plant their milpas and 
burn them afterward, if possible. In tnoist ground the seeds 
or young seedling are not killed by the fire sweeping o\er 
them, but usually only a partial crop is secured. ... In 
wet years the coffee planters find it necessary to import maize 
from New Orleans to feed the native population. . [Cook 
1921, p. 313.] 

That Lowland planting in the inonsoon area was 
an expedient for offsetting climatic difficulties, and 
that such planting was ancient practice in the Vera 
Paz area is brought out in the Rdacion of 1574 
(Anon., Ms. 1574 b). The two Lowland harvests 
described in that manuscript correspond roughly with 
those of the Pacific Lowlands today ; the dates in \''era 
Paz being as follows : April planting — October, major 
harvest; November planting — May, minor harvest. 
For the April planting, the difficulty of the burning 
process is evident from the statement that it must be 
done during the "20 dry days" (Anon., Ms. 1574 b, 
p. 7, f. 94). Though Lowland maize was secondary, 
it must have served at times an essential supple- 
mentary role (as maize from New Orleans and else- 
where does today) during wet or otherwise unfavor- 
able years in higher regions. The 1574 manuscript 
states also that "they go to plant in the Lowlands two 
or three days' walk distant" (ibid., p. 8), specifically 
referring to chile {aji) but implying maize planting 
as well. 

Harvest methods to offset difficulties attendant 
upon excessive humidity in Vera Paz included smok- 
ing and storage in underground vaults : 

. . . the maize is fumigated to preserve it ; it is put in 
pits with fire under it for 10 or IS days and that which 
is not smoked is bad for bread; and also it will be attacked 
by weevils within two or three months. To preserve maize 
all year, it is put below ground in vaults or silos, where it 
may be kept not over four months in the Lowlands or a 
year in the Highlands [ibid.]. 

Other plants in Lowland milpas. — Several vari- 
eties of beans (especially the small, black kidney; 
p. 136, table 6) and squashes are planted in the Low- 
land milpa, usually at the same time as maize.^^ The 
commonest squash is apparently ayote bianco (tama- 
layote), which it was said at Santo Domingo was 
planted in amounts not exceeding four or five vines 
per cuerda (about 25 to the acre). It appears that in 
the Lowlands, hpwever, Indians usually plant separate 
gardens for crops other than maize, rather than mix- 
ing them in with the milpa; this is a more common 

* These data are sketchy and the dates of maize movement have not 
been widely checked. 

^ Since my work in the Lowlands was confined to the dry season, 
first-hand details of planting methods are ladcing for this region. 



practice than in most of the Highlands (not even ex- 
cepting the Lake shores). More different crops will 
grow with greater kixuriance and rapidity in the 
warmer, more humid climate, and richer soils. Hence 
we see at such a Lowland colony as San Pedro 
Cutzan small separate patches of pineapple, especially 
white "coco" (sometimes interspersed with iiiagucy), 
scjuash, chile (Santo Domingo, verde, and chiltepe), 
beans, sugarcane, giiisquil (in enclostires), tomatoes, 
rice, manioc, besides the groves of cacao and coffee 
(the two sometimes interspersed). There are also 
bananas, mixed clusters of such trees as breadfruit. 
acliiotc, corozo, and other minor plants. The 
Pedi'anos in their Lake village often ntix maize and 
other plants, native and exotic, annual and perennial, 
to an extraordinary degree. One milpa which I ex- 
amined near the Lake, just southeast of San Pedro, 
contained some squash and maguey interspersed with 
maize, and near it, separated by one of the many stone 
walls, a plot without maize, but rank with iiiogiicy. 
cotton, manioc, squash, iniltoniatc, tomatoes,-' chile, 
and coft'ee, in addition to scattered trees of mango, 
anona, and guava. Chickpeas (garhan::os). the chief 
money crop, are planted in separate fields. 

In one locality in the Lowlands (San Bernardino, 
400 m. or L312 ft.) rice was said to be interplanted 
with maize, both crops being planted with the macana 


Several major American field crops, other than 
maize, are planted in the Highlands, above 1,500 m. 
(4,921 ft.). Outstanding among these are beans and 


The commonest jrijoles are small, black ones 
(Phaseoliis vulgaris), though some red and white 
varieties are also planted. As a rule, beans are much 
more commonly planted in special fields than they 
are mixed in with the milpa. The three major bean 
centers of the Lake region are San Andres Semetebaj , 
Santiago, and San Pedro, with Santa Catarina and 
San Antonio also of importance. At the first locality, 
bean fields are often alternated with maize in annual 

-'' These were not the regular garden tomatoes, which are carefully 
cultivated by the shore, planted each in a neat mound with a round hole 
about 15 iti. (38 cm.) across, and watered from the lake by hand. (See 
pi. 20, rf.) 

^ This was not verified by first-hand observation, but was described 
by a reliable informant. 

rotation, "to fertilize the milpa," according to Indian 
planters. Three beans are planted to a hole, the 
"width of a hoe blade" (actually about 15 in.) apart, 
"to facilitate clearing." These jrijoles de suelo, al- 
ways superior to jrijoles de milpa, or cornfield beans, 
are planted in June and harvested in December. At 
Santiago three specific dates of planting were given : 
May 20, June 29, and August 1 to 5, with special 
significance attached to August 2 as the "eighth after 
the day of Santiago" (July 25). Preparation of the 
soil consists in clearing weeds and trenching ; the 
growing season is 3 or 4 months. At San Pedro 
planting is mostly done in May, with the harvest in 
August, so as to make way for garbaiicos, the main 
money crop, which is planted a week after beans are 
out and is harvested from January to March. 

Ejotes (string beans) are gathered in some mea- 
sure, but by far the major part of the bean harvest 
comes after the seeds are v\'ell dried in the field. Good 
quality jrijoles de suelo are mainly limited to eleva- 
tions between about 1,500 and 1,900 in. (4,921 and 
6.234 ft.) ; they are virtually lacking in such a high 
region as the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan Valley 
(2,250-2,400 m. or 7,382-7,874 ft.), and even Solola 
(2,150 m. or 7,054 ft). Though planted on the 
Coastal Plain, as low as 300 m. (984 ft.), they are 
of inferior grade in the Lowlands. It is for this 
reason that beans from around the Lake are at a 
premium, and go in trade both to Highlands and 
Lowlands, Ijringing a better price than local products. 


Squashes. — (See pp. — .) 

Guisquiles, or vegetable pears. — As a rule, al- 
most all parts of the giiisquil are eaten — fruit, greens, 
and root (echintal). From San Andres Semetebaj 
entire cargoes of echinfal are taken to Chicacao and 
other Lowland markets. The light-green fruit (pi. 
14, d) appeared in greatest relative abundance and 
variety (large spiny, and egg-size, smooth)^" at San 
Andres Semetebaj, as did the root; greens seemed 
to be sold on a particularly large scale at Santiago. 
Giiisquiles, w'hich have a wide elevation range, are 
ordinarily planted in small enclosures, usually about 
2 by 2 feet (60 by 60 cm.) square and 3 feet (91 cm.) 
deep and made of sticks or canes (pi. 22, d). The 
plants are cultivated in abundance up to about 2,200 
m. (7,218 ft.), above which elevation they are less 

™ According to Bukasov (1930), "smooth chayotes without prickles 
are found very rarely ... In Vera Paz a chayote with exceedingly 
small fruits, the size of a chicken egg. is depicted (primitive form)." 



in evidence. In tlie Ouezaltenango-Totonicapan 
Valley area, for example, they are little planted, and 
almost never appear in the markets of that region. 

Only at Santiago Atitlan have I seen field plant- 
ings of (/iiisquilcs. The entire fruit is planted, one 
or two in a hole, separated from the next by as much 
as 4 or 5 yards (3.7 to 4.6 m.), the vines climbing 
widely over the great lava blocks. Most of the field 
plantings of giiisquil are to be found on the large 
alluvial plain (El Plan) south of Santiago. 

I was told at Santiago that the principal harvest 
of giiisqiiiles was in November. Greens were gath- 
ered in particular abundance in September. The 
plant is perennial, and a large vine gives a copious 
annual harvest. Tax reported 150 fruits a year at 
Panajachel (Tax, 1936, Ms. Panajachel). Bukasov 
gives 100 a year as the average number of fruits 
from a mature vine in Mexico (total of 200 to 500 
during a 4- to 6-year lifetime), where the root crop 
(cut annually) materializes after the second or third 
year. Roots of 22 pounds are recorded after many 
years in the ground (Bukasov, 1930). I have seen 
"wild giiisquil"^^ (chhnachoj) roots of this size sold 
in markets between Quezaltenango and Momoste- 
nango, in the region where it is widely used as a 
soap for washing wool, in preference to all others 
for this special purpose. 

Along many of the alluvial fans that border Lake 
Atitlan, sweet manioc, or cassava, is planted in 
limited plots. This altitude (1,600 m. or 5,249 ft.) 
is about the upper limit of the cultivation of manioc, 
which is grown typically and almost exclusively in 
such sites as the one herein described. The small 
alluvial area (not over 2 or 3 acres) below Santa 
Cruz, as it appeared on December 21, 1935, will 
serve as an illustration. In addition to a bit of milpa 
30 paces (meters) square, containing a few squashes 
and bottle gourds {tecomatcs), and bordered by such 
fruit trees as oranges (7), limas (5), jocotes (12 
chicha, 6 petapa, 6 corona) (pi. 19, c), mangoes (6), 
matasanos, injcrtos, and bananas ("majunche" var.), 
was a bed of manioc 15 paces square. The plants, 
a little over a year old, were from 7 to 9 feet (2.1 to 
2.7 m.) high, and were spaced about 5 feet apart. 

31 Bukasov stated that Chayota edulis is "apparently not known in 
wild state," and reported a wild relative only in Costa Rica (Bukasov, 
1930, p. 319). I have been unable to identify the chimachdj which is 
so widespread both in growth (apparently to high altitudes) and use 
in the Totonicapan region. But probably it is either C edulis "in 
wild state" or a wild relative, as the natives say. Giiisqiiil is chima in 
Kekchi (Standley, 1930, p. 437), and I recorded at Santiago Atitlan 
"ch'imaiy" (Zutuhfl) and at San Andres Xecu! "ch'ima" (Quiche). 

Just above the manioc was a plot of miltomates, 15 by 
30 paces, and a single row of sugarcane, for home 
consumption. A large area then flooded by the Lake 
had formerly been planted to tomatoes, squash, maize, 
sweetpotato, and especially manioc. 

At Panajachel, rows of manioc, the plants spaced 
about 10 feet apart, are often planted between vege- 
table tablSncs. 


In nearly all of the Lake-shore villages, tomatoes 
are plaiileJ in special gardens bordering the water 
so as to facilitate hand irrigation. They are particu- 
larly abundant and important at Santiago, San 
Antonio, and San Lucas, with San Pedro, Santa 
Cruz, and San Marcos secondary. Tomatoes from all 
five of these towns reach Highland markets as far 
west as Quezaltenango, taken by Lake villagers and 
by Totonicapan middlemen. Fewest tomatoes are 
grown at Panajachel and San Pablo (dry-season 
planting at both). Very small cnlcbrd'' medium 
criollo (1 to 2 in.) and large "American" (U. S.) 
varieties^^ (San Pedro) are grown. At Santiago, 
which is taken as an illustration, mostly tomatoes 
"del pais" or criollo are cultivated. The major plant- 
ing is done between August and October. After the 
rains stop, around the end of October, watering is 
necessary every third day, morning and afternoon, 
and is usually performed by the entire family. The 
growing season is 7 months. The usual practice with 
dry-season tomatoes is to plant them about 4 feet 
(1.2 m.) apart, in large mounds of soft, rich alluvial 
sandy loams (to which fertilizer is added in many 
cases) , with a round hollow over a foot across in each 
hill, for retaining water (pi. 20, d). Almost all are 
within 100 yards (91 m.) of the Lake shore. Water- 
ing is usually done with water jars (tinajas), or- 
dinarily women's vessels (pi. 25, /), but here used by 
men and women alike. Gourde are also sometimes 
employed. At Santiago, large lava rocks that cover 
the slopes are painted with round whitewash spots 
6 or 8 inches (15 to 20 cm.) in diameter, "for 
frightening blackbirds, skunks, and other pests," 
according to one inhabitant. 

Tomatoes are less abundantly grown during the 
rainy season, when they seem to be inferior and are 
most expensive, often costing 10 cents a pound dur- 
ing the late months. During Holy Week, they are 
cheapest, one-fifth of a cent a pound. 

=2 Planted in June and harvested during the dry season, mainly at 
San -\ntonio. 
^ Growing season usually entire dry period (October-May). 



Lake Atitlan is near the upper limit of tomato culti- 
vation which averages about 1,800 m. (5,900 ft.). 


The several types of potatoes, both "native" and 
"American," are discussed in Appendix 2. Many 
fields in regions above about 1,900 to 2,000 m. 
(6,234 to 6.562 ft.) are planted to this tuber, and 
particularly those higher than 2,200 m. (7,218 ft.), 
preferably those having light soils. Manuring was 
reported at San Juan Ostuncalco, Almolonga, and 
elsewhere. The premium potato areas in the high 
Ouezaltenango region are, besides Almolonga, Con- 
cepcion Chiquirichapa (also nearby San Martin 
Sacatepequez, almost all inhabitants of which plant 
potatoes as well as maize), where pumice-nodular 
soil, recent ejecta from Santa Maria volcano, is 
widespread. Big white "American" varieties are 
planted here annually, in February and March, and 
are harvested in June. This is the season also at 
Almolonga. The little red criollo ("native") variety 
goes in the ground usually in December and January 
and is dug in July and August. In several sections 
it was reported that little "native" potatoes (white 
and red) have a "perennial" habit; that they are 
harvested only in part, with many left in the ground, 
and are not planted, but reappear annually in the 
field. ^* They were said to have been planted much 
more a generation ago (1900-1910) than now. 

This primitive method argues for the antiquity 
of the potato in Guatemala. It was reported at San 
Cristobal Totonicapan and in the Momostenango 
area (cantons of Santa Ana, Tunayac, and to some 
degree in Buenabaj, according to Don Ernesto 
Lang). In the latter region there was said to be 
also some annual planting in April with yield in 5 

** Brigham, in ISS", wrote of his observations between Argueta and 
Totonicapan : ". . . on tlte hill-sides were ancient potato-fields only 
cultivated by digging the tubers; and this process has gone on for 
years — the Indians digging at the bottom of the slope as potatoes are 
wanted, leaving enough for seed, and arriving at the top by the time 
the rains begin . . . The indios declared the potatoes had never 
been planted, but tlieir ancestors had dug them from remotest time." 
(Brigham, 1887, pp. 136-137.) 

The Russians, their efforts trained upon the potato more than any 
other plant, derived great interest from this passage. Their finding of 
a potato at Quezaltenango which was "certainly not 5. tuberosum, the 
common cultivated potato of Europe or the U. S. A., but belonged to 
another Andean cultivated variety 5". andigenum Juz, et Buk." was re- 
garded as possibly verifying Brigham's suggestion that the potato near 
Argueta "was undoubtedly not the common cultivated potato." (Buka- 
sov, 1930.) The Russian collection from Guatemala included also S. 
tuberosum; they seera to have overlooked the current practice of leav- 
ing the potatoes in the ground, though they described it as widespread 
in Colombia. "The cropping of the potato is in places very primitive 
. . The harvesting is done yearly without planting again" (ibid., 
p. 198). 



Wheat.— A 16th-century report (Mtidel. ils., p. 
145, f. 192) states that the first wheat cultivated in 
the Western Hemisphere was brought from Spain 
and planted by a Negro in Mexico, whence it spread 
elsewhere in the New World. It was said to have 
been brought by a slave who had stored a few grains 
in his master's coin box. 

The \'era Paz Rclacion (Anon., Ms. 1574 b, p. 
4, f. 93), tells of repeated unsuccessful attempts at 
planting wheat in that region, where it grew only 
at San Cristobal and Tactic, was badly rotted by 
excessive moisture, would not make bread, and soon 
was given up. Ponce (1873, vol. 1, p. 392) saw 
wheat as early as 1586, and as far equatorward 
as southeast Salvador (San Miguel volcano, lat. 

The wheat planted in Southwest Guatemala is 
summer wheat, being planted in May and early 
June after the beginning of the rains, and harvested 
in December and January, with sickles. In the 
Cuchumatanes Mountains, however, most wheat is 
planted in October and November, and harvested in 
June and July. The land is hoed much as it is for 
maize, but not so deeply — usually 6- or 8-inch (15- 
20 cm.) furrows, some 20 inches (51 cm.) apart. At 
intervals of about every 15 or 20 feet (4.6-6 m.) little 
earthern dikes are constructed across the bottom of 
each furrow. This was observed everywhere in 
Southwest Guatemala. It was assertedly (at CajoU) 
"to retain the water and to prevent gullying." The 
grain is sown by the handful, and covered with about 
an inch of dirt. Wheat is not manured, as that re- 
portedly tends to make it run to excessive leaf, with 
poor grain development. A Ladino on the Lake said 
he tried planting wheat on the fertile saddle between 
volcanoes Atitlan and Tollman, and that it grew 4 or 
5 feet (1.2—1.5 m.) high, with such a reduced grain 
yield as to make the harvest insignificant. 

Varietal names of wheats given at San Juan 
Ostuncalco are as follows: Colorado (commonest), 
White Italian (very little), and a large "foreign" 
wheat called trisco (planted in July and August, 
harvested in January) ; at San Francisco el Alto the 
criollo is a small, long-grained variety, in addition 
to which there is a diminutive, round type said to 
have been introduced from California about 1933, 
Colima wheat was said to be planted at Salcaja. 



In some higher sections (San Francisco el Alto) 
almost as much wheat as maize is planted. Often, 
broadbeans (Iiabas) are put in between the rows of 
wheat, though considerably less than half of the 
fields are so mixed, even where this is practiced 
(e.g., Chiquilaja). Iiabas do not climb, being erect 
and straight, but they are much branched and grow 
to a height of 3 feet (91 cm.) or more, so they would 
^hade shoots of other plants if the latter were not 
started 2 weeks or so in advance to meet the com- 

North of Solola, especially above about 2,500 
m. (8,202 ft.), in the vicinity of Los Encucntros, 
wheat acreage appears to be almost as great as 
maize. The threshing method in the southwest 
Highlands is primitive, consisting of driving several 
horses around in a circular corral about 30 feet (9 m. ) 
in diameter (pi. 23, c). \\'innowing is usually made 
easy by the strong winds that characterize this re- 
gion. Dollfus and IMont-Serrat (1868, p. 522) com- 
mented upon the abundance of wheat in this area 
in 1866. 

The wheat grown in Guatemala is sold to large 
flour mills that are located in most of the principal 
towns (e.g.. Solola,-''-''' San Juan Ostuncalco, Ouezal- 
tenango, Totonicapan) . It seems to inake good bread, 
though the glutin content is probably not high.^" 

Large {%■ i"- thick, 15 in. in diameter) "wheat 
tortillas" were said to be eaten at San Francisco el 
Alto. \\'hen maize becomes scarce, just prior to the 
harvest, in some regions wheat, plantains, and green 
bananas are assertedly mixed with maize in the 
tamales and tortillas.^' At San Juan Ostuncalco it 
was stated that at least half the inhabitants mix wheat 
with maize in the iiiasa (unsalted ground-maize mash 
for tortillas and tamales, posol, etc. ) through prefer- 
ence, rather than necessity or abundance of wheat. 

Broadbeans (habas). — The large broadbean is 
usually planted between rows of maize, or, less often. 

^ In 1932, two grades of Hour were being milled at Solola, one selling 
for 290 pesos ($4.83) a (luintal (100 lb.), the other for 220 pesos 
($.3.66). Wheat was bought from the Indians (mainly those from 
near Lx5s Encuentros) for about 180 pesos ($3.00) per 100 lb. 

afl According to the bindings of Prof. John \V. Gilmore, of the Uni- 
versity of California Agronomy Department, a prolonged ripening 
period, moist and cool, may favor high weight and yield and good 
tiuality, but results in low glutin. Conversely, a short, dry, warm 
ripening period is conducive to high glutin content, but yield that 
ordinarily is less tlian in the first instance. (From a conversation 
with Professor Gilmore in 1939.) For an enumeration of important 
baking centers and the principal types of bread made, see p. 57 and 
also map 15. 

^" Tamales are eaten most in this section, according to every inform- 
ant, for tortillas require more firewood, a scarcity in tbe open valley 

wheat, in much of the higher regions (some above 
about 1,900 m. or 6.234 ft., but mainly above 2,200 
m. or 7,218 ft. ) . Sometimes Itabas are grown alone in 
fields, as at Xepec, a little colony of Lucianos (from 
Sta. Lucia L'tatlan) above Santa Catarina Palopo and 
in that municipio. Here maize, wheat, beans, and 
habas are planted, for the most part, sejiarately, and 
rotated annually. Two miles away, at San Andres 
Semetebaj, broadbeans are usually planted in the 

A'arietal names given at San Juan Ostuncalco 
are: bianco (white, which is commonest), morado 
(purple), asalporado (floury?), and amarillo (yel- 
low), the last three said to be planted mainly by 

Many ways of eating Iiabas were reported at San 
Francisco el Alto. They may be cooked in soup; or 
they may be boiled, ground, then boiled again, and 
made into a layered cake (op'en tayiiyo), thin layers 
of maize and Iiabas mash alternating, the whole then 
being rolled ijito a tamale and cooked as one. The 
latter is reportedly a luxury for special occasions. 
Besides being boiled in various ways, Iiabas are 
toasted in the outer skin to a dark brown, in which 
form the}' commonly appear in markets (more often 
thus than fresh ) . Indians buy these extremely hard 
delicacies, wiiich have a flavor resembling that of 
chestnuts, and munch them in the plaza with great 
cracking noises, a feat proving that many sound teeth 
may be belied liy their miserable appearance. 

Anise. — Anise is a specialty crop of San Antonio 
Palopo and, more recently, Ladinos of San Andres 
Semetebaj. It is planted in August and September, 
in separate fields, its growing season of about 5 
months being mainly in the dry season, when it ripens 

Chickpeas. — Garbaucos (chickpeas) are grown 
almost exclusively at San Pedro la Laguna (and to a 
lesser extent at San Juan) where they have been a 
speciality since early Colonial times, as is also true of 
San Antonio anise. Chickpeas, planted during 
August in special fields of about 4 or 5 cucrdas 
a family, have a growing season similar to that of 
aniseed, the hai-vest taking place from January to 
March. The yield was usually given as 150 pounds 
a ciicrda. At that time Pedranos take sackfuls, trans- 
ported mainly by mules, to the larger markets of the 
Lowlands and Highlands, going in numbers as far 
as Retalhulen and Ouezaltenango (see p. 76). The 
making of sweets from garbaiicos is a Lenten spe- 



cialty, which factor probably has acted as a stimulus 
to this crop since its introduction. The two prin- 
cipal sorts are jalca (sirupy jelly) and incruiclada 
(preserves). Sold widely in great quantities but 
almost exclusively during Lent, garhanzos are har- 
vested at a period that coincides with the religious 

Barley and oats. — Barley and oats are raised on 
a small scale in some sections. The commonest type 
of the former is a large species of Nepal barley .^'^ 
which is sold in the markets especially by itinerant 
Maxeiios along with a dozen or more miscellaneous 
seeds, roots, and herbs, each in a separate little sack 
or package (i>l. 14, h). Barley is consumed on a 
small scale as a "medicinal" plant, usually in broth 
(atolc). For oats I have had only vague reports, and 
no specific data. 


The only fruit trees of Old World origin that are 
grown on a large scale in the Highlands of South- 
western Guatemala are apples and peaches. Both 
were grown in Guatemala at an early date, as attested 
by the Ponce account (1873, vol. 1, p. 441) which 
mentions them in 1586. Totonicapan was particu- 
larly cited for the abundance of apples, and "some" 
peaches. The latter were noted especially at Coma- 
lapa, though they w-ere said to be abundant even on 
the low-lying Lake village of Panajachel (1,575 m.). 
They are not to be found in the latter locality today, 

Almost invariably, these fruits are of very poor 
quality ; they are small, green, hard, and generally 
\ must be cooked in order to be made appetizing. Both 
fruits are especially abundant in the vicinity of Toto- 
nicapan and Argueta. Peach trees are quite numer- 
ous in Solola, and even bear as low as Santiago 
Atitlan, yet the chief source of supply is Argueta, as 
many as 50 women from there commonly selling 
apples, peaches, and habas in the Solola market on 
Friday (map 22), during the height of the fruit 
harvest (September). 

A few^ regions in the southwest produce high-grade 

I apples, Chichicastenango, for example. Here, large 
red fruits resembling winesaps are produced on a 
small scale, along with the ordinary apples and 

The desultory manner of cultivating fruit trees 
merely by planting seeds w-ithout grafting largely ex- 
plains the low quality of the fruit. Gradual degenera- 

tion has probably been continuous since Colonial 
times, with seeds, planted for generation after genera- 
tion, and little if any new stock brought in. 


Rice. — Rice is commonly grown in small inde- 
pendent Indian fields and in fincas along the pied- 
mont, mainly, it seemed, between about 300 and 750 
m. (984 and 2,461 ft.) . I was told that "upland" rice 
(not flooded) was the usual type. 

Four varieties were listed at Santo Domingo Suchi- 
tepequez: crioUo, cimarron, pcrlas, and coUma. 

Rice is marketed, dry and polished, in small quan- 
tity by itinerant merchants '^'■' in the plaza, and by 
stores. It is often prepared in a thick, pasty, steam- 
ing hot broth, with milk, and sold usually by local 
women in the market. 

Sugar. — ■"^ Sugarcane is grown and processed al- 
most entirely in plantations along the piedmont, many 
of them low cofifee fincas, where cane is planted in 
stream bottoms between coffee-covered ridges. Lake 
Atitlan alluvial shores, at 1,560-1,600 m. (5,118- 
5,249 ft.), are about on the upper limits of sugarcane 
growth. The labor of cutting and grinding cane is 
done mostly between January and May. Nearly all 
of the sugar consumed in Guatemala, especially that 
used by the Indians, is in the form of crude, dark- 
brown cakes (panda), common throughout Mexico 
and Central America (pi. 39, g). The cooked cane 
juice is poured into wooden molds where it crystallizes 
and hardens into compact blocks of a pound or two 
each. Shapes vary, there being hemispherical, square 
and flat, and "flower-pot" (truncated-cone) forms. 
The hemispherical ones are generally packed together 
as spheres {pontes), wrapped in dried banana leaves, 
usually two panics to a package. They are largely 
trucked into the Highlands, wholesale, by shippers 
who are usually also storekeepers, and are redis- 
tributed among Indian merchants for retail, as at 
Solola, Ouezaltenango, San Cristobal Totonicapan, 
and other towns. 

W'hite sugar appears in markets in small quantity 
among mixed cargoes of itinerant merchants (q. v. 
imder "Rice", this page, ftn. 39). 

^Specimens identified by Prof. J. W. Gilmore. 

"" Usually by Maxenos, who have small sacks of it, often along with 
salt, panela, sugar, coffee (oro or unroasted bean), spices (especially 
chile), cigars, dried shrimi), trinkets, etc. (pi. 14, b). 

« Oviedo (1S51-55, vol. 1, pp. llS-123) mentions the introduction of 
sugar into the West Indies, and the first lucrative mills there, early 
in the 16th century. Toward the end of the 16th century, however, 
sugar was not yet being produced in quantity in the environmentally 
favorable Pacific Lowlanrls of Guatemala, for it was doubtful whether 
there was a good market for this product (.\non., Ms. 1579, p. 18). 
The west coast was isolated from Euroi>e at that time. 



Cane grown by Indians is often sold in its raw 
state. In the Lake region, Santa Cruz and Tzununa 
especially grow cane along the alluvial flats, and sell 
sections of it in neighboring markets, especially that 
of Solola. Sugar was formerly produced on a com- 
mercial scale on Lake Atitlan, at the finca Jaibal, 
situated on the east side of the Rio Quixcap delta 
(map 20; pi. 45, /). The big flood of October 1881, 
however, wiped it all out, including three large 

Melons. — Various watermelons are cultivated on 
the Coastal Plain. There were two types of seed at 
.Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, one red and one 
black, that were said to be "native," in careful con- 
tradistinction to a "North American" (U. S.) 
yellowish-colored one. That all may be Old World 
is implied by the fact that they are called indis- 
criminately sandia (Citnilhis vulgaris). A canta- 
loup (melon, Cncmnis melo) is grown also along 
the Coastal Plain but in small quantity.'*^ 

These fruits are fairly abundant in Lowland 
markets, as at Mazatenango, but apparently they 
do not appear in the Highlands. 

Melons of good quality in the outer Lowlands 
were described during the 16th century. That these 
may have been thought of as native is implied by 
the mention, in the same sentence, of other crops 
that were definitely pre-Columbian, such as sweet- 
potatoes {ca^notes or vatatas) , maxnoc (yifira), beans 
(jrisoles), and squashes (calavacas or ayotcs, which 
were "very nourishing") ; then the writer speaks of 
calavazas de Espana in some places, and certain 
other Spanish plants grown "as curiosities" (Anon., 
Ms., 1579, p. 18). 


veget.^ble-<■■.^rden culture *' 

sololA-panajachel area 

The distribution of this culture in the Lake Atitlan 

region, to the north between Panajachel and Los 

Encuentros, San Jose and Concepcion, is elaborated 

*i Data furnished by Don Domingo Fuentes, of Sololi. Coffee was 
replanted on the delta land by the Fuentes family, but it, too, was 
washed away by a flood (October 1923). This vulner.ible area has 
since been occupied only by a few cows, whose existence is insecure 
during September and October. 

« Collected by me at Santo Domingo Suchitepequez. Standley com- 
ments upon the rarity with which cantaloups are grown in Central 
America, either tlirough dislike of the taste or difficulty of prooagation 
(Standley, 193S, p. 1390). I am inclined to favor the latter explanation, 
since botli Indians and Ladinos seem to enjoy eating them when they 
can get them. 

"See McBr>-de, 1933, pp. 108-109. Sol Tax, of the Carnegie 
Institution, has made a detailed economic analysis of the culture at 
Panajachel (1936), though his results are as yet in manuscript form. 
They include tlie hours of labor and dollars of profit per man per crop. 

in a later section (pp. 121-123). There are other 
centers, notably Almolonga and secondarily Agua- 
catan, where garlic is the chief crop, but since my 
familiarity is greatest with the Lake center, illustra- 
tions will be drawn primarily from there. 

The tablon as a garden unit. — The basic unit of 
this garden culture, as observed at Solola and Pana- 
jachel, is the tablon, a vegetable bed of highly fer- 
tilized, dark loamy soil, usually of uniform width 
(3 varas of 33 in., or about 8 ft.) and somewhat 
variable length (average, about 30 varas, often 
slightly more, sometimes only half that, depending 
largely upon the space available). Indian gardeners 
at Solola in 1932 almost without exception stated 
that they commonly used 500 to 600 pounds of 
manure (horse and cattle), costing from 50 to 60 
cents, on an average-size tablon (about 9 by 80 ft. ; 
pi. 20) , before each planting. Less fertilizer is needed 
on the rich alluvium of the Panajachel delta, though 
all planters use some. A consensus of my informants 
was that ever>'one used manure, but it was mostly 
leaf litter from the cajetales (coffee groves), with 
much less horse manure. 

The bed is neatly squared with great precision by 
skilled hoemen, so that it well suits its name (tablon 
— a thick board), being as flat on top and as square- 
sided, indeed, as a plank (pi. 20). A retaining rim 
of dirt several inches high is often built along tablon 
edges. Between tabloncs and around them are dug 
trenches 15 to 20 inches (38 to 51 cm.) in depth, 
a foot or more wide at the bottom, having a profile 
that is between a V and a U, into which water is 
diverted when desired, to be thrown over the seeds 
or growing plants, with shallow tin bowls or gourds 
(pi. 20, c). This is done every third day during 
the dry season. Flooding is controlled by simple 
gates and dams that often consist merely of piled-up 
dirt. On slopes, tabloncs are arranged in steps, and 
appear as distinct terraces about 3 yards (2.7 m.) 

Irrigation. — The primai7 need of this culture is 
an abundance of available irrigation water. At Solola 
there are many small streams and springs, all of which 
are intensively utilized, with gardens of many 
tabloncs clustered along their courses (map 21). 
Much of the diverted water supply of Solola is used 
for this purpose, and below the town, water courses 
that have passed through the settlement continue their 
usefulness for irrigation. At Panajachel, on the delta, 
about one-third of which is covered with gardens, an 
intricate, fanlike network of diversion ditches fur- 

» o 


« Q 



.5 c 


5 o 

GO ^a 


C O 

OS o 





nishes water to every portion where gardens are to 
be found (map 23). In addition to the main course 
of the Rio Panajachel, there are several small tribu- 
taries entering near the mouth. 

Major crops. — -The crops grown in tabldncs are 
mainly coles and alliaceous plants of Old World 
origin, with onions taking first rank (pis. 12, a ; 14, j). 
Though some local inhabitants say that onions have 
surpassed garlic in quantity only in recent years, that 
such is probably not the case is evidenced by Mrs. 
Maudslay's statement, "To the Indian the chief glory 
of Panajachel is not its aguacates but its onions 
. . ." (Maudslay, 1898, p. 58). Her description 
of the delta indicates that it has changed but little 
since 1894 (ibid., p. 57). Of the entire garden area of 
the north Lake basin, onions (always sold while small 
and green) represent probably 75 percent*^ of the 
total garden output. Garlic is also important at 
Panajachel, but this importance gets undue emphasis 
in the neighboring markets from the fact that garlic 
is not grown in the higher gardens, as around Solola, 
since it is too high and cold; and the big garlic 
center, Aguacatan, is far away 'to the north. 

Minor crops. — Other important tablon crops 
(Solola) are cauliflower, carrots, parsley, beets, cab- 
bages, turnips, radishes, lettuce, and potatoes (the 
only American crop, and that not a local species). 
At Panajachel, it is too warm for potatoes; other- 
wise, the delta crops include all those grown higher 
up. On the other hand, there are many plants which, 
like garlic, will not bear well or even grow in the 
higher elevations of the Solola area; some of these 
are sweetpotatoes, manioc, and chiles, all of American 
tropical origin. Beans are planted in tabldncs only at 
Panajachel ; results were said to be too poor for them 
at Solola.'*^ 

Peas are minor at both centers; milfoinate (husk 
cherry), both cultivated and naturalized, grows well 
in the latter. Native American crops (though most 
of them presumably of South American origin) 
almost equal European ones in number at Panajachel, 
whereas at Solola only the potato is American, and 
that from South America by way of Europe. Of 
South American origin also are pepinos, which, 
though not planted in tahlones, are very important 
at Panajachel (pi. 20, d). Some strawberries {Fra- 

garis chiloensis) are grown in gardens, mostly by 
Ladinos and foreigners. 

Though these two vegetable centers are removed 
by less than 5 miles, Panajachel, being nearly 600 m. 
(1,968 ft.) lower, and strongly influenced by Lake 
Atitlan, borders on a tropical climate, whereas Solola 
is truly in the mesothermal "tierra fria." 

Growing seasons. — Growing seasons vary with 
the different plants. For garlic it is about 6 nionths, 
single cloves usually being planted at the end of the 
rainy season. Onions, planted throughout the year, 
are transplanted at 3 months, when they are about 8 
inches (20 m.) high, and require another 3 months 
for maturity at Panajachel, and slightly longer at 

Often garlic, cabbages, manioc, and especially 
sweetpotatoes, are set out along the borders of onion 
tabldncs. Much space is devoted in small plots also 
to maize and pepinos on the delta (pi. 20, b, d). The 
latter crop is irrigated. 


** !^Iy 1932 estimate for Solola was 75 to 80 percent; Tax reported 
nearly two-thirds at Panajachel, garlic production being less than one- 
tenth that for onions. 

*^ Saltwort is mentioned by Tax as 3 minor tahldn plant at Pana- 
jachel. Tax also introduced broccoli in 1937, and reported several 
families growing it. 

Other than the Solola-Panajachel area, there 
is only one major vegetable-producing center 
in Southwest Guatemala, namely, Almolonga, in a 
tributary valley of the Rio Samala, southeast of 
Quezaltenango. This is said to be a recent center — 
important only since about 1910. The stream fur- 
nishes water for irrigation ; also, there are lateral 
springs. Water from these and from ditches is 
scooped up and thrown over gardens by means of 
wooden boxes on 6-foot handles. Here the same 
vegetables are planted as at Solola, onions (all year) 
and cabbages (rainy season only) being outstanding 
in both places, with carrots, turnips, beets, radishes, 
and lettuce abundant as well. Many sorts of flowers 
are also cultivated. Tomatoes and garlic will not bear 
well at Almolonga. The former are grown on a 
large scale about 2 miles down the canyon, at Zunil, 
and are sold in quantity by Zunilenos. 

In Almolonga, also as at Solola, there is a group 
of traders who specialize in handling fresh vege- 
tables and flowers. These are sold in all the neigh- 
boring Highland markets by Almolonguefios, many 
also trucking them in great numbers to piedmont 
plazas. For the most part, women do the selling 

"See McBryde, 1933, fig. 12, p. 108. On the high slopes above 
Sololi (2,500 m. or 8,202 ft.) 4 to 5 months is the necessary length 
of each growing period, from seed to shoot, as well as from shoot to 
maturity. For seed, onions are left in the tabldn for about 3 or 4 
additional months, then they are harvested and hung up inside to dry. 



in Highland markets, usually with mules for trans- 
port ; there are also a few men. The coastal vendors 
are all men, using trucks which they hire, with 
drivers, for the purpose. They go mainly to San 
Felipe, iMazatenango, Cuyotenango, Retalhuleu, 
Coatepeque, and Colomba, returning with loads of 
Lowlands products, especially salt, panda, coffee, 
fruit, rice, maize during Lowland harvests (mainly 
Augu.^ through October), and linja iiiaxaii (Calathca 
macroscpala) , selling all of it mainly in Ouezalte- 
nango. Other important Highland markets are 
those of San Cristobal Totonicapan, Cantel, San 
Francisco el Alto, and .San Juan Ostuncalco. High- 
land maize goes to the Lowlands mainly in June. 

It was said that 6 or 8 trucks (4 to 5 men to a 
truck) made the weekly circuit, as many as 14 trucks 
attending fiestas. A reliable informant stated that 
they went as far as .Ayutla, and that formerly they 
got over to Tapachula, before increased export duties 
and governmental regulations put a check upon this 
international b(jrder commerce. Potatoes are re- 
portedly taken to the Escuintia market from Almo- 
longa by train, and two truckloads of them are s.aid 
to go weekly to Guatemala City. 

As in the Lake Atitlan tahlon region, most vege- 
table seeds are imported in ])ackets, from the United 
States, especially California. These are sold abun- 
dantly in markets near the tahlon centers. Before the 
World War. according to local reports, much seed 
came also from Germany. Onion seed is locally pro- 
duced. Much of this seed was said to have been 
brought from Oaxaca, Alexico. 

Gardens at Almnlonga are not made up of tahloncs 
like those of the Solola area, but are more irregular, 
with ditches around them. Some, at least, are wider 
(5 yd. in many cases). Fertilizer is necessary, 
especially for onions, both leaf litter and, to a lesser 
extent, animal manure being used. On slopes along 
either side of the valley, cabbages are grown only 
during the rainy summer. Suckers from old stalks 
are planted rather than seeds, as a rule. There are 
two common varieties of these so-called "native" 


.As Almolonga (2,300 ni. or 7,546 ft.) is the west- 
ern counterpart of Solola (2,L^0 m. or 7,054 ft.), 
having similar altitudes and crops, so, Panajachel 
(1,600 m. or 5,249 ft.) has rather a parallel in Agua- 
catan (L700 m. or 5,577 ft.), at the south base of 

the Cuchumatanes, in the Huehuetenango area, on 
the northern edge of the region considered in this 
study (map 3). Irrigation is easy because of the 
water (jf the Rio Negro and its numerous small 
tributaries, including springs that gush fr(jm beneath 
the massive limestone beds of the Cuchumatanes. I 
observed onlv onions planted under conditions similar 
to those of Panajachel in irrigated, fertilized tahlones. 
Garlic appeared to be grown in gardens within the 
milpa, usually in plots of 2 or 3 cucrdas. or about 
half an acre. These are not tahloncs, though they are 
irrigated in the latter part of the growing season 
( September — February) .''^ 

Of all the southwest region, and even areas border- 
ing it, Aguacatan is the outstanding center of garlic 
production. As a few cloves of garlic will serve 
to season a great amount of food, 20 large sacks 
(about 80-100 lb. each) of this condiment sold 
wholesale by as many men every Friday in the San 
Francisco el Alto market^** may be regarded as a 
considerable quantity. The extent of this garlic 
trade is evident frrim the following observation. On 
one occasion I observed, at the Guatemala-El 
Salvador border inspection station, 4 merchants 
from Ouezaltenango on a bus crossing into the latter 
Rc]niblic. Their cargo consisted of 6 large loads 
(about 100 lb. or 45 kg. each) of Aguacatan garlic, 
all bought in San Francisco el Alto the previous Fri- 
day. These Ouezaltecos said that until about 10 
years before (1926) they all came on foot, with 
cargoes carried by mules: some 50 men in all, en- 
gaged in trade into Salvador. 

Vegetables are supplied throughout Southwest 
Guatemala from these few centers (map 12). Re- 
cent expansion of the cultivation around Lake Atitlan 
(particularly onions and cabbages) is mentioned in 
a later section (p. 125). Occasionally, as at Pueblo 
Nuevo, it was reported that such European vege- 
tables were grown in small plots for home consump- 
tion. To a large extent, these garden crops of Old 
World origin, such as beets, carrots, and cauliflowers, 
are eaten by Ladinos, the Indians apparently con- 
suming very little other than onions and garlic, and 
those in no great quantity. They seem never to have 
acquired a taste for them. Though they eat greens in 
abundance, they prefer less expensive wild or native 
cultivated varieties, to which thev are accustomed. 

*' In view of the limited time spent in this section, my observations 
were not extensive, and these remarks might not be applicable to the 
entire community. 

«» San Francisco is about 40 miles by trail and road south of 

.2? 4> 

01 -o 

s = 


























































'E "O r 

s s 




The great plantation crops of Guatemala's export 
trade today are coffee and bananas. Major planta- 
tion products of bygone eras, such as cacao, nopal, 
and to a lesser extent, cotton, have so declined as 
to be insignificant at present. 

From the standpoint of the landscape of Guatemala, 
both natural and cultural, and of the human occu- 
pants of the area, coftee plantations are of interest 
in that they have brought fundamental changes in 
the plant cover, both cultivated and uncultivated; 
they have led to a permanent realinement and re- 
distribution of large population masses, foreign as 
well as indigenous ; and they have resulted in seasonal 
mass migrations, temporary dislocations of thousands 
of native Highland dwellers (map 12). 


The ancient Maya grew cacao on a large scale, and 
used the "beans" as a form of currency and for a 
highly prized drink, clwcolatl, which only the 
wealthy upper class could afford. Their cacao plan- 
tations covered much of the Pacific Coastal Plain up 
to 600 m. (1,968 ft.), from Soconusco (Chiapas) to 
Nicaragua. In the wet savanna and monsoon belt 
(map 11), luxuriance of verdure assures the heavy 
shade and wind shelter so essential to the Theobroma, 
limited above by lowering temperatures, and below 
by excessive soil humidity, diminished rainfall, and 
hence thinner tree cover. Enormous quantities of 
cacao went to the Aztecs in trade and tribute, and 
the Spaniards, acquiring a taste for it and learning 
of its value, even increased the output under terrific 
pressure and at great cost of native lives. The pro- 
duction in El Salvador, estimated as 1,200,000,000 
beans a year on 25 to 30 square miles of scattered 
groves ( see p. 11), does not compare too unfavorably 
with modem yields (about 6,500,000,000 beans a year 
on 30 square miles of unbroken plantation ; estimated 
from Barrett, 1928, pp. 94—96). The suggestion 
has been made above that cacao of the Lowlands 
from Soconusco to western Salvador was so prolific 
and superior as to exclude the less lucrative indigo, 
which has similar habitat requirements. 

That some cacao was grown on the eastern versant 
is brought out in the Vera Paz Rclacion (Anon., 
Ms. 1574 b, pp. 19, f. 101), but it was limited to small 
groves, often destroyed by floods and eaten by pests, 
for there were no permanent residents then in that 
distant, unhealthy region to take care of it. 

Decline of production in Soconusco in favor of 
Suchitepequez is recorded by Ponce's companion 

654162 — 47— — 4 

(Ponce, 1873, p. 293). No reason is given for this 
shifting of emphasis eastward. 

Indians of the Lowlands, characterized by "lassi- 
tude and laziness," as distinguished from the ener- 
getic Highlanders, were said by Fuentes y Guzman 
(late 17th century) to depend too heavily upon the 
growing of one crop, cacao, their only economic pur- 
suit, except, perhaps, for a "few plantings of cotton," 
as a result of which, "if the cacao crop failed, they 
would perish from want and hunger." Plentiful har- 
\ests conversely led to celebration and revelry 
(Fuentes y Guzman, 1932—33, vol. 2, p. 66). The 
"one-crop system" was well rooted. 

The big decline in cacao apparently came about the 
beginning of the 19th century, the result of South 
American competition, notably around Caracas, ac- 
cording to Juarros (Baily trans., 1823, p. 22). 
Cotton and sapiiyii! were supplementary products, 
but of minor significance, so that the great depend- 
ence was still on cacao. 

With cacao production already on the wane, and 
cotton and cochineal destined to go the same road, 
upon the advent of imported aniline-dyed thread, the 
stage was set for some rejuvenation in the old 
plantation region of the Pacific slope. It came with 
the mid-19th century agricultural revolution, and 
the new crop was coftee, known in Central America 
since the middle of the 18th century, but never before 
produced on a large scale in Guatemala (see p. 92). 

The belt of major cofifee production lies immedi- 
ately between the overlapping zones of cacao, below, 
and nopal (for cochineal) , above, the latter having had 
its greatest concentration between Amatitlan and 
Chimaltenango. The mushroom growth of coffee 
fincas that took place mainly between 1850 and 
1925, drew on the population from both Highlands 
and Lowlands. Coffee filled in primarily the zone 
between 350 and 1,550 m. (1,148 and 5,085 ft.) 
(map 12) ; intensive cacao extended up only to 650 
m. (2,132 ft.) (map 11); while nopal culture was 
mostly above 1,200 m. (3,937 ft.). 

The establishment by Highland Indians of many 
Lowland colonies all along the Pacific piedmont 
primarily for the planting of cacao, and also maize, 
is discussed elsewhere (p. 93). The 1574 Vera 
Paz Rclacion gives a clue to the climatic require- 
ments of cacao as reflected in its distribution, and the 
modern linguistic map of Guatemala showing lan- 
guage areas extending into the Coastal Plain from 
the Highlands can undoubtedly be explained largely 
upon this basis. It is pointed out, for example, that 



Vera Paz lacked cacao (Anon., Ms. 1574 b, p. 6, f. 
94), and that the Indians in order to get it had to go 
to the coasts of Sonsonate (modern El Salvador), 
Soconusco, Chiquimula, and Zapotitlan, all on the 
Pacific versant, where they worked on cacao planta- 
tions. Evidently, the climate was too humid and the 
rainfall too prolonged on the Atlantic side for suc- 
cessful cultivation; there \vas also the element of 
flood hazard. 

The linguistic map (Sapper, 1897, map 5) indicates 
how Highlanders have colonized the Pacific pied- 
mont. The southwestern areas of Mam, Quiche, 
Zutuhil, and Cakchiquel speech all extend into the 
Lowlands. Though much Spanish is spoken here by 
the Indians, many of them still retain their native di- 
alects. In 1936 Quiche was being spoken by a num- 
ber of Indian residents of Santo Domingo Suchitepe- 
quez, which is at about the lower limit of indigenous 
culture. In the Vera Paz area, on the other hand, 
it may be seen that the higher and lower areas are 
characterized by different tongues of the Mayan 
language speech-group (Pokonchi and Kekchi, re- 
spectively, south and north of Coban). The former 
language is virtually all above the elevation limit ot 
cacao ; only Kekchi includes much territory both 
above and below this limit. It is evident from the 
16th-century report (Anon., Ms. 1574 b, p. 10, f. 
96) that yet another entirely unintelligible language 
(probably Carib) was spoken in the low coastal 
region around the Golfo Dulce, with which the High- 
landers had "no communication." 

The expansion of railroads as a result of increased 
coft'ee production in the late 19th century had directly 
detrimental effects upon cacao growth, because of 
the clearing of forests for construction timber. At 
Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, it was said that not 
only this cutting out of construction woods, includ- 
ing several trees especially valued also as cacao 
shade, but the thinning of shade trees in order to 
suit the needs of the coffee interplanted with cacao, 
had resulted in excessive light conditions for the 
latter, with a consequent decline in yield. The shade 
and wind shelter requirements of cacao are much 
stricter than those of coffee. 

Cacao is today a retrograde product of the Pacific 
Lowlands, not only insofar as quantity is concerned, 
but grade and quality as well. For flavor, natives 
invariably prefer criollo. My chief informant in this 
matter, Don Zenon Posadas, pointed out that the 
superior criollo variety, probably native to the re- 
gion, had nearly all disappeared, having been re- 

placed primarily by two inferior introduced types. 
These were "Costa Rica," with a broader pod, and 
"Nicaragua," having a longer, narrower one, as 
compared with the criollo. The pod of the latter 
is said to be reddish when ripe, and that of the 
others, light green, ripeness being determined by the 
feel of the pod and the sound made by tapping it. 

The preference for planting the inferior cacaos was 
explained by the same informant as resulting from the 
quicker yield (3 years after planting) as compared 
with the criollo, which requires 7 to 8 years, even 9 
for a good harvest. Also, the later cacaos'*' bear a 
much heavier annual crop, it was said, and have far 
less exacting shade requirements. There are two 
crops annually, one on the limbs (said in the region 
of San Bernardino to be the heavier of the two, and 
to be harvested from February to April), and the 
other on the trunk (November- January). 

The planting, as explained at San Bernardino, in- 
volves first the seed, then the seedling, which is 
transplanted at from 1 to Ij^ years, when it is 
usually about 2 feet high. At San Pedro Cutzan the 
presprouted seeds were planted at a shallow depth 
(not over j/2 to 1 in.), separated from each other 
by an interval of about a foot. Transplanting took 
place at 1 year, when the seedlings were about 15 
inches high. Shade trees included pataxte {Theo- 
broma bicolor), cuxin (Inga sp.) ; and madra de 
cacao (Gliricidia scpmm). 


Whereas cacao is generally grown in small plots, 
coffee is planted over a large territory, the whole 
monsoon versant between elevations of about 500 and 
1,400 m. (1,640 and 4,593 ft.) being nearly covered 
with fincas (pi. 5, b, c, d). Aside from varietal dif- 
ferences, coffee quality is largely a matter of eleva- 
tion, that from tiie highest regions, as with most 
cultivated plants, being of the best grade. The two 
commonest varieties grown are Arabigo (or Arabica) 
Comun (Coffca arabica var. comun) in higher eleva- 
tions and Bourbon {C. arabica var. Bourbon; see 
Salvador, Ministerio de Instruccion Publica, 1926, 
vol. 1, pp. 90, 91), an earlier maturing variety, at 
lower levels, where Maragogip is another common 

The shade required, particularly for the seedlings, 
is prepared from brushwood and shade plants 
(pl. 19, b). 

*» Said by Posadas to have been introduced at San Antonio Suchitepe- 
quez about 1917. 







Sources of labor consist primarily of Indians of 
the Highlands, permanent finca residents (coloiios 
or ranclicros) on the one hand, and temporary mi- 
grants {temporadistas, cuadrillcros, or jortialeros)^" 
on the other, the latter generally accounting for the 
larger number of finca hands (map 12). Their labor 
is measured in terms of clearing by the ciicrda (about 
^5 acre) and picking by the quintal (101 lb.) being 
paid in 1936 usually 12 to 15 cents a day (25 cents 
for skilled labor). The harvest is mainly between 
October and December. During the rest of the year, 
constant clearing of weeds and second growth is re- 
quired. The municipio of Chicacao (p. 92) is illus- 
trative of the manner in which Highlanders have 
settled in the coffee belt, and from this, as from map 
12, some idea may be had as to the provenience of 
coffee laborers, and the distances to which they 

Coffee fincas are owned principally by foreign 
planters (Germans, English, and some Americans, 
who control most of the larger ones, such as Moca,. 
Chocola, and Pacayal) and native non-Indian Guate- 
maltecans. Indian finqucros are to be found in cer- 
tain sections, as near Pueblo Nuevo, where one 
Indian alcalde is said (1936) to own a plantation 
of 2 caballcrias (2,000 ciierdas, or about 400 acres), 
and several others have, on an average, '25-30 
cuerdas. The coffee produced on all these is sold 
to larger fincas for processing and resale as cafe 
en oro (unroasted "bean"). 

Landscape transformations resulting from 
coffee plantations.— Just as cacao cultivation has 
brought about changes in the composition of natural 
vegetation in the Lowlands (p. 34), so in the pied- 
mont, coffee culture, despite its relative recency, 
has resulted in a distinct alteration of the original 
plant cover. There can be little doubt that, long 
before the Conquest, occupation by agricultural man 
transformed in some measure the nature of nearly 
all the forested regions of Central America, so that 
truly virgin forests no longer exist.'^ Such tem- 

™ On some fincas, e.g. Moca, tliere are more permanent than migrant 
laborers (6S3, mostly from Chichicastenango, as against 317); at 
Chocola there are, on the other hand, more temporadistas (880 as com- 
pared with 633). 

'^ Nomadic hoe culturists have imdoubtedly penetrated every forested 
area at some time, burning and planting, then shifting to burn and 
plant again. Cook (1909, p. 20) cites as evidence of a "secondary 
character of supposedly primeval forests" in eastern Guatemala, the 
digging up by Indians of pitchy roots of pines, for use as torches from 
the floor of luxuriant tropical forests which have long since over- 
shadowed the pioneer conifers and driven tliem out. I have also seen 
this done on a number of occasions in some of the highest and most 
remote forests of Chiapas, including the great, uninhabited Tzendales. 

porary fields of maize, beans, and squash were even- 
tually abandoned, allowing the forest clearings to go 
back to their natural vegetation cover, after a few- 
years of "mining" the superficial wealth of the rich 
humus layer and destroying the forest litter through 
continued burnings. But not so in the planting of 
cacao and coffee. These plantations demand not only 
permanent clearings around the trees, but shade, 
especially in the case of cacao, which must be pro- 
tected also from winds. This has involved the estab- 
lishment of certain special shade^ plants, as well as 
the elimination of less desirable types. The best- 
suited and most widely known tree for cacao shade 
is the "madre de cacao" (lit., "mother of cacao," 
Gliricidia sepiiim), sometimes called also "madera 
negra."^- Pataxte and cnxin (see pp. 34, 148) have a 
significance for cacao shade, however, that is secon- 
dary to the madre. The latter is of some value for 
coffee as well, though cuxin and chaluin {Inga sp.) 
seem to be the most widely planted shade trees 
throughout the coffee belt of die Pacific versant. The 
abundance of these trees has accordingly been arti- 
ficially increased. All of the above-mentioned, except 
pataxte, are of the family Leguminosae,^* probably 
not tall enough to meet the competition of the high 
monsoon forest without the aid of man. 

The result has been, then, in the coffee lands 
of the boca casta, extensive areas of thin, artificial 
woodlands covering the ridges between numerous, 
heavily forested ravines and steep stream courses 
(pl. 5, c). 

Another important shade tree in the higher coffee 
fincas, particularly those on the shores of Lake 
Atitlan, is the gravilea (silk oak, Grevillea robusta ; 
pl. 19, b) ; having the disadvantage of extreme 
brittleness and vulnerabiHty to strong w-inds. When 
coffee seedlings are first set out, each is usually 
sheltered by a small banana plant, which shoots up 
rapidly and affords protection from the sun until the 
slower growing, permanent shade trees, such as the 
madre and cuxin, reach an appreciable size, usually 
a matter of several years. Hence, the aspect of the 
plant cover in a coffee grove depends largely upon 
the stage of maturity of the coffee plants. 

Following the disastrous hurricane and flood of 
October 1935, which destroyed great areas of banana 

'■- It was reported at San Antonio Suchitepequez that qandles and 
soap are made from this tree and the flowers are eaten. 

^ The genus Inga is mimosaceous; Gliricidia is fabaceous. 



plantations on the east coast of Guatemala and spread 
the Panama disease (Ijanana wilt) there, export 
production of the fruit on the Guatemala west coast 
attained considerable importance (pi. 5, c, /). From 
this reemphasis upon bananas along the west coast, 
it is not to be assumed that bananas are recent on 
the Pacific side. Bananas are mentioned in the 
Cakchiquel Annals (Brinton, 1885, p. 107), and 
some varieties seem to have grown in America prior 
to the Conquest. They were characterized in 1579 
as "trees of great utility ... for the fruit called 
'platanos' [bananas] and they bear at all seasons 
to the benefit of the poor as well as the rich" (Anon., 
Ms. 1579, p. 17, f. 113) ; and Ponce was feted with 
bananas and honey along the Pacific piedmont of 
Guatemala during his journey of 1586 (Ponce, 1873, 
pp. 429, 431, and others). Fuentes y Guzman 
mentions the importance of bananas here in about 
1690, relating that the leaves are used for many 
medicinal purposes, especially for fevers, and that, 
according to Acosta, the fruit supplemented maize as 
a food, being used also to make a fine wine (Fuentes 
y Guzman, 1932-33, vol. 2, p. 67). 

Oviedo (1851-55, vol. 1, pp. 291-292) places the 
American introduction of the Old World banana 
(said by traders of that period to be a native of 
India) in 1516, from Grand Canary, brought by a 
friar, and first planted in the New World at Santo 
Domingo. Fuentes y Guzman wrote of platanos 
dojuinicos that they were "so called from being of 
the same species as those from Hispaniola." 
"Guineos" he referred to as "those from Guinea." 
"Guineo" today in Southwest Guatemala usually 
means banana, edible raw, while platano means 
plantain, which must be cooked. Apparently, then, 
some bananas were pre-Columbian in America, 
while others, probably the most desirable varieties, 
were introduced from the Old World. 

Many fi)iqiieros who had previously planted 
bananas as preliminary cofifee shade (and who had 
allowed their mozos to help themselves, even to sell 
the fruit in the market; p. 84) began trucking 
out the fruit to the railroad, where it was loaded 
onto trains and shipped to the Atlantic port of 
Barrios (pi. 5, /). Indian laborers employed in the 
handling of bananas sometimes used the tumpline 
(iiiccapal) in carrying the "stems" (bunches) to the 
railroad. This is a trait seldom seen on the Atlantic 
slope, where the stems are carried on the shoulder, 
usually by Negroes. The latter method is also com- 
mon on the Pacific side. 

At Pueblo Nuevo, the following banana varieties 
were recognized: Platano (plantain), platano do- 
luinico {Santo Domingo var.), platano guineo (large 
banana), banano morado ingerto ("red hybrid"), 
guinea bianco (fino and ordinario), guinea pina, 
guineo vianaana, guinea jacote (said to have flavor 
of jocote corona), guineo pcrulcro (fruit stem 
reaches ground, for the tree is only about 6-8 feet 
high). Bananas are even more important than 
maize (which is usually costlier) for fattening pigs 
in this region. 

The 10 varieties of bananas and plantains described 
in table 2 were growing in an experimental section 
of the Armas finca at Panajachel. 

Table 2. — Ten varieties of baiianas and plantains grozmi in 
the Annas finca at Panajachel 


height and 


diameter of 

Common name 

of fruit 

Leaf length 

stalk of plant 

Guineo de miniatura.. 

4 in. long X 

About 5 ft. 

9 ft. X 6 in. 


1 in. diam- 

Guineo de oro 

4 in. long X 

8 ft. -9 ft. 

12 ft. 

1 m. diam- 



Guineo de coche 

5 in. -6 in. 

9 ft. -10 ft. 


Guineo banano 

8 in. long X 
11 2 in. di- 

10 ft. 

15 ft. 

Guineo bianco (or "de 


5 in. long X 

10 ft. 

15 ft. 

2 in. diam- 

eter; pmk- 

ish flesh. 

Guineo de manzana... 

6 in. long X 
2 in. diam- 

8 ft.-9 ft. 

I J ft. 

Guineo de majunche. . . 

6 in. long X 

7 ft.-8 ft. 

13 ft, -14 ft; 

2^ in. di- 



pink flesh. 


8 in. -9 in. 

7 ft. (Wide.) 

10 ft.; thin 

long X HS 

(8 in. diam- 

in. diam- 

eter base). 

eter; pink; 

coarse flesh. 


in. X IV2 
in. -2 in. 

12 ft.; thin 

("9-10 in. 



Guineo injertado (hy- 


brid, morado X de 


6 in. long^ X 

14 ft. 

2 in. diam- 



Two Old World crops that are increasing some- 
what in importance in the Lowlands are cinnamon 
and sesame, particularly the latter. Both give promise 
of great economic potentialities. 

Cinnamon was said to have been introduced as a 
plantation crop during the rule of Barillas (1885-91). 
A large grove of cinnamon on the finca San Antonio 
Palajunoj, near Palmar, was reportedly destroyed by 
the 1902 eruption of Santa Maria Volcano. The plant 
is grown on a small scale today at Pueblo Nuevo 



(Fiiica San Nicolas), where there is (1936) a grove 
of 70 trees. It has been planted only 10 years, and has 
been bearing during the last 3. The bark is marketed 
at Mazatenango ; local production is insignificant, 
however, in comparison with the amount imported 
to meet the great native demand. 

Sesame seed is now being widely cultivated along 
the piedmont. It is produced in some quantity at 
Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, whence it is taken 
and sold in Mazatenango, especially to the "Florida" 
mill, where it is reportedly made into oil. 


Before the Conquest, the Indians of Central Amer- 
ica had no regular meat supply. Turkeys were raised 
mainly for feathers for decoration, and a mute dog is 
the only animal mentioned as a common domesticated 
source of meat. It was called "xulo" in Nicaragua, 
and was said to be raised on a very large scale for 
food. Oviedo wrote that the meat was very good 
and not unlike goat (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 390). 


The early introduction of cattle into the mainland 
of Central America is by now well known, mainly 
from the reference in Juarros' history (1810, vol. 2, 
p. 354) to one of the earliest cattle ranches in Guate- 
mala, in the valley (just east of the present capital) 
called "Valle de las Vacas" to commemorate it. This 
reference is cited by Dollfus and Mont-Serrat and 
other later writers. The animals were brought from 
Cuba by Hector de la Barreda, apparently before 

The drier eastern Departments are still the princi- 
pal regions of cattle breeding and raising (map 13). 
These include especially the Departments of Guate- 
mala (Vacas and Palencia), Jalapa, Jutiapa, and 
Santa Rosa, from all of which cattle (mainly young 
bulls) are driven by Atitecos to the Chicacao 
market. Not only from these provinces, but also 
from the dry valleys of the Baja Vera Paz, cattle 
are brought to the markets of southwestern Guate- 
mala. Cubulco seems to be the chief center, with 
Rabinal and Salama secondary. Quiche and Chinique 
Indians commonly are the middlemen, buying the 
cattle in the dry interior pastures and driving them 
to markets. The largest and most consistent sales 
of cattle in the southwestern region are made along 
the piedmont, especially in the Sunday plazas of Chi- 
cacao, San Antonio, Santo Tomas la Union, and on 

the lower fincas. The savanna lands of the Pacific 
Lowlands aiiford good grazing, so that it is common 
for inhabitants of the Coastal Plain to purchase half- 
grown cattle to raise and resell — bulls to butchers of 
the piedmont and Highlands, to which many of them 
are driven, and cows for milk. It was said at San 
Antonio that on a good Sunday as many as 80 head 
of cattle, mostly from the valleys of Baja Vera Paz, 
would be sold, primarily to Ladinos. The Xankatales 
(of Nahuala-Santa Catarina Ixtanuacan) in particu- 
lar engage in the industry of raising bulls for flesh, 
and their chief market for purchase is Santo Tomas 
la Union (pi. 4, d). the cattle there coming in part 
from the Quiche-Baja Vera Paz area and in part 
from the more distant eastern Departments. From 
the latter region come most of the cattle sold in the 
Chicacao market ; they are driven primarily by 

In the Highlands, cattle and other large animals 
are sold in most markets on a large scale only during 
the big religious or national fairs, a few times each 
year, and seldom in the ordinary, weekly market. 
Usually there is a special place, somewhat removed 
from the main plaza, where the so-called fo-ia, or 
animal market, convenes (pis. 28; 35, c. d). At 
Solola, for example, this is at the "Temple of 
Minerva," one-quarter mile east of the regular 
market. There are a few centers, however, such as 
Chiche, where cattle are regularly sold in a plot 
adjacent to the central plaza once each week, in this 
case Saturday.^"* In the Highlands, milk cows, 
though not numerous, seem to predominate over beef 
animals, which are generally driven up from the 
Lowlands and promptly slaughtered by butchers. 


Small, hardy mules (pi. 12, a) are the commonest 
carriers of the region — pack animals sometimes 
trained here, as elsewhere in Central America, to 
follow a mare (usually white, to be easily seen in the 
dusk) with a bell. Mules not infrequently bring a 
higher price than horses, both animals being com- 
monly ridden. Donkeys are the least numerous of 
the three. 

In parts of the Lowlands, and even in the high 
country where roads permit, oxen with carts (pi. 
3, a) arc fairly numerous, though not nearly so 
alumdant as in El Salvador (pi. 44, c). 

^ Here I have observed Lake Atitlan Indians, Cruxenos and Solo- 
latecos, purchasing cattle. 




The Highland habitat of sheep has already been 
mentioned (pp. 6, 7). Goats, mostly raised in the 
same regions as sheep, are far less common and 
economically important. Both animals are kept at 
high elevations, rarely below 2,000 m. (6,562 ft.) 
(pi. 32). The absence of sheep in the Lowlands is 
evidently owing to the greater abundance of insect 
pests and diseases in the warmer zones. The greater 
warmth alone would not be a deterrent, as is evi- 
denced by the production of sheep in many tropical 
lowland regions. The heavy wool coat may act as an 
insulator against the hot sun. 

The slow acclimatization of sheep in Guatemala 
after the Conquest is attested to by several early 
sources. The paucity of sheep in 1571, and the large- 
scale importation of them to Guatemala from Oaxaca, 
may be seen in the following statement. "Few sheep 
are raised [in Guatemala], so over 3,000 sheep are 
brought in annually from the valley of Oaxaca, and 
they are not worth more than six reales . . ." 
(Velasco, 1894, p. 285). Wool has been since early 
Colonial times the most important and valuable 
product of sheep. Ponce's companion cites the 
scarcity of sheep in El Salvador, and reports (Ponce, 
1873, vol. 1, p. 384) that mutton was brought .by 
the Spaniards from the Valley of Mexico to Son- 
sonate. In the same volume (p. 439) , the anonymous 
author reports sheep raising as "just beginning" in 
the Highlands near Quezalleiiango, where pasturage 
was reported to be good. 

The sources of supply of raw wool for the weaving 
centers are plotted on map 16. Important sheep 
markets in the southwest Highlands are as follows: 
San Francisco el Alto, Chiche, San Juan Ostuncalco, 
and Cantel (map 15). There are usually a few 
sheep for sale in the Friday plaza of Solola, but 
this is a secondary center. Sheep and goats are not 
sold in Lowland markets. (For the description of 
sheep, and the sale and uses of wool, see p. 63). 


Early references to pigs are fewer and less specific 
than those of other domesticated animals. In the 
latter half of the 16th century, according to Pineda 
(1908, p. 431), Spanish merchants along the coast 
of Guazacapan sold, in addition to native and im- 
ported articles of wearing apparel, also "bread, 
biscuit, bacon, and viscera of pig for eating . . ." 
Tlie Indian buyers paid for these pork products in 

A study of the pig traffic in Southwestern Guate- 
mala today reveals a transhumance based upon a 
division of labor arising from regional contrasts. The 
buying and raising of young pigs is a widespread 
activity which may have considerable local im- 
portance. It can be most successfully practiced in 
the Lowlands, where there are two harvests of maize. 
In addition to the abundant grain (poorer and 
cheaper than Highland varieties) there are many 
palms and other trees which supply fruits, nuts, and 
seeds. Breadfruit and qidamol are said to be im- 
portant sources of pig feed, as are bananas, men- 
tioned (with maize) particularly at Pueblo Nuevo. 
The feeding of whey as a byproduct of cheese at San 
Bernardino has been pointed out. Maize and whey 
were said to he the chief pig foods in this com- 

With only one harvest of maize in the Highlands, 
and a dearth of suitable fruits and seeds, cultivated 
or wild, there is an altitudinal exchange of pigs in 
different stages of maturity, comparable with that of 
cattle. In both cases, it is usually the young animals, 
little affected by the great altitude change, which move 
into the lower, tropical levels where they are raised, 
while maturer, ■ usually full-grown ones, difficult to 
acclimatize, are driven in quantity to the higher re- 
gions for slaughter. Illustrations of the former proc- 
ess are evident in the two chief pig markets of the 
Southwest, namely, San Francisco el Alto and Chiche. 
Herds of small pigs,°^ each attached to a string, may 
be seen any Friday squealing through the streets as 
they are driven from the high-perched animal market 
of San Francisco el Alto (pi. 13, c). Special mer- 
chants who engage in this activity, said to be primarily 
men of San Francisco la Union (4 miles west of 
San Francisco el Alto), drive the animals along 
the road to Lowland markets. In 1936 there were 
four men who regularly herded some 20 to 30 
pigs each (when they left San Francisco on Friday) 
first to San Felipe for the Sunday market, then next 
day to Cuyotenango and Retalhuleu, two vendors go- 
ing to each of these towns (see map 13). Other 
Lowland centers, such as Mazatenango and San 
Francisco Zapotitlan, are supplied with pigs from 
San Francisco el Alto. That they are not sold ex- 
clusively in the Lowlands, however, is evidenced by 
the appearance of the small animals in the markets 
of Ouezaltenango, San Juan Ostuncalco, and Cantel, 

^ These come to San Francisco from various parte of the Higlilands, 
1 was told, even from as far as Huchuetenango, but most were said 
to be from San Francisco and municipios immediately to the north. 


O C 


-for i 






, , 1 ■ 

B 15 

' '• ' ' 11- 

i ' » i 


(One inch 


to li 


Numbers rtttr 

to el 


R^^ilroad: it 


Road - 

: Mu 



Department capitaU 

to**' 10,600 LMi- 


9tf w.i.,,^ 




■for <ll ^" 





Scale 1:1.000,000 

•""T : : 1 7. ; 

(On. inch,,„„,t,l,) 

Contour Interval 1,000 meters (loo 

L L b L N U ff^puUtioo dels ba»d urgel, up*. QukUmaU c«r<iui. i91l 

R-.l'«-d: jlondard ,au9e -^-a ; narrow q.uje ^^-^ ''"'l::'r,Vr;';:;V",',;'rT' 

''•'*' i»,l Of foot-prtV* , 8»< r.„i 

»Mfitero«tion6l beundarf • • •; D«,«ui i.-.i .... ,„,. „,i^,,„,.„ 

U«p«rtm«Hl <«pU«ljCe»b«terM'),io4tilioi4i Nrtional C^SPiTAL tfjpsa 5r-.llviii*9...^,,.*p«j,t.«s • ri»i, 

M. , „ '".Ml"— .-• M, m «T.l,\p.^ „n*Bl,B<K41«.«. ^*lM.-JtM» 

IC— .w«t«,„, ^^^,,(^00l.d.«rvi) (fW^c«LM.n.|.,j(Wl.«.0WWl..V (w.l „ .-*» ■,^,.«. ,„c*« (T.Ui 

Map U — Livestock, wild animals lor food, and animal byproducts of South Guatemala. Explanation of symbols: Q, Livestock market (im- 
portance roughly proportional to size of circle); C cattle sold \veekly in quantity; s, sheep sold weekly in quantity; P. pigs sold weekly m 
quantity: L, leathers orking; A, cheese; □, soap; /, iguanas sold in m"arket (December to February). On map, "dried fish" should read 'salt 

6M162 0-47 (Face p. 38) 




for occasional purchases by Indians from neighboring 

Chiche is probably the most important weekly live- 
stock market of the entire Southwest, not only for 
smaller animals as at San Francisco, but also for 
cattle, horses, and mules. Of all these, little pigs 
are most numerous, and are sold by more individuals. 
Great numbers of them are driven from the Chiche 
market to and beyond the Lake Atitlan region. Many 
are sold in Chichicastenango, Solola, Santiago, and 
as far as Santo Tomas la Union and Chocola, in the 
piedmont. To Santiago go Indian men of Quiche, 
usually two at a time, driving about 50 pigs, mostly 
young ones, and Ladinos of Chinique also in two's, 
with a comparable number of pigs. Trips are made 
at intervals of 2 weeks or so, and the animals, being 
much in demand, are generally all sold in 2 days. 

Full-grown, fattened pigs are driven in various 
parts of the region, generally from lower to higher 
elevations. From Santiago to Solola, for slaughter, 
they are driven up the trail in little herds of 10 or so, 
after they have been transported across the lake in 
dugout canoes manned by Atitecos. Medium-sized 
to large pigs, generally not very fat (at least when 
they reach their destinations), are brought into the 
Quezaltenango animal market (La Democracia) 
every few days, from such distant places, I was told, 
as Jacaltenango, Soloma, and Huehuetenango, in the 
Department of the latter name, and from Cotzal and 
Chajul, in the Department of Quiche. In most of 
these instances, unlike those of the Solola region, 
there is little altitudinal difference between the places 
where the pigs were raised and their destination, 
Quezaltenango. The long-distance trade is apparently 
a result merely of the greater size and importance 
of the latter market. On one occasion I saw 35 large 
pigs on the road between Olintepeque and Quezalte- 
nango, headed for the latter town. Most of them, 
especially the larger ones, were equipped with raw- 
hide sandals to protect their feet from the wear of 
8 days of walking on mountain trails. They had 
come from Soloma, about 70 miles (113 km.) to 
the north, across the high Cuchumatanes Mountains, 
and were driven by two men of that municipio. 

Chickens and a few ducks and turkeys are com- 
monly kept, mostly for eggs and for home consump- 
tion, with a small surplus for the market. Whitish 
and light brownish turkeys are more often seen than 
the usual darker brown North American types (pi. 
12, b). Most chickens are degenerate crosses. Native 

Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) are the common 


Hunting, fishing, and crabbing activities at Lake 
Atitlan will be described in later sections (pp. 120, 
124). The Lenten importance of non-"flesh" animal 
foods is so great in this Roman Catholic region that 
every source of the desired goods is fully exploited. 
Foremost among these (except for fish) is the iguana, 
a large fierce-looking, but quite shy and innocuous, 
terrestrial-arboreal lizard. 

A great number of early colonial chronicles and 
natural histories dwell upon the iguana at consider- 
able length, many of them including quaint, but 
realistic illustrations. To the early Spaniards this 
reptile was new, and his fierce mien arrested their 
attention ; more important, he provided a source of 
animal food during Lent, a fare approved by the 
Church. That the non-"flesh" classification of 
iguanas was early may be seen from the account of 
Ponce's late 16th-century travels, wherein (Ponce, 
1873, vol. 1, p. 379-380) it is stated that since the 
Conquest of Yucatan, "iguanas, though they live on 
land, are eaten on Friday, during Lent, and on other 
days when meat is not eaten." The same author 
(p. 378) characterized iguana as "tender and good 
to eat," and such comments regarding it were fre- 
quently made in the early literature of New Spain. 

Iguanas are extensively caught for food along the 
Pacific Coastal Lowlands. The reptiles appear in 
greatest numbers in the outer part of the plain, but 
behind the littoral. They are captured by dwellers 
of the piedmont towns and villages, who go out on 
trips of several days' duration into the wooded, un- 
inhabited sections of the outer Lowlands during the 
laying season. This is between the middle of Jan- 
uary and the middle of March and generally includes 
much of the Lenten period. When iguanas are lay- 
ing they are easily captured, partly because they seek 
sandy tracts, often removed from the protection of 
their high tree refuges, and partly because the egg- 
laden females are incapable of rapid movement. Con- 
sequently, many of the iguanas sold in the markets 
are bulging with eggs, a condition which makes them 
more in demand, for the eggs (igitaxtes) are regarded 
as special delicacies. 

Ordinarily the reptiles are sold in the markets 
alive. Hundreds of them are to be seen in the plazas 
of the larger centers along the piedmont, such as 
]Mazatenango and Escuintla, and they are sold on a 






Cane -daub 




Stones (iincemented) lower half; 
Cane, upper half 

Bunch-grass over boards or poles 



liii i ! 

Split Cecropia 











Corozo palm 
Cane leaves 
Savanna grass 

A% Pyramidal roof 
(Fraction indicates approximate 


Proportions on graphs indicate 
approximate abundance of types. 

Figure 2. — Explanation of symbols used in map 14. 

'* .^. 

•Cu^. ■'''"•^ 



654162 0-47 (Face p. 40) 


Mar l< lli)U«.ol«ult>"™' • 
Crui. Solult, Piiii»l«fh'l. 8»' 
ir rwil rmi iDdlc*<«< i 

(a« Bi I fot MplMiUlon or .ymbol* 1 



somewhat smaller scale at San Antonio, Cuyotenango, 
Chicacao, and other less populous towns. Some- 
times the great lizards are carried in trade up into 
the Highlands (pis. 12, c; 13, a). The markets of 
El Salvador are generally well supplied with live 
iguanas during the Lenten season. 


{Caiman sj)., a close relative of tlie North American 

It was said all through the Lowlands that until 
recent years cayman hunting had been a major in- 
dustry, carried on mainly at night with torches and 
gigs. The year 1932 or 1933 was suggested as about 
the time when hunting laws went into effect to pro- 
tect caymans in the Department of Suchitepequez. 

Roast cayman still appears not uncommonly in the 
markets, however, at times reaching the Highlands.^'' 
There seems to be a great demand for it at the present 
time, especially during Lent. Mrs. Maudslaj- wrote 
of this fondness for cayman meat on the part of Zara- 
goza Indians, quoting a probably exaggerated local 
report to the effect that vendors had "to be locked 
up in tlie 'career for protection and sell the meat 
through the prison .bars" (Maudslay. 1899, p. 41). 
Smoked garfish impaled upon large sections of 
cane are commonly sold in Lowland markets. At 
Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, in' January 1941, I saw 
eight Indian women in. the market selling smoked 
venison, wild boar, and tepeizcuinte (probably 
Cumculus paca). Three others were selling live 



(Map 14) 

older of the two. The apparently older-style, square 

No attempt was made to undertake any but the 
simplest observations regarding house construction 
and architecture. These aspects of habitations were 
carefully studied in 1934 by Wauchope, whose de- 
tailed descriptions and excellent illustrations ap- 
peared in print in 1938.^" Since his purpose was 
manifestly "to facilitate interpretation of ancient 
dwelling sites," however, the scope of his observation 
was of necessity somewhat limited. In view of this 
fact, and of the difference in viewpoint between the 
geographer and the archeologist, it seemed expedient 
to attempt a broader survey, emphasizing the highly 
variable and often environmentally conditioned fac- 
tor of materials of construction, especially for walls 
and roof, noting at the same time characteristic floor 
plans, thatch crests, and other outstanding features. 

House types in So'uthwest Guatemala vary 
primarily in terms of materials of construction, de- 
pendent essentially upon the environment. There 
is little fundamental difference in form, or even in 
floor plan, for nearly all are rectangular (the A-frame 
type being possibly of European introduction). 
There are two types of rectangular houses : the 
A-frame type and the king-post variety, which 
Wauchope (1938, p. 26) has suggested as being the 

^ In Solola (1933) I have seen smoked cayman for sale in the plaza 
(pi. 14, d), and was told that it came from near Tahuesco. The chief 
source of the delicacy in Quezaltenango (1936) was said to be the 
lagoons and marshes in the vicinity of Coatunco (?). 

^' Wauchope, 1938. This is the only detailed study of modern Guate- 
mala houses thus far undertaken, for other than a very restricted area 
(e.g., Kekchi, Sapper, 1905). 

houses, with pot-capped, pyramidal, grass-thatched 
roofs, are seen only in the more primitive, isolated 
Lake Atitlan villages and certain of their Lowland 
colonial offshoots (map 14). 

Wauchope concluded that, in Guatemala — 

The square house may be older than the rectangular. An 
informant at San Lucas Toliman said that the square house 
and the rectangular house with its ridgepole supported by a 
single king-rod at each end (pi. 7, d) are both older forms 
than the rectangular house with its ridge-piece carried by 
A-frames or rafters. He said that the last-named type came 
in about thirty years ago, in imitation of rectangular houses 
on plantations of the West Coast. If this is true, the oc- 
currence of the square house could be used as a measure 
of the relative primitiveness of towns in Guatemala.'* 

A comparison of the present-day aspect of San 
Antonio Palopo with its 1894 characteristics, as 
shown in the photographs published by the Maudslays 
(1889, pp. 52, 53), affords some confirmation of 
Wauchope's report ; for square houses, apparently 
the "primitive" type, actually predominated in 1894.^* 
Even the rectangular houses were not very elongated. 
In 1936 the latter type was prevalent, with pyramid 
roofs extremely rare, and there were even a consid- 

^ Wauchope, 1938, p. 26. The appearance of the pyramid roof and 
round or square types in the various codices may be cited as evidence 
of their antiquity in Mexico. (See Mendoza Codex, reproduced in 
Wauchope, 1938, p. 170: and, for pyramid roof. Codices Nuttal and 
Borgia, reproduced in Linne, 1938, p. 19.) 

5* Besides the photographs there is the statement of Mrs. Maudslay 
(1899, p. 51): *'The walls of the queer-looking square houses are 
built of rough stones, held together by a framework of undressed sticks 
. . . none of the Indian houses are plastered or white-washed . . ." 



erable number of tile roofs and whitewashed walls 
built of rectangular adobes (pi. 23, a, b). 

On the basis of various bits of evidence presented 
by several writers on house types, it seems that the 
square or round house was the commoner aboriginal 
type in Mexico and Central America. The gable- 
roofed, rectangular type apparently represents a later 

One 16th-century author, whose writings are 
almost unknown in America, states, "In these cold 
regions [Highlands], the Indians' houses are little 
round grass huts . . ."^'^ Oviedo (1851-55, vol. 3, 
p. 131) states regarding the early 16th-century 
round, cane-walled, thatch-roofed huts of Castillo de 
Oro, that round walls presented less wind resistance 
than square and rectangular ones, and were therefore 
desirable, especially in view of the frequent strong 
winds. Elsewhere (ibid., p. 163) he describes two 
types of houses: "canay," round, commoners' huts; 
and "buhio," rectangular, the larger houses used by 
chiefs, thatched with grass, bihao {Calathea sp.), or 


In the mesothermal region (generally above 1,500 
m. or 4,921 ft. elevation) adobe is the usual wall 
material (pi. 10, b, f) ; below, in the coastal Low- 
lands, except for better houses and buildings of adobe 
or wood, walls are generally made of vertical poles, 
canes, or boards with open spaces between them for 
air circulation (pis. 2, b, d, g; 3, c). There are two 
possible explanations for this : ( 1 ) nights are cool 
in the Highlands, and walls must be well sealed for 
warmth; (2) upland, eluvial soils tend to be collodial 
and almost always suitable for adobe, whereas in the 
Lowlands, except near the sea, in the swampy lagoon 
region behind the barrier beaches, sandier, alluvial 
material predominates, much of it unsuited to adobe 
construction ; timber and poles, on the other hand, 
are abundant in the Lowlands, and often scarce in 
the Highlands. 

Details of distribution of materials used in con- 
struction are shown diagrammatically on map 9, based 
upon estimated percentage frequencies as observed 
in the field. In the text, these plottings are merely 

I took detailed construction notes (table 3), with 
special emphasis on kinds of wood used in the frame- 

work, in only one Lowland locality, namely, Santo 
Domingo Suchitepequez, in an area not visited by 
Wauchope. Most of the wall and roof materials are 
of sorts not mentioned by him. 

Table 3. — Hoitse-frame materials used at Santo Domhigo 

[A hard, durable wood is selected for mainposts: for other elements, 
various straight poles are used. The common trees ■ listed are by no 
means the only ones used for the purposes indicated.] 

Element of house frame 

Material commonly used in construc- 
tion (identifications from Standley) 


English name 

Common name 

Scientific name 

llorcon ... 




Tendal" ... 

Calsonte ^ . . 


(viga) 6,, 

Tijera ^ 


(viga) . . . 
Co.«tanera . . 






Common rafter. . 

fWall plate 

(.Pole plate 

A-frame (princi- 
pal rafters). . . 


Roof purlin .... 
Roof rod 

Guachipilin .... 

Madre de cacao. . 




Laurel, canoj fne- 

gro y bianco) . . 






Cafia brava 

Diphysa robimoi- 

Gliricidia septum.* 
Cordia alliodora* 
Siveetia panamen- 

Aspidosperma me- 


Cordia alHodora.^ 
Aspidosperma me- 

Cordia alliodora.* 


Oynerium sagitta- 
turn (?)7 

c-^Medel, Ms., 1550-60, p. 195, f. 217. This mid-16th-century Oidor 
of Guatemala and New Granada was, insoiar as the past may be 
judged in the light of the present, a very careful observer. 

1 This ranks as one of the most valuable and widespread hard con- 
struction woods. Though Wauchope (1938, p. 33) expresses uncertainty 
as to tlie identity of the "guachipilin" used for mainposts at San Cris- 
tobal (Alta Vera Faz), it is probably the same tree as that mentioned 
in Standley's works, and referred to by natives in many parts of Guate- 
mala. (See Standley, 1930-26. p. 479; 1930, p. 295; 1936, p. 183; 
Standley and Calder6n, 1925, p. 110; Salvador, Ministerio de Instruc- 
cion Publica, 1926, voL 4, p. 33.) Guachipilin is reported by Standley 
(1930, p. 295) as having the local names "tsutsuc" and *'xbabalche," 
and Maya "sucuc," in Yucatan, and similar names in British Honduras. 
Redfield (1934, p. 35) mentions the use of a "dzudzuc," among otlier 
trees, for mainposts in the Yucatdn area. The name "u'kui," applied 
to guachipilin at San Lucas Tollman, where it is used for mainposts, is 
rather similar to "sucuc," and the same use of this tree at San Pedro 
la Laguna also is mentioned by Wauchope ( idem) . From my own 
observations, I can add Santo Domingo Suchitepequez and San Pedro 

2 Identification of tliis famous cacao-shade tree is from Standley 
(1920-26, p. 492). In the "Lista Preliminar" of Salvador plants 
(Standley and Calderon, 1925, p. 112), it is described as a hardwood, 
much u.sed in railway construction. An intelligent informant at Santo 
Domingo Suchitepequez explained that the railroad company had cut out 
great numbers of the madre de cacao, palo amarillo {gauchipilin), and 
other hardwood timber trees, for cross ties, removing much valuable 
cacao shade, and contributing toward the final decline of cacao culti- 
vation tq-v., p. '3Z). 

2 Standley and Calderon (1925, p. 183) state that the wood is used 
in the construction of houses, railways, etc. In his Mexican flora, 
Standley says of this tree: "The wood is highly valued for carpenter 
and cabinet work, and is used for beams, flooring, ceiling, and finer 
work" (Standley, 1920-26, p. 1219). 

* Chichipate is described by Standley and Calderdn as a fine con- 
struction wood of many uses. 

s Correctness of doubtful terminology verified from Wauchope, 193S. 

« Standley, 1920-26, p. 1157. This tree is "apparently rare" in the 
Lancetilla Valley region, and in all Central America only one species of 
Aspidosperma is known, though "the genus is represented in South 
America by many species, some of which furnish valuable wood" 
(Standley, 1931, p. 321). 

■^Standley, 1920-26, pp. 65-66; 1931, p. 92; Standley and Calderon, 
1925, p. 31. 



Adobe walls. — The finest adobe walls are those 
made of rectangular adobes (McBryde, 1933, p. 104). 
These large sun-dried blocks,*^ fashioned of local dirt 
and straw usually available near building sites 
throughout the Highlands, require no high degree of 
skill in their manufacture, and every community of 
any importance where they are used has inhabitants 
who can mold them (pi. 10, /). No framework is 
necessary in adobe brick walls, only the roof requir- 
ing timbers and poles. Principal buildings and 
houses in the centers of the larger towns usually 
are of adobe plastered and whitewashed, and not in- 
frequently tinted pale shades of pink and blue on 
the sides facing the street. The better Ladino houses 
have barred windows and floors of coarse fired brick, 
but both are lacking in most Indian dwellings, 
wherein floors are of dirt, sometimes hardened with 
adobe, the door is usually the only opening (there 
may be a very small window, especially in the Cu- 
chumatanes region), and smoke seeps out through 
the roof. There are no chimneys even in the best 
of native houses. 

Wattle-and-daub and stone walls. — In certain 
sections, notably in the more remote communities, 
walls may be of adobe daubed on a cane frame- 
work, and occasionally reinforced with rubble. This 
type is generally called bajarcque. It is particularly 
in evidence around Lake Atitlan, where also (Santia- 
go Atitlan) the only unplastered stone walls in the 
entire region are to be found. These walls, of 
readily accessible lava blocks, usually are built so as 
to enclose only the lower half of the house, with 
the upper half "fenced" by upright canes (probably 
Arundo donax, as identified by W. W. Mackie 
from a photograph). 

Board walls. — The outlying settlement of Pie de 
\^olcan, near Quezaltenango, has walls of upright 
boards, and, in a few cases, of grass. Two factors 
that here discourage the use of adobe are the sandy, 
pumice-nodular soil, and the bunchgrass cover (pi. 38, 
d), but these do not entirely explain the phenomenon. 
Sheepherders' huts commonly have grass-covered 
walls as well as roofs in the alpine-meadow summit 
country. Miihlenbergia (bunchgrass) occurs here in 
abundance ; is easier to put up than adobe (not always 
suitable in the highest regions because of raw humus 
and excessive clay), and just as warm. Though 
ephemeral, the dwellings are well suited to the shift- 
ing occupation of herding. 

«i Usually about 25" by 15" by 5". Wauchope (1938, p. 82) quotes 
Stephens (1841, vol. 1, pp. 3S3-384) to the effect that in Costa Rica 
they were "two feet long and one broad." 

Pole walls. — Tax (unpublished Chichicastenango 
Ms.) reports from native informants a total absence 
of adobe houses in 14 cantons along the southern 
margin of the Chichicastenango municipio because 
"no adobe-earth is available," so that walls are made 
of poles. This may be in part due to excess of raw 
humus and clay, as stated above. 

Upright poles of various kinds of wood, bamboo, 
and boards or split tree trunks are the three principal 
types of Lowland house-wall materials. Their use 
depends upon their local availability. Along the 
ocean shore and the lagoons of the littoral, the 
bordering mangrove thickets provide ideal poles, 
which are straight, durable, hard, and plentiful in 
convenient sizes. ''- 

Back in the inner Coastal Plain and piedmont, 
dense thickets of bamboo ("tarro") furnish excellent 
light wall material. This giant cane may either be 
set up entire, as a pole (pi. 3, c), or split longitudi- 
nally along one side and opened flat, fonning a 
"board" in exactly the manner described by Ponce's 
companion. ^^ If bamboo and cane {Arundo spp. 
and/or Gynerium sp.) are respectively of Asiatic and 
Mediterranean origin, they must have been intro- 
duced very early to have served as native house walls 
almost from the time of Spanish occupation. 

Popular in several sections of the piedmont for 
wall boards is the giiarumo,^* the straight, white, 
hollow trunk of which is readily split. 

Exceedingly large boards and poles, which may be 
quite crude and rough, are sometimes used for walls, 
as at San Sebastian Retalhuleu, Samayac, and other 
piedmont centers. 

Grass and leaf walls. — On Lake Ilopango in El 
Salvador, at the village of Dolores Apulo in 1936, 
most houses were covered on walls as well as roof 
with grass and palm leaves. Wauchope mentions 

"2 "Mangle" (Rhisophora maiigtc), as the tree is called in most of 
Central America, is mentioned by Oviedo early in the 16th century as 
the best in the West Indies for wall poles and door and window frames 
(Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 338; see also Standley, 1920-26, p. 1028, 
and Wauchope, 1938, p. 36). 

^ This anonymous companion of Alonso Ponce wrote in 1586 con- 
cerning the houses of the little village of San Pedro (now disappeared) 
just west of Zambo, Suchitepequez, that they "had walls of thick cane, 
split open lengthwise and flattened out to form wide boards" (Ponce, 
1S73, vol. 1, pp. 435-436). 

" Cecropia sp. Standley points out that the several species arc so 
much alike as to make identification difficult even with herbarium speci- 
mens. Though in some o£_his works Standley mentions niimerous ujes 
"(neve^'including hou'se^construction, however) for which Cecropia is 
valued, he states that in British Honduras it is "not utilized" (Standley, 
1936, p. 111). Oviedo (1851-55, vol. 1, p. 300) cites "yaruma" only 
for its medicinal uses. 

The hostile ants which always inhabit Cecropia, and of which Stand- 
ley often writes, impress the identity of tliis tree upon the tenderfoot 
the first time he carelessly sinks a machete into its tempting trunk. 



this type in Yucatan. It probably is to be found in 
parts of the Pacific Lowlands of Guatemala. 



Wauchope (1938, p. 40) has described as follows 
the two common types of roofs in the area : 

(1) Hip roof, which is pitched back from all four sides 
... (2) Gable roof, in which the pitch falls in two direc- 
tions from the center of the building . . . There is also a 
single-pitch or shed roof, but its use is limited to temporary 
lean-to shelters and penthouses attached to the main house. 

Into the first of the two above-described types fall 
the smaller, apparently more primitive square (pyra- 
mid roof) houses, and nearly square ones. The 
square house is usually crowned with an inverted clay 
bowl (pi. 29). The only material which I have seen 
used on this pointed roof is grass, which seems to 
lend itself especially well to this purpose. Certainly 
tile would not be suitable, as its overlapping elements 
would not easily be adjusted to the rapid taper of the 


According to Wauchope (1938, p. 41) — 

practically all Indian roofs fall within the same general class 
of "quarter pitch." The pitch of Indian roofs throughout 
Central America is very uniform, varying between 42 and 60 
degrees. (Note: end slopes are not included . . .) ... 
Newer, non-Indian houses (ranchitos) . . .-have a pitch 
much less steep. Example : Roof angle of a house at Zacapa 
was only 11 degrees. 

He found the steepest roofs in Guatemala to have a 
pitch of 50 degrees (San Sebastian, Retalhuleu, and 
San Lucas Tollman) and the lowest angle (42°) 
at San Pedro la Laguna and Cohan. San Lucas and 
San Pedro are both on Lake Atitlan, and they have 
very similar climates. 

Though the Zacapa low-pitched roof is in a dry 
area, the others show remarkable indifference to rain- 
fall. Of the four localities mentioned by Wauchope, 
the first and last (higher and lower pitched, respec- 
tively) are in areas of high annual rainfall (330 and 
242 cm., or 129 and 95 in., respectively), whereas 
the ones on the Lake get about 150 cm. (59 in.) or 
less. The steepest pitch he recorded in the entire 
Maya area was at Lerma, Campeche (50° and 60°). 
Annual rainfall here is about 95 cm., or 37 in. (Ward 
and Brooks, 1936, pt. J, p. 50). All of this evidence 
supports Wauchope's suggestion (1938, p. 41) that 
"there is apparently little correlation between roof 

pitch and amount of rainfall," despite Sapper's note 
to the contrary. 

The effect of wind is probably one of considerable 
significance in determining roof pitch. Western 
Guatemala is a region which for the most part is 
subject to rather frequent high winds, especially in 
the Highlands and during the dry (winter) months. 


Roofs above an elevation of about 1,500 m. (4,921 
m.) in the region are of two major materials, grass 
and tile. The latter is a distinct mark of a more 
advanced type, more so than the adobe wall, with 
which tile is frequently, though not necessarily, asso- 
ciated. Adobe-walled houses may be roofed with 
grass or any other kind of cover (pi. 10, h). Some- 
times, as at Solola, a house may be roofed with tile 
on the front slope and grass on the rear slope. Minor 
roofing materials include gasoline tins, corrugated 
iron, boards, and maguey leaves. (Various supple- 
ments of thatch, especially crests, will be tnentioned 

Tile. — The making of tiles is a skilled art, and a 
few specialized tilemakers (tcjcros) are distributed 
throughout most of the Republic, chiefly in the larger 
centers and in the Highlands. The tiles are the red, 
semicylindrical Mediterranean type, of Spanish in- 
troduction. Though the investment is a more per- 
manent one, the cost of tiles (800 to 1,000 required 
to roof the average house) considerably exceeds that 
of other roof materials. Installing them is also more 
expensive, calling for special builders, whereas grass, 
like all the Lowland thatch (which includes grass), is 
generally put on through the communal, neighborly 
efforts of a large number (often between 20 and 40) 
of friends and relatives of the builder, who tnakes a 
merry party of it by serving rum and food. (Pis. 3, 
h; 25, o: 39, b. See also Redfield, 1934, pp. 77-78, 
regarding communal labor in house-building in 
Yucatan ; Wisdom, 1940, p. 130 ; La Farge and Byers, 
1931, p. 40.) 

From Zunil to San Cristobal, from Quezaltenango 
to Totonicapan, a great "X" may be drawn to mark 
tile roofs to the virtual exclusion of other forms. 
Around the periphery, grass appears with increasing 
frequency, predominating in San Martin and Sigiiila, 
for example, along the more remote western tnargin 
(map 14). 

Thatch. — Grass. — the most widespread use of 
grass for thatch is found among the isolated com- 
munities of the Lake Atitlan Basin, where (except for 



Solola, a departmental capital with a high proportion 
of tile-roofed dwellings) every settlement has a pre- 
ponderance of grass roofs, in keeping with more 
primitive architectural forms. 

The only thatching material common to both High- 
lands and Lowlands is grass (paja or pajon) ; the 
tough, coarse bunchgrass (Muhlenbergia sp.) in the 
mountains ; the high savanna grass in the Coastal 
Plain and piedmont.''"' Such grass-thatched roofs are 
generally called by the Spanish, pajico. Though most 
of the giant bunchgrass of the summit lands grows 
above about 2,500 m. (8,202 ft.) elevation, in places 
it is abundant at 2.400 m. (7,874 ft.), especially where 
the soil is poor, as around Pie de \'olcan (pi. 38, d: 
see also pis. 30, 32). 

Grass is cut off at the base, gathered in sheaves 
usually from 6 to 10 inches ( 15 to 25 cm.) in diameter 
(pis. 10, b; 39, b), and tied, with bunches slightly 
overlapping laterally, to the horizontal roof rods, 
with the leaves pointing downward. ^'^ In the High- 
lands the usual binder is unspun agave fiber, whereas 
in the coastal Lowlands and boca costa, rubbery 
bcjiicos (vines) are generally employed, as they are 
abundant while agave is. scarce or unavailable. It is 
necessary for Highland builders below the Muhlen- 
bergia sp. zone to purchase pajon or else to climb up 
into the high mountains and get it. In Panajachel it 
is bought, and the chief source of supply was said to 
be the elevated country around Concepcion. Wau- 
chope's Panajachel informant "had to 'go higher up' 
to get it." He reported ISO sheaves necessary to roof 
a small kitchen (Wauchope, 1938, p. 108). 

The widespread distribution of grass thatch may be 
seen in map 14, the maximum concentration being 
around Lake Atitlan. High, alpine sheepherders' 
huts are usually walled as well as roofed with 
Muhlenbergia sp. 

Palm. — That the choice of house materials used, 
especially in the Lowlands, is largely a matter of 
availability of suitable plants in the local environ- 
ment, is well illustrated in the use of palms for thatch. 
Near the sea, Inodes sp. (palma del mar) seems to 
rank first in importance; Orbignya cohune (coroco), 
occurring mainly somewhat farther inland, is second- 
ary. The latter, however, is the chief roof thatch in 
the zone of its maximum abundance, for the most part 

■" For the main buildings and larger Ladino houses in the Ixiwlands, 
tile is also used, and in some sections corrugated iron is even more 

°= In all thatching I have seen, grass, palm, Calathea, cane, etc., the 
leaf is invariably pointed downward. Wauchope also reports thii 

below about 100 or 150 m. (328-492 ft.) and exclu- 
sive of the littoral. It is usually called manaco 
through this section. In the higher ground approach- 
ing the piedmont, corozo is little used, and gives way 
to other more readily available leaves. The highest 
elevation at which I have seen corozo thatch is at San 
Sebastian Retalhuleu (350 m. or 1,148 ft.), where it 
is an important economic plant used in making rain- 
capes i^suyacales') and fire fans (sopladores). Other 
palms are sometimes used to a limited extent for 

Wauchope names four main areas of palm thatch in 
Guatemala: (1) The dry eastern area (especially 
Zacapa-Chiquimula) ; (2) southern Vera Paz (Alta 
and Baja) ; (3) west coast below 250 m. (820 ft.) ; 
(4) Peten (Wauchope, 1938, p. 106). Sapper men- 
tions a large fan palm used for thatch in the Kekchi 
area of northern Alta \'era Paz. He emphasizes, how- 
ever, the fact that it is employed only on temporary 
shelters (Wetterschirmen). 

The early use of corozo for thatch is attested to by 
Oviedo. who mentions it in this connection shortly 
after the Conquest (1851-55, vol. 1, p. 333). 

Calathea spp. — In the independent Lowland village 
section (from Santo Domingo Suchitepequez to 
Santo Tomas la L^nion) of the boca casta and Coastal 
Plain, between about 200 and 800 m. (656 and 2,625 
ft.) elevation, these broad-leaved plants are employed 
almost exclusively for thatch (pi. 3, b, c). There are 
two species, the hoja de sal. commoner (^ occurring 
even in pure stands, and often planted) in lower, open 
savanna patches, and hoja nia.rdn,''' apparently a 
shade-tolerant species of higher, more wooded levels 
(also planted). As to the use of the latter for thatch, 
it is certainly less common than hoja de sal, for it was 
reported only at Santo Tomas, and I did not verify 
the statement. The larger hoja de sal is inuch used, 
being the only thatch apparent in Samayac, San Pablo 
Jocopilas, and San Bernardino (at the latter, roof 
eaves are unusually low). 

At Mazatenango a man with an oxcart load of 
hoja de sal (12 bunches, each of 700 leaves, worth 10 
cents a bunch) said that 12 or 13 bunches are enough 
to roof a house 4 by 5 varas (1 vara =^ ZZ in.), and 
that the roof lasts about 5 years (pi. 3, a). This 
agreed with the estimate of an informant at San 
Pablo Jocopilas, who said that 30 bunches of 700 
leaves were needed for a house of 5 bv 10 varas. 

^' My identification of these two, based upon Standley's "Flora of 
Lancetilla Valley," is given in Appendix 3, p. 148, along with a discus- 
sion of uses, differences, and nomenclature. 



Sapper mentions the use of platanillo (Heliconia 
sp.) as temporary rain shelters, such as those erected 
along the trails as overnight lodgings for Indians, but 
makes no reference to any permanent thatching with 
these leaves (Sapper, 1905, p. 24). 

Ponce's companions write in 1586 that the bamboo- 
walled house they describe, just west of Santiago 
Zambo, had a roof of "bijao": ". . . the roofs of the 
houses are of leaves like those of banana, which in 
that language are called 'bilbao,' and with the canes 
above-mentioned, unsplit, the houses are walled." As 
the term "bijao" is applied to various of the Musa- 
ceae, Cannaceae, and Marantaceae, positive identifi- 
cation from the common name is impossible. In all 
probability, it was a species of Calathea. 

Oviedo writes of "biliao" that the leaves "are much 
used by the Indians, especially on the mainland. . . . 
With these leaves they cover certain houses, and it is 
a good roofing and cleaner than grass and more )Deau- 
tiful from the inside of the house" (Oviedo, 1851-55, 
vol. l,p. 276). 

Minor materials. — Cane leaves of various sorts 
(sugarcane and possibly wild cane) are used in some 
localities, as at Pueblo Nuevo and San Sebastian, but 
they were invariably said to be inferior. Corn leaves 
for thatch were mentioned but once, and the report 
was vague and unconfirmed. Both the above are in- 
cluded also in Wauchope's study (1938, p. 110), 
which cites Stephens (1841) for corn-leaf thatch. 

Maguey leaves are sometimes seen as partial roof- 
ing in the Highlands where the agave is abundant. 
They are used to cover holes in thatch, or cracks 
between boards or other covering, or to roof tem- 
porary shelters. Wauchope (1938) cites two early 
references to maguey thatch (Larrainzar, 1878, vol. 
5, p. 72, and Clavigero, 1780, vol. 2, p. 232). Maguey 
and yucca leaves are much used for thatch in 
Mexico, especially in the central valley. 

Banana leaves, though often erroneously said to 
be used in the Lowlands for thatch (undoubtedly con- 
fused with Calathea) , are unsuited to roofing, for they 
rapidly shred. The only definite reference to this 
leaf for thatch is, to my knowledge, that of Blom and 
LaFarge (1926-27, p. 335). 

A Ladino at Santo Domingo Suchitepequez said 
that three houses in San Gabriel had a "new kind of 
roof" made of the split stalk of the banana plant, but 
I did not verify this. 

Durability of thatch materials. — Grass seems to 
be the preferred thatch material, and is everywhere 
said to last longer than other types. Commonly, 

Highland natives stated that is was good for 20 or 
25 years, with annual patching-up at the start of the 
rainy season. Sixteenth century estimates were more 
conservative. In the Lowlands the durability of grass 
is undoubtedly less, though at San Pedro Cutzan, 25 
years was given for grass, and 10 years for cane 
leaves (not used there). Palnia del mar at Tahuesco 
is reputedly good for 20 to 25 years, though the 
estimate seems high, despite relatively low rainfall 
(about 140 cm., or 55 m., annual). Hoja de sal at 
Santo Domingo is said to last only 5 years. Standley 
states that it serves only occasionally, as "temporary 
thatching," in the Lancetilla Valley of Honduras. 
This is probably because of the higher rainfall and 
more prolonged wet season in that area, accelerating 
disintegration more rapidly than in the Guatemala 
Pacific Lowlands, where it is an important "perma- 
nent" thatch. 


Varied in tiie extreme are devices for sealing the 
ridge or apex of a thatched roof. In the case of 
pyramidal roofs, the peak is almost invariably capped 
by a large, inverted bowl called "ciiciiruch" (usually 
Totonicapan or San Cristobal Totonicapan pottery, 
coarse glazed ware) ; no special pottery is made for 
the purpose, regular cooking utensils being used (pi. 
2, g). It is a simple and logical solution to the prob- 
lem of closing a vulnerable point, and, as Linne has 
shown, an ancient and widespread one."* This author 
reproduces elaborate types used at the time of the 
Conquest, including Oviedo's sketch, redrawn by 
Lothrop (Linne, 1938, p. 27), and, refuting Norden- 
skiold, he suggests an American origin for this trait. 
In Southwest Guatemala (1936) the distribution of 
apex pots is almost coincident with that of the square 

In those villages where square, pot-capped dwell- 
ings are built, the rectangular houses usually are 
sealed along the ridge pole by a continuous, overlap- 
ping row of large potsherds, commonly seen both in 
Santiago Atitlan and San Pedro (pi. 26, b). There 
are more of these in Santiago, which has a higher per- 
centage of square houses, probably the highest of all 
Guatemalan settlements. There are also some of this 
type in San Lucas Tollman. That the use of pot- 
sherds is not restricted to villages having both square 
and rectangular houses is evident from the rectangu- 
lar dwellings at Santa Cruz la Laguna. There, though 

«8 Of the settlements visited by me, only Santa Catarina PalopA 
houses (1936) had pyramidal roofs and no ceramic caps. 



cane strips are laid longitudinally, one on each side of 
the crest, the sealing is made more effective by pieces 
of tile and sherds cupped over the ridge, and 
additional bunches of grass bound down by vines 

At Santa Catarina Palopo many, though not all, of 
the houses exhibit a type of crest wherein the topmost 
bunches of thatch {pajon grass) are gathered up into 
a comb and bound to cane strips placed longitudinally 
along each side. (Pyramidal roofs here are also 
bound at the top, without a bowl, as has been stated.) 
The comb type of crest also occurs at Zaragoza. A 
unique roof crest at Santa Apolonia is "encased in 
a lime mortar."^" This represents a reflection of a 
local industry based upon the environment, for there 
is a limestone outcrop near Santa Apolonia and the 
town is one of the major lime-producing centers of 
Southwest Guatemala."" Gasoline tins sometimes are 
used to patch a roof or help seal the crest. 


The inside of an Indian house consists ordinarily of 
the barest essentials. The fireplace is a rough circle 
of smooth stones, normally three, laid at one end or 
corner on the dirt floor. Everything is permeated 
with the smell of smoke, which generally fills the 
house, for as a rule there are neither chimneys nor 
windows. This fumigation affordS' some protection 
against insects (pi. 44, /). 

Generally stacked near the hearth is a quantity of 
crusty, sooty pottery of various sizes and shapes (pis. 
41, 42), and other utensils. These include several 
deep jars for boiling corn, beans, soup, etc. ; deep 
water jars (tlnajas) ; colander jars for rinsing 
softened corn {nixtamal) ; a wide, shallow, circular 
griddle (coinal) for baking tortillas (corn cakes), 
which in some sections is being replaced by iron gaso- 
line-drum tops ; dishes and cups, which are giving 
way rapidly to bright-colored imported enamel ware ; 
a tin coffeepot ; spoons and ladles of wood and gourd 
(pi. 43, e), and wooden four-blade churn sticks 
{molinillos) for whipping chocolate by spinning the 
handle vertically between open palms. Wauchope 
(1938, p. 120) reports more pottery in Guatemala 
houses than in those of Yucatan. Gasoline tins are 
much prized."^ There is always at least one tripodal 

■"Waufhope, 1938, p. 112 (fig. 41, opposite p. 112, illustrates nine 
different types of roof crests). 

"•" Santa Apolonia is also an important pottery center, but doubtless 
the lime mortar is a more satisfactory sealing agent, being relatively 
watertight and easily applied. 

'^ For some of the many uses to which gasoline tins and the packing 
boxes for shipping them are put, see McBryde, 1933, p. 120, ftn. 57. 

lava metate. The metate, called locally piedra de 
moler, is an essential element in every household. 
Much of a woman's day is spent grinding softened 
corn, coffee, cacao, and other things on it. Ordinarily, 
separate metates are used for each. There are usually 
one or two fire fans, made either of corozo leaf seg- 
ments or of tule (rush) pith, called sivdc, which is 
less common. Gourds, baskets, and nets serve a 
number of purposes, and many containing food are 
hung from the ceiling to avoid insects and animals. 

Furniture includes one or more wooden chests (as 
a rule, the Totonicapan variety, ornately but crudely 
decorated with red and yellow paint, and sometimes 
carved) and gasoline packing boxes serving a variet)^ 
of purposes ; several racks of shelves, often of cane ; 
one or more low tables : a few small, quite low stools, 
and a miniature (pi. 33, d) or a benchlike chair; and 
usually a platform bed of poles or planks with palm 
or rush mats (petates) and often also blankets to 
cushion them. Many persons sleep in hammocks, 
especially in the Lowlands. There may be a screen 
of some sort, such as a large palm mat, to aft'ord a 
measure of privacy, for ordinarily the house consists 
merely of a single big room, one end for cooking and 
eating and the other for sleeping. Some of the more 
modern town Indians, e.g., at San Cristobal Totonica- 
pan and Totonicapan, have much more elaborate 
furnishings, including beds, bureaus, and tables of 
European design. Generally, there is a small altar, 
consisting of a wooden table with crosses, images 
and pictures of saints, incense burners, and decora- 
tions of ribbon, pine boughs, and flowers ; and a 
carpet of pine needles to kneel upon. 

Ladino furniture is more elaborate, as a rule, than 
Indian. Beds are of straw ticks on a full wooden 
frame, or there may be large canvas cots. Chairs are 
of full size rather than the little Indian models (pi. 
33, d) , and there are stone or brick stoves in the 

Spanish influence on native household furnishings 
at the Conquest is brought out by Medel."- 


Among other structures in Southwest Guate- 
mala are sweat houses {temascales) , usually of stone 
with adobe roofs. These are used for steam and 

"2 Among Indian "reforms" in dress, furniture, and other traits, it is 
stated that the Indians got tables and beds from the Spaniards; that 
before the Conquest "the ground was the natives' table and bed," 
though sometimes they slept in hammocks, or on rush mats or piles of 
leaves (Medel, Ms., 1550-60 (?), pp. 194-195, f. 217). 



warm-water baths. '^ They are particularly numer- 
ous at Santiago and Solola, though found in a 
number of other villages around the Lake, in the 
high valley of Ouezaltenango-Totonicapan and the 
Cuchumatanes, and common throughout Highland 
Guatemala. They are more rarely seen in the Low- 
lands, though there are a few at San Pedro Cutzan, 
a Lake village colony, and I have observed them at 
■Santo Tomas la Union and Chicacao. There are 
also cane-walled thatch-roofed corncribs and chicken 
coops. The latter often have the floor above 
ground; at Santa Cruz la Laguna, the floor is 2 feet 
off the ground. At San Pedro Laguna they were 
made mostly of split maguey stems. (I was told there 
that a law, effective January 5, 1936, made chicken 
coops mandatory, but this was not verified.) At 
Santa Catarina Palopo, several corncribs had been 
made with maguey flower stalks for ridge poles. 
Adjacent to almost every house in San Bartolome 
Aguascalientes there was a pole-enclosed chicken 
coop, about 3 feet (90 cm.) cubed, elevated 10 or 12 
feet (3-3.7 m.) above the ground. 

Other minor structures include enclosures made 
for giiisquil (chayote or vegetable pear)''' occasional 
adobe beehive-shaped ovens, and, in the Lowlands, 
platform seedbeds (usually for tomatoes), built on 
posts, some 5 feet (1.5 m.) off the ground. At San 
Pedro Cutzan, many are identical with those illus- 
trated by W'auchope at Xocenpich, Yucatan (1938, 
fig. 49 d.. p. 131). This latter is apparently a Low- 
land trait. 


The pre-Columbian appearance and garb of Guate- 
mala aborigenes is none too clearly described in the 
literature. In writing of the peoples of Central 
America in general, Oviedo refers to the practice of 
tattooing with flint knives and black powder of pitch 
soot ( ?),"•' and to professional macstros for the pur- 

"^ Bathing in Lake Atitlan is almost entirely confined to Ladinos, for 
the Indians dislike the cold water, which they regard as unhealthful, 
apparently both for drinking and bathing, and this is one reason why 
most Indians who inhabit the shores of Lake Atitlan cannot swim. In 
the Lowlands, bathmg in rivers is customary; in the Highlands, out- 
door bathing is largely restricted to warm springs and streams, as at 
San Cristobal Totonicapan and Momostenango. At the latter village, 
nude bathing in the warm springs by both sexes together, at all ages, 
is customary (pi. 34, a). \A'omen bathe separately in the thermal 
springs at Sacapulas. 

"• These are made of maguey flower stalks at San Pedro Laguna. 

'•'Oviedo in one place (1851-.S.S, vol. L p. 204) calls this "tile," in 
another (1851-55, vol. 4, p. 38) "ticl." In the first reference it was 
said to be sold in the markets, wrapped in biahos (bijao) leaves, and 
used for branding slaves. » 

pose. Each chief had a certain design, which was 
adopted by his followers (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 4, p. 
38). Men wore, according to Oviedo (writing about 
1527), corselets without sleeves, made of "exquisite 
cotton," woven, and of many colors, and girdles 
(ccitidcros) made up of thin white cotton belts, a 
"hand" wide, twisted to cord the thickness of the 
thumb, and bound around the trunk "from breast to 
hips." A loose end served as a loincloth and was 
gathered under a fold in the corselet. Men wore 
double-soled deerskin sandals also, called gittaras, 
tied on with cotton cords or thongs. The same 
author stated that plebeian women wore skirts reach- 
ing nearly to the knees; noblewomen {principales) , 
skirts of thinner material and ankle length, and neck- 
cloths that covered the breasts. Women also wore 
numerous strings of beads and necklaces of many 
types (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 4, p. 3Q). 

Medel (Ms. 1550-60, p. 194, f. 217) described 
costumes of various sorts. In certain sections of the 
Lowlands men "spent their entire lives as naked as 
when they were Iiorn, without clothing from head to 
foot," whereas the women showed more modesty and 
wore a short cotton apron. Spanish influence moder- 
ated this, he said, and the Indians were baptized and 
"reformed." A "second sort of Indians," while not 
entirely without clothes, wore so little "that we would 
feel very naked if we went around that way." They 
wore merely a locally woven cotton cloth 48 inches 
square ; women wore them longer, to the feet. Men 
and women wore nothing above the waist. Not only 
Indians of ticrra calientc and tierra tcmplada dressed 
this way, "but even in quite cold and rigorous re- 

The Capotitlan report (Anon., Ms. 1579, pp. 12, 
13, ff. 110, 111) shows that by 1579 "a shirt and 
breeches with wide bottoms like those of sailors" had 
been adopted by the Indians. This "reformed" cos- 
tume included also a cape 48 inches ( 122 cm.) square, 
made of the "cotton which was called ayate" (maguey 
fiber). The knot formed by tying two corners to- 
gether was worn usually on the right shoulder (this 
was probably so as to permit greater freedom for the 
right arm), though by some it was worn in front of 
the neck, and by others, over the left shoulder ; there 
were many variations in the wearing of it. A sim- 
ilar garment is worn in the same ways in this region 
today. (PI. 3, d.) Chiefs and commoners for the 
most part were barefoot and without hats. Some of 
the more original individuals wore jackets of "linen" 



(probably fine-woven cotton), breeches of light 
woolen cloth, shoes or boots, hat, and cloak of colored 


Lake Atitlan region. — In certain sections of 
Guatemala today, notably the region of Lake Atitlan, 
men's dress is picturesque and varied, inhabitants of 
each district being readily identifiable at a glance (pis. 
6, 7, S). In nearly all of the Lake villages they wear 
short, full trousers, of white cotton, usually decorated 
with bright-colored stripes or embroidery or both, 
knee-length or slightly longer,"" and held up by means 
of a long, broad, tasseled belt of colored cotton (there 
may be a leather belt in addition), with no buttons 
of any sort. These are hand-woven, ordinarily by 
the wearer's wife, on a native stick loom (pi. 9). In 
many instances slip-over blouses with long, full 
sleeves are worn, in which the same material is used 
(at least in part) that goes into the trousers, the 
sleeves often being red ; the material is gathered at 
neck and wrists. These are typical in Solola, San 
Antonio Palopo, and to some extent, Santa Catarina. 
As in most of the others, however, in the latter muni- 
cipio hand-woven blouses are being replaced by 
machine-stitched shirts, often grey-striped. Colored 
ones, with blue dash lines (jaspe threads), are often 
worn by Atitecos and particularly Pedranos, of whom 
they are most characteristic. In general, however, 
among the Lake villages as a whole, white, some- 
times lightly striped, is the commonest shirt color. 

Rodillcras. — A peculiar feature of Guatemala In- 
dian men's dress is the rodillcra (from rodilla, knee) 
a fringed, knee-length, wrap-around skirt of light 
wool, having small black and white (or, more re- 
cently, blue and white) checks (pi. 7, a, b. d. c, o). 
About 2 by 3 feet, this garment is usually wrapped 
to reach to or below the knees, the fringed ends 
meeting at one side in front (Solola, Santa Cruz, 
Panajachel) or at the rear (Solola, San Antonio 
Palopo, Nahuala-Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan ; pi. 4, 
d). There are different methods of wrapping and 
gathering them, sometimes even within the same 
municipio (as in Solola ; pi. 7, a, b). Generally, they 
are secured by a leather belt. Often an extra one is 
carried, as in Solola and Panajachel, folded and slung 
over the black-and-white knit wool bag (Solola) or 

maguey-fiber string-bag (Panajachel, Santa Catarina 
Palopo). Men knit wool bags, generally with geo- 
metric_ designs, especially depicting animals, at 
Solola and Chichicastenango. In Santa Catarina 
Palopo the rodillcra is no longer worn as a wrap, 
but is carried, as explained above, over the bag 
or folded over the shoulder. At San Andres Seme- 
tabaj, Patzum, and other sections even as far from 
the Lake area as San Juan Ostuncalco, the rodillcra 
(later style) is worn over long white trousers, as in 
Panajachel. In some cases it is merely folded in 
front, like an apron (Tecpan; pi. 12, a). 

Rodillcras are worn or carried only in the villages 
along the north and east shores (or sides) of the 
Lake, excepting in San Pablo and Santa Lucia Utat- 
lan. From south and west they are totally lacking. 
The old-style rodillcra has heavy black and white 
checks (pi. 13. b). Newer ones have smaller checks, 
usually blue and white (pi. 7, d. c) . 

In many cases, the wrap covers the short trousers. 
Rodillcras do not cover trousers at Solola (or at 
Concepcion and San Jose Chacaya ; see pi. 6 ) and 
Panajachel (many of the younger men here wear 
ankle-length white trousers), and those municipios 
where the rodillcra is worn like an apron over long 

Coats. — Coats of European cut. made of dark-blue 
wool, have been adopted within relatively recent years 
by natives of a number of the Lake municipios ( San- 
tiago, San Pedro, San Juan, San Marcos, Santa 
Cruz, Panajachel. and occasionally San Antonio). 
The common old style was the capixai, a natural 
black wool jacket which reaches to the knees or be- 
low. Usually it is longer behind than in front, and 
the sides and inner sleeves are open, for free arm 
movement.'" These are worn at Santa Cruz la 
Laguna ( pi. 27, c). A shorter black wool jacket 
("gaban") is worn at Panajachel.'* At San Antonio 
Palopo the long one is also worn when it is cold, but 
more often it is laid on the back as a pack cushion, 
with the sleeves thrown forward across the shoulders 
(pi. 7, o), and it is worn ceremonially. 

Sololatecos still adhere to an old-style short wool 
coat, black and white striped and ornately trimmed, 
with a characteristic winged figure (pi. 17, a) em- 

~^ It has been suggested several times (La Farge and Byers, 1931, 
p. 34, e. g.) that the short cotton pants are derived from early Spanish 

"" This garment is probably an imitation of early priests' robes. Most 
of them are woven in the sheep country of the Altos Cuchumatanes. 
JIany are also worn there (especially at San Tuan Atitan) and farther 
south (San Martin Sacatepequez). The word capixai apparently de- 
rives from the Spanish capa, "mantle" and saya, "tunic" or "robe." 

"* Those of the Lake region are made from material woven in Nahuala 
and Chichicastenango, and sold chiefly at Solola. (For similar coats 
worn in the Cuchumatanes region, see pi. 37, b, d, e.) 





broidered on the back, having the appearance of a 
butterfly, or, what is more Hkely, a bat, which was an 
ancient symbol of the ruhng family of the Cak- 
chiquels."* Atitecos said they formerly wore the 
striped coat (without the bat) before blue ones be- 
came the preferred style, "more than 25 years ago" 
(about 1910). A picture in Maudslay's book (1899, 
pp. 43, 60) shows the old striped coats in about the 
year 1894. Atitlan municipal officials always wear 
or carry a capixai, when away from headquarters. 

Hafs. — A palm liat, usually high-crowned (narrow 
and tapering) and fairly broad-brimmed, is com- 
monly worn by men of the Lake villages. In some 
of the villages a white or, more commonly, colored 
(usually red), cotton sute, or square cloth, is 
wrapped around as a hatband (Solola, Panajachel, 
old style ; Santa Cruz, some ; San Pablo ; Santa Cata- 
rina Palopo, some; San Antonio Palopo, occasional). 
Many inhabitants of certain municipios wear dark 
felt hats, usually black (San Pedro, Santiago, Nahu- 
ala-Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan). In the latter two 
villages, the men also wear a bowllike hat covered 
with beeswax ( ?) for waterproofing. Hat styles vary 
somewhat with municipios, and often, as at Solola, 
they differ greatly within them. The older hats seem 
to have had wider crowns, and they were more 
cylindrical and flat-topped than modern ones. (See 
pis. 6, 7.) 

Sandals. — Most Indian men, especially when on 
the trail, wear sandals, having simple leather soles, 
single heel thong and toe thong attached between the 
great toe and second toe (pi. 7 ; for rubber-tire 
sandals, see pi. 42, d). Some more elaborate models 
have broad, plain or serrate-edged guards over the 
instep (Santiago Atitlan, 1894, 1936; Chichicaste- 
nango). An old Atiteco disparaged the wearing 
of sandals, saying that they were uncommon in his 
youth (about 1900-1910). Many of Maudslay's 
pictures (1899, pp. 21, 43, opposite p. 48) show 
sandals of the same type as those worn now, how- 
ever, though they appear to have been less common 
then than today, and appear to have been worn 
almost exclusively by Indians on the trail. Shoes 
are rarely worn, and then primarily by men of the 
Quezaltenango-Totonicapan region. 

Santo Tomas Chichicastenango. — One of the 
most uniform and distinctive men's costumes is that 

" Brinton (1885, pp. 39^0) states that "according to the Popol 
I'lth, 'the chief god of the Cakchiquels was Chamalcafi, and his image 
was a bat.' (Popol I'uh, p. 224) . . ." The bat, Zots, was the 
tolein of the Zotzils, the ruling family of the Cakchiquels. 

of Santo Tomas Chichicastenango and Chiche (pis. 
8, b; 14, e). It is strikingly like certain early types 
worn in the Spanish provinces of Leon, New Castile, 
and Old Castile. The outer garments are of natural 
black wool, a short .slip-over jacket and knee pants 
with characteristic lateral flanges, which like many 
other points on the suit, are elaborately embroidered 
(men's work) with bright-colored silk thread. The 
sun design with radiating, variegated lines, is par- 
ticularly common. A white, buttoned shirt and 
bright red sash are also worn. When on the trail, 
especially if the destination is Lowland, Ma.xeiios 
frequently discard this warm garment in favor of 
light cotton ankle-length trousers and shirt (pis. 13, 

c; 14, b). 

Todos Santos Cuchumatan.^" — The dress of 
Todos Santos Cuchumatan men is equally distinctive 
(pi. 31, a). Long, wide-bottom cotton trousers and 
large-collared shirt are striped or checked with broad 
red bands on white. Over this is worn a short jacket 
of natural black wool (rapidly being replaced by 
modern blue or gray coat) and trousers that are cut 
away for the full length in front. A broad-brimmed, 
low-crowned straw hat, often with a factory-made 
red bandana under it, tied around the head; and 
sandals that look like shoes with the top of the 
entire toe area removed, complete this distinctive 
attire. With the blue coats adopted in recent years, 
they have been appropriately nicknamed "Uncle Sam 
boys" by tourists from the United States. The 
material in the coats is woven in Momostenango. 

San Martin Sacatepequez ("Chile Verde"). — 
Men of San iMartin wear long monklike white cotton 
robes which reach nearly to the ankles and are 
fringed at the bottom (pi. 39, c). These garments 
are generally red-striped with red and yellow em- 
bossed sleeves and elaborate wide red sash (ends 
hang at the back, center), upon which are woven 
figures of many geometric designs and colors (espe- 
cially yellow and lavender). Over this at times is 
worn a black wool capixai. Hats are of felt, usually 
black, or of straw, high-crowned. Frequently, only 
large sntes are worn on the head, loosely knotted or 
merely draped, and flowing behind, Arab-fashion. 
Sandals have several straps and buckles. The entire 
effect is extremely similar to the dress of the Patzum 
men of 1894, illustrated and described by Mrs. 
Maudslay (1899, p. 42). No vestige of this costume 

80 Though living in the Cuchumatanes Mountains, outside the area 
covered in this monograph, Todos Santos men and women frequently 
appear in southwestern markets. 



remains today in Patzuni, though a dark blue capixai 
is worn at San Antonio Aguascalientes (pi. 44, c), 
not far away. It is likely that this was a widespread 
costume through much of the Highlands until rela- 
tively recent time. Many somewhat similar types 
may be seen today in the remote Cuchumatanes 
Mountain region (San Juan Atitan, e. g., where 
sandals like those of Todos Santos are worn; pi. 
31, b). 

Ceremonial dress. — Ceremonial and official dress 
brings into consideration a number of additional 
elements. A square, embroidered cloth w-ith tasseled 
corners (stite; see pi. 8, b) is usually worn by such 
Indian dignitaries as village chiefs (intcndcntcs) and 
elders in the religious brotherhoods (cofradias), 
either with or without a hat. The latter is most 
elaborate at Solola, where it is of shiny black "straw," 
with cylindrical flat-topped crown, and band of 
bright-colored, figured Japanese silk ribbon. Indian 
officials carry stout canes, often of fine wood and 
capped with engraved silver (throughout Highland 
Guatemala and Chiapas). These must be carried at 
all times while on duty, but must be kept in the 
municipal office when not in use. Ceremonial dress 
also includes full-cut outer black loin pants worn 
over the ordinary cotton trousers. 

Costumes in areas of little differentiation. — 
Other than in the regions described above, the men's 
costume in Southwest Guatemala consists of light 
cotton (usually blue denim) pants, full and gathered 
by a colored sash at the waist, and small at the bot- 
tom, reaching to just above the ankles; plain, white- 
buttoned shirt, and tight-fitting, blue coat that is 
intended to match the trousers. Such is the appear- 
ance of the men of the high Valley region of Quezalte- 
nango and Totonicapan (pis. 34, d, e; 38, b). They 
are practically indistinguishable, and determination of 
their provenience is usually a matter of conjecture, 
unless a special sash or some characteristic trade 
cargo might label them. 

Lowlands. — In the Lowlands, distinctive men's 
dress is to be found only in colonies or recently 
separated groups from the Highlands. Clothing is 
usually scanty along the Coastal Plain, consisting of 
white (or blue) cotton trousers, often rolled above 
the knee, or loincloth. Shirts are sometimes worn, 
but men are generally nude above the waist (pis. 1, 
d; 3, b, c). A light, square cloth (pi. 3, d) most 
frequently red with blue-white dashed (jaspe) stripes 
and V marks, about 4 feet square, may be thrown 

over the shoulders and tied in front (or with the knot 
over the right shoulder) . This is strikingly similar to 
the 1579 (^apotitlan description (q. v., p. 48). An 
intelligent informant at Santo Domingo Suchitepe- 
quez said that until about 1890, Indian men in that 
region wore only loincloths, and women only skirts 
from their own stick looms, dyed with indigo. 

Costume changes. — Certain transformations that 
are taking place in men's costume styles, some of 
those mentioned in the above discussion, are illus- 
trated in pi. 7, d, e, j, k, I, in. More changes, not 
always "modernizations," seem to have taken place 
during the past generation than during many years 
previous ; the date most frequently given was about 
1910 ("25 years ago"). Roughly the chronology 
checks with facts apparent from Maudslay's photo- 
graphs. Old Indians, for example, at Santiago 
Atitan in 1936 were wearing costumes identical with 
those depicted by the English archeologist (Mauds- 
lay, 1899, p. 43). 


The two essential garments of Indian women in 
Southwest Guatemala are, unlike many elements of 
the men's modern dress, pre-Columbian. They con- 
sist of the huipil (Aztec derivation), or loose-fitting 
upper garment having no true sleeves, and the cnagua, 
or skirt, which is generally wrapped several times 
around the body and tucked in, and usually is sup- 
ported further with a tightly woven, stiff cloth belt, 
of cotton, wool, or silk, often reinforced with maguey 
fiber. Some skirts are full and pleated, with a draw- 
string (Quezaltenango, Chinautla). 

Huipils. — Huipil types, like certain features of 
men's dress, are somewhat a matter of climate. In 
the warm Palin and Coban areas they are short and 
gauzy. In the still warmer Pacific Lowlands (except 
in certain Highland colonies) light-weight blouses of 
manufactured cloth are worn. At home these are 
usually discarded (pi. 2, d). Even on the street, 
women of certain villages of the Lowlands, such as 
San Bernardino Suchitepequez and San Sebastian 
Retalhuleu, wear only skirts, or they may keep within 
the law by draping a blouse loosely over their 
shoulders. They are, nevertheless, modest and care- 
ful in the extreme when it comes to bathing in the 
rivers or otherwise exposing themselves. Mrs. Os- 
borne records having seen women "on roads near 
Retalhuleu" (probably natives of San Sebastian) 



remove their single garments (skirts) during a heavy 
rain, and put them under a banana leaf to keep them 
dry until the storm was over.^^ 

In Highland Ouezaltenango, huipils are so long 
that they serve as petticoats. 

Most Highland huipils are of cotton, woven on 
stick looms by the wearers and, in villages where men 
wear home-woven clothes, they are made of the 
same cloth that goes into a man's suit. Intricacy and 
elaborateness of design and color are varied in the 
extreme (pis. 7, 8). Some have birds, animals, men, 
and geometric patterns worked in on the loom. 
Others are decorated with brocading, as at Chichi- 
castenango. Coins or silk-covered disks are com- 
monly attached by chain stitching, often the work of 
men. Ordinarily huipils are made up of two pieces *- 
with an opening for the head, and the sides are sewn 
up, leaving large, free spaces for the arms. Some- 
times shirts with true sleeves are worn by the women 
as well as the men (Solola; pi. 7. c). 

In the area of the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan 
Valleys, where stick-loom weaving is absent, electric- 
loom or foot-loom cotton cloth is made into huipils 
(p. 127). The factory-made material, usually plain 
white, is often embellished with an embroidered collar 
(Cantel, San Francisco el Alto, San Andres Xeci'il, 
San Cristobal Totonicapan) whereas the foot-loom 
cotton is variously striped and figured (Quezalte- 
nango, Olintepeque, Totonicapan). See front.spiece ; 
pis. 39, a: 40, /', c). 

Skirts. — Skirts generally have one thing at least in 
common ; they are almost never woven by the wearer, 
but are the products of foot looms operated by men 
(Indian and more often Ladinos) in the larger towns. 
They are woven in lengths sufficient for three or four 
skirts (15 or 16 ft., as a rule), often being called 
cortcs. Looms are narrow, so that cortcs usually 
range between 25 and 2S inches wide. Color, length, 
and pattern, as well as style of wearing, are highly 
varied, depending upon municipio custom (pis. 6, 7, 
8, 9). Blue predominates, as a result of the abun- 
dance of indigo, which is still used for dyeing the 
thread that goes into them. Red is next in im- 
portance, but its use is not nearly so widespread as 
formerly, when the dye source was cochineal. This 
scale insect' is no longer used in dyeing cotton. 

Yellow, least common color, for skirts, was for- 
merly obtained from certain dyewoods such as aliso 

'■^ Osborne, 1935, p. .^3. This is the only such report that has come to 
my attention, however. 

^ There may be three, as at Coban. 

and palo aiiiarillo, which are still used in dyeing 
wool. Aniline dyes have replaced natural ones for 
cotton and silk of this color, however. 

In villages of the north and east shores of Lake 
Atitlan, women wear solid blue skirts of heavy cotton 
(some with light lines), usually of two pieces joined 
with colored silk embroidery. They are woven by 
Solola Ladinos (pis. 7, c, g ; 9, a, c). Indians in all of 
the south-shore villages wear skirts from the Ouezal- 
tenango area, usually blue and pink (and some green) 
jaspe patterns, except in Santiago, where red is the 
rule. Skirts for these villages are occasionallv made 
in Huehuetenango. The common old-style skirt in 
Santiago was a large blue check (pi. 7, k). The 
modern red one is a 20th-century innovation, having 
come in with the broad, red and variegated halolike 
bands which replaced the narrow and less ornate ones 
formerly worn. Jaspe patterns are common not only . 
in the other three south shore villages, but also in 
the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan region, where they 
are made (chiefly at Salcaja, San Cristobal Totoni- 
capan, and Ouezaltenango; pi. 40, a, d, c; p. 63). 
Farther west, from San Martin to Huitan, dark-blue 
skirts with various lighter lines or checks are worn 
(pis. 39, c\ 41, c). Ladino vendors (these are often 
the makers) said all are made on foot looms in the 
western portion of the town of Quezaltenango. Reds 
and some yellows appear in the Huehuetenango 
region. Yellows and some reds (also greens and 
oranges, these shades produced on the loom by com- 
bining threads of different primary colors) predomi- 
nate in the San Marcos (La Union) area. Silk skirts 
are not uncommon even in everyday wear in the lat- 
ter vicinity, as along much of the piedmont, where 
gaudy combinations of bright greens, pinks, purples, 
and blues, often appear (San Sebastian Retalhuleu, 
e.g., pi. 2, d). 

The shortest skirts, which are worn in Zunil and 
Chichicastenango (pi. 8, c), do not reach the knee, 
and are dark blue ; the longest, touching or almost 
touching the ground, are the bright red skirts of 
Santiago Atitlan (pi. 7, k, in). Obviously here is an 
instance where the climatic factor gives way to cus- 
tom, for the first two of the above-mentioned town- 
ships are in much colder regions than the latter. 
Atitecas take pride in their regal appearance, and the 
contrast between them and the short-skirted women 
is marked, for the latter often appear gnarled and 
ugly, their knees great bumps owing to the frequent 




weaving and washing activities performed while 
kneehng.*^^ Long, full, pleated skirts held up with 
drawstrings are the usual type worn in Quezaltenango 
and to some extent also in the Guatemala City region 
(pis. 38, c; 42, c). 

Oviedo in the l6th century wrote that most women 
wore skirts reaching nearly to the knees, but that the 
noblewouKn ( pruicipalcs ) wore thinner ones, of 
ankle length (see p. 48). 

In Santiago Sacatepequez many women wear men's 
wool, checked rod ill eras, several sewn together to 
make enough material for a skirt. These are bought 
at the August fair in Patzicia. Usually the men's 
rodUlcra. if worn by women at all, serves as a skirt 
only for young, unmarried girls (under about 12 to 
14 vears) as at Solola and Chichicastenango (pis. 8, 
e; \2,a). 

Sandals. — Sandals are sometimes worn by women, 
especially at Totonicapan, and, to a lesser degree, 
Olintepeque ; mainly by women who use the tumpline 
(inecapal) in bearing burdens. In the inunicipios 
mentioned, it is not at all uncommon for women to 
carry heavy loads of pottery or fodder by this method. 
Alany semi-Ladinized women of Quezaltenango wear 
shoes and stockings, nearly concealed under long, 
full, pleated skirts. 

Hats. — Hats are seldom worn by Indian women, 
and it is a rarity even among Ladinas. The former 
fold up large ziitcs and place them upon their heads, 
especially if they are seated in the open market place 
in the sun. Or they may put an inverted basket or 
a coiiial (tortilla griddle) or other object upon their 
heads (frontispiece). Young girls and women of the 
municipios of Santa Lucia Utatlan and Totonicapan 
provide some of the few exceptions, in wearing men's 
palm hats.^'* Ladinas cover their heads and shoulders 
with long, manufactured shawls, often of black cotton 
or silk. 

There are probably two reasons at least for the 
lack of hats among these people. First, the Spanish 
women who followed the Conquest did not wear hats, 
so there was no trait which may have been borrowed 
b\' the Indians (though the women probably would 

not have adopted it, anyway) f'' secondly, when In- 
dian women go to market, the)' return with their 
purchases, which are often heavy, in wide baskets 
balanced on their heads, so they could not wear hats 
at the same time. In those villages where Indian 
.women wear straw hats, goods are carried by them in 
cloth slings on their backs, the cloth ends being passed 
around the shoulders and tied in front. 

Headdress. — Many of the varied headdress styles 
in the region are unusual and beautiful. One of the 
most striking is the "halo" of the Atiteca, consisting 
of an inch-wide, tightly woven cotton band, mainly 
red, but with sections of yellow, purple, and green, 
wound around a dozen times or so, until a disklike 
ring extending out from the head like a halo, is 
formed. This head band is over 25 feet (7.6 m.) 
long""'' (pis. 7, k, in; 42, b). Other distinctive coif- 
fures are employed by women of Santa Maria Chi- 
quimula. who braid and twist a black wool cord 
around their hair so that the tassels form a spray at 
one side of the forehead. The San Juan Ixcoy head- 
dress is similar to this, without the tassels (pi. 39, g). 
In certain parts of the Alta \'era Paz, great rolls of 
ribbon are wound around the head. (See Osborne, 
1935, fig. 3, p. 23.) Such styles are not character- 
istic of the majority of the villages of Guatemala. 
Most women wear nothing so prominent, and a 
simple, narrow pink ribbon of cotton braided into 
the hair, with the braid passed around the head, is 
common (San Juan Ostuncalco, San Pedro la La- 
guna, Panajachel, Santa Catarina Palopo, San 
Andres Semetebaj, etc.). Often the hair is plaited, 
sometimes with ribbon intertwined, into one or two 
braids, which hang down the back (Solola. San 
Pedro Sacatepequez, Chichicastenango, Tecpan, Cer- 
ro de Oro, Olinteqeque, etc.; pi. 7). 

Ceremonial dress. — Many women's ceremonial 
costumes are extremely elaborate and beautiful. A 
great amount of silk is employed in embroidering and 
weaving designs of great intricacy. Special head- 
dress, as well as huipils and skirts, are worn on 
certain festive occasions. Often these are entirely 
different from everyday dress (Osborne, 1935). 

^ Atitecas ordinarily weave seated, with legs extended forward, a re- 
striction imposed by the skirt, yet also an advantage in preserving leg 
beauty. They usually wash standing in the Lake near shore, and not on 
their knees. There are plenty of good lava rocks for washboards, at all 
desirable heights above the water. 

^Except for the hats, the similarity existing between Santa Lucia 
dress and that of San Cristobal Totonicapan is striking, and some cul- 
tural connection may be thereby indicated. 

s^ It has been pointed out that Indian women have taken few European 
traits of dress. 

'° The Santiago "halo" has been made larger and more brightly col- 
ored within the past 30 or 40 years. Informants pointed out a narrow, 
inconspicuous band worn by old women as the type formerly used by all 
(before about 1910). A picture in Maudslay's book (1899, opposite p. 
62) substantiates this. 





Ceramic ware produced today by the Indians in 
Guatemala is more utilitarian than artistic, or even 
finely finished, with the exception of the graceful, 
well-made and durable water jars (tinajas) of 
Chinautla, just north of Guatemala City (pis. 21, c; 
42, b, c). Virtually all of the pottery used in South- 
west Guatemala is produced in 15 centers (map 
15), widely distributed throughout the Highlands, 
where suitable clay is locally available. Thirteen of 
these are in the Southwest, and two, Chinautla and 
Antigua, are in south central Guatemala. The ap- 
parent dearth or unavailability of good clay in the 
alluvial Lowlands and in the region of lava and ash in 
the young volcanic range seems to be a determining 
factor in accounting for the absence of pottery mak- 
ing from these regions (map 5). Fine clay is abun- 
dant throughout the eluvial surfaces of the old vol- 
canic and ancient igneous provinces, and it is in these 
that the pottery centers are distributed. At San 
Cristobal it was said that most pottery clay was 
bought in nearby San Francisco el Alto, at about 30 
cents per vara (32 X 32 in.), the best clay being 
between about 5 and 10 inches below the surface. 
Communal clay pits were reported at Santa Maria 

Pottery makers obtain clay from pits dug into the 
subsoil to a depth of 1 to 3 feet (30 to 90 cm.), 
usually within a radius of a few miles of their homes. 
Dried balls of clay are ground on a metate to render 
the particles finer. When needed, a mass of it is 
moistened to the desired consistency and small flat 
pieces are worked bit by bit into the sides of a vessel, 
as in the following example. The base of a Chinautla 
water jar is made from a disk of clay lJ/2 inches thick 
and 10 inches in diameter; this is fashioned into a 
thick saucer which is allowed to dry for one day, then 
is scraped out with a piece of round tree calabash 
(morro). Small slabs of clay are added to build up 
the sides of the jar, and neck and handles are affixed 
after the rest is dry. Six or eight jars are worked 
through the same stages together. This technique is 
used also at San Cristobal Totonicapan and else- 
where. The only implements ordinarily used by In- 
dian potters are a piece of leather or cloth for rubbing 
smooth the sides and edges of the vessel, which is 
doused freely with water before the clay has hardened, 
and a piece of sharp metal, split cane, or flat polished 

stone for smoothing pottery after it has dried. The 
final polishing of pottery at San Pedro Jocopilas, be- 
fore setting it to dry in the shade, is often performed 
by rubbing it with a large, smooth quartz pebble. 

The potter's wheel is used for finer, glazed ware 
of European design, such as cups and saucers made 
by Ladinos in Totonicapan, Antigua, Huehuetenango 
(pi. 41, b), and other craft centers, but apparently 
the wheel is little utilized by Indians (a number of 
Totonicapan Indian men use it). At San Pedro 
Jocopilas, I saw the antithesis of the potter's wheel 
when a woman smoothed the still wet mouth of a 
heavy dye jar 2 feet (60 cm.) high by walking round 
and round while pressing a piece of cloth against the 
brim to smooth and shape it. The large vessel re- 
mained stationary while the potter herself rotated 
around it. 

As in the molding, so in the low-temperature firing, 
only the simplest techniques are employed. A large 
number of pots which have been allowed to dry in the 
shade (often requiring several days) are stacked up 
and burned with bunchgrass and firewood.*^ At San 
Cristobal Totonicapan I saw this done in every in- 
stance in ojien yards next to the potter's dwelling 
(pi. 41, c). Pottery was fired continuously through 
one full day. Chinautla women usually fire only 
about a dozen jars at once, for a half hour with a hot 
fire. Women are the chief workers in clay through- 
out the region, though some men also participate. At 
Totonicapan the percentage of male potters seems to 
be higher, but men generally employ the wheel 
(ordinarily Ladinos). 

The chief producing area, as well as the approxi- 
mate geographical center of pottery making in South- 
west Guatemala, is that of the municipio of Toto- 
nicapan (map 15). The adjoining municipio of San 
Cristobal Totonicapan *^ is also important, but to a 
lesser degree. 

In both communities the emphasis is upon large, 
coarse, heavy ware, having an average size of perhaps 
a foot in diameter, usually with globular base and 
cylindrical neck. Mostly open-mouthed jars used as 
cooking utensils, pots and vats for dyeing, washing, 
and storage, they include also water jars, pitchers, 
platters, stewing-dishes, and comales (broad, shallow 

>" Dried cattle dung is used as fuel for firing frequently in some sec- 
tions, such as Chinautla and parts of the Cuchumatanes region. Pine 
bark is also important at Chinautla and elsewhere when available. 

» Local estimates put the number of potters' families in San Crislfibal 
as between 40 and 50, mostly in the northeast section of the town. 



/ ^ 

O if 


c 3 


= e 


Q a. 

— a> 

03 3D 

0^ • 



tortilla-baking plates) (pi. 41). Colander pots, called 
pichachas in the Cuchumatanes region, are widely 
used for rinsing nixtamal (corn boiled in lime- 
water) before grinding it ; and at San Andres Xeciil, 
where soapmaking is a major industry, these pots 
may be seen supported on posts, and used for filtering 
water through lime and ash. The dominant colors 
are yellowish, greenish yellow, and light orange, un- 
decorated except for simple serrations, often made 
along the brim or shoulder of a vessel by pressing the 
straight or folded edge of a piece of leather (used 
otherwise for smoothing the brim) into the soft clay. 
Generally, this ware is glazed on the inside and 
the upper half of the outside (pi. 41, a). Lead from 
Huehuetenango and sulfur from Zunil were said to 
be mixed together, along with fine white clay, and 
ground on the mortar stone by women of San Cristo- 

On the basis of a number of local reports, it seems 
that San Cristobal potters sometimes buy dull 
ceramic ware made elsewhere, put a glaze on it, and 
resell it at a higher price. Water jars (tinajas), for 
example, made unglazed in Santa Maria Chiquimula, 
often appeared in the San Francisco el Alto market 
with the high lead glaze characteristic of San Cristo- 
bal ware. This refinement was said to have been 
applied by potters of the latter community, who 
bought and resold the ware in the San Francisco 
market. Though this reported industry was nol veri- 
fied by any first-hand observations, the idea is plaus- 
ible in view of the admitted inferiority of Santa Maria 
water jars, especially in comparison with the fine 
(though unglazed), higher-priced products of Chi- 
nautla, prized throughout the region and sold in most 
of the markets. 

Besides being the center of pottery production in 
terms of volume and of geography, Totonicapan is 
also the center of diversity of technique and style in 
ceramics. This is due partly to the fact that Ladinos 
as well as Indians engage in the art, and is in keeping 
with the high degree of skill in various crafts which 
characterizes the natives of this municipio. 

The high-grade, modern ware made on the wheel, 
and sometimes given a bright bronze glaze, is one 
product of Ladino potters, who also make good 
glazed, yellowish pitchers, cups, bowls, and the like. 

^ According to Gutierrez, a leading storekeeper of San Crist6bal, 
these elements were commonly mixed in the following proportions; 
Potter's lead, 18 pounds: sulfur, 4 pounds; fine white clay (.tisate)^ 4 
pounds: melted witli firewood into a mass which is ground together on 
the stone, tlien mixed with water to make a bath in which the vessel is 
dipped. It is then fired 1 hour to get a glaze. 

mainly for Indian consumption. A particularly 
notable example of this kind of ware is a small cup 
or pitcher bearing an owl design (regarded as an 
emblem of good luck), the beak of the bird suggesting 
a spout. It is one of the most widely sold and popular 
clay drinking vessels. Simple, crude, geometric or 
floral designs are commonly painted upon yellowish 
and reddish bowls, plates, and cups (pi. 41, /). 

My most detailed observations of the use of the 
potter's wheel were made in the town of Huehue- 
tenango in 1 940. At that time there were not over 10 
or 12 potters in the entire community, and it may be 
presumed that the same is true today. Though minor 
individual and regional differences in pottery-making 
techniques may be observed, the Huehuetenango 
potters' work is described here as typical of the 

Approximately half of the dozen or so potters of 
Huehuetenango, 4 men and 2 women, are in one 
family, that of Ricardo Rivas Cardona, living on the 
north edge of town. They dig their clay from a 
3-foot layer of subsoil, the upper edge of which is 
about 3 feet below the surface. The areal extent of 
suitable material here is said to be about 50 square 
yards. When dry, the clay is yellowish brown, and 
when wet it is a dark coffee color. Dry lumps are 
pounded with a pole 6 inches in diameter, on a hard- 
packed dirt surface in the patio of the house The 
clay is then sifted through a very fine screen and 
stored, moist, in a pit. A minimum of a half day of 
soaking and 3 minutes of kneading with the hands 
is performed before it is ready for molding. 

The wheel employed has a 40-inch vertical spindle 
made of hardwood (ccdro, or preferably guachipilin 
or chicharro). The wooden disk on which the clay 
is worked is about 8 inches in diameter, attached to 
the top of the spindle. Just below it the spindle is 
narrowed where it passes through the hole in the 
table top, and is covered with a piece of greased 
leather serving as a bushing. A larger wooden disk, 
28 inches in diameter, with two counterbalanced 
wooden blocks fastened beneath it, is attached to the 
lower end of the spindle, so that it rotates hori- 
zontally. It is kicked around directly with the foot, 
which provides the only motive power (pi. 41, b). 

Clay is built up on the top disk to form a truncated 
cone about 15 inches high, with a basal diameter of 
about 10 inches. From this a dozen or more average- 
sized pieces of pottery are made. Only a few simple 
implements are used in fashioning the clay. These 
consist of a piece of tree calabash or a small clay cup 



in the form of a hollow quarter-sphere, for shaping 
the clay as it spins ; a section of wild cane, split in 
half. 3 inches long with a 34-inch diameter, for the 
first smoothing of the vessels after they are molded: 
and a leather hat lining for final smoothing, with 
water doused on the moist clay. After a vessel has 
been made at the top of the clay cone, it is cut from 
the solid mass below it by means of a tight-stretched 
piece of string, drawn through as the wheel is rotated. 
After lieing dried in the sun for 8 days, vessels are 
baked for 4 hours, SO to 100 dozen at a time, in an 
oven fueled with firewood. Then they are cooled 
overnight Iiefore the glaze is added. For this purpose 
a solution of copper and tin is supplied, followed by a 
bath in a solution made from potter's lead (galena or 
alquifou), 2 parts, and potter's quartz (sand), 1 part. 
(The galena has previously been washed in a small 
oven for 14 hours, and reduced to a yellow, resinous- 
looking powder.) A normal lead-bath is prepared 
with 25 1. of water, 100 pounds of galena, and 50 
pounds of locally obtained sand, very fine and white. 
These ingredients are mixed in a cylindrical vat 4 
feet across and 3 feet deep, and are stirred all day 
by means of a simple wooden mill built into the vat, 
operated by a man walking around pushing a beam. 
Pottery dipped into this bath is given a second firing 
for 6 hours. Bowls 7 inches in diameter and 3 inches 
deep are the pieces produced here in greatest quantity. 
Totonicapan Indian potters make a great variety of 
small clay pieces for uses other than those connected 
with foods and liquids. For example, there are small, 
green toy whistles, shaped like ducks and fish, and 
diminutive saucers which serve as measures for high- 
priced bulk goods (as seeds, spices, and the like). 
Somewhat larger are the ornate censers, in demand 
particularly at Chichicastenango ; and candlesticks, 
usually built upon a base representing a beast of 
burden, freely embellished from the creator's imagina- 
tion, and the l)est medium of expression in the ce- 
ramic field. These miscellaneous items are nearly 
always highly glazed, and they range in color from 
dark browns through yellows to greens (pi. 41, f; 
see also Lemos, 1941, p. 29). 

Antigua is the only other important center of pro- 
duction of such varied types of pottery, and this 
town produces some of the finest ceramic ware made 
in Guatemala. Grays, yellows, and greens, blended 
in pleasing combinations, are characteristic colors of 
the glazed Antigua pottery. Crude, unglazed. bright- 
colored figurines and candlesticks are made at Rahinal 
and Mixco. 

In addition to the municipios already mentioned, 
there are several centers in which utensils are made 
on a considerable scale. In each there is a distinctive- 
ness of type, and certain specialties, e.g. the large, 
heavy dye pots and vats of San Bartolome Aguascali- 
entes, for purchase and use mostly at nearby Momo- 
stenango, the chief wool-weaving center ; small, 
rough, light-colored or sooty black pitchers of San 
Miguel Ixtahuacan, and the large, unglazed, reddish- 
orange ware of San Pedro Jocopilas, mainly smooth, 
globular jars and broad, flat coinales (pis. 29, c; 42, 
a). Certain markets are notable for the abundance 
of ceramic ware sold : for example, Chichicastenango, 
Ouezaltenango, San Cristobal Totonicapan, San 
Francisco el Alto, to the last of which come goods 
from at least five producing areas. (See map 15 and 
pis. 41, 42.) 

Pottery moves on a large scale to the Lowlands 
and to the national capital, from the Totonicapan 
region, where there are many merchants as well as 
workers in clay (pis. 14, a; 24, d, f). 

The pre-Columbian importance of pottery in Cen- 
tral America is attested by the great number of sherds 
associated with ruin sites throughout the region. 


Like pottery, basketry is the product of certain cen- 
ters having a specialty in this work. Most of the 
baskets used in Southwest Guatemala are produced 
in no more than eight municipios (map 17). 

Two basic materials are used, split wild cane and 
osier. These are reflected in the two principal types 
of baskets made ; the deep, globular, handled type 
(canasta), made of split cane, and the open flat ones 
(caiiasto) without handles, made of either cane or 
osier. Though no attempt was made to study the 
ethnographical or technical aspects of basketmaking, 
it is apparent that both Ladinos and Indians engage 
in the industry. In some municipios, as Aguacatan 
(handled baskets, pi. 3, e), it is the work of Ladinos; 
in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan (open baskets), of In- 
dians : and in Santa Clara it was said that both groups 
make ba.skets (handled), Ladinos being credited with 
having introduced the craft here. 

The deep, handled baskets are carried to market 
by Ladinas, whereas Indian women employ the flat 
ones, not only for displaying goods in the plaza, but 
also for carrying things on their heads and for stor- 
age at home. Indian men, when selling on a small 
scale in an open market, occasionally display their 
goods in shallow baskets, though they seldom carry- 



anything in them, employing cargo frames and sacks 
for this purpose. Usually, they spread their wares 
on the ground, on a cloth or mat (pis. 4, c; 14). 
Open baskets are also used as measures in the market, 
as balance scales, and for fishing (small fish driven 
into baskets). Since most Indian women do not 
wear hats, they sometimes invert open baskets on 
their heads to shelter them from the high midday 
sun (frontispiece). 


The round or oblong, hard-shelled fruits of the 
calabash tree or jlcaro {Crcscent'ia cujcte) and morro 
(C. alafa) have been prized since ancient times as 
drinking vessels, especially for chocolate (modern 
Span, jicara = "chocolate cup"). Oviedo described 
fine cups of higueras in Darien that had handles of 
gold, "fit to offer to any mighty king to drink out of 
without reproach." They had come in trade, largely 
from Nicaragua, which was a producing area of great 
importance (op. cit., vol. 1, p. 296). Though Oviedo 
describes tree calabashes holding a gallon, the aver- 
age size of those used today in Guatemala is of a 
capacity between one-half and 1 pint. 

The distribution of Crescentia in Guatemala is 
determined primarily by climatic conditions. The 
tree thrives best in a hot, dry or semidry climate, 
such as the tropical savanna of the Pacific Coastal 
Plain, from southern Mexico through Central 
America. It is abundant also in deep, interior val- 
leys and basins, like those of Rabinal, Cubulco, and 
Salama (maps 6, 7). 

The elaboration of jicaras is a speciality of Rabinal, 
which is probably the only place where they are made 
in Guatemala. Izalco, an Indian community near 
Guatemala, in El Salvador, is the center of manu- 
facture in that country. There the tree is called 

The preparation of the common type of black 
jicara consists ordinarily in ( 1 ) polishing the calabash 
by wetting it and scouring it, usually with a rough 
leaf, such as an alder: (2) smearing it with a yellow- 
ish waxy substance obtained by boiling a scale insect 
(Llaveia axin) ; (3) applying soot, from smudges of 
pitch pine, and polishing the surface with a cloth ; 
and (4) decorating the receptacle with incised de- 
signs made by rotating the jicara in one hand and 
pressing a metal carving tool against it with the other 
(pi. 43). These traceries often include conventional- 
ized flowers, birds, and animals, and they may be col- 
ored or left as white lines. (For fuller discussion of 

this topic, see McBryde, 1943.) Jicaras may be carved 
without being blackened, and most of those sold in 
the markets are uncolored and uncarved. In addi- 
tion to the larger sizes, smaller receptacles, toys, and 
rattles are fashioned of jicaras, usually dyed, elabo- 
rately incised, and colored. 

Ordinarily, it is the oblong calabashes which are 
dyed, one end having been cut off so as to form a 
very deep vessel. The large, round or ovoid inorros 
are cut in half and used as bowls. Sometimes these 
are painted inside and out with crude figures and de- 
signs. This work was said to be done chiefly in An- 
tigua for the tourist trade (1936). 

For an exhaustive treatise on jicaras, especially the 
etymology of the word, see Kiddle (1944). 


Bread. — Since wheat is an introduced crop, all 
types of bread made from it may be considered as 
exotic, having been brought in by the Spaniards. As 
pointed out earlier, locally grown wheat is milled 
in the principal towns of the Highlands, and sold 
as flour to stores and bakeries. In the Lowlands, 
bread is made in the larger towns, mostly by Ladino 
bakers. Bread, as an Indian product commonly sold 
in the markets, is made in important quantities (for 
export to other municipios) in the following centers: 
Santa Lucia Utatlan, Nahuala, Argueta, Totonicapan, 
San Cristobal Totonicapan, San Francisco el Alto, 
Santa Maria Chiquimula, Santo Tomas Chichicaste- 
nango, Quezaltenango, San Pedro Sacatepequez (La 
Union, San Marcos) (map 9). It is usually baked 
in the form of buns of several sorts : pan Frances 
(4-inch, oblong) without eggs; pan duke (4-inch, 
round, flat) with eggs, often slightly sweetened; 
small (1-2 inch), ring-shaped panes dulccs called 
"rosquitos," commonly sold by itinerant Maxeiios; 
and occasionally a larger loaf, Xaca, flat and round, 
said to be made of whole wheat, and very dark owing 
to the panda (.brown sugar) used. It is a specialty 
of Santa Maria Chiquimula (some made also in San 
Francisco el Alto) and sold in markets of that region. 
Bread is a luxury item among the Indians, however, 
consumed mostly during fiestas. 

Cheese. — -Outside of the capital, and a few other 
large towns, the only cheese extensively manufac- 
tured is a rather dry, unseasoned white variety made 
of cow's milk, in much the same manner that cottage 
cheese is prepared. Sour milk to which hot water 
has been added is strained in a cloth until most of 
the whey has dripped off. Then the curd is molded 



in a shallow, circular container, and sold in sections, 
wrapped in cotton cloth. Most of it is peddled to 
town-dwelling Ladinos. 

Though cheese is made in many localities where a 
few dairy cattle may be kept, there are certain muni- 
cipios which specialize in this product. In the High- 
lands, considerable quantities go to Solola from San 
Jose Chacaya, and according to Tax (Ms., 1935), to 
Chichicastenango from San Sebastian Lemoa. Cattle 
are especially abundant in the savanna lands of the 
Coastal Plain, and cheese is a common product. 
Even here, certain centers stand out, as San Ber- 
nardino, which has long been noted for its cheese. 
It is marketed along the piedmont in both directions, 
mainly between Cuyotenango and San Antonio. A 
subsidiary to cheese making in San Bernardino is 
the raising of pigs, which are fed upon the whey 
(see p. 38; map 13). 

Popcorn confections. — Patzum has developed an 
unusual specially in confections of popcorn, coated 
with a sticky sirup prepared from panela. It is sold 
in bulk in the neighboring markets under the term 
bocclcs. Small, rectangular cakes are made also of 
fine white roundish seeds (probably one of the goose- 
foot family, Chenopodiaceae). 

Candies. — In addition to the common pink and 
white rock candies and taffy sold in markets and 
stores, there often appear, particularly during fairs, 
special types of candies that have characteristic names 
and are peculiar to certain localities. One of these, 
called chupcte, is said to be prepared from honey, 
variously flavored and appropriately colored arti- 
ficially, as with lemon (yellow), mint (green), cin- 
namon (red), etc. The candies are wrapped in small 
wax-paper cones, and each is attached to a wooden 
stick, the over-all length being about 6 inches. These 
are made chiefly in Ouezaltenango and are marketed 
by merchants from there. 

Another special type of candy which represents 
an important localized industry is that of cdjenique. 
It is made in Sacapulas (and only there, apparently) 
of squasli seeds and locally obtained sugarcane 
juice boiled down. Alfeniqite is made up into flat, 
brownish rings 2 to 3 inches in diameter. They are 
generally sold in markets by Sacapulas men, who also 
sell mecapales (tumplines), which they make on a 
large scale of rawhide with the hair left on the side to 
go against the forehead. These products are fre- 
quently sold as far away as Solola and other even 
more distant plazas, being particularly in evidence 

during fairs. Often the men sit in the plaza and 
braid tumpline ends. 

Salt. — By far the greater part of the salt consumed 
in Southwest Guatemala comes from various centers 
along the shores of the Pacific (map 18). There 
are two major types, a coarse grayish "cooked" (fire- 
evaporated) salt, derived through leaching lagoon 
deposits near the sea and boiling the brine (pi. 1, 
d ), and a fine white "sal de sol," obtained by evaporat- 
ing sea water in basins exposed to the sun (pi. 1, e). 
Both kinds are sold in bulk, as granular salt. There 
are minor salt-producing centers in and marginal to 
the Cuchumatanes Mountains, such as 'San Mateo 
Ixtatan"'^ and, especially, Sacapulas. This inland 
salt, like most of that made along the ocean, is 
produced by cooking brine leached from earthy 
deposits of sodium chloride, which probably were 
laid down in geologic time in marine embayments 
adjacent to the great limestone deposits of the 
Cuchumatanes Mountains. Sacapulas salt is gen- 
erally sold in flat (^-inch), round cakes,**^ 2 or 
3 inches in diameter (pi. 42, e, /,). The cooked 
salt of the Pacific coast is usually brownish or grayish 
and dirty-looking. The Indians seem to prefer it, 
however, explaining that it has "more flavor" than 
the sun-evaporated sal de sol. The report is wide- 
spread that some makers of sun-evaporated salt 
sprinkle small quantities of playa dirt into their pure 
white product to make it simulate the cooked salt 
with its inevitable ingredient of silt. This was 
unverified, however. 

Pacific coast salt. — My study of saltmaking on 
the Pacific coast was confined to Tahuesco, a village 
on the barrier beach about 25 miles southeast of the 
port of Champerico (pi. 1). Though the present 
description of the process is, then, strictly applicable 
only to Tahuesco, many informants asserted that the 
method of cooking salt in all the shore centers is 
practically identical. It will be shown later (p. 59) 
that saltmaking at Xicalapa as described in a 16th- 
century manuscript was the same in nearly every 
detail as that of Tahuesco today. 

There are many salinas along the lagoon shore 
behind Tahuesco — over 100, I wa,s told — and each 
is owned by an individual or family. Each is named 
and consists of a plot of ground which is periodically 

»° Name possibly derived from otsdm ("salt" in most of the Maya 
dialects, according to StoU, 1884, and Sapper, 1897). 

21 Mendizabal cites tlie distinction between sun-evaporated and "arti- 
ficially evaporated" salt in IVIexico, but makes an assumption that is not 
applicable in coastal Guatemala, namely, that unless otherwise known, 
granular salt is sun-evaporated and block salt is "cooked" (Mendizabal. 
1929, p. 186, ftn. 1). 



flooded by sea water. There is thus a natural deposi- 
tion of salt by evaporation, especially during the 
dry season, with an admixture of silt brought down 
by the swollen streams of the Coastal Plain durmg 
the rainy season. 

There seems commonly to be a division of labor 
in saltmaking, as follows. A playero digs out the 
saline soil with a broad hoe. A silt cover may have 
to be stripped off first, and for this process a 12-foot 
pole, with a flat, wooden blade at the end, is em- 
ployed. The salty earth which is dug out is taken 
by the playcros to palm shelters built on strips of 
higher ground, not flooded during the rainy season, 
and there it is piled up and stored. It is then sup- 
plied as needed in sackfuls to the cocineros, who ex- 
tract the salt from the playa material. The apparatus 
employed is crude and simple, but effective. On 
each saliiia there are two old canoes of the type used 
in lagoon navigation. These are placed horizontally 
upon racks built of poles, one directly above the 
other. The lower, called the recibidora, is usually 
about 3 or 4 feet above the ground. The upper, the 
coladera (colander), is a little more than a foot 
higher; its bottom is perforated and covered with 
palm mats. A thick layer of sand is put in it as 
a filter, with playa salt crust spread over that. Water 
is carried to it, up a small ladder or ramp in a brace 
of buckets attached to a pole placed across the 
shoulders (pi. 1, d). 

When the lower canoe has been filled with water 
that is high in dissolved salt, leached from the 
coladera, the saline solution is transferred by buckets 
to an adjacent iron vat, about 43^ feet wide, 7 feet 
long, and 2 feet deep. Fixed by mortar between 
two stone walls, this vessel is usually about 2 feet 
above the ground, so that firewood may be piled in 
under it. The brine in the vat is kept constantly 
boiling all da}', at the end of which time a large 
amount of salt is deposited. 

A 16th-century manuscript describing Qapotitlan 
(Anon, Ms. 1579, p. 21, f. 115) includes a passage 
on saltmaking at Xicalapa which might well have 
been written yesterday but for the small scale pro- 
duction. Jars were used (as at Sacapulas) instead 
of the large iron vats for cooking the brine. Other- 
wise, the 16th-century method is practically identical 
with present-day practice along the Pacific. That 
this boiling of brine may be a pre-Columbian tech- 
nique, at least in fundamental principle, may be con- 
cluded from certain comments made by early Spanish 
writers. Many of them described the process in 

minute detail, and remarked that the salt obtained in 
this manner was "more trouble than it was worth." 
Not only is this seen in the 16th-century manuscript 
cited above but it may also be noted in Palacio's 
Rclacidn of 1576, wherein the "casta dc Gnazacapdn" 
is described (Mendizabal, 1929, pp. 149-150). 

Alonso Ponce's companion describes the cooking 
of salt in Mexico (At03'aque), and the molding of 
figurines of salt (Ponce, vol. 2, p. 121 ; Mendizabal, 
1929, p. 137). 

Apparently, both methods of evaporating salt, by 
sun-drying and by cooking, were known in pre- 
Conquest time. Oviedo mentions cooked salt eariy 
in the 16th century (op. cit., vol. 1, p. 173). 
Mendizabal (1929, p. 188) concludes that the 
fire-evaporation technique was a later introduction 
by migrating agricultural peoples from the north, 
especially the Nahua. It is his belief that the 
"archaic" cultures knew only sun-evaporation of salt. 
I see no reason for doubting, however, that any cul- 
ture which knew cooking and had clay vessels may 
have evaporated salt with the aid of fire. Mendiza- 
bal discounts the possibility of any "constant relation- 
ship" between geographical possibilities and the 
systems of making salt, and attributes the general 
distribution of the two methods to cultural factors 
alone, except for such local environmental variables 
as firewood supply, amount of rainfall, etc. He fails 
to point out the big climatic factor of low annual 
rainfall along the west coast and in the interior of 
Mexico, also on the northwest tip of Yucatan, in all 
of which regions salt production was concen- 
trated in pre-Columbian time, as compared with 
the greater humidity of east coasts, along which 
there was a dearth of salinas. Any salt which is made 
in such regions of high rainfall must be cooked out. 
The reason why sun-evaporated salt as well as cooked 
salt is made along the west coast may well be that 
the relative humidity is not so high, local winds are 
well developed, and sunshine is relatively abundant 
and temperatures high ; all of these are climatic fac- 
tors conducive to evaporation of sea water, especially 
during the dry season (November-April, inclusive). 
(For sun-dried-salt producing centers, see map 18.) 

Interior: Sacapulas. — The production of salt at 
Sacapulas was perhaps first described in detail bv 
DoUfus and Mont-Serrat in 1866 (1868, pp. 229-230), 
as follows : Briny water was collected in salt springs, 
artificially enlarged into circular basins about 1^ m. 
in diameter. These were scattered irregularly over 
a plain next to the Chixoy River. By means of ditches 



the water was spread over the flat surface to im- 
pregnate the soil with salt. The sun and dry air 
of this desiccated valley rapidly evaporated the water 
from the brine (especially during the dry season) 
and salt was crystallized, coating the soil as with 
snow. The saline surface crust was scraped up and 
put upon a clay filter, and fresh water leached 
through, several times if necessarv". Then the brine 
was boiled "in series of small terra cotta vessels," 
with fire burning continuously through the day. The 
salt, which was scraped from the vessels by hand, 
was characterized as "dirty and impure," and the 
method as a primitive one which probably dates to 
pre-Conquest time. The French authors saw no 
possibility of improving the method, despite the 
many efforts made, because of the "backwardness 
of the Indians." 

Modern Sacapulas salt is sold in clean-looking 
white cakes. There has apparently been little 
change in the method of making it. The salt- 
encrusted surface of the same little river plain (pi. 
42, c) mentioned by Dollfus and Mont-Serrat is 
scraped with broad hoes into little mounds of saline 
earth, which is carried in deep baskets on human 
backs to vats where water is poured over it and 
filtered through a layer of fine clay laid on palm mats. 
The brine is boiled in the same "small terra cotta 
vessels." When quite thick, it is poured into flat, 
circular molds about 3 inches in diameter, to dry into 
white cakes (pi. 42, f). The saltmakers said that 
plots of the salt playa were privately owiied. 

Salt has played an important role in Central 
America since pre-Columbian times as a medium of 
exchange for small-scale purchases, a significance 
which has persisted almost until the present time. 
Ponce's companion wrote (vol. 2, p. 120) ". . . 
Spaniards come from many regions to buy [salt], 
and for this there is in Atoyaque a market every 
five days, and the chief article sold in it is salt." 
Mcndizabal (1929, p. 190) quotes from the Rclacion 
de Mcztitlan: "Salt is small currency for minor 
purchases among the Indians" (see also Blom, 
1932). Numerous reports of old residents in Guate- 
mala today concur in the use of salt for small cur- 
rency until as recently as about 1890 (McBryde, 
1933, p. 124). 


The distribution of limestone outcrops and lime- 
burning centers is considered in a later section 
(p. 7i and map IS). San Francisco el Alto 
was the onlv localitv in which field notes were ob- 

tained regarding lime production. These were not 
from first-hand observation, however, but from an 
intelligent Indian informant (Adrian Chavez). Lime 
burning in this municipio is the special industry of 
the canton Paxixil, where almost all residents are 
engaged in this activity. The limestone, much of 
which has a greenish cast, outcrops near the Conti- 
nental Divide just north of the village. It is quar- 
ried bv means of picks, and broken up with 5-pound 
sledges. The quarry is communally owned. About 
one-half of the residents of canton Paxixil own kilns, 
adjacent to their dwellings. Built of stone slabs 
about 10 inches thick, the structures are hemispheri- 
cal, about 6 feet high and 8 feet in diameter, with a 
smoke hole in the top, 2 feet or more wide, and 
an opening of about the same size at the side, for 
putting in limestone and firewood (chiefly oak). 
Burning is continuous for 4 days and nights, various 
workers taking shifts at a kiln. 

There were also said to be six or eight communal 
kilns, like the privately owned ones, but larger (about 
12 ft. in diameter). A group of four or five families, 
often related, uses one kiln, each family bringing a 
share of the raw materials and taking out a propor- 
tional share of the finished product. 

The vendors of lime, according to my informant, 
are poorer residents of the same canton, a distinct 
group; on rare occasions a maker of lime sells it 
direct to the consumer, by special order. San Fran- 
cisco lime, like that made in other Guatemala centers, 
is sold by weight, in lump form. In the Cuchumatanes 
region, granular lime (air-slaked?) and spherical 
balls of lime are sometimes sold (p. 73). 

The most widespread use of lime, for which the 
greater part of it is sold, is in making an aqueous 
solution (limewater) in which com is boiled and 
softened. The hominy thus obtained, called nix- 
tamal, an Aztec name, is then easily ground on the 
stone for making tortillas, tamales, posole, or other 
derivatives of masa (ground maize paste). In mor- 
tar, whitewash, and plaster a great amount of lime 
is also consumed, and sometimes excessively acid soils 
are treated with it. On one occasion, just south of 
Chichicastenango, in 1932, I saw a field which had 
been generously sprinkled with lime. 

Essential in everj' Guatemala household is at least 
one set of stones for grinding corn.'- The basal 

^ Most towns now have at least one motor-driven mill where many 
Indians bring corn to be ground, on the days when they come to market. 
Town dwellers visit them more frequently. 



stone, or metate (here called l^icdra dc iiiolcr), is 
flat on top when new (becoming concave with use) 
and rectangular, an average size being, perhaps, 12 
by 15 inches. It rests upon three legs, the single 
one being somewhat larger, so as to tilt the stone 
downward at the end opposite the person grinding. 
The stones are always used by women, who press 
down and forward with the long (15 in.), slightly 
fusiform nmno stone held in both hands like a rolling 
pin, but scraped rather than rolled. 

The most important center of metate production 
in southwestern Guatemala is Nahuala (map 18). 
Dark gray andesite is available in abundance, and 
the Xankatales work it skillfully with small sharp- 
pointed iron sledges. Stone working is one of their 
best developed arts, so much so that they are often 
called upon to do any such work that may be re- 
quired in other municipios throughout the region. 
They peddle their stones, a few at a time because of 
the great weight, among villages and towns, at dwell- 
ings and in large plazas. The Ouezaltenango market 
is perhaps the principal one, though stones are sold 
in the Lowlands and as far north as Momostenango. 

The producing center in the Huehuetenango region 
is the district south of Malacatancito, which also sup- 
plies metates to Quezaltenango. Here it is apparently 
an industry of Ladinos, many of them rural, living 
quite far out in the wooded mountains. Several 
with whom I talked demonstrated how they work 
the lavas of the region into grinding stones, using 
smooth granite hammer stones instead of iron picks ; 
this was especially common practice there. 

At San Marcos, it was said that the chief pro- 
ducing center for that western region is Tajumulco, 
where iron hammers are employed. 



In Indian Guatemala there are two kinds of weav- 
ing, according to the type of loom used : ( 1 ) stick 
(back-strap) loom and (2) foot (treadle) loom. 
Goods produced on both may be designated as "hand- 


The native, pre-Columbian method of making cloth, 
by using a few simple sticks, straps, and cords, is 
illustrated in plate 9. In this type of loom the essen- 
tial sticks are generally as follows : A pair of sticks 
serving as the cloth beam, upon which the woven 
goods are rolled, and to one of which a loop is at- 
tached, brought from around the weaver's waist or 

hips (a broad mccapal, or tumpline. prevents cut- 
ting), a swordlike batten, with which the weft is 
packed down tightly, a heddle, a shed roll of wood 
or bamboo, two reeds to maintain the warpcross, and 
a head stick, at the far end from the weaver. From 
each end of the latter stick two ropes extend, to be 
looped over a solid object, for drawing taut the 
warp.^^ The yarn employed is of cotton for the 
warp, and generally of cotton, but occasionally of im- 
ported silk, for the weft. Silk thread, already dyed, 
has been imported, chiefly from China and Japan, 
for at least 50 years, according to local storekeepers ; 
and it has probably come in since Colonial times. 
In a letter from the Bishop of Oaxaca to the King, 
dated 1544, it is stated that the Indians of one town 
collected 2,000 pounds of silk, probably one year's 
harvest (Anon., Ms., 1544, p. 9, f. 150). If such 
silk production was possible then, it is hard to under- 
stand why the culture was not continued. 

The stick loom is almost always operated by In- 
dian women, and it is employed in greatest numbers 
in regions where native cultural survivals are 
strongest.®^ For the most part, products of the 
stick loom are used by the weaver and members of 
her immediate family for various elements of their 
dress. In some areas, however, commercial weav- 
ing bv this method is practiced on a considerable 
scale, as map 16 shows. ^Merchants far and wide 
sell the colorful, brocaded sutes, belts, huipils, figured 
scnilletas, and other goods that come from the looms 
of Chichicastenango women. San Pedro Sacate- 
pequez (La Union, San Marcos) huipils, San Fran- 
cisco el Alto zntes, worn as head-cloths and shawls, 
San Pedro la Lagima trousers, and other textile 
pieces are produced on commercial scale by women. 
Indian men sometimes weave belts on small stick 

White, blue, and jaspe (tie-dye alternating blue 
and white) cotton yarns are all locally produced in 
Guatemala, the undyed white for the most part being 

K>See La Farge and Byers, 1931, p. 52, fig. 17; Osborne, 1935, p. 49, 
fig. lOd. Weaving techniques were studied in detail by Dr. Lila M. 
O'Xeale, of the University of California, for the Carnegie Institution 
of Washington, in 1936 (see O'Neale, 1945, especially pp. 31-35). 
I am indebted to Dr. O'Xeale for numerous technical terms and e.\plana- 
tions of processes in dyeing and weaving, as many of our excursions and 
observations were made jointly. Her book is the most authoritative 
and complete available to date concerning Guatemala weaving and 
textiles. Page references, except those given above, have not been 
made in the present monograph because the O'Neale volume was 
still in press when my manuscript went to the printer. 

** On map 16 note the virtual absence of stick-loom weaving from the 
valley of ^luezaltenango — Totonicapan north to Momostenango, and from 
the Lowlands, up as high as Santa Maria, where today (1936) only 
one woman weaves; most Santa Maria women of the last generation 
did beautiful stick-loom weaving, according to their descendants. 



made on the electric looms of the Cantel mill. Be- 
cause of the cheapness of indigo dye (chiefly from 
El Salvador) and of sacatinta, with which it is 
mixed, much blue, green, and jaspe dyeing is done, 
the Salcaja-San Cristobal Totonicapan area being 
most important in this regard (pi. 40, a, d, e). Much 
colored yarn, especially yellows, reds, and purples,''^ 
is imported (English, American, and German, for 
the most part) and sold in markets by itinerant 
merchants. Home dyeing is almost nonexistent, so 
far as I know, except in the case of the foot-loom 
weavers. For stick-loom work, women buy imported 
colored yarn, and white yarn from the Cantel mill. 
Some indigo blues and tie-dyes of the Salcaja area 
are used in those numicipios where such colors are 
in demand, e. g., San Pedro la Laguna. In many 
sections, spinning is still practiced, but it is a disap- 
pearing art. In the Lake Atitlan villages, notably 
San Pedro (pi. 9, d) and Santiago, it is fairly com- 
mon, and in the Cuchumatanes both white and 
ixcaco brown"" cotton are spun. Sometimes home- 
grown cotton is twisted together with Cantel yarn,"' 
the former to furnish superior whiteness and the 
latter superior tensile strength. Wool is rarely used 
on stick looms except in Chiapas (common at Cha- 
mula) ; some San Sebastian Huehuetenango women 
weave wool skirts on stick looms. 

In areas where stick-loom weaving is practiced, 
which includes most of the Highlands, with the 
major exception of the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan- 
Momostenango region (map 16), women ordinarily 
weave their own huipils and zutcs (general utility 
cloths). In the Lake Atitlan area and other isolated 
sections, men's trousers, and in some cases their 
shirts, are made of the same goods as the women's 
huipils (pi. 7). Geometric designs and conventional- 
ized animals, trees, and the like are often skillfully 
and beautifully worked into textiles on the loom. The 
tree of life, Hapsburg double eagle, peacock, and 
many other common symbols, came in with the 
Spaniards (pi. 42, g). 

In some cases, merely stripes are woven, or the 
cloth may be plain, and later embroidered or brocaded 
by the weaver, as in Chichicastenango. 












3 SKIRTS (Foot loom; rar§ly stick loom, 
aa at ChaloMtan (blue cot- 
ton) and San Sebastian Huehue- 
tenango— also Chiapas, notably 
Chamula— (natural blaok wool).) 





-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r -r-r-n--r-r-r-r 


°^ Generally the shade which simulates the native mollusk purple, once 
a great product of the Gulf of Nicoya region, Nicaragua, but now seldom 
used, because of its greater cost (said to be $8 per pound, as compared 
with $1 for German yarn) and inferior durability. 

^ Because of its short staple, ixcaco does not spin into a yarn of great 
tensile strength, and where used it is generally in the weft, the warp 
being plain white, or dyed brown to simulate ixcaco. 

"" Observed at San Pedro Cutzan, and said to be practiced also at San 
Pedro de Laguna. 




Manufacture of cloth on the large loom of Colonial 
Spanish introduction, on which the heddles are raised 
and lowered by treadles, is a commercial-scale in- 
dustry. It dififers from stick-loom work not only in 
this respect but in being carried on almost entirely 
by men, often Ladinos, and in employing wool yarn 
on a scale comparable with that of cotton. 


From the standpoint of native garments, the most 
important cotton cloths woven on foot looms are 
skirt-lengths {cortes). These are made according to 
a standard, specified length, width, weight, and pat- 


3 t c t -S 
U T « « <! 




tern, depending upon the usage in the municipio 
where they are worn. In general, however, more 
skirts are dark blue than any other color ; ^* the 
average width of the material is about 30 inches, and 
the length of the material is 6 to 7 varas (about 18 
ft.). The cloth beam on a skirt loom generally has 
a capacity of 30 skirt-lengths (about 500 ft.). 

The chief skirt-weaving region in Southwest 
Guatemala is that of Quezaltenango-Totonicapan, 
including not only those two major centers but also 
Salcaja (relative to size, perhaps, the most important 
single producer), San Cristobal, and Olintepeque. 
Other major skirt centers which supply a large ter- 
ritory around them are La Uiiion (San Marcos), 
Huehuetcnango, Chichicastenango, and Solola (map 
16) . Indians and Ladinos both produce large quanti- 
ties of skirts at San Cristobal, Totonicapan, Que- 
zaltenango, and La Union. Elsewhere the skirt- 
makers are primarily Ladinos."* 

At Salcaja, a Ladino town, a great amount of yarn 
is dyed, probably more than at any other center. 
Dark blue, particularly in jaspes, is the chief color, 
being used in perhaps 95 percent of all yarn dyed. 
Indigo in cakes from El Salvador is blended with 
cheaper German aniline dyes, then this mixture is 
added to about 8 or 10 times (by weight) the amount 
of sacatinla leaves (see p. 143). A mordant is pre- 
pared by leaching water through a mixture of wood 
ashes (3 parts) from Cajola and lime (1 part) from 
San Francisco el Alto; then adding this solution to 
20 parts of water, in large cement bins.^"" The 
majority of the Salcaja weavers also dye, apparently, 
but many who do not, buy dyed thread from others. 

Some weavers even tie up strands of yarn to get 
their own desired jaspe patterns, then pay a dyer 
for dipping them into his color vat. The jaspe tech- 
nique is practiced almost exclusively at Salcaja, 
though it is probably done on a small scale at Hue- 
huetenango, San Cristobal, and a few other centers. 
Strands of yarn, in which the threads are counted, 
are bound up at intervals with cotton string, so 
tightly wound that the dye does not penetrate to 
the yarn, provided it is not left too long in the vat. 

"s Probably a result of the greater cheapness and abundance of indigo 
than of other dyes, so much so that for other colors the yarn is bought 
already dyed. 

^^ It was reported that Ladino weavers in Chichicastenango are some- 
times hired by Indian textile merchants to make skirts. The Indians 
were said to buy the thread and pay for the work by the corte. Weavers 
and their families often retail the skirts they make, sometimes taking 
them to distant markets and fairs. 

^^ Sacatinta leaves (usually 150 lb.) are put to soak in the 400 gallons 
of water in the vat; then the dyes (about 20 lb.) are added the next day. 
After 2 weeks, the solution becomes quite green and odoriferous, with 
bubbles of carbon dioxide rising to the surface. It is then ready for use. 

By prearranging the spacings between the bindings, 
and the widths of them, the intervals of alternating 
blue and white are made to fomi various patterns 
when the yarn is set up on the loom (pi. 40, e). 
Characteristic of the Salcaja street scene are the 
great lengths of jaspe yarn warp strands, stretched 
over a space of a hundred yards or more, and hung to 
dry on pegs projecting from holes made in the adobe 
walls that border the sidewalks (pi. 40, a). Jaspe 
patterns are more often worked into the warp thread 
than the weft, but they not infrequently appear in 
both. Other textile pieces, especially scarves, are 
made from jaspe threads, and are given patterns of 
striking white dashes upon a dark blue field. 

Because of the custom of resetting a loom with 
new warp thread by tying it on to the remaining 
ends of the old, the basic pattern of the warp is 
generally preserved on any given loom. This tends 
to encourage, on a mechanical basis, the strong con- 
servatism which is so characteristic of these people, 
Ladinos as well as Indians. 

Huipil cloth is woven on a large scale on foot 
looms in tliose regions from which stick-loom weav- 
ing has almost disappeared. This is particularly true 
of the Quezaltcnango-Totonicapan-Momostenango 
region. All three of those towns are important pro- 
ducers of huipil cloth. The first two mentioned are 
noted for intricate all-over patterns, with various 
figures and colors, obtained from draw looms having 
great numbers of heddles. Dr. Lila O'Neale and 
I coimted over 100 on one in Quezaltenango. In 
such cases, younger members of a weaving family 
generally assist by drawing up the complex groups 
of heddles, which have long strings attached to them 
for the purpose. 

Foot-loom cotton textiles other than skirts and 
huipils include belts, head bands, aprons, napkins, 
ziites, and sheets of cloth having miscellaneous 
uses. (For distribution of these manufactures, see 
map 16.) Small foot looms are employed in weaving 
belts and head bands, and these are sometimes 
operated by women as well as men (pi. 40, c). 

The chief vendors of cotton textiles of all sorts 
are the itinerant Chichicastenango merchants. In 
the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan region there are also 
many vendors, especially in Quezaltenango, Totonica- 
pan, San Cristobal, and San Francisco. 


Nearly all weaving of wool yarn is done on foot 
looms, of the type employed in weaving skirts, and, 



like the latter, large enough to occupy the major 
portion of a room of average size. For these looms 
special houses or shelters are constructed, or else 
separate rooms or sections of rooms. Sometimes 
looms are unsheltered, as in parts of the Cuchuma- 
tanes region (pi. 37). They are operated by men, 
usually Indians, and they are more often rural than 
urban, except for the Huehuetenango Ladinos. Gen- 
erally, weavers and members of their families card 
and spin wool which they buy in bulk (pis. 33, a, b, d ; 
35, d). Foot-loom weaving of cotton goods differs, 
then, from wool weaving in that the latter is generally 
the work of rural Indian men using yarn spun by 
themselves or their families. Solid wooden spinning 
wheels arc generally used, but spindle sticks are some- 
times employed, especially when the weavers are 
away from home (pis. 19, d; 33, 34, b\ 37, h, d, c). 

Sources of raw wool are shown on map 16. Sheep 
are confined to the cool alpine meadows (especially 
in the fog belt) , above an elevation of about 2,000 m. 
(p. 38 and pis. 2>2: 37. a), and more flocks are pre- 
dominantly "black"' (dark brown) than otherwise. 
This is due to the heavy demand for the natural dark 
brown wool, which is widely used undyed. 

The greatest single center of foot-loom wool 
weaving in Central America is that of Momoste- 
nango. The extremely leached soil and badly eroded 
surfaces of this region have been alluded to earlier 
(pis. 29, c; 30, c, j), with the suggestion that this 
may in part account for the emphasis upon weaving, 
for want of self-support from agriculture. The oc- 
currence of hot springs is also an environmental ad- 
vantage, important to the felting process. This con- 
sists in alternately soaking a blanket in hot water, 
(natural or artificial heat, with or without soap) and 
treading it, slapping it vigorously on a rock, pulling, 
"snapping," and wringing it, there generally being 
two men involved in the process (pi. 34, a, d, c), 
which usually requires 2 hours or more. 

Other important wool-weaving municipios are 
Nahuala-Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, Chichicaste- 
nango, San Francisco el Alto, Comitancillo. and 
numerous communities in and near the Cuchuma- 
tanes, including Huehuetenango, Santa Barbara, 
Chiantla, and Aguacatan, along the southern margin 
of that massif (see map 16. and note the central 
location of Momostenango — an advantage in obtain- 
ing raw wool). 

The most important and best-known products of 
Momostenango are blankets, made by sewing to- 
gether (with wool thread) two widths of cloth. 

ranging between 24 and 33 inches, the latter being 
usually a maximum for the standard-sized loom. 
Sometimes one-piece blankets are woven, as wide 
as 5 or 6 feet. An average blanket length is about 
SO inches, and they are generally fringed ^yith tassels 
4 or 5 inches in length, formed by the loose, twisted 
ends of the warp (pi. 33, c). Checked and striped 
patterns predominate, with many blankets resembling 
Scotch plaids (pi. 35, a). Creative genius appears in 
some of the strange men and beasts that are some- 
times worked into a textile piece, which may depict 
ethnographic scenes. I once purchased a Momoste- 
nango blanket which was decorated with deer-dancers 
(Indians performing a ceremonial dance, wearing 
deer masks, as is commonly done in the Cuchumatanes 
region ; see pi. 34, g, inset figures). It was said that 
the technique of weaving "doll" (muileca) and animal 
designs was an innovation, in practice only since 
about 1925. Dr. O'Neale observed a strong resem- 
blance in this to modern Peruvian \vool weaving, and 
suggested that the ideas may have stemmed from 
a clever Momosteco who probably saw one of these 
imported pieces in a Guatemala City store. Local in- 
formants said doll blanket weaving began in the late 
1920's, starting with one Indian who was regarded 
as "queer" and who is credited with having originated 
the idea. A "diamond" center commonly employed 
suggests Mexican influence. Some of the "doll" 
blankets are beautifully made, and are very heavy 
and finely felted (pi. 34, g). They are the most ex- 
pensive pieces woven in Momostenango, and they 
bring a high price. Virtually all of these are sold to 
tourists, who pay (1936) as much as $25 for them 
in the more extravagant shops of Guatemala City. 
From the makers they could be bought for as low as 
$5, which is still high when compared with the price 
range of ordinary blankets ($1.50-$3). 

Lengths of suit cloth (usually 26 in. wide and 19 
ft. long) are made on a large scale at Momostenango 
fpl. 34, /), as are scarves (especially "bufanta," with 
cotton warp, wool weft, an industry said to have be- 
gun in 1934) and rodilleras; the latter are black-and- 
white checked knee-length skirts worn by men in 
many parts of the Highlands. They are sold in quan- 
tity as far away as Tecpan. Heavy felt saddle blan- 
kets are made on a small scale. 

A "schedule" as given by a Momostenango family 
of blanket weavers follows: Sunday — (morning) 
market, sell cloth, buy wool and perhaps yarn, 
(afternoon) card and spin the wool and skein the 



warp yarn (pi. 33, a, b, c), (night) wash the 
j'arn, cutting tlie natural oil by boiling it in a 
solution of potassium bichromate (2 oz. in 5 gal. of 
water), and dye; Monday — dry dyed yarn, set up 
creel and' wrap drum, tie warp on loom (pi. 33, d) ; 
Tuesday — -begin to weave, and, if necessary, continue 
spinning, carding, and dyeing of weft yarn (pi. 34, 
b) ; Wednesday — weaving, and possibly more card- 
ing and spinning of weft ; Thursday — (morning) fin- 
ish weaving ordinary blankets by noon {"inuneca" 
blankets require 2 weeks), (afternoon) take blanket 
(or blankets) off loom and felt them (see note above 
and pi. 34) ; Friday — sell blankets at San Francisco 
el Alto market (attended by most Momostecos ; pi. 
35), or continue weaving, if no blankets are ready: 
Saturday — prepare any unfinished blankets for Sun- 
day market at Momostenango. Washing, carding and 
spinning activities are performed by both men and 

Most of the wool consumed by the weaving indus- 
try of Momostenango comes from the great massifs 
to the north (especially from the Chiantla area of the 
Cuchumatanes) and west (largely from the Sierra 
Madre, near Tejutla). It is said that white wool is 
preferred by Momostenango weavers, for there are 
more possibilities in dyeing it than in the case of the 
"black," which is very dark brown to start with. 

Each wool-weaving center tends to have special- 
ties, and such characteristic products as the black 
blankets, bordered with red and white checks, typical 
of Chichicastenango, or the heavy-checked natural 
black-and-white rodilleras of Nahaula. Both these 
centers produce also natural black woolen goods used 
for capixais and jackets in certain villages, and sold 
on a large scale at Solola. Many types of wool cloth 
are woven by Huehuetenango Ladinos. 

Peyones.— These shaggy wool rugs are so called 
probably from their resemblance to a sheepskin 
(old Spanish vellon). The manufacture of peyones is 
confined to the Aldea Oboton, at about 2,600 m. 
(8,530 ft.) elevation in the municipio of San Sebas- 
tian Coatan (pi. 37). Here, on top of a high, grassy 
ridge, usually shrouded in wind-driven mountain fog, 
three brothers and their families engage in this work. 
To my knowledge there are no other weavers of 
peyones in Guatemala. Miguel Sebastian B., aided 
by his younger brother, uncle, and father, is the chief 
producer, turning out 12 peyones per month in addi- 
tion to a few blankets and capixais. Their three 
treadle looms are like those of Momostenango, Hue- 

huetenango, and other wool-weaving centers. One 
loom is under a porchlike shelter adjacent to the 
largest of the three dwellings ; the other two are out 
in the open near the house (pi. 37, a). Their wool 
comes mainly from Santa Eulalia, though they have 
some sheep of their own. Miguel, about 24 years old, 
was taught by his father to make peyones, and recalls 
that his grandfather also made them. 

Peyones are woven in the same manner as any other 
wool cloth, except that the third weft thread is pulled 
out with the fingers into a loop about 6 inches long, 
between every 3 warp threads, as in ' terry cloth. 
These loops are gathered and twisted in bunches of 
10 or 12, then later, after the rug is all woven, the 
bunches are cut, one at a time with a pocket knife, so 
that loose ends, about 3 inches long, are left (pi. 37, 
h. d). Solid whites, solid black (natural brown), 
and other large patterns combining the two, are the 
usual colors. Elements of the simple designs are 
usually not under 1 foot square. 

The two other brothers of Miguel produce usually 
about 6 peyones per month. All three households are 
within about a quarter-mile of each other. 


"Black" (dark blue).^The most important black 
dye is logwood palo de canipeche (or palo de tinte, 
HacuMtoxylum capechianum) which comes mainly 
from the Peten and British Honduras, generally 
bought by itinerant Momostenango blanket mer- 
chants in the market of San Pedro Carcha. near 
Coban, and often resold in the Momostenango plaza, 
along with other dyes (pi. 34. c). The wood, which 
becomes dark red upon exposure to air, is sold by the 
pound. Splintered and boiled in water to produce the 
dye, it is used chiefly on white wool, and sometimes 
also on natural black. Standley (1920-26, p. 4191 
states that it is "one of the few natural dyewoods 
which has not yet been replaced satisfactorily by syn- 
thetic dyes." ^"' 

Copper sulfate, 1 ounce to 5 pounds of wool (5 
pounds avoirdupois = 1 wool "pound"), is some- 
times added to the solution in order to fix the color, 
and, according to some informants, to darken it. 
Sometimes, campeche and brasil wood are added in 
equal proportions; or campeche may be mixed with 

i"^ The heartwood of "campeche" is, according to Standley, the com- 
mercial logwood, which, with mahogany, was a major ba^is for British 
settlements in Central America. Standley (1930, p. -SS). 




Light blue. — For lighter shades of blue, indigo is 
used, brought from El Salvador, in the form of irregu- 
lar cakes, by Momostenango merchants, who sell blan- 
kets there. There are said to be nine different grades 
of Salvador indigo, four or five of which come to 
]\Iomostenango. Reported to have been used for- 
merly unadulterated, it is now generally mixed with 
sacatUita (Jacobinia spicigcra; see p. 143), as is done 
by skirtweavers who dye cotton. i°- 

Red.— Cochineal was used almost solely for red 
dye until about 1920,^"^ according to several in- 
formants. Most of it came from Antigua. Since 
then, aniline dyes have been largely substituted or 
mixed with cochineal. Chhiche ncgrlta, or cinco 
nlgritos, (Lanfaiia cainara), a small shrub growing 
in the woods in the Momostenango region, is 
gathered, and leaves, twigs, and flowers are boiled in 
water, along with cochineal. Limes, which act as a 
mordant, are cut in half or crushed and added to the 
dye mixture in the proportion of 40 or 50 limes to a 
wool "pound" (80 oz. avoirdupois, or, actually, 5 
Ib.)^"* German aniline dyes were being used to a 
large extent before 1940 for red, as for other colors, 
though it was invariably said that these were not so 
fast as "natural" dye-stuffs. Some weavers mixed 
aniline and cochineal, half and half, getting a deeper 
red than with the insect alone. 

Yellow. — Palo amarillo (Chlorophora tiiictoria) is 
a fairly common tree throughout Central America, 
and supplies of the yellowish wood, from which a 
similar color is obtained by boiling it in water, come 
from the Mexican border region of Huehuetenango 
and from the Peten-Vera Paz territory. 

Purple. — Brasil {Hacmatoxylum brasiletfo) is a 
well-known dyewood, which, when variously treated, 
may be made a source of different shades of reds and 
purples (see Standley, 1920-26, p. 419). It is for 
the latter color that it is most used in Momostenango. 

^^ A wool weaver of Momostenango, Jos6 Barrera (pi. 33), explained 
that sacatinta is put in the water first, then, 2 days later, indigo, pow- 
dered on a metate, is added. It is left to stand, usually a week, some- 
times 2, until it becomes dark green and odoriferous, giving off bubbles 
of carbon dioxide. 

^^ The price of cochineal was said to have decreased since about 1920, 
from 17-25 cents an ounce to 10 or 12 cents for second-grade, and 20 
cents for first-grade (whole insects). According to Ernesto Lang, prior 
to 1920. approximately 2,000 pounds was sold annually in the Momo- 
stenango market: now not over 100 pounds. Cochineal is still called 
"grana," tlie name applied by the Spaniards after tlie Conquest, from 
the inferior predecessor, a related oak scale, kermes (hence, "crimson") 
originally thought to be seeds of plants. Dried cochineal (female scale 
insects) also resemble small grains or seeds. 

i»* Mrs. Osborne (1935, p. 54) gives 30 as the number used, but she 
refers to limes as "lemons." and a wool "pound" as an avoirdupois 
pound. (Limes are called limones in Guatemala and most of Latin 

The low-growing tree is common from Mexico to 
Colombia, apparently having its major abundance 
along the Pacific side. It is from Huehuetenango 
that Momostecos said they obtained their greatest 

Green. — A mixture of cempeche (6 or 7 oz.) and 
palo amarillo (4-7 oz. for 5 lb. of yarn) is the usual 
formula for green, with indigo occasionally added to 
lighten the blue. 

Brown. — Bark of alders (aliso, Alnus spp.) which 
grow in the Momostenango region serves to dye yarn 
a deep reddish brown. 

Tie dyeing. — Jaspe eft'ects are not uncommonly 
obtained on wool yarns in Momostenango, the bind- 
ings being made with tightly wrapped cotton cord 
(see p. 63). 


Because of its importance to Indians and Ladinos 
throughout Southwest Guatemala, in supplying 
great quantities of cotton cloth, thread, and yarn, 
certain basic data regarding this textile factory will 
be given here, although it is not a hand industry. 

The mill was established in 1885, with 15 water- 
power looms. At the time of my visit (July 1936) 
there were about 500 laborers employed, most of 
them Indian women of Cantel, operating looms 
driven by hydroelectric power developed from the 
nearby Samala River (pi. 39, d). The machinery 
was all of English make, and the foreman of the 
mill was from Manchester. Of the raw cotton used 
in the mill, about 50 percent was said to be of local 
origin, mainly from the Pacific Lowlands between 
Mazatenango and the Mexican border; 15 percent 
from the United States; and approximately 35 per- 
cent from Nicaragua, a source which had become 
important only within the previous 3 years. Most of 
the cotton used was white, but some was the natural 
brown, employed only in the weft, brown-dyed white 
cotton being substituted for it in the warp. (See p. 
62, ftn. 96.) 

In those municipios where no characteristic cos- 
tumes are worn, practically all the basic white huipil 
cloth is Cantel material. Sometimes it is worn 
plain, sometimes elaborately embroidered, as at San 
Andres Xecul and San Cristobal. Striped material 
is also produced on the Cantel looms, however. The 
manufacturers have made a careful study of native 
weaving patterns, and have imitated many of them 
with such success that much of their manufactured 
cloth was being sold to Indians in such municipios 
as Solola, to be made into costumes virtually in- 



distinguishable from the native hand-woven ones. 
The only Cantel yarn sold was said to be unbleached 
white. The total production of the mill, all goods 
being sold within the country, was estimated to be 
only 10 percent of the total Guatemala consumption 
of manufactured cotton yarn and cloth goods. 


All siiyacalcs (palm-leaf raincapes) used in South- 
west Guatemala with the exception of the Cuchu- 
matanes margin and possibly parts of the Department 
of San Marcos, are supplied by the municipio of 
San Sebastian Retalhuleu, which specializes in this 
industry, almost to the exclusion of anything else. 
The habitat, distribution, and utility of the corozo 
palm are treated elsewhere in this study (see p. 145). 
Here, only the fabrication of suyacales will be de- 
scribed. The process is as follows. Segments of 
the immense pinnate leaves of the corozo palm are 
stripped from the midrib and boiled for a half hour 
in large kettles of water to which a small amount 
of salt has been added. Then they are carefully 
spread out to dry and bleach in the sun for about 2 
days, at the end of which time they are nearly white, 
and quite tough and pliant. They are sewn together 
with strong twine, locally spun from pitafloja fibers 
which are bought at stores,^"^ the leaf segments be- 
ing overlapped and joined by four rows of close 
transverse stitches, about 5 inches apart. Generally 
this is women's work (pi. 2, b). There are two types 
of suyacales, one in which the ends of the leaf seg- 
ments are trimmed so that the edges of the cape are 
straight and parallel with one side hemmed ; the 
other, fringed along one side, where the pointed ends 
of the leaf segments are left free and uncut. There 
is usually a difference in the wearing of the two, in 
that the first is thrown longitudinally over a man's 
head so that it falls back over his shoulders and pro- 
tects his cargo, if he has any, as well as his body ; 
whereas the fringed one is wrapped around, with the 
loose ends down, and the straight edge up about the 
shoulders. The latter is best suited to a man without 
a pack on his back. Generally, Indians on the trail, 
when caught in a heavy rain, are more interested in 
keeping their cargoes dry than in avoiding the water 
themselves. In a market place during a downpour, 
wares are protected by suyacales more often than by 
canvas or rubber sheets, for only wealthier merchants 
can aflford the latter. 

Adult-size suyacales are about 2 by 5 feet, and they 
sell for 10 to 15 cents. Children's sizes are also 
made and marketed. The rush season for these gar- 
ments corresponds to the time of greatest rainfall, 
from April through October, in most of the High- 
lands. Merchants on trade journeys to the pied- 
mont carry their suyacales, rolled and attached ver- 
tically to the cargo packs, all the year round (pi. 13, 
a). In the mountains, however, where rains are con- 
fined to the summer half year, they usually carry 
them only during that season, and suyacales do not 
begin to appear in the Highland plazas until April 
(pi. 2, c). A woman seldom carries one, and when 
she does, it is rolled up and placed on top of her 
head basket to protect whatever goods there are in 
it. The suyacal is strictly an Indian garment, though 
Ladinos, who generally wear rubber ponchos when 
it rains, may help cover pack-animal cargoes with 
palm capes. 

It was reported in Chicacao (1936) that some 
suyacales are made in San Miguel Panan, but this 
was not verified. (See Sapper, 1905, pp. 2-1—25.) 

(Map 17) 

The center of hat production is Santa Cruz 
Quiche, which, with nearby San Sebastian Lemoa, 
supplies virtually all the hats worn in Southwest 
Guatemala, though some are made also in cantones 
of Chichicastenango, according to Sol Tax. The 
source of most of the palm leaves,^"" vendors of them 
say, is a place called Palmar, near San Miguel Uspan- 
tan, far to the northeast. Strips of the leaves are sold 
on a large scale in the plazas of Chiche, Quiche, and 
Lemoa, most of them to Indian men who sew the 
strands into hats on sewing machines. Some few 
men are said to do this work by hand, but the ma- 
chine-sewn product is preferred. 

The chief hat merchants of the western region are 
the men of San Francisco el Alto, who, after buying 
them in their home market, retail them as far west 
as La Union, San Marcos. The Maxeiios sell most 
of the Quiche hats in the region to the south, includ- 
ing the piedmont plazas of Chicacao and Patulul, and 
eastward as far as Guatemala Citv.^"^ 

^^ The price quoted in 1936 was S cents per pound, enough for S 
dozen suyacales. 

i<» A fan palm, the identification of which I was unable to ascertain. 

1" Most hats sold in the Guatemala market, however, apparently come 
from Honduras (Santa Barbara was named as a major supply center), 
brought largely by itinerant merchants, particularly Quezaltecos. One 
of these, on one occasion, sold 10 dozen hats from Santa Barbara to a 
Ladina stall vendor. He had taken 500 pairs of llomostenango blankets, 
bought there, to Honduras, through EI Salvador, and sold them for $2 
each (100 percent profit, reduced by duties, he said, to 50 percent"). 



(Map 17) 

There are three major fibers of which mats 
(petates) are made, namely, pahn (probably of the 
type used in making hats), rush (tiil), and alpine 
bunchgrass (Mulilenbergia sp.), in descending order 
of importance. 

The main center of production of palm mats was 
alvva\'s stated to be San Andres Sajcabaja, and they 
were said to come also from Rabinal, and occasionally 
from Nenton, near the Mexican border. Mats are 
made in various sizes, from 2 feet square up to 8 by 6 
and 13 by 4 feet or more. The}- always seem to sell 
rapidly, even in areas where other types of mats are 
made, as at Solola, near the rush-mat suppl}' center 
of Lake Atitlan. The uses of them are manifold, not 
only in the household, as floor covering, bed cushions, 
and screens, but also m providing itinerant merchants' 
accoutrements, especially outer coverings for cacastes 
(cargo frames) among the ]\Iaxerios and Totoni- 
capenos, and beds, for which purpose one is usually 
carried rolled on top of each cargo pack, to spread 
upon the ground for sleeping beside the trail. 

The rush mat (petate till) is an item of commerce 
that is made generally in lake-shore villages, or those 
situated near water bodies or marshes where rushes 
grow. Of the Lake Atitlan villages, Santa Catarina 
Palopo is the chief producing center, though the in- 
dustry has been retarded since 1932, owing to the ris- 
ing lake level (see pp. 123, 132) . Rushes are gathered 
near the village (many being bought, in 1936, from 
San Antonio), dried, then soaked in water again in- 
doors to avoid the drying effects of sun and wind, 
before being worked into mats. Mats of various sizes 
are made, up to 4 by 6 feet or more. It was said 
that 200 rushes would suffice for three mats of the 
size mentioned. Other Lake Atitlan villages where 
some of the inhabitants make petates are Cerro de 
Oro, Santiago, San ^Marcos, and Santa Cruz. Solola 
is their principal market. An important producing 
center in the Antigua region is San Antonio Aguas- 

Mats made of tough bunchgrass, generally about 3 
feet square, are sometimes woven by shepherds in 
the lofty alpine meadows of the Totonicapan-San 
Francisco region, and perhaps in others as well. They 
are occasionally to be seen for sale in the markets, 
especially those of San Francisco el Alto and 


Sandalniakers {caitcros) are most abundant in 
Totonicapan, and are strongly in evidence in many 
of the settlements which have been peopled by Totoni- 
capenos, such as Argueta and Patanatic. There are 
also some in Chichicastenango and Ouezaltenango, 
who operate mainly within their local orbits. The 
Totonicapenos, on the other hand, cover a wide area. 
Some of them are itinerants who attend various dis- 
tant markets, working at their trade in the plaza. 
Surrounded by belts, straps, and sandals, they cut and 
hammer under canvas shelters lined up in the space 
allotted to them. On most Fridays about 20 sandal 
makers from Argueta (Totonicapan) may be seen in 
the Solola market (map 22). They separate at that 
point, and head for Sunday markets in the Lowlands, 
aliout half going to Chicacao and the other half to 
Patulul. On one occasion I saw a Ouezaltenango 
sandalmaker at work in the Olintepeque market ; in 
this case a woman, a rarity in such work. 

Sandals and leather belts are the chief items sold, 
though there is usually a good stock of muleteers' 
(arrieros') supplies, especially plaited whips and 
iapaojos (heavy leather straps for blindfolding mules 
during loading), as well as sheaths for machetes, 
knives, and the like. 

Leather sandals are in some measure being replaced 
by those made from sections of discarded automobile 
tires (see McBryde, 1933, p. 120, ftn. 57), as Is 
done in many other parts of the world having econo- 
mies similar to that of Indian Guatemala. I noted 
a particular abundance of tire sandals in the market 
of San Salvador, much more so than in Guatemala 
City (pi. 42, d). Though cheaper, they are heavier 
and hotter on the feet than leather, so that they are 
little worn in the Guatemala Lowlands. 

Mccapalcs (rawhide forehead straps, or tumplines) 
are a specialty of Sacapulas men, who plait them 
while sitting in the market (p. 58). 


Gaudy and elaborate bejeweled silk, satin, and 
velvet costumes for men, designed after the finest 
raiment of the conquistadors, and wigs and masks, 
usually depicting bearded Spaniards, are made in 
Totonicapan and owned by a single Indian dealer. 
There is another small-scale costumemaker in San 
Cristobal Totonicapan and one in Chichicastenango. 
These costumes are not ordinarily sold, but are rented 
at good prices to members of certain village cofradias 





•a Q, 





^ c 


H ^ 



1 1 




g » 





(religious societies) or other esoteric Indian organ- 
izations, for the dances which form a vital part of 
their fiesta celebrations (pi. 17, /). The conquistador 
dance, in which the participants dress like the Spanish 
conquerors and dance in the open, to the accompani- 
ment of drum, fife, and marimba, is the most wide- 
spread and best-known ceremonial fpl. 17, g). Since 
the fiestas come at dififerent times for the various 
villages (the fiesta titular, for example, on the day of 
the patron saint after whom the settlement is named), 
the costumes and masks are taken to various parts 
of the country at different seasons, constituting color- 
ful cargoes on the trail, and bringing a handsome rev- 
enue to their owners. 

(Map 18) 
It is common to see as many as 25 Totonicapefios 
and 8 Naliualenos^"* in small groups on the road to 
Quezaltenango, carrying six white pine boards, 
usually about 1 by 10 inches and 8 feet long, or four 
beams, 3 by 3 inches and 12 feet long. Always loaded 
crosswise on the back, they make an unwieldy burden. 
Many of the Totonicapefios also have mules (often 
15 or 20 in all) loaded with six boards on each side. 
This hewn lumber is sold mainly to Quezaltenango 
carpenters, who depend upon these sources for their 
construction wood. Good stands of large white pine 
are still to be found in the high mountains between 
Totonicapan and Nahuala. 


(Map 18) 
Carpenters of Totonicapan ( Argueta in particular) 
fa:^hion chests, chairs, tables, beds, carrying frames 
(cacostcs) and other articles of furniture from the 
soft pine which abounds at those high altitudes. The 
chests are generally painted red and yellow ( some- 
times black), and they may be covered with geometric 
designs made by scraping the wet red paint off the 
dried yellow surface underneath. ( For diagram illus- 
trating this negative technique, see Lemos. 1941, p. 
35 ) . They appear in many markets throughout South- 
western Guatemala, especially during fiestas, and are 
essential to most Indian households. Textiles and 
clothing in particular are stored in them. Various 
items of furniture are generally to be seen for sale by 
Totonicapan merchants in Quezaltenango, San Fran- 
cisco el Alto, and often Solola and Chichicastenango. 

The most widely disseminated articles are chairs, 
which are taken periodically by Totonicapan (espe- 
cially Argueta) merchants going as far as Guatemala 
City. Whiles are frequently used to transport them, 
but men generally carry large loads themselves. 


(Map 17) 

The four principal sources of supply of maguey 
(agave or Furcraea sp.) fiber goods to South- 
west Guatemala are, in order of importance, the 
Coban area (San Cristobal), the western shores of 
Lake Atitlan (San Pedro-San Juan-Pablo), Comi- 
tancillo, and Colotenango (map 17). Though ropes 
are the most important and widely sold sisal products, 
cargo nets (especially for corn ears), cinches, halters, 
hammocks, carrying-bags (inorrales) , and other ar- 
ticles are also sold by rope workers. In San Juan, 
relatively more of these seem to be made. Merchants 
in the markets may sell rope work alone or combined 
with hats, baskets, or miscellaneous goods. 

My study of the rope industry was confined to San 
Pedro la Laguna, which may be taken as illustrative 
of Lake Atitlan techniques in general, though the 
notes here refer strictly only to San Pedro. ^''^ The 
large-sized ropes (sogas. usually about -yg, of an inch 
in diameter and 22 ft. long) sold in great quantities, 
especially in grazing areas, for leading horses and 
cattle, are made in the following manner. Maguey 
leaves are cut from the abundant plants growing on 
the lava slopes and put to soak along the edge of the 
lake, weighted by large stones and protected from 
wave disturbance by stake enclosures. After 2 weeks 
in the water to soften the flesh, they are taken out, 
laid on a board, and one at a time rasped with flat, 
oarlike paddles, pressed down and forward (pi. 26, 
d). Sometimes the scraping process is preceded by 
pounding with a heavy wooden implement used like 
a pestle. The fleshy part of the leaf is thus removed, 
leaving only the tough, white fiber. Sometimes 
freshlv cut leaves are scraped, but as a rule they are 
soaked first. 

The apparatus used in making ropes consists of a 
simple wooden spinner (usually of oak) made in two 
parts: (1) The flat rotary piece about 10 by lyi 
by yi inch, tapered and notched at one end for attach- 
ment of the fiber, with a hole not over an inch in 
from the notch; and (2) a stick handle, about 10 
inches long and one-half inch in diameter, which 

^^ Counts were made for most days between July 25 and August 15, 

1™ For a brief description of ropemaking at San Pablo, see also 
Lothrop, 1929, p. 2. 



passes like an axle through the hole in the rotator 
(pi. 26, c, c). The great eccentricity of this device 
provides strong leverage, and makes it possible to 
spin even hea\'y rope with little effort. After the first 
simple strand is twisted (bits of hemp being fed 
gradually by a helper to the growing line as the 
spinner backs away; pi. 26, b), it is then doubled, 
and three double strands, each pair attached to a 
spinner, are spun with the ends of the rope attached 
to a large Y-post, driven into the ground so that the 
crotch projects upward to a height of 3 or 4 feet.^^" 
When the double strands are tightly twisted, the 
Y-post serves to keep a steady tension upon the main 
rope, which is then spun by another person at tlie 
other end, spinning in the opposite direction from that 
of the three strandspinners. The strands are drawn 
so that the two prongs of the fork keep them apart 
until the rope is tightly spun. 

Men and women both participate in most of the 
steps involved in ropemaking, with the exception of 
cutting and scraping the leaves, which is generally 
men's work. 

As will be pointed out later (p. 95), the Ped- 
ranos have taken the ropemaking industry with them 
to their Lowland colony of Cutzan. Ordinarily, like 
most of the industries described in this chapter, 
maguey working is almost always a Highland trait. 


(Map 17) 
The three principal types of brooms used in South- 
west Guatemala are: (1) Those resembling manu- 
factured types and made, according to inform- 
ants, of giant bunchgrass roots, mainly at Quezal- 
tenango : (2) fan-palm leaves with the tips trimmed 
off, said to come primarily from the Rabinal 
area; and (3) bunches of coro.?o-leaf veins, made in 
the Lowlands. The three are listed here in descend- 
ing order of C|uality and abundance in the market. 
The first go periodically in considerable quantity to 
the capital, usually being taken in large loads of 30 
or 35, by groups of four or five Quezaltecos, while 
brooms of coroao-leai veins are seldom seen in mar- 
kets, and often are made by people for their own use. 
Tax (Ms. 1935) reported a fine grade of broom made 
in San Andres Sajcabaja and occasionally sold in 

(Map 13) 

Certain municipios specialize in soapmaking, in the 
Lowlands as well as in the Highlands. Important 
Highland producing centers include Quezaltenango, 
Totonicapan, San Andres Xecul, Santa Lucia Utat- 
lan. San Pedro la Laguna, and Solola (map 13). 

At San Andres Xecul, suet, especially that of beef, 
is the basic ingredient. It is treated with water which 
has been leached through a mixture of lime and ashes. 
The fat is heated in one pot, the alkali solution in 
another; then the two are mixed. The leaching is 
done in colander pots, which may be seen supported 
on three-prong forked sticks beside many houses of 
San Andres. The little plaza of this village is usually 
well supplied with these vessels, brought for sale from 
Totonicapan, especially to meet the usual demands of 
soapmaking. About half of the families of San Andres 
were reported to be engaged in the soap industry, 
their suet suppl_v being drawn from the meat markets 
of the Quezaltenango Valley, upon the edge of which 
their village is situated. Pork fat is an important 
soap ingredient in the Lake Atitlan region, especially 
at Santa Lucia and Solola, where pork vendors also 
sell soap. 

Samayac is perhaps the principal soap-producing 
center of the southwestern piedmont. The inhabi- 
tants of this village depend largely upon pig fat for 
their industry, the chief source being nearby San 
Bernardino, where pig raising is a specialty, in con- 
junction with cheese making (the whey being fed to 


The characteristic form of Indian soap in Guate- 
mala is spherical, with a diameter ranging from IJ/2 
inches to nearly 3 inches, and color dark brownish 
with a blue-gray cast (pi. 39, a). 


The material employed most widely in candlemak- 
ing in Southwest Guatemala is paraffin. Tallow 
is much used at such villages as San Andres Xecul 
where suet is handled on a large scale for soapmaking. 
San Cristobal Totonicapan, a few miles away, pro- 
duces mainly paraffin candles.^^^ Beeswax candles, 
much used in the churches in earlier days, seem now 
to be a rarity. The only municipio where I found 

"" In the western Lake villages where ropemaking is an important in. 
diistry, these forked posts may be seen adjacent to many of the houses 
(pi. 26, b, <•). 

"1 Tax (Ms., 1935) reports tliat several natives of San now 
residing in Chichicastenango make candles for sale. They probably 
settled there for that special purpose, since there is a great demand for 
candles in religious ceremonies at Chichicastenango. 



them being made on a fairly large scale was Pueblo 

Hand-dipped candles, white and yellow, hanging in 
graceful clusters around the vendor, are commonly 
seen near the entrances to market places. Probably 
because the small Ladino storekeepers sell candles, 
only a few Indian merchants sell them in the plaza, 
except at Chichicastenango, where the Maxenos use 
great numbers of them. Inside their main church, 
lines of candles along aisles carpeted with rose petals 
are kept burning continuously (pi. 35, b). Outside, 
on the large, circular stone steps and along each side 
of the street leading to it, 15 or 20 candle vendors 
do a thriving business on market days (Thursdays 
and Sundays). Candles are used in great quantity 
not only in churches, but also for all sorts of magical 
rites, conducted by medicine men at crude altars 
hidden back in the pine-covered hills. (These prac- 
tices are common throughout most of Indian Guate- 


(Map 18) 

In the municipios of San Jose Chacaya (Solola 
area) and Cajola, in the Quezaltenango region, 
charcoal making is an important industry. Truck- 
loads of charcoal from Tecpan may be seen en route 
to Guatemala City, and there are probably other 
centers about which no information was obtamed. 

At Cajola it was said that charcoal was made by 
Indians living back in the cantons of the mountain 
slopes behind the village. Oak trees are purchased, 
informants said, in the municipios of San Carlos 
Sija and Sibilia. Thin, straight sections of select 
wood are cut out. the remainder being used or sold 
for firewood or for construction material. ^^^ The 
burning of charcoal at Cajola is done in pits, bunch- 
grass and twigs serving as fuel, and air is excluded 
by dirt piled up in a big mound above each pit. 
Holes, usually four, are driven through to carry of? 
the smoke. Burning is continous for 3 days, at the 
end of which time the oak is charred and ready for 
the market. Some charcoal is made in the neighbor- 
ing municipios of San Juan Ostuncalco and San 
Miguel Siguila. 


(Map 18) 
Incense (copal, incienso) usually appears in the 
market in three forms, the commonest and least 

expensive being granular cstoraqitc, sold in several 
grades of quality and coarseness. Pom is the name 
of the disk form, consisting of wafers about 1>^ 
inches in diameter and usually put up in a cylindrical 
banana-fiber package 15 inches long containing about 
2 dozen pieces. The finest grade is the so-called 
Cuilco, packed in small, circular loaves, two to a 
package. The last was said to come, prior to about 
1930, only from Cuilco. and was regarded as the 
most fragrant of all incense, and of unique quality. 
More recently, however, it has come from Santa 
Alaria Chiquimula, almost exclusively, according to 
several merchants. Men from that municipio sell 
most of the incense, in all forms, throughout the 
Ouezaltenango-Totonicapan \'alley area. Copal in 
the Solola-Chichicastenango region is brought 
mainly from Sacapulas. Chichicastenango is an 
especially good market for incense, because of the 
continual burning of it by Indians, who may be seen 
at almost any time swinging censers as they kneel on 
the circular stone steps of the church (pi. 29, a). 
Resin of trees {Idea spp., Elaphrium spp., and 
others) (Standley, 1920-26, p. 543) is used in mak- 
ing the various forms of incense, but no first-hand 
information was obtained regarding manufacture or 
identity of the tree. 


(Map 19) 

The great significance of trade among the in- 
habitants of Central America, especially the Maya, 
dates from pre-Columbian time (Blom, 1932; Mc- 
Bryde, 1933, pp. 110-112). A well-developed com- 
merce, the channels of which extended for long dis- 
tances over the area and were even linked remotely 
with North and South America, is indicated by a 
wealth of archeological and historical evidence. Tur- 
quoise at Chichen Itza"^ is thought to have come 
from Veracruz, the central Mexican highlands, or 
even New Mexico; beaten gold objects found in 
Guatemala (Rossbach collection, Chichicastenango) 
have been tentatively identified as Peruvian. It is 
probable that they reached the Maya area through 
a series of exchanges, involving several different 
Indian groups. 

Ceramic pieces from numerous archeological sites 
throughout the Central American region include 

"^ Shingles are also a product of Cajola. 

5^= See Morris, Chariot, and Morris, I93I, vol. 1, p. 196; Thompson, 
1943, p. 16. 


quantities of exotic pottery, which is generally re- 
garded as having come in by trade from outside 
areas. '^■' 

The ancient commercial significance of salt and 
cacao has been pointed out earlier. Another com- 
modity which was formerly of great value was 
feathers of the cjuetzal, which today, however, is 
protected, being Guatemala's national emblem. The 
importance of the long, graceful green plumes of this 
trogon impressed most of the early chroniclers, who 
often referred to the methods of capturing the birds, 
as well as to the quantities of feathers handled by 
Aztec merchants. Of this industry in \"era Paz, 
Medel wrote, about the middle of the 16th century: 
"There is a kind of bird having ver}- long and beauti- 
ful feathers, and adorned with many marvelous 
colors; which the native Indians of that province 
painstakingly capture alive with some little nets and 
other devices which they have for the purpose. They 
pull out three or four of the prettiest tail feathers 
and release the birds so that they may bear more 
of the same fruit the following year."^^^ According 
to this author, traders from Mexico came to buy 
quetzal feathers in great quantities, to take them back 
that they might adorn idols worshipped by the Aztec. 

In addition to cacao, salt, pottery, turquoise, and 
feathers, the ancient IMaya widely traded such things 
as foodstuffs, corn, beans, chile, honey, clothing, par- 
ticularly cotton textiles, and minerals, principally jade 
and obsidian. To a lesser extent they dealt in gold in 

^* See Lothrop, 1933, pp. 29, 45, 47, 57. Joyce summarizes Seler's 
conclusions on this question as follows; "Seler has attempted to 
trace to some extent the wanderings of pottery from certain centers 
of manufacture; he calls attention to the finding in Guatemala of 
ware of Tarascan type; concludes that the ware of Huehuetenango 
and Chiquimula spread over the whole of south-western Guatemala 
and south-eastern Chiapas, while that of Jilotei'>ec in the Guatemalan 
province of Jalapa was carried to south-eastern Guatemala and 
western El Salvador" (Joyce, 1914, p. 308). 

^^ Medel, Ms., p. 36, f. 138. A somewhat later description of 
Vera Paz, anonymous and undated (probably written about 1575) 
gives a remarkably detailed account of the quetzal traffic, as follows: 
*'. . . the long [quetzal] feathers sell very well, and there are 
obtained in this province annually more than 10,000. From here they 
are taken to other provinces, and they are very much in demand. 
The manner of hunting them is by means of sticks or strings with 
birdlime which is put on the drinking-places or in the trees where the 
birds feed, on small fruit well known to the Indians. These trees 
and watering places are privately owned by Indians, and may be 
sold or managed by them. Sometimes 'they catch the birds on the 
nest and pluck the feathers . . . The birds make their nests in 
the highest trees, in holes in the trunk . . . It is imix)ssible to 
raise them. This collecting of feathers is very arduous and difficult, 
even dangerous for the Indians, because in addition to spending many 
days on the trail and waiting during the hunt, they often fall from 
the trees and may break legs and arms, or be killed . . . but 
these natives despoil one saint to adorn another which is no saint 
. . ." (Anon., Ms. 1574a, pp. 16-17, f. 83). 

Pineda writes (about 1570) of the qnet^alcs of Vera Paz, [the 
Indians] catch them at a certain season of the year, take off the 
feathers and turn them loose to grow more" (Pineda, 1908, p. 448). 

the form of dust (in quills) and figurines, and copper 
cast into small bells and ax blades. From rock 
quarries they produced lime and metates. 


Great diversity of small adjacent areas in Central 
America has led to regional specialization, wliich has 
stimulated trade development to a high degree since 
ancient times. The immense ranges of altitude in 
the high, dissected mountains and plateaus are 
reflected in marked climatic contrasts (map 6). In 
addition to this, there are extreme slope, soil, and 
hydrographic differences that determine natural 
vegetation forms, flora and agricultural products. 
The geologic structure is likewise highly varied, 
there being granites and limestones in sharp contact, 
in places buried by superimposed ejecta of recent 
volcanism (map 5). 


. (Map 18) 

The scattered distribution of essential trade articles 
based upon products of mines and forests is evident 
from map 18. 

Metates. — Metates are made in only three centers : 
(1) Nahuala (and its sister municipio of Santa 
Catarina Ixtahuacan, culturally almost indistinguish- 



IQ SALT (C = Cooked; 

(3= Stin-evaporated) 







Arrow3 with cross bara Indicate volime of 
trade, as In map 10 (bars same Interval aa barba). 

able from it), which supplies the eastern and south- 
eastern two-thirds of Southwest Guatemala; (2) 
Malacantancito, which supplies the Cuchumatanes 
Mountain villages and the region from Huehue- 
tenango southward through the town of Quezalte- 
nango (where Nahuala stones are also sold) and into 
the Lowlands as far east as Nuevo San Carlos ; and 
(3) Tajumulco, which supplies the San Marcos re- 
gion, some metates reaching the town of Ouezalte- 









nango, and southward into the Pacific coastal low- 
lands. It will be noted that all of these centers are in 
the volcanic highlands where there are abundant sup- 
plies of fresh andesite and other types of volcanic 
lava of which metates are made. Because of the 
difficulties involved in quarrying and working the 
rock and in carrying the heavy stones long distances 
to sell them ( generally _from house to house and less 
frequently in markets, where the purchaser would be 
burdened by their great weight), very few communi- 
ties have specialized in this work. Nahuala men take 
usually 2 metates and 6 iiianos (handstones) at a 
time, a load of about 100 pounds. During July and 
August 1936 I saw si-x or eight of them daily going 
to Quezaltenango. 

Lime. — Map 18 also indicates the lime-producing 
centers, all in the Highlands near limestone outcrops. 
In the volcanic mountains there are six, most im- 
portant of which are Santa Apolonia, supplying the 
Lake Atitlan area; Santa Maria Chiquimula, pro- 
ducing for the Quiche district ; San Francisco el 
Alto, for the Ouezaltenango-Totonicapan region, 
with some lime going as far as Solola; San Carlos 
Sija, for Quezaltenango and Lowland towns ; and 
Cabrican, for Quezaltenango, Momostenango, San 
Marcos, and parts of the Lowlands. 

In the Cuchumatanes Mountains, where limestone 
is extensive, lime is burned in many centers. Usually 
it is locally peddled from house to house and it may 
not appear in markets at all, or it may be taken short 
distances, as from Soloma to Santa Eulalia, to sup- 
plement lime which is locally produced. The main 
sources along the edge of the Cuchumatanes, as shown 
on map 18, are leal, Torlon, and Chinaca. Lime from 
this region is generally handled in the form of spher- 
ical blocks, instead of irregular lumps or grains 
(sometimes this is slaked or air-slaked), as in the 
volcanic mountain centers. 

Sometimes, as at Santa Maria Chiquimula. the 
makers of lime also take it to sell in other markets. 
In San Francisco el Alto (see p. 60), a separate 
group living in the same canton as the makers 
(Paxixil) sell lime in the markets. Chichicaste- 
nango Indians (canton Panimache) sell Santa Apo- 
lonia lime at the plazas of Panajachel, Patzum, Tec- 
pan, and Solola (pi. 14, c). Often lime is sold partly 
at houses, as in the Cuchumatanes, and partly in the 
market (Santa Cruz del Quiche about half each way). 
Santiago Atitlan men buy Santa Apolonia lime when 
they go to the nearby Tecpan market to sell lowland 
fruit from Chicacao (pi. 23, d). They return to 

Santiago with lime, some of which is retailed in 
small lots by the women who sell only locally. Men, 
who are the long-distance merchants, dispose of most 
of the rest of the lime in the Chicacao market, where 
they again buy tropical fruit for the return trip to the 
Highlands. Sijenos, tall, thin Ladinos of San Carlos 
Sija, take large mule-train loads of lime from their 
Sija kilns to Quezaltenango and into the Lowlands 
as far as Alazatenango and Retalhuleu, after return- 
ing with maize, coffee, or other Lowland products. 
Mule-shippers like those of Sija market some of the 
Santa Apolonia lime, especially in the Lowlands, at 
Patulul, and on the fincas. Lime is carefully packed 
for transport in skins inside of nets. Rain is avoided 
wherever possible, as the quicklime burns the skin 
when wet. 

Salt. — Salt, made at various points along the 
Pacific coast (pp. 58, 59), especially Champerico, 
Tahuesco (pi. 1, rf), Sipacate, and San Jose (pi. 1, e), 
and along the southern margin of the Cuchumatanes 
]\Iountains, notably at Sacapulas (pi. 42, e, j), is now 
handled in large quantities by trucks. This is par- 
ticularly true of granular salt moving from the Pacific 
shore to piedmont towns, such as Escuintla, Mazate- 
nango, Retalhuleu, and Coatepeque, for redistribu- 
tion to the fincas and to Highland villages. Much of it 
is trucked into the Highlands also, as in the case of 
the Gutierrez store at San Cristobal Totonicapan. In- 
dians buy it there and resell it in San Francisco el 
Alto and Momostenango. There are usually 35 
vendors with 50 pounds each in the San Francisco 
market every Friday, and almost as many in Momo- 
stenango every Sunday. 

The salt sold in most of the Indian markets of the 
Lake Atitlan region is handled by itinerant Chichi- 
castenango Indian merchants, who buy it in the Low- 
lands, chiefly at Mazatenango, and sell it along with 
many other Lowland products, such as spices, coffee, 
rice, sugar, dried chile, peanuts, and cotton. 

Though Sacapulas salt occasionally appears in dis- 
tant markets at times of fiestas, it seems to be sold 
for the most part locally and in nearby markets, such 
as that of Aguacatan, where more Pacific than Saca- 
pulas salt is handled. In the Sacapulas market dur- 
ing 1940, I estimated an average of 75 vendors a 
week each selling about 25 or 50 pounds of the little 
disk-shaped cakes of local salt. 

San !Mateo Ixtatan supplies salt to the northern 
Cuchumatanes villages, and it is sold by San ]\Iateo 
men and local merchants who go there to buy it. 
Ladino mule-shippers of Chiantla, much like the 



Sijenos, take Pacific salt lo sell in most of the west- 
ern Cuchumatanes villages. 

Lumber and furniture. — Boards and beams of 
good size (see p. 69 j are hewn from large white pine 
trunks in the high mountains between the village of 
Nahuala and the town of Totonicapan. Indians 
from the two municipios carry this lumber on their 
backs to Ouezaltenango, where they sell it largely 
to carpenters, though some is sold in the street in 
front of the entrance to the big enclosed market place 
(pi. 38, c). Totonicapan (mostly Argueta) In- 
dians make simple unpainted pine furniture, espe- 
cially chairs and tables, and decorated chests. These 
go to markets from Quezaltenango to Guatemala 
City, and are much in demand. 

Pitch pine (ocote). — Pitch pines, probably 
chiefly Finns teocotc, which is rich in resin, are the 
source of the ocotc (pitch pine splints) collected and 
sold by Indians of certain Highland municipios where 
suitable trees grow. Split to about 5^-1 inch by 
y2-lA i"ch by 10-12 inches, pitch pine splints are 
usually taken only in small quantities from any one 
tree without cutting it down or killing it at once. 
Ocote is valued most for torches, though it is also 
much used for starting fires. Because of the limited 
distribution of pitch pine trees and the demand for 
torches, ocote is an important market commodity. 
The chief producing centers are: Rlomostenango 
(canton Xicamaya) -Santa Maria Chiquimula 
{ocote sold at San Francisco el Alto by about 10 or 
15 vendors from each place every Friday, and resold 
in San Andres Xeciil, Salcaja, Olintepeque, and 
Quezaltenango, often in combination with Xicamaya 
limas) ; Nahuala, selling mainly in the Cantel market ; 
Chichicastenango, especially canton Panimache, 
which supplies the Panajachel market, where at one 
time ocote was essential to the Santa Catarina 
Palopo crabbers (ocote in the Panajachel market is 
taxed in kind rather than by cash) ; and Chinique, 
where turpentine is also made (see map 18). 

Incense and charcoal. — Incense made from resin 
is a specialty of Indians of Santa Maria Chiquimula, 
who supply chiefly the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan 
region and Sacapulas, reaching the markets of the 
Lake Atitlan-Chichicastenango region. The village 
of Chichicastenango is one of the best markets for 
incense, owing to the active religious life there (pis. 
28; 29, a, b). Santa Maria Chiquimula incense is 
sold on a large scale (by 20 men every Friday) at the 
San Francisco el Alto market (pis. 35, c; 36), where 

it is bought for resale by Indians of Huitan, Cabri- 
can, and especially Cajola. The latter sell the in- 
cense again at San Juan Ostuncalco, where there are 
10 vendors every Sunday. For the distribution of 
charcoal, w^hich is usually sold from house to house, 
see map 18 and page 71. 

Firewood. — Because so many parts of the High- 
lands have been cleared of forests in gathering fire- 
wood, construction materials, and boughs (especially 
pine, the needles of which are widely used on floors) 
for decoration, and in preparing the lands for plant- 
ing, firewood is now at a premium. Usually it is 
sold from house to house, as at Solola (pi. 10, d), 
where much of it comes from San Jose Chacaya. 
The basin in which the town of Ouezaltenango is 
situated is so bare of tree growth that firewood 
must be brought from a considerable distance (pis. 
36; 38, a, d, f). Indians of Totonicapan and San 
Cristobal Totonicapan get a supply from the wooded 
slopes south and southeast of them and take it to 
Quezaltenango. During July and August 1936 there 
were about 50 men and women (evenly divided) and 
over half as many mules on the road to Quezaltenan- 
go to sell firewood there. The other main source is 
the little Indian village of Pie de Volcan, just south- 
west of Quezaltenango, and at the base of Santa 
Maria volcano (pi. 38, c), as the name implies. The 
slopes of the volcano are wooded if one goes up far 
enough. Women from this village, usually 15 or 
20 a day, sit in the street outside the entrance to the 
main enclosed market of Quezaltenango and sell 
large bundles of sticks (pi. 38, c). Quezaltenango 
and nearby Salcaja are among the few places in 
Guatemala where firewood is sold in the plaza. 


(Maps 9-13) 

■ Maize. — Maize, the most important food in Guate- 
mala, is one of the main market commodities (pi. 
14, f). Relatively few individuals or even com- 
munities are self-sufficient, however, with respect to 
this essential staple. The limited harvest period and 
the differences in growing seasons at various eleva- 
tions, as well as the insufficiency of acreages planted, 
account for the big movements of maize in trade. 
Highland milpas yield their greatest volume between 
December and February. Lowland maize is har- 
vested first from August to October, the heaviest 
crop; then secondarily in February and March (see 



p. 22 and map 9). The grain moves in quantity 
between Highlands and Lowlands during periods of 
shortage in one zone and plenty in the other (see 
p. 23). 

Certain areas, where there is not enough arable 
land, or where climate or soil may be unfavorable, 
are notably deficient in maize ; Momostenango, a 
wool- weaving center, is an illustration (see p. 64 and 
pi. 30, /). JMuch of the grain is trucked from the 
Lowlands. Six Todos Santos men were selling 
maize from large sacks, brought on muleback, in 
April 1936. Whether from the Lowlands or from 
Todos Santos, it was transported a great distance. 
Much maize is taken to Momostenango from Quiche. 
The Highlands just east of Lake Atitlan, around 
Tecpan, Patzum, and Patzicia, are especially im- 
portant for maize. Ladino mule-shippers take quan- 
tities of it from these regions into the Lowlands, and 
to Chichicastenango, Solold, and other parts of the 
Highlands, as far east as Guatemala City. At San 
Francisco el Alto during July two or three truck- 
loads of Tecpan maize are sold in the market every 

Santiago Atitlan is the main corn-producing 
municipio on the shores of Lake Atitlan (see p. 100). 
Indians from many of the other Lake-shore villages 
go there to buy maize, especially from August to 
December. During that period about one-fourth of 
the women in the Santiago market sell maize. San 
Pedro la Laguna Indians buy corn at Santiago from 
August through October, but sell it there from May 
through July. About 150 out of a total of 1,500 
vendors at Colomba (Pacific piedmont) in February 
1941 were selling maize, much of it from the High- 
lands. Chiche is an important market of the inner 
Highlands, north of the Lake. At one Saturday 
market there during August 1936, approximately 
one-tenth of the vendors, or about 100 men, from 
Chiche and Chichicastenango, were selling corn in 
grain by the almitd (wooden box measure, about 
12J/4 lb. of grain), as is commonly done in that 
region. The average sold by each was about 80 
pounds. i\Iuch of this grain was said to have been 
produced on rented finca lands a few miles to the 
east. Huehuetenango, the biggest market in the 
Cuchumatanes region, is a most important maize 
center. As in the cast of many other commodities, 
maize is sold there in very large quantities, in whole- 
sale as well as retail lots. Early in January 1941 
approximately 8 tons of corn was brought to the 
main Sunday market by a total of about 65 men 

(some 14 percent of all vendors), most of whom 
carried 80 to 100 pounds each on their backs, and 
75 or 80 mules, with average loads of 150 to ISO 
pounds each. Besides the 6 regular daily Ladinos, 
each with 200 to 300 pounds in a stall, there were 
the following vendors from Cuchumatanes Mountain 
villages : A dozen Todos Santos Indians, with 4 or 
5 mules each (total 7,000 pounds of corn) ; 10 In- 
dian men from San Juan Atitlan ; 10 from San Juan 
Ixcoy ; 5 from Santa Eulalia ; and 4 from Barillas, 
across the Cuchumatanes. From the Trapichillo 
Valley region to the west there were 4 San Pedro 
Necta men, 4 from San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan, and 
7, each with 2 or 3 mules, from La Democracia, a 
finca only a few miles from the Mexican border. 

Beans. — Beans are sold in quantity in many mar- 
kets, being probably second in importance to maize 
in most of the region. The best altitude zone for 
common kidney beans (mostly black) is between 
about 1,500 and 2,000 m. Lake Atitlan villages, 
especially San Pedro, San Antonio Palopo, and San 
Andres Semetebaj, produce fine black beans which 
are sold in most of the neighboring markets, and in 
the Lowlands as well. Atitecos take Lake beans as 
far as Mazatenango (see p. 104). San Cruz del 
Quiche and Chiche black beans are sold in the San 
Francisco el Alto market in quantity from December 
through February. Maxefio merchants stock up with 
black beans at Chiche. The Quiche region is the ma- 
jor source of small black beans in the Quezaltenango 
market also, since the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan 
Valley is too high and cold for any but the big multi- 
colored butter beans (piloy, Pliaseolus coccineus) 
and broadbeans (vetch). All three of these 
legumes are taken from La Union (San Marcos), 
Concepcion, and San Juan Ostuncalco to Low- 
land markets, particularly Coatepeque, and they go 
from Quezaltenango to Lowland Mazatenango, Re- 
talhuleu, Colomba, San Felipe, and other plazas. 
Farther east, these beans are taken in quantity to 
piedmont Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa from the 
Highlands b}- men of San Pedro Yepocapa. Though 
beans are produced to some extent throughout the 
regions within their climatic limits, the centers men- 
tioned above are the only ones that supply them in 
such quantity and quality. Usually beans are sold 
in local markets on a small scale by many vendors 
selling their own surplus. An Indian woman may 
have an open, shallow basket containing 10 or 15 
pounds of beans with a few eggs on top, and perhaps 



a chicken and a squash along with it. Aluch maize 
is sold locally in the same manner. 

Most kinds of beans may be grown in the Low- 
lands, but the quality is poor and insect pests are 
numerous. Lima beans, most of which are red and 
black, and may be flat or round, are rare in any 
market, usually being confined to the Lowlands 
where they are grown. I have seen two or three 
vendors in the smaller markets of Guatemala City 
with 20 to 50 pounds of lima beans from San Rai- 
mundo and San Pedro Ayampiic ; generally they are 
kept in baskets behind the counter in an obscure 
place. Green beans like most perishable green plant 
foods, are generally sold in local markets onl}'. 

Large, colored butter beans and broadbeans are 
grown in quantity in the zone above the ordinary 
kidney beans, between 2,000 and 3,000 m. The main 
producing area for broadbeans is the Quezaltenango- 
Totonicapan Valley, which supplies most of the 
western Lowlands. Broadbeans are generally sold 
toasted in small quantities, along with other produce, 
especially eggs. In one Friday market at Solola, in 
May 1936, there were 50 Totonicapan (mostly 
Argueta) women selling more toasted broadbeans 
than anything else. An almost identical observation 
had been made there in 1932 (see map 22). 

Chickpeas. — Chickpeas (garbanzos) are of ex- 
tremely limited seasonal as well as regional distribu- 
tion in trade. The only places where they are grown 
in quantity is San Pedro la Laguna and San Jnan 
see pp. 28, 101). The harvest is from January through 
March. Pedranos, seldom over 10 at a time, take 
quantities of chickpeas on mules to many markets, 
from February through May. March and April are 
peak months, for garbanzos are made into special 
Lenten fare. They are in greatest demand during 
Holy Week, when they are used for festive sweets. 
San Pedro men in their distinctive dress (pi. 7, i) 
station themselves separately to sell chickpeas at 
prominent corners of the plaza in Quezaltenango, 
Totonicapan, San Cristobal Totonicapan, and other 
Highland towns, and in Mazatenango, Retalhuleu, 
Cuyotenango, and elsewhere in the Lowlands. 

Potatoes. — Potatoes are a specialty of certain 
Highland regions, mostly above about 2,000 ni. 
(6,562 ft.) (map 9). Large white and red "Irish" 
potatoes of imported stock (North American) are 
produced in Totonicapan, Chiantla, Concepcion Chi- 
quirichapa, San Martin Sacatepequez, and are sold 
in markets of Highlands and Lowlands. Some of 
these localities also produce for the market small red 

"native" potatoes (probably originally South Ameri- 
can, possibly of pre-Conquest introduction ; see p. 
140) . The small potatoes are grown for local consump- 
tion in many Highland niunicipios. Todos Santos is 
the only community which produces then in quantity, 
however, for distant markets. Though little red pota- 
toes, ranging in size from that of marbles to that of 
walnuts, are seldom eaten by Ladinos, they are much 
in demand by Indians, owing in part to their low 
price. Packed in large grass-lined cargo nets, about 
75 pounds in each, they are transported on mules. 
Crowds of Indian women gather round the Todos 
Santeros with their large netloads of potatoes, so that 
they become the center of attention, and sometimes 
police have to maintain order (see p. 140). From 
April through June and November, Todos Santos 
men, usually 10 every Friday, sell potatoes at San 
Francisco el Alto. A few of them also sell in the 
other markets of that vicinity. Huehuetenango is a 
potato market of special importance. Mostly from 
November to March, potatoes are handled there in 
wholesale quantities. On Sunday there may be over 
200 vendors, 40 or 50 of whom come from Chiantla 
and 10 or 15 from Todos Santos, bringing 400 to 
600 pounds each on mules. Local merchants of 
Huehuetenango buy most of these potatoes to resell 
elsewhere. Truckloads of them are shipped to Guate- 
mala City, Quezaltenango, and Lowland markets. 

Wheat. — Wheat, producing best above 2,000 m., 
is generally sold to flour mills, in the larger towns 
(see p. 28), and reaches the plazas in the form of 
bread (for Highland baking centers, see p. 57, map 
9). Occasionally it is sold in markets for the making 
of large wheat tortillas, as in Aguacatan, San Fran- 
cisco el Alto, and elsewhere in the western Highlands. 

Anise. — Aniseed, a specialty of San Andres Seme- 
tebaj Ladinos and San Antonio Palopo Indians, 
reaches the markets almost solely from those two 

Fruits. — Apples and peaches are exotic Highland 
fruits grown in abundance in Argueta and Chichicas- 
tenango (map 9). Important native fruits which 
enter the markets in quantity from special centers are 
avocados and jocotcs (pi. 19, c). Though varieties 
of both of these grow also in the Lowlands, they are 
of inferior quality. Optimum elevations for these 
fruits range between 1,500 and 2,000 m. (4,921 and 
6,562 ft.). Lake Atitlan villages, especially those of 
the north shore, supply the markets with both. Lake 
avocados going into the Lowlands as far as Maza- 
tenango. Concepcion, east of Solola, is especially 



noted for avocados. JMomostenango is the chief 
source of this fruit in the markets of the Ouezalte- 
nango— Totonicapau \'alley region. The best citrus 
fruits are grown between about 1,500 and 1,800 m. 
(4.921 and 5,905 ft.) elevations, near the upper Umits 
of their yield. The Lake Atitlan region, especially 
Tzununa and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, produces a 
surplus of fine oranges and other citrus fruits, which 
go in trade both to Highland and Lowland markets 
(pi. 27, /). (For types of fruit, centers of produc- 
tion, environmental requirements, and movement in 
trade, see pp. 144, 146, 147.) 

Vegetables. — Vegetables, early introduced from 
Europe, illustrate particularly well a high degree of 
specialization. Only three areas in the entire region 
produce vegetables in large quantities. These are 
Solola, Almolonga, and Aguacatan. Solola (2,150 m. 
or 7.054 ft.) and Almolonga (2,200 m. or 7,218 ft.) 
produce more onions than anything else ; no garlic 
at all is grown, as these elevations are too high and 
cold. In Aguacatan (1,700 m. or 5,577 ft.) with a 
warmer climate, garlic is dominant, and in Pana- 
jachel (1,550 m. or 5,085 ft.) garlic and onions, 
equally important, are the two leading crops. (For 
lists of crops and their production, see pp. 30, 31, 32; 
for trade movement, see map 10.) Unlike those of 
other garden municipios, Aguacatan Indians trans- 
port most of their vegetables and flowers by truck. 
Since Ladinos are the principal consumers of these 
goods, they are sold primarily in the larger towns, 
where Ladinos are most numerous. 

Lowland products to Hig-hlands. — The out- 
standing Lowland and piedmont commodities sold 
in Highland markets are coffee en oro (raw "bean"), 
panela (unrefined sugar blocks), salt, and dried 
chile. These are transported in large quantities by 
truck. In San Francisco el Alto as many as three 
trucks loaded with panela from the Colomba and 
San Felipe areas appeared in the market during 
1936 (pi. 36). This was said to be the first year 
panela was sold in the market from a truck, but most 
of it w-as still handled by the 50 to 60 individual 
Indian vendors who appear every Friday. Mules 
are also used to transport much of the panela and 
cofTee. Though panela is generally marketed 
separately, a lesser amount of coffee is often sold 
with it, as in the case of the San Jorge (Solola 
municipio) Indians, who sell the cofifee ground and 
roasted, mainly at Solola (pi. 12, d). Cottee is 
generally handled in small amounts, along with 
dried chile (especially Cobdn and chocolate), salt. 

panela, cotton (white and brown), rice, garlic, anotto, 
ginger root and other spices, cacao, incense, cigars, 
cigarettes, trinkets, small buns, candles, peanuts, 
hats, ropes, threads, seeds, sewing accessories, medic- 
inal herbs, occasionally onions, and other mis- 
cellaneous items (pi. 14, b). Though few vendors 
(mostly itinerant Totonicapan and Chichicastenango 
merchants) try to carry all of these, many of them 
will sell over half, while they usually specialize in 
from two to five, with very little of anything else. 
Totonicapan men, and some from San Cristobal, 
Ouezaltenango, and neighboring towns, cover the 
western section, and Chichicastenango men operate 
in the eastern section of Southwest Guatemala. In 
the larger markets many Lowland products are 
handled separately in quantity. Besides panela, men- 
tioned above, cofifee is sold in hundred-pound sacks 
at San Francisco el Alto by 35 to 40 men (San 
Francisco and Totonicapan) ; chile, by 25 men of 
Santa Maria Chiquimula; salt, by 35 to 40 women 
and men, local and from neighboring towns. In the 
large daily markets such as Quezaltenango and Hue- 
huetenango these products are offered for sale in 
almost comparable quantities (pi. 38, b) . 

Lowland fruits, especially bananas of various sorts, 
and also plantains, coconuts, pineapples, nances, 
oranges, and papayas, along with manioc, edible 
pacayas (palm flowers; see p. 146), sugarcane, and 
cacao, are sold in much the same manner as the 
mixed Lowland commodities described in the pre- 
ceding paragraphs. They are carried up from the 
Lowlands commonly on the backs of individual 
Indian merchants rather than in trucks. Men of 
Chichicastenango, Totonicapan, and the Ouezalte- 
nango area handle them, too, but more important by 
far in this trade are the Atitecos, visiting markets 
north and east of Lake Atitlan (pi. 23, d), and the 
Xankatales ( Nahuala-Santa Catarina), northwest of 
the Lake. 

The Highland-Lowland exchange of maize has 
been treated of in earlier sections (pp. 23 and 74). 

Livestock (map 13). — The livestock trade is in 
large measure interregional, especially in the case of 
cattle and pigs. Sheep and relatively few goats are 
raised in the higher mountain regions and sold in 
neighboring Highland markets, so that they remain 
mostly above 2,000 m. 

Sliccp. — San Francisco el Alto is an important 
sheep market (pi. 35, c, d), as are San Juan 
Ostuncalco, Cantel, and Quezaltenango in the 
high vallev region, and Chiche farther east. Usually 



brought from within the municipios or the near 
vicinity, sheep are sold to Indians who come from a 
somewhat greater distance in the same region. To 
the San Juan Ostuncalco market, for example, sheep 
come mainly from San ]\Iartin, Concepcion, Sigiiila, 
and other neighboring municipios, as well as from 
the higher cantons of San Juan itself. They rarely 
are brought from as far as San Francisco el Alto, 
and almost as rarely are sold to Francisqueiios. Most 
of them are brought by men from Quezaltenango and 
Olintcpeque. Not over 30 or 40 are sold every 
Sunday. Usually only 2 to 4 sheep are either bought 
or sold by an individual. At Chiche, one of the most 
important livestock markets in the Highlands, about 
50 vendors with an average of 5 or 6 sheep each from 
the neighboring mountains, usually appear every 
Saturday. Occasionally sheep are brought to market 
from a considerable distance, as the few sometimes 
driven from Chiautla, at the edge of the Cuchuma- 
tanes, to San Francisco el Alto. 

Pigs. — Most of the pigs sold in the Highlands are 
very young and small (about 18 or 20 in. long). 
They are brought by local Indians to certain markets, 
notably San Francisco el Alto and Chiche, which are 
major assembling points and redistribution centers. 
Here special pig merchants buy most of them, and 
drive them away in little herds of 20 to 30, each 
tied to a separate string, and the strings twisted into 
a loose, thick rope (pi. 13, c, insert). San Francisco 
la Union men (also a few from Cajola and Sigiiila) 
handle the San Francisco el x\lto pigs, many of 
which also are bought at the market, one or two at a 
time, by women of Quezaltenango, Totonicapan, and 
other parts of the region, about 50 per week. Some 
are resold by the women in their home markets. The 
squeals of pigs driven through the streets of San 
Francisco is one of the typical sounds to be heard 
there every Friday. The merchants drive their pigs 
to other markets : at San Juan Ostuncalco 5 or 6 
vendors sell about 200 animals to Indians of San 
Juan and all the municipios adjoining it. As many 
as 50 men (only a few of them San Francisco la 
Union merchants) sell little pigs, 5 or 6 each, from 
San Francisco in the Cantel market every Sunday. 
San Francisco la Union men, 2 or 3 together, drive 
herds of 20 or 30 pigs into the Lowlands. About 
6 or 8 vendors go weekly to Colomba and Coate- 
peque ; and as many others to San Felipe, where they 
separate, some continuing to Retalhuleu, some to 
Cuyotenango ; still others go to Mazatenango via 
Palmar. Little pigs are bought and raised in the 

Lowlands, where there are more roots, seeds, grains, 
and other foods (see p. 38). Half-grown pigs, 
hundreds a week, as well as smaller ones, are driven 
to the Quezaltenango market from villages in the 
Cuchumatanes Mountains, such as Jacaltenango and 
Soloma (see p. 39). Some little pigs come from 
Cotzal and Chajul as well (map 13). Huehuete- 
nango is a minor pig market (p. 79). 

Pigs from Chiche are herded to the Lake Atitlan 
area (pi. 13, c), to adjacent municipios north and 
east of it, and to the Lowlands south and southwest 
of the Lake. Usually over 500 little pigs and over 
100 large ones are sold in Chiche every Saturday, 
by about 100 vendors. Ladinos of Chinique, two at 
a time, regularly drive 50 or 60 small pigs to Santi- 
ago Atitlan every 2 weeks, crossing the lake in a 
motor launch. They sell them rapidly there, usually 
all in a day or slightly more. Quiche and Chinique 
pig merchants go also to Chichicastenango, Solola, 
Tecpan, and Patzum, in the Highlands, and Santo 
Tomas la Union, Chicacao, San Antonio Suchite- 
pequez, and the fincas, especially Chocola, in the 
Lowlands. Most pigs are sold to raise in the Low- 
lands here, just as they are farther west. Mature 
pigs may be slaughtered where they are raised or 
they may be driven liack into the Highlands again. 
Solola butchers go to Santiago and buy large pigs, 
take them across the lake in dugout canoes, and 
drive them up the road to Solola for slaughtering. 

Cattle. — Cattle for Southwest Guatemala markets 
are bred chiefly in the dry eastern Departments, 
especially Santa Rosa (around San Martin Jilote- 
peque), Jalapa, Jutiapa, Chiquimula, and Guatemala 
fSanarate and Palencia). Indians, mostly Atitecos, 
buy young cattle here and drive them to piedmont 
markets sometimes as far west as Santo Tomas la 
Union. Five or six men at a time herd about 10 
animals each. Santa Lucia Utatlan Indians usually 
sell cattle in Santo Tomas, brought from Santa Rosa 
in particular. The average number sold is about 30 
a week, about the same as at Chicacao. Xankatales 
come from nearby Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan to buy 
cattle and raise them. This is one of their chief oc- 
cupations (pi. 4, d). 

Chiche is probably the most important year-round 
cattle market. It was established recently (reportedly 
1930). Every Saturday about 100 animals, mainly 
young bulls, are sold by 40 or 50 vendors. Many 
of the cattle here are driven from the dry interior 
valleys of the Baja Vera Paz, particularly those 



of Cubuico, Rabinal, and Salama. Some of these 
cattle are taken by Quichelenos from Chiche to 
Santo Tonias la Union and other piedmont mar- 
kets. Indians from as far away as the Lake villages 
and occasionally the Lowlands go to Chiche to buy 
cattle, usually not over 1 or 2 at a time. A few 
cows, bulls, and oxen are sold at San Francisco every 

Horses and mules. — Horses and mules are even 
rarer than cattle in the regular weekly markets. At 
Chiche they are as numerous as cattle, about 100 
per week being sold by 40 or 50 vendors. At San 
Francisco el Alto only a few appear in the market, 
coming mostly from Huehuetenango. Until about 
1925, I was told, horses and mules were brought 
from Chiapas, Mexico, especially the Comitan area. 

The "Feria". — The livestock market, usually re- 
ferred to as the "jeriei," is almost always separate 
from the rest of the plaza, often as much as 100 
yards away, in a fenced or walled enclosure. Ex- 
cept for those in the towns mentioned above, most 
of the markets have no weekly jcria for large animals. 
Solola has no Friday jeria at all, for example, while 
Huehuetenango, with a big daily market, has a jcria 
only on Sunday, at the Temple of Minerva, classical 
relic of the Estrada Cabrera regime. Not over 100 
little pigs and 25 large ones are sold there weekly. 
At San Juan Ostuncalco, chickens and turkeys are 
also sold in the Sunday jeria, by 75 to 100 women, 
local and from all the adjoining municipios. At most 
markets, fowl are scattered through the produce sec- 
tion, sold by local women, who have one or two 
each, as at Solola (pi. 13, &).- At Chichicastenango 
there is a row of about 2 dozen women selling chick- 
ens and turkeys in the regular market (map 25). At 
Chiche there is a similar row, but the women come 
from Patzite. 

Fairs. — Livestock are sold mostly at special fairs 
which occur once, twice, or three times a year at any 
one place. Besides the celebration for the patron 
saint, there are big fairs lasting several days during 
Passion Week (preceding Palm Sunday), and again 
August 15-19, accompanying the Feast of the As- 
sumption. There is a national fair at Guatemala 
City held in November. All commercial activity 
during fairs is increased twofold or threefold per day 
above a normal weekly market day, and the livestock 
jeria shows a more extraordinary development than 
almost any other section. Solola, for example, has 
a jeria during the pre-Easter fair, at the Temple 

of Minerva, where hundreds of animals of all types 
mentioned above, large and small, are sold (pi. 
13, c). Many of them are brought from distant 
regions, especially the cattle from eastern Guatemala 
(see McBryde, 1933, pp. 119-123). At the weekly 
Solola market, only a few pigs, sheep, and goats are 

Sheep are most important for wool, black and 
white, and are relatively little used for meat. Pigs 
provide meat in many forms, and also fat for most 
of the soap. Cattle are raised primarily for beef, 
little milk being consumed. The fat is used for soap 
and candles (see p. 70). In addition to the little 
butcher shops scattered through the villages and 
towns, there are a number of meat stalls also in the 
markets. Here butchers, generally local men, handle 
only beef, while local women with screened boxes 
sell beef, sometimes combined with pork or mutton 
(see map 24). Sausage and crackling are sold sepa- 
rately. Meat vendors may travel some distance to 
market, especially during fairs. Nearly all meat 
consumed in the region is fresh, with very little 
salted or jerked. Butchering is no fine art, and meat 
is generally cut into irregular chunks with little 
thought of the animal's anatomy. At Panajachel in 
1936, when three butchers rotated, slaughtering a 
bull only when another had sold out, all cuts of 
meat were the same price, 6 cents a pound. 

(Map 13) 

Besides livestock and poultry, the only live animals 
generally sold in the markets are iguanas, large, 
fierce-looking lizards, which are considered a delicacy 
(see p. 39; pis. 12, e; 13, a) and lake crabs (pp. 120, 
124). During Lent there is a great demand for 
iguanas, which are caught only during their laying 
season, about January 15 to March 15, and salt fish, 
which is brought mostly from Tapachula, Mexico, 
and is sold in great quantities throughout Highland 
markets during the Lenten season. As many as 40 or 
50 men, mostly from Totonicapan and Quezaltenango 
some also from Chichicastenango, sell large stacks of 
salt fish daily in Solola during the pre-Easter fair. 
Throughout the Lenten season, 6 to 10 or more such 
vendors may be seen in almost any of the larger 
Highland markets, with salt fish brought on mules 
from Tapachula. For the rest of the year, salt fish 
is scarcely ever to be seen in the Highlands. 

Smoked venison, gars impaled upon sections of 
cane, and other large smoked fish, besides salt fish, are 



also commonly sold in Lowland markets. Fresh fish 
is sometimes brought from the ocean to piedmont 
markets, as from Champerico to Mazatenango. 

(Map 15) 

Nearly all the pottery used in Southwest Guate- 
mala is made in 15 centers scattered through the 
Highlands, especially in the west (see map 15 and 
pp. 54-56). Most important of these by far is Totoni- 
capan. Among the major wholesale pottery markets 
are San Francisco el Alto (to which ceramic ware 
comes from 5 centers), Ouezaltenango, Totonicapan, 
San Cristobal Totonicapan, and Santo Tomas 
Chichicastenango (100 Totonicapeiios sell here 
weekh-; see map 25; pi. 29, a). Totonicapan and 
Chichicastenango pottery merchants buy stock at the 
potters' houses and in the markets, and take cargoes 
to other markets, especially those of the Lowlands, 
often many miles away (pi. 41 ). Some go to sell in 
Guatemala City and return with fine Chinautla water 
jars, which are sold throughout the Southwest (pis. 
2, rf; 14, o; 21, c; 42, &). The Lake Atitkin villages, 
depending as they do upon Lake water, provide an 
excellent market. Chichicastenango pottery mer- 
chants buy San Pedro Jocopilas ware in their own 
market and load up each with 10 jars of the type 
tamales are cooked in and 10 large clay griddles 
(comales) for baking tortillas. This is an average 
load of the pottery most commonly sold by these men, 
who leave their own Thursday market to sell in Solola 
on Friday, reach Santiago (crossing the Lake by 
motor launch; pi. 24, d, f) on Saturday, and contiiuie 
to Moca and other fincas for Saturday night and Sun- 
day markets. This is done also on other days of the 
week, especially Sunday (Chichicastenango) to reach 
Thursday Lowland markets. About 20 to 25 Max- 
efios per week go via Santiago and an equal number 
go by San Lucas and on to Patulul and Pochuta. 
Totonicapan men, usually less than half as many as 
Chichicastenango, follow these same routes with the 
same cargo. They nearly all return with tropical 
fruit, rice, coffee, and other Lowland products. Rela- 
tively few Totonicapeiios thus buy pottery in Chichi- 
castenango. ^lore of these merchants buy potter}' in 
the markets in or near their own town, especially 
the Friday plaza of San Francisco el Alto. Here a 
typical cargo would include 18 Santa Maria Chiqui- 
mula water jars {flnajas), neatly tied in threes, 
mainly on top and along the sides of the carrying 
frame (cacaste) and 25 small, rough blackish pitchers 

from San i\Iiguel Lxtahuacan, 10 inside and 15 outside 
of the frame (pi. 41, d, e, g). These are taken by 
about 12 to 15 men per week, to the Sunday markets 
of Mazatenango, Retalhuleu, San Felipe, and other 
western Lowland towns. They return with Low- 
land cargoes, especially tropical fruit and coffee. 
Four or five Totonicapeiios daily pass through 
Quezaltenango with loads of Totonicapan and San 
Cristobal tortilla griddles on their backs, headed for 
Lowland markets. 

Besides the rhythmical Highland-Lowland trips by 
pottery merchants, there are circuits within smaller 
areas, as illustrated by five Olintepeque women in 
1936. They would buy pottery at San Francisco el 
Alto on Friday, load it into large rope nets and carry 
it on their backs across the valley to San Juan Ostun- 
calco, where they would sell it on Sunday. A typical 
cargo consisted of about 6 large, unglazed Totoni- 
capan tamale jars, 15 or 20 small glazed pitchers and 
other San Cristobal pieces, and 5 or 6 Santa Maria 
Chiquimula water jars. 

That there are seasonal fluctuations in the volume 
of potter}- in the markets was evident in Quezalte- 
nango during 1936. In April there were only about 
10 or 12 San Miguel lxtahuacan pottery merchants 
in the San Juan Ostuncalco Sunday market. This in- 
creased during May to 20, and on August 9 there 
were 40. They sold mostly crude, yellowish unglazed 
bean jars, water jars, tortilla griddles, colander pots, 
and a few small pitchers (pi. 41, c). Such periodic 
variations in numbers of vendors seemed to be in- 
fluenced by the amount of seasonal work needed on 
the coffee fincas, men being least numerous in High- 
land markets during the har\-est, when many of them 
were working in the Lowlands. 


(Map 16) 

Centers of cloth production of various types are 
shown on map 16 (see also pp. 61-67). In stick-loom 
weaving areas women usually make their own huipil 
(blouse) and head-cloth material (pi. 9, a, b, c), 
employing cotton almost entirely, sometimes silk or 
rayon, and rarely wool. Relatively little commercial 
stick-loom weaving is practiced, as at San Pedro la 
Laguna. Indians' skirts are generally bought in 
markets from special cloth merchants, often Ladino 
weavers who make them (pi. 40). Women of each 
community (or area, such as Solola and San Juan 
Ostuncalco) throughout the Highlands tend to wear 



characteristic skirts, often differing slightly from 
those of neighboring municipios or areas. Skirt 
vendors generally take the material in quantity to the 
nearest plazas. In the market of San Juan Ostun- 
calco, men from Ouezaltenango appeared regularly 
(1936) with quantities of skirt cloth for San Juan 
and the six immediately adjacent municipios, in all 
of which the same plain dark blue is worn. Usually 
six men came and sold about 3 dozen skirts every 
Sunday. Salcaja Ladinos specialize in skirts and 
scarves, which they sell mostly at San Francisco el 
Alto and other neighboring markets, but many go as 
for as Solola and into the Lowlands. Totonicapan, 
San Cristobal, and Ouezaltenango, where huipi! cloth 
is woven on treadle looms, are major skirt-weaving 
centers which supply most of Southwest Guate- 
mala. They specialize in blue patterns of checks and 
dashes; La Union (San Marcos) produces mainly 
yellow, orange, and yellowish green, with much silk ; 
Huehuetenango, red and yellow; Chichicastenango 
and Solola, blue. The plain heavy dark-blue skirts 
made in Solola are worn in most of the Lake region, 
except for the south shore villages (pis. 6, 7, 8, 9). 

Quezaltenango, Totonicapan, and Chichicaste- 
nango cloth merchants are the leading vendors ot 
cotton cloth, peddling to stores and houses as well 
as in the plazas. Other men from these localities, 
especially Totonicapefios, sell colored cotton yarn, 
nearly all of it imported from England and Germany 
(before 1940). By 1941 there was an acute short- 
age, especially of red thread, which weavers hoped to 
obtain from the United States. 

Wool textiles, most of which are woven in IMomos- 
tenango, are sold mainly by Momostecos and 
Quezaltecos, who were going by bus as far as El 
Salvador and sometimes Honduras, and returning 
with indigo. Outside of Momostenango itself, San 
Francisco el Alto is the main producers' outlet for 
woolen goods, there being on an average about 100 
Momostecos selling blankets, rodilleras, and bolts of 
cloth (generally dark blue, for men's suits) there 
every Friday (pi. 35). Ouezaltenango is the main 
center for textiles of all kinds sold by middlemen as 
well as by the makers themselves. Huehuetenango 
is the chief market for the northern part of this 
region and for the Cuchumatanes villages. A shaggy 
rug (peyon) is made in San Sebastian Coatan by 
three brothers living close together; nowhere else in 
Guatemala is this type of weaving done (pi. 37 and 
J). 65). i\Iore raw wool than thread is bought by 
wool weavers, most of whom spin and dye their own 

thread (pis. 35: 34; 35, c). Momostenango is the 
main market for dyewoods, which generally come 
from great distances (pi. 34, r; pp. 65, 66). 

(Map 17) 

The production and distribution of fiber goods 
other than textiles, such as baskets, palm-leaf rain- 
capes, hats and mats, ropes, and brooms, are shown 
on map 17 and described on pages 67, 68, 69, 70. 
Specialization based upon sources of fibers is particu- 
larly marked in the case of these crafts, nearly all of 
which are scattered through the Highlands. 

Other products are similarly localized, some even 
more so. Decorated tree calabashes (see jicaras, 
p. 57). which are sold throughout Guatemala by 
Maxenos and other merchant groups, are produced 
only in Rabinal (pi. 43). Foodstuffs, such as bread 
and cheese (see p. 57), are made in certain centers 
and go regularly to different markets. A popcorn 
confection called bocclcs, sold in the plazas of the 
region, is made only at Patziim. 


Sandals and other leather goods are made 
especially by men of Totonicapan and some from 
Ouezaltenango and other towns in this region (p. 
68) . Santa Cruz Quiche men have a unique specialty 
in the making of sandals out of old automobile tires. 

Soapmaking and candlemaking are not so local- 
ized, occurring both in the Highlands and the Low- 
lands. They are associated with livestock raising — 
soap primarily with pigs and candles with cattle. 

There are other minor occupations which show 
localizations, but the ones mentioned above suffice to 
present the complex picture of diversification which 
characterizes the region. 

(Map 19) 

Many sources in the literature dealing with native 
life in Central America refer to the size, importance, 
and complexity of the markets, which have impressed 
travelers and writers since the time of the Conquest. 
According to Joyce : 

. . . the great market in Tlatelolco [near the present-day 
Mexico City] moved the wonder of the conquerers ; it is 
described as being three times as large as that of Salamanca, 
and one estimate places the daily attendance at twent>- or 
twenty-five thousand persons. . . . Special magistrates held 




courts in llie market-places to settle disputes on the spot, 
and there were market officials similar to our inspectors 
of weights and measures. Falsification of the latter was 
visited with severe punishment. [Joyce, 1914, p. 130.] 

That this suinmary may be regarded as applicable to 
markets in populous districts throughout Central 
America is evident from numerous original sources, 
such as Oviedo : 

. . . each generation has its plazas or markets ... in 
€very major town; but only those speaking the same lan- 
guage are admitted at these fairs or plazas, and if anyone 
else .i;oes, it is to sell edibles to the others or serve them 
as slaves [Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 4, p. 37; see also Ximenes, 
192q-31, vol. 1. r- 94, and Cervantes de Salazar, 1914, pp. 

Tlie present-day distribution of markets in South- 
west Guatemala, the approximate relative im- 
portance of each in terms of numbers of vendors per 
week, and the frequency of convening, may be seen 
on map 19. It will be noted at the present time, just 
as it was when Oviedo wrote over 400 years ago, 
that each "principal town" has a market. Some are 
larger than others, and not all of the major ones 
convene daily. In certain cases strategically located 
villages, such as San Francisco el Alto, may have 
larger markets, even though held only once a week, 
than those of many towns that are larger and more 


On the whole, though most Ladinos buy in the 
plaza, relatively few of them sell there, for they pre- 
fer to operate stores or stalls in the large markets, 
and more Ladinos than Indians can afford them. 
For this reason they are numerous only in the more 
populous and elaborate market places, such as those 
of Guatemala City, Quezaltenango, Mazatenango, 
Huehuetenango, and Retalhuleu. These markets are 
large and fairly well attended every day, though some 
days are rnore important than others (map 19). 
More like concentrations of stores than periodic In- 
dian trade gatherings, they reflect Ladinization atad 
hence a certain degree of urbanization and small-scale 

Towns may be well developed even where Ladinos 
are numerically unimportant, if the Indians are town- 
dwelling craftsmen, as at Totonicapan. The daily 
market depends upon a large number of buyers liv- 
ing close within the orbit of attraction of the trade 

center. Only in a populous town or village ^^^ where 
the inhabitants are well nucleated are there enough 
consumers to support a sizable daily market, in 
which most goods are retailed in small quantities. 

The three most important factors favoring a 
strongly developed market seem to be as follows : 

(1) A high population density in the tributary area, 

(2) situation on major trade routes, and (3) an 
intermediary location between contrasted areas of 
production. Though no single market depends solely 
on any one of these factors, the first is of primary 
importance in such a metropolis as Quezaltenango ; 
the second is well exemplified in Santo Tomas la 
Union ; and the third accounts largely for the ex- 
traordinary weekly market of San Francisco el Alto 
(see pp. 127-128). All three factors contribute some- 
what to every important market. The general relation- 
ship between markets and areas of dense population 
may be seen by comparing inaps 8 and 19, which 
show that most of the large plazas are in the well 
settled portions of the Highlands, such as the Que- 
zaltenango-Totonicapan Valley. The alinement of 
market towns along trade routes is particularly no- 
table in the natural, transverse passageways formed 
by the gorges and passes between volcanoes, as, for 
example, along the Quezaltenango-Retalhuleu and 
Nahuala-lMazatenango routes. The line of piedinont 
markets, centering along and above the railroads, is 
equally prominent (maps 2 and 19). The greatest 
single basis for the contrast between producing 
regions is the sharp altitudinal difference between 
Highlands and Lowlands. The products of both are 
found in variety and abundance in all plazas. 

Wholesaling of goods to itinerant merchants may 
be observed in many of the large trade centers. San 
Francisco el Alto is preeminent in this regard (pi. 
36) . Some of the more important items sold whole- 
sale in that market are blankets, cotton textiles, ropes, 
garlic, pottery, incense, hats, chile, panela. Lowland 
fruit, and young pigs. Except for the first and last, 
none of these is produced locally. Pottery comes to 
San Francisco from at least five sources (p. 127). 

Most of the middlemen's wares are not bought 
from wholesalers in the market, however. It seems 
generally true, especially of such manufactured goods 

"' Santiago Atitldn is tlie only strictly Indian market which convenes 
daily; and in Santiago, placa is held twice daily. There are in this 
village such contributing factors as large population; crowding of houses 
into a small nucleus; dearth of Ladinos, hence stores, in Santiago; and 
diversity of essential products retailed by women, but many of them 
brought in by men, who are the long-distance traders, on their way to 
other markets (see pp. 97-101). 


as pottery, that dealers who speciahze in merchandiz- 
ing buy up loads of such articles from the makers at 
their homes (pi. 41, c). 


Women are prominent in most markets, not only 
as buyers, but as vendors of goods (pis. 13, b ; 2\, a; 
42, b). In some markets, such as that of Santiago 
Atitlan, the plaza is made up almost exclusively of 
women, buying as well as selling. Women usually 
predominate in the small daily markets of such cen- 
ters as Solola, having the principal plaza on Fridays 
and Tuesdays and minor activity on the days in be- 
tween. On the chief dia de plasa about half of the 
vendors and over half of the buyers are women in 
most of the big markets. They are shrewd in trans- 
actions, and generally handle goods in retail rather 
than wholesale quantities, since only men carry large, 
heav}' cargoes. Some professional itinerant mer- 
chants (comerciantes) are women, more often in the 
Quezaltenango— Totonicapan region than in the mu- 
nicipios around Lake Atitlan. Most male itinerant 
merchants are inhabitants of the Quezaltenango- 
Totonicapan Valley, Chichicastenango, and Santiago 
Atitlan (pis. 14, h;23, d; 24, f;4l,d;42, b). 

The seating arrangement of vendors in the market 
is generally well ordered, with regular lines in which 
the grouping is primarily according to type of goods 
and secondarily on the basis of provenience. This 
varies considerably with the individual settlements. 
The Atitecos, for example, usually sit together in any 
market, while the Cruxenos and Indians of Totoni- 
capan, except for homogeneous groups, like sandal- 
makers, are often widely sprinkled through the crowd, 
even though they may be selling the same goods. 
A number of women, usually local, serve hot food 
cooked over open fires. 

The general plan of the market in terms of goods 
and provenience of vendors is remarkably conser\'a- 
tive, changing little from week to week, and even 
from year to year. A close survey of the Solola plaza 
in 1936 brought out only minor variations in com- 
parison with the arrangement of 4 years earlier, 
when I had made a detailed diagram of it (map 22). 
Though vendors do not necessarily occupy the identi- 
cal spot every week in an open market, they usually 
go back to the same general section. Stalls in an 
enclosed market are rented and usually occupied re- 
peatedly for long periods of time. 

As a rule, only the larger towns have market build- 
ings, except in the more Ladinized and rainier pied- 

mont ("map 19). In many large towns the market 
place has been shifted from the central square to an 
area nearby, in some cases removed as much as half a 
mile (e.g., jMazatenango), the original plaza having 
been gardened and variously "beautified." It is then 
called "parqiic central," the market still being the 


Though certain towns, such as Quezaltenango, 
Huehuetenango, Totonicapan, Mazatenango, and 
others, have enclosed markets that are attended daily, 
with no striking variation through the week, most 
markets have 1 big day each week. In many cases 
there is also a secondary market day, with little or no 
activity during the remainder of the week. Sunday 
is tlie chief market day more commonly than any 
other in the Highlands, yet many plazas throughout 
this region are at their best on other days, especially 
Thursday (Tecpan), Friday (San Lucas, Solola, San 
Francisco el Alto), and Saturday (Chiche) ; in fact, 
all days are represented (see map 19). As a result, 
the inhabitants of more populous parts of the High- 
lands may attend several different markets each week 
without going far from their homes, and itinerant 
merchants may go from one plaza to the next on suc- 
cessive days through the week. On the big market 
day, whether or not it is Sunday, more people attend 
Mass, as a rule, than on any other day, for the popula- 
tion of the community is then at its weekly peak. 

In parts of the Cuchumatanes Mountains markets 
are held every fifth day, in accordance with the 
ancient Maya calendar that is still used there (see 
also p. 60) . At San Sebastian Coatan those are the 
only market days ; at San Miguel Acatan there is a 
regular Sunday market in addition to the fifth-day 
plaza (days in 1940 fell on December 12, 17, 22, etc.). 

In the Lowlands the chief day for all markets is 
Sunday, when laborers, who are by far the most 
numerous element of the population, are free to at- 
tend. On many of the fincas there is a small market 
Saturday night ; at certain Lowland towns, notably 
Coatepeque, this is also seen. The secondary day, 
where there is one, is Thursday, and the big towns 
such as Mazatenango, have daily markets. The quin- 
ccna (literally, "15-day") market, held every other 
week, was said to be more active because it followed 
Indians' pay days. 


Market transactions are ordinarily made on a cash 
basis. Though payment in goods rather than money 



is not uncommon in the Cuchumatanes region, where 
ears of maize are media of exchange, and in Chiapas, 
there seems to be none on a large scale in South- 
west Guatemala. The only money now in use is 
modern Guatemalan currency, based upon the quetzal 
and fractions down to one-half cent. Indians never- 
theless often quote prices in pesos, reales, and other 
former monetary units which were discontinued years 

In pre-Columbian times in Central America, cacao 
"beans," copper bells and blades, gold, seashells, 
beads (especially those of jade and obsidian), colored 
feathers, chile, and salt were variously employed as 
money (see McBryde, 1933, p. 110). Usually, some 
sort of medium of exchange seemed to be used rather 
than barter, though the latter apparently was also en- 
gaged in to some extent. Older residents of Guate- 
mala report the use of salt (Solola), chile (Solola), 
and cacao (Solola and Santo Domingo Suchitepe- 
quez) for "small change." This practice lasted until 
about 1900, according to a number of reliable in- 
formants. One of these told also of barter in the 
western municipios of Lake Atitlan, where, as at San 
Pablo, local "Spanish plums" (jocotes) were paid to 
Maxenos in return for pots or jars. The quantity of 
the fruit was determined by the capacity of the vessel : 
a bowlful of fruit was paid for the bowl which they 
filled (p. 102, ftn. 158). Cacao beans were said to 
have been used for money in Alazatenango as late as 
1914. A cigar or drink of rum cost 5 or 6 beans. In 
1940 I was told at Aguacatan that dried chiles, bought 
by merchants at Asuncion Alita on returning from 
Salvador to sell garlic, were used even then as money : 
12 Alita chiles being worth 4 or 5 onions or a "pinch" 
(defined as ^2 oz.) of salt. The bargainings and 
bickerings that are so constantly in evidence in the 
markets serve more than the social functions which 
are stressed by so many writers ; through repeated 
tests, both buyers and sellers are able to arrive at 
price norms where no other standards (on many 
items) exist, and the only constant is fluctuation. 

Most grains, small bulbous vegetable foods, lime, 
meats, and many other goods are sold by weight, 
hand balances of tin, basketry, or brass (rare) being 
employed by vendors (pis. 14, c ; 39, g). Corn is 
usually sold by the pound, but commonly, especially 
in Chichicastenango, it is measured by the aliinid, a 
shallow wooden box that holds about 12^2 pounds. 
Selling by weight instead of measure was said to 

have been widespread only since about 1917 (Mc- 
Bryde, 1933, p. 124). Brass cup-weights are gen- 
erally used for measurement, though sometimes 
stones and even potatoes, illegal though such sub- 
stitutes are, serve the purpose in the balance. Fluid 
foods and certain small fruits, vegetables, and spices 
are sold by the measure. Most articles, however, 
especially larger ones, are sold by the piece or bunch. 

Vendors in most of the Guatemala markets, par- 
ticularly the larger ones, pay a tax (piso de plaza) 
for their space, even if it is in the open street. The 
amount imposed depends upon the nature, bulk, and 
value of the goods, and this leads to frequent argu- 
ments between vendors and tax collectors, who 
generally pass through the plaza for the purpose. At 
San Juan Ostuncalco vendors pay on leaving the 
market. At Solola in 1932 an average tax was about 
3 .cents, the minimum being 2 cents, maximum 8 
cents (livestock tax). Small tickets were given as 
receipts. It was said in Chicacao in 1936 the cloth 
merchants were taxed as much as 20 cents ; average 
market tax was about 5 cents, minimum 3 cents. 
Bananas are untaxed in most Lowland markets, 
where they seldom appear (Indian merchants get 
them gratis or for almost nothing on the fincas for 
sale in the Highlands; p. 36). Fruits and vegetables 
are not taxed in the San Sebastian Huehuetenango 

The tax is generally paid in cash. The only ex- 
ception to this which I have observed was at Pana- 
jachcl, in 1936, in the case of pitch pine (ocote) 
splints, the tax on which was exacted in kind, usually 
four small bunches, worth 1 cent, for an average 
cargo. Pitch pine, which does not grow in the 
vicinity of Panajachel, is of great importance for 
supplying torchlight to official messengers on dark 
mountain trails at night, and was formerly essential 
to the Santa Catarina Palopo crabbers' operations. 

One characteristic feature of interregional trade in 
Guatemala is the periodic occurrence of fiestas which 
often attract double or more the usual numbers of 
vendors and buyers in a market. In addition to the 
fiesta titular held in celebration of the patron saint 
after which a town is named, ^'* there are also other 
important fairs held on certain religious and national 
holidays. An outstanding example is the Passion 
Week (Scmana de Dolores) fair at Solola, when 

"' The quetzal is on a par with the U. S. dollar. For earlier moneys, 
as debased pesos and reales used until 1933, see McBryde, 1933, pp. 
123-124; also Jones, 1940, pp. 234-239. 

^^ Even small villages which have no regular market may have a 
lively fair, attended by great commercial activity, on the patron saint's 

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there are several days of extraordinary commercial 
activity immediately preceding Holy Week.^^^ The 
appearance of unusual trade goods from distant 
centers and in large quantities is a striking com- 
mercial feature of such fairs. Cattle from eastern 
departments, salt fish from the jMexican coast, 
honey from Lowland fincas, especially those around 
Antigua, chile from Asuncion Mita, and woolens 
from Momostenango are some of the things that 
reach Solola in unusual volume during the big 
fairs.'-" Lowland palm leaves and bright-colored 
fruits for decorations are brought to Highland 
markets in great quantities for Palm Sunday (pis. 
12, 13, 14). 

The great fair of Momostenango, the itajxaquip 
batz ("8 monkeys") occurs every 260 days (May 4, 
1940, e.g.), according to the Maya calendar. 

The most famous pilgrimage in Guatemala has 
long been that of the Black Christ of Esquipulas. 

"^ Holy Week (Semana Santa) itself is celebrated only by religious 
processions (pi. 15), church and cofr^uiia meetings, and other ceremo- 
nies, there being no market at all during this period. 

^^ For a detailed description of the Semana de Dolores fair, see 
McBryde, 1933, pp. 119-121. 

Mrs. Maudslay wrote (1899, p. 49) of it as follows: 

The great festival of the year is held in January, and then 
for a week or more the usually half-deserted little town of 
Esquipulas swarms with pilgrims. In old days its fame was 
so great that it attracted worshippers all the way from 
Mexico and Panama and the fair which was carried on at 
the same time was the great commercial event of the year. 
Thither the English merchants from Belize brought their 
wares and carried on what was practically the whole of the 
foreign business of Honduras, Salvador, and Guatemala, 
taking in exchange the native-grown indigo . . . now steam- 
ships and railways have so changed the course of trade that 
the fair is of not more than local importance. 

If this statement is accurate, there has been a 
re-emphasis upon Esquipulas since the Maudslays' 
visit. Pilgrims going to and from the great fair are 
still to be seen on trails far distant from the mecca 
wearing their traditional hat ornaments of Spanish 
moss and bright yellow pods. Annually, hundreds of 
Salvadorefios visit Esquipulas, as do many Indians 
from the western Guatemala Highlands, and Ladinos 
from Guatemala City and elsewhere.'-' 

^^ For a good modern description of the Esquipulas fair, see Fergus- 
son, 1937, ch. 5. 




Ladinos are ordinarily the town-building element. 
With a fairly large Ladino nucleus, a sizable center 
of population generally assumes the character of a 
town, even though Indians may greatly predominate. 
Without many Ladinos, a much larger center of pop- 
ulation may be a big agricultural village. Santiago 
Atitlan, for example, with a population of over 5,000, 
is a village despite the fact that it is twice as populous 
as the town of Solola, with 2,600 in 1930. Santiago 
village is predominantly Indian, with probably not 
over 100 Ladinos.'-- whereas in Solola over half, or 
nearly 1,500, are Ladinos. Solola has not only much 
European blood, but other European features, such as 
the various administrative offices of the Departmento, 
a theatre, a public library, two "hotels," several stores 
of general merchandise, artisans of many sorts 
(mostly migrants from the towns of Ouezaltenango 
and Totonicapan), and whitewashed adobe and red- 
tile-roofed buildings and dwellings. There are several 

1^ One would not learn this from the official published census, which 
is based upon the entire municipio, for there are a number of Ladinos 
on the several fincas. 

good cobbled streets in Solola, and the plan is rectan- 
gular (pi. 10, a, b, d,f; maps 20, 21). Santiago, on 
the other hand, has a compact mass of stone-and-cane- 
walled, grass-thatched houses, many of them of the 
primitive, square type with pyramidal roof, clustered 
for security upon a low, fairly level lava terrace of 
about three-quarters of a sq. km. (its density is about 
8.000 per sq. km. or 20,000 per sq. mile), and built 
along a network of narrow, zigzag, stone-walled alleys 
that seldom approach a straight line (pis. 24, b; 25; 
47; map 20). There are (1936) hardly more than a 
half dozen Indian butcher shops and about as many 
small home-stores (tictidas), the latter usually owned 
and operated by Ladinos, selling matches, pitch pine 
(ocotc), candles, cloth goods, staple foods such as 
rice and sugar, and other items, all in small quantities. 
Santiago is a merchant-agricultural community, de- 
pending upon the crops planted on the ample, fertile 
slopes of the volcanoes and upon returns from the 
trade voyages of the middlemen who penetrate far 
into Highland and Lowland alike. Only local trade 
is carried on by the women, who congregate twice 
daily in the plaza, at noon and at sundown (pi. 25, e). 
Women also do most of the fishing. 



Santiago is strictly a village, despite its numbers ; 
virtually a homogeneous settlement, probably pre- 
serving something of its pre-Columbian "street" pat- 
tern. Solola, on the other hand, though only about 
half as popuU.ius. is a town.-'-^ Both are built upon 
extremely limited terraces, the latter being slightly 

We may say that in the first instance the Santiago 
settlement concentration is conditioned by a natural 
advantage of site, which is superior to any other in 
the municipio ; this fact depends also upon an ap- 
parent gregarious tendency of the Santiago Atitecos, 
for they could very well settle along the shores north 
of their village. In the case of Solola, cool climate 
and abundance of streams favor their intensive garden 
culture, and the administrative center affords employ- 
ment t(_i many, in addition to the fact that the site is 
ideally suited for a town. \\'ere it not for the first 
two factors, however, namely, vegetable production 
and Government employment, both of which came in 
\\ith the Spaniards, the concentration would undoubt- 
edly be highly reduced, though there was a pre-Co- 
lumbian town (called by the Nahua "Tecpanatitlan," 
and so designated at first by the Spaniards ; see 
McBryde, 1933, p. 112). Solola was described as 
a "big town" as early as 1586 (Ponce, 1873, vol. 1, 
p. 442). The population about this time was given 
as 1,300 in the Qapotitlan manuscript (Anon., Ms. 
1579, p. 10, f. 109). 

From the classification presented in the present 
study, a "town" has a total population of more than 
1,000, with over 500 Ladinos (p. 16). The figures are 
arbitrary, but this definition appears to be generally 
applicable. Even if further study should find the 
average number to be different, the principle would 
still hold. Indians in thousands will not make a 
town, but rather a large village, which may or may 
not be closely knit ; e. g., Santiago Atitlan, San 
Pedro la Laguna, San Francisco el Alto, or San 
Andres Xeciil. Given a nucleus of Ladinos, there 

1^ Some interesting variations have appeared in the representation of 
towns on maps of Guatemala; e.g., the American Geographical Society 
Millionth Map (Ciudad Gitatcnmla sheet), compared with the standard 
Urrutia map of Guatemala. Both were apparently based upon the pre- 
ceding census (1921). But Urrutia, a native Guatemalteco, seems to 
have followed the Government cl.issification of centers, as aldca, pticblo, 
villa, ciudad. The Americans followed the usual system (the only one 
possible without exhaustive study of population composition), basing 
their size distinction upon total published population figures. Conse- 
quently, a large village such as Santiago Atitlan is represented as a 
larger "town" than Solola, a distinction being made with symbols, 
however, between their administrative importance. Urrutia calls the 
former a pueblo, like all the other Lake villages, and classes Solola as 
a villa (it was officially promoted to a ciudad rank on August 7, 1924, 
the year after his map was published, for no apparent reason, except 
perhaps the installation of an electric light plant that year). 

is, with a large total population, a good-sized Indian 
community having town characteristics, such as 
Totonicapan, and Momostenango.^-'' Their indus- 
trial pursuits here account in large measure for this 
phenomenon, however. Crafts and trades of various 
sorts, particularly pottery making, wood and leather 
working, and cotton weaving in the former, and wool 
weaving in the latter, involving marketing as well as 
manufacture, encourage the growth of towns. 


The rectangular settlement pattern introduced by 
the Spaniards is almost universal, especially in the 
larger centers of population (maps 20, 21). Garcia 
Pelaez quotes Remesal who writes that pre-Colum- 
bian villages and towns "are not arranged by streets 
and wards as in Europe" and are widely dispersed, 
a village of 500 or less, which was small, occupying 
a "league of ground" (Garcia Pelaez, 1851-52, vol. 1, 
pp. 171-172). By 1579, in Lowland towns "care 
was taken to orient the streets north-south and east- 
west, although the houses were interspersed irregu- 
larly," according to an early account (Anon., Ms. 
1579, p. 13, f. 111). If this was correct, errors were 
made in determining north, or else street alinements 
have changed con.siderably. Towns today are gen- 
erally rectangular, but true orientation of the streets 
is exceptional. It is mainly in the more favorable 
sites of the piedmont that a common approach is made 
to orientation.^-^ Site limitations often determine 
alincment. The main streets of Solola, for example, 
follow the axis of the shallow trough in the terrace 
upon which it is built. Low ridges both east and west 
of the town have thus far checked lateral expansion 
to a great extent ; the more thickly settled portion of 
the town coincides perfectly with the gently sloping 
central terrace. (See map 21 for cultural and physi- 
cal details of the town of Solola, and pi. 10, a.) Other 
towns, like Solola, have been built to conform to 

^^ The 1921 census gives an Indian "urban population" in Momo- 
stenango of 9,685, which is probably too high. Tax reduces the figure 
to 300 actually "in town," yet with some 8,000 clustered about the 
center. According to my estimate, there are over 5,000 living in what 
might be called tlie "town," if the limits are drawn to include all of the 
settlement nucleus. The concept of "town," difficult to define in Guate- 
mala, is not comparable with that in the United States. Perhaps the 
only criteria distinguishing a town from a village would be the presence 
of some well-prepared streets and sidewalks, stores with varied stocks, 
and one or more hotels. 

1^ There is usually a strong deviation toward magnetic north 
(NNE.). The "true-north" arrow is incorrectly drawn on the original 
edition of my 1932 traverse map of Solola (McBryde, 1933, opposite p. 
152) so that it indicates almost true orientation, whereas the nortli- 
south streets run approximately N. 4° W. to S. 4° E. This is corrected 
in the present edition (map 21). 



their pliysical settings. Thus Patziim is elongated 
northwest-southeast, Chicacao northeast-southwest, 
and San Antonio Suchitepequez nearly east and west 
(map 20). The streets of Ouezaltenango trend vari- 
ously in different sections. The large northwest sec- 
tion of town, apparently built later, has an alinement 
coincident with magnetic north, ^-'' as does the eastern 
point of Salcaja. 

Smaller villages are usually highly irregular in 
form. There is generally a central square, or even 
several blocks laid out in rectangular fasliion, with 
the rest taking devious curved or zigzag courses. 
Santiago Atitlan illustrates this type, in contrast with 
the regular pattern of Solola, Tecpan, etc. (map 21). 
The greater number of its pathlike streets may well 
be pre-Columbian in origin (see p. 86). • 

The ethnic pattern in Southwest Guatemala is as 
constant as the rectangular aspect of the towns. In 
the central portion of a mixed settlement, Ladinos 
and a few foreigners are dominant economically and 
politically as well as numerically, whereas the 
Indians are generally poor, and live on the out- 
skirts.^"^ Among the foreign elements on coffee 
fincas, as well as in the towns of the Highlands. 
Germans are most numerous (1940). Commonly 
they are hotel proprietors and storekeepers. 

Each town has a central square, usually called 
"parquc central" or merely "parqite," to distinguish 
it from the market, which is called "plaza" more often 
than it is "nicrcado." Sometimes the two coincide, 
but in most towns the market has been moved from 
the central square to make way for modern beautiflca- 
tions, and with it has gone the word "plasa" (ex- 
amples : Quezaltenango, Monostenango, Solola, Pan- 
ajachel; maps 21, 22, 23, 24; p. 83). 

The central square in a large town has the church 
on one side, the Government building perhaps on 
another, and stores, shops, garrison, and very often 
schools around it. In the smaller Indian villages 
there may be only the church and a municipalidad 
(municipal building for meetings of local chiefs and 
justices, jail, etc.), and frequently the only Ladinos 
are the secrctario, who can read and write official 
records and messages, and the maestro, or school 
teacher ; in some cases there are a few Ladino store- 
keepers and minor political or military officials of 
various sorts ; usually also, the several manufacturers 
and handlers of liquor, as at Santiago Atitlan, are 

The church is in most cases the striking landmark 
of any community ; usually a large whitewashed stone 
structure, with ornate facades and bell towers, dating 
back to Colonial times. There may be but a few scat- 
tered huts around it, making the time-honored place 
of worship even the more impressive by contrast (pis. 
22, a,b;22,,b; 27, b ; 38, a, f ; 46, d ; 47) . As a result 
of severe earthquakes, ^'^ many of these picturesque 
relics are in ruins; the most famous being those of 
Antigua Guatemala, the capital of the Republic from 
1543 until 1773 (pi. 44, a, d). Large numbers of 
churches which are still intact are no longer con- 
stantly ministered by resident clerg}-, who come from 
the nearest parish to conduct Mass on certain special 
occasions, such as the fiesta titular, or day of the 
patron saint of the village. 

There is no uniformity in the arrangement and fac- 
ing of the church and other major structures. The 
church may be on the south side, the jcfatttra ("gov- 
ernor's" office and residence) and national police (not 
on the plaza) to the north, with the barracks on the 
west, as in the case of Solola (map 21 ) ; or the church 
on the east side may face the Government buildings 
to the west, the barracks and national police being 
along the south, as in Quezaltenango. In Chichicas- 
tenango the main church is on the southeast corner, 
facing west toward the smaller Calvario church (a 
common feature of Guatemala towns) directly op- 
posite (pi. 28), with the municipalidad offices on the 
east, just north of the principal church. Most of the 
settlements visited by me have the church on the 
southeast, east, or south side (in descending order of 
frequency), and the commonest direction of facing 
seemed to be toward the northwest, west, or north 
(Solola and San Cristobal Totonicapan churches face 
almost true north). Churches in the Cuchumatanes 
villages commonly face west-northwest. 

Often the positions of the market and central square 
have been shifted. In Momostenango, for example, 
where the church faces west toward a large, open 
square (of packed dirt, which is covered, on market 
days, with blankets spread to dry), the "parque" is. 
removed to the south, and the market square is adja- 
cent to the church on the north side. The square 
upon which the church faces may have been the main 
one when the town center was built, though there is 
no evidence of other large buildings ever having 

i» 1891 declination of 6° 42' east. 

^^ A few exceptions to this may be found, as in Quezaltenango, where 
there are some relatively wealthy Indians. 

^^ Often, where church bells have been dislodged by earthquakes, 
these have been hung in low shelters at ground level instead cf having 
been replaced in their original belfries, even though tlie church building 
may still be intact. Many illustrations may be seen in villages around 
Lake Atitlan, where crude thatch shelters generally have been put up 
for the bells (San Antonio and San Pablo, for example). 



fronted upon it. It is now secondary ; besides being 
used for drying blankets, it is occupied by vendors 
during fiestas, and by dancers and celebrants. Other- 
wise, it is merely a vacant, bare space. 

In the Lake Atitlan villages the church often faces 
out over the water, as in San Jorge (a later church), 
toward the south-southwest; San Antonio, west; 
Santiago Atitlan (the oldest church on the lake), 
west-northwest, toward the bay. As often, however, 
the long church buildings are alined with their sides 
parallel to the shore, as in San Pedro, facing north- 
west ; Santa Cruz, southwest ; Panajachel west-north- 
west ; Santa Catarina, northwest. 


Acculturation extends beyond town pattern, both 
geographic and ethnic ; it even afifects the name of the 
town. As Spanish-descended Ladinos occupy the 
foremost part of the town, so also the first part of the 
town name is frequently of European origin — the 
Spanish name of a Roman Catholic saint. This is 
very general, as in Santiago Atitlan, San Jose 
Chacaya, etc., the full names being employed in con- 
versation only when two towns having the same saint 
may be confused. More often than not, the first ap- 
pellation above is used, even by the Indians, though 
frequently the reverse is true, as in the case of Atitlan 
(one seldom hears "Santiago" except academically). 
This village also illustrates the Mexican influence so 
commonly seen in place names of Guatemala, such 
as Atitlan, Quezaltenango, Escuintla, and hundreds 
of others. Through the mercenarj' Indian troops ac- 
companying Alvarado, these Mexican names came in 
with the Spanish. 


No one who devotes much time to ethnographic 
research in Guatemala could fail to see the fallacy 
of assuming that any cultural unity other than that 
of similar language exists within the bounds of lin- 
guistic areas. Tax has justly criticized Shultze-Jena, 
who "assumed that Quiche culture is enough of a 
unit to allow him to use data from both Chichicaste- 
nango and Momostenango without distinguishing 
their sources" (Tax, 1937, pp. 423-424). Local 
diversities are too numerous and significant for any 
such broad application of language terms unaccom- 
panied by specific locality. Ethnography in High- 
land Guatemala, in fact, must be treated "microscop- 
ically." It is likely that such local variations existed 
also among the so-called "nations" of pre-Columbian 
Guatemala, which were very loosely organized, pos- 
sibly owing in part to these differences. 

The municipio ^-" is the smallest administrative 
unit in the political structure of modern Guatemala. 
In a sense it is a sort of township. Though in certain 
sections of Guatemala the municipio is larger than 
the American "standard township" (36 sq. miles, or 
about 90 sq. km.), in the Highlands of Southwest 
Guatemala some are much smaller. The latter are 
particularly characteristic of the rugged, dissected 
young volcanic region (V, map 5). "Plateau" 
(mainly V, map 5) and Lowland municipics are 
larger, as shown in table 4. 

i^ Adoption of this term appears to be relatively recent; I have not 
seen it used earlier than the 19th century. 

Table 4. — Average size of mtinicipios in selected Guatemala Dcpartaincntos (in square kilometers, approximate) 

Political division 

Departaniento of Sacatepequez 

Departamento of Chinialtenango 

Departamento of Totonicapan 

Departamento of Quezaltenango 

Departamento of Solola _. . 

Departamento of Suchitepepuez (annexed from Solola) 

Municipio of Chicacao 

Departamento of Suchitepequez (original)^ 

Departamento of Retalhuleu 

Municipio of Santo Tonias Chichicastenango 

Departamento of Peten 

Departamento of Quiche 

Mainly above 1,500 m. elevation 




41. S 


per sq. km. 





Average area (above and 
below 1,500 m.) 

Mainly below 1,500 m. elevation 







per sq. km. 




Average population 

density per sq. km. 

(above and below 1,500 m.) 

Physical provinces, 

indicated in order 

of importance 

(see map 5) 





v., v. 





^ This refers to that part of Suchitepequez which antedates the annexation of Lowland Solola. 




The grouping of people in Latin America (orig- 
inating in the Spanish reditcciones, encomiendas, and 
rcparthnicntos) in small areas, often naturally de- 
fined, has inevitably led to cultural integration on 
a "township" basis. To a large extent the municipios 
are the fundamental cultural units of Guatemala. 
Evidence of this fact is seen when one crosses the 
boundaries of these administrative units and ob- 
serves, as is so frequently the case, quite different 
costumes, crafts, religious group affiliations, some- 
time physical distinctiveness, and even certain el- 
ements of vocabulary. Usually these traits do not 
differ appreciably between two settlements wdthin 
a municipio, but they ordinarily do vary from one 
municipio to another, unless they are related as ex- 
plained below. The little Lake community of 
Tzununa, for example, is nearly 3 miles (5 km., 
over an hour's walk or canoe trip) removed from 
its high-perched cabecera (seat of the municipio), 
Santa Cruz, with rugged terrain intervening (pi. 45, 
d, c) ; yet the costumes and economies are practi-' 
cally identical, with more of the old type prevailing 
in the former, a small, more isolated community (see 
p. 121, pi. 27). The other half dozen scattered hamlets 
{caserios) in this municipio, such as Jaibalito, have 
the same characteristics, which have been maintained, 
apparently since the Conquest, through contacts 
within the "township" area. 

That the original delimitation of these municipios 
by the Spaniards was based upon certain pre-ex- 
isting ethnic unity is quite likely, though it is prob- 
able that many of these lines were entirely arbitrary. 
The villages on the shores of Lake Atitlan, with 
houses clustered around a colonial Spanish Church 
— villages which were generally smaller concentra- 
tions of population prior to the Conquest (judging 
both from early literature and from archeology ^^'') 
— are good illustrations of settlements which un- 
doubtedly began as reducciones}^'^ 

i^'See p. 101, ftn. 153; Brinton, 1SS5, p. 101; also, Garcia Pelaez, 
ISSl, p. 171. 

"1 One approach to tlie question of early post-Conquest groupings 
seems to lie in the matter of native designations for municipio inhabi- 
tants. For example, thougli inhabitants of the twin municipios of 
Nahuala and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan are generally called "Nahual- 
enos" in the Highlands, they are termed "Xankatales" (from "Santa 
Catalina") in the Lowlands, and Tax (1937, pp. 433^34) points out 
that the Atitecos refer to one of them as "ax-catalina'* (or "man of 
Catalina"). This immediately reflects two facts, in the history of the 
joint and culturally unified municipios: First, that they were united 
until the secession of Nahuala in 1S65 (see McBryde, 1933, p. 103, 
ftn. 52) ; second, that the single name which they bore until that time 
was, as late as the latter ISth century, spelled by the old form "Santa 

Any attempt at treating the municipios as distinct 
cultural units must be undertaken with caution, for 
exceptions to such individuality are numerous. They 
may be summarized as follows : 

(A) In some instances two or more adjoining 
municipios are more or less similar, owing to the 
division of a larger unit of population into smaller 
ones. The municipios in such cases were formerly 
combined, politically and in some measure culturally 
as well. The following list of municipios was pre- 
pared in the field in 1935-36. In some cases, the 
only known similarity lies in Indians' costumes, 
which serve therefore as a basis for grouping them 
together. A considerable degree of language simi- 
larity is known to exist also, and it is felt that these 
two traits are sufficient to merit tentatively indicating 
such adjoining municipios as being related culturally. 
Of the list presented here, three groups (Nos. 1, 3, 
and 4) have also been noted by Tax (as the excep- 
tions to the general rule of municipio individuality), 
who writes of them as follows : "... in each case 
the people of both municipios speak the same dialect, 
different from those of others, have the same patron 
saint and a common tradition of origin, have the 
same costume, and apply to themselves the same 
name" (Tax, 1937, p. 433) . Though we cannot speak 
with certainty concerning all of the municipios with 
regard to all-round cultural similarity, it is safe to 
assume in the case of most of them more traits in 
common than meet the eye and ear of the casual 
observer. The following municipios show similarities 
in dress, and probably are alike in other respects as 

Municipios in li'hich costumes are similar 
(see also pi. 6) 

1. Santa Catarina Lxtahuacan — Nahuala; latter seceded, 

2. Santiago Atitlan — Chicacao ; latter founded March S, 
LS89, separated from Santiago. 

3. Santa 2^Iaria Chiquimula — Patzite. 

4. Santo Tomas Chichicastenango — Chiche. 

5. Solola — San Jose Chacaya — Concepcion. 

6. San Cristobal Totonicapan — San Andres Xecul — San 
Francisco el Alto (and possibly Cantel) ; strong similarity, 
but some minor distinctions. 

7. Huitan — Cajola — San Miguel Sigiiila — San Juan Ostun- 
calco — Concepcion Chiquirichapa — San Martin Sacatepequez ; 
same women's skirts and belts, huipils vary within certain 

Catalina" (see Anon., Ms. 177S, p. 17, f. 236, which describes the town 
of Santa Catalina as "the richest town" of the "Provincia de Atitlan, 
o Solola"). In calling an Antoiiero "ax-Palop6," adherence to tlie old 
place name is also in evidence, for in early colonial times Polopo was 
the name of the village which today is San Antonio Palop6. 



fundamental, basic pattern; San Martin men's costume dis- 

8. San Pedro la Laguna — San Juan la Laguna (women's 
dress slightly different). 

9. Quezaltenango — San Mateo. 

10. Momostenango — San Bartolome Aguascalientes. 

(B) Similar municipios or parts of municipios 
due to recent migrations are given in the following 
list. In the instances listed, independent "cultural 
colonies" have been established in which costumes, 
language, and many customs of the mother municipio 
are still largely preserved by the migrants and their 
descendants. In some cases Highland groups have 
settled in the Lowlands ; elsewhere they have 
moved to other parts of the Highlands. This list is 
by no means complete even for the area covered, but 
provides a representative sampling. 

years after migrating to the Lowlands. Some of the 
larger piedmont municipios in the populous coffee 
belt have units of man}' Highland municipios repre- 
sented as permanent labor colonists. A few illustra- 
tions from among hundreds are as follows. 

Highland Indian groups which migrated as perinannit 
labor colonists 

From municipio of : 

1. Solola 

2. Totonicapan 

Santo Tomas 

To municipio of : 

San Lucas Toliman (coflee 

finca laborers). 
San Pablo Jocopilas (Finca 

Santa Barbara Suchitepe- 

quez (fincas, especially 

Moca) — was Dept. Solola 

till 1934. 

Municipios or parts of municipios with costume similarities due to recent migrations 
From municipio of : To municipio of : Remarks and dates of changes : 

Highland LtKi'land 

1. Zunil Pueblo Nuevo Town renamed (was formerly 

Pecul) and reestablished by 
Ladinos about 1880. 

2. Zunil '. Santo Tomas la Union Depto. Suchitepequez to Quezalte- 

nango about 1900 (clianged 
name, 1920 ; was Santo Tomas 
Perdido) ; Depto. Suchitepequez 
to Quezaltenango in 1933. 

3. Zunil Zunilito (Municipio of San Fran- Classified as pueblo, 1933. 

Cisco Zapotitlan?). 

4. Momostenango Palmar Common landowners in both. 

5. San Pedro la Laguna San Pedro Cutzan (Municipio of Common landowners in both. 

Chicacao). (About 1880?). 


6. Totonicapan Patanatic (Municipio of 1890. Probably originally lumber 

Panaj achel ) . workers. 

7. Totonicapan Panebar (Municipio of San Juan ( ?). 

la Laguna). 

8. Patzicia Cerro de Oro (Municipio of About 1880 (?). Costumes have 

Santiago Atitlan). assimied some modifications in 

detail, figures woven on huipil, 
e.g., as at Santiago. 

9. Santa Lucia Utatlan Xepec (Municipio of Sta. About 1910 (?). 

Catarina Palopo). 

(C) Labor coloriies as extraneous units within a 
municipio. Throughout the cofifee belt of the Pacific 
piedmont, groups of plantation laborers who have 
come from Highland Indian communities have 
settled permanently on fincas. ' Though many of 
these have lost much of their identity, large numbers 
of them continue to wear their distinctive costumes 
and otherwise to preserve their backgrounds for 

It is possible that some of the adjoining municipios 
under (A) above, may have been large ethnic units 
at the time of the Conquest, though further evidence 
of relationship is necessary before we can draw such 
a conclusion. In some cases several groups may 
have previously been one, subsequently split up by 
the Spaniards. Subdivision has continued to the 
present time, with special impetus provided by the 



agricultural revolution which accompanied the ex- 
pansion of coffee beginning about 1850.^*- 

We may assume that many modern municipios rep- 
resent areas each of which had a considerable degree 
of cultural uniformity within itself about 100 years 
ago (1830-40). The early 19th century perhaps was 
the period of greatest homogeneity of municipios or 
preexisting ethnic groups that has ever been seen. 
Before the Conquest they did not exist as they are 
today; the reducciones tended to throw together set- 
tlements, the ethnic uniformity of which probably be- 
came strengthened by years of living in small, more or 
less isolated areal units. Then came the break-up of 
cultural entities by the agricultural revolution. Rail- 
way and road-building operations^^^ simultaneously 
tended to increase intercominunication and to cause 
some shift of population. There were numerous 
migrations of peoples during the period of the coffee 
boom which had no direct connection with that in- 
dustry (e.g., Patanatic and Xepec, see p. 90, B, Nos. 
6 and 9) and which may have been stimulated 
by the general restlessness of the period. Cerro 
de Oro, an aldea of Santiago (p. 90, B, No. 8, 
and map 20) was peopled by the Patzicia settlers 
during the coffee boom period, and, though the lava 
apron in this area is stony and rough, the high grade 
of the coffee may have offset this disadvantage. Cof- 
fee must have reached Lake Atitlan relatively late, 
for Dollfus and Mont-Serrat (1868, p. 521) say of 
San Lucas Toliman (where good coffee in consid- 
erable quantity is grown today) : ". . . absolutely un- 
productive country; the Indians plant a little corn, 
and catch fish in Lake Atitlan for their own consmnp- 
tion." Nor do they mention coffee in Panajachel, 
where it is a major crop today (map 23). It prob- 
ably came in during the last decade of the 19th cen- 
tury. Brigham in 1887, though he calls Panajachel 
the "garden of Solola" (op. cit., pp. 155-156), says 
nothing of coffee ; yet Mrs. Maudslay mentions it as 
an important crop in 1899 (op. cit., p. 57). 


Before appraising the significance of present muni- 
cipio boundaries as cultural lines, it is well to examine 
the evolution of a municipio which is fairly well 

known historically, such as Santiago Atitlan, site of 
the ancient capital of the Zutuhiles.'^^ At the time 
of the Conquest the southern shore of Lake Atitlan 
was occupied by the Zutuhiles, whose lands extended 
into the Lowlands, where they had rich cacao planta- 
tions (map 11). Shortly after 1850, coffee was 
planted on a very large scale all along the piedmont, 
on slopes higher than the cacao lands (map 12) . Cof- 
fee succeeded cacao as the major crop, and there was 
such a boom in coffee plantations that piedmont 
municipios developed on colonial lands of Highland 
municipios, and finally became independent of them, 
as Chicacao did in breaking off from Santiago Atitlan. 
The Indians in the two municipios, having stemmed 
from the same stock, are still closely related by blood. 

Zutuhil Lands. — Historical records indicate that 
the areal extent of the Zutuhil "kingdom" before the 
Conquest included the south shore (and originally 
probably the north shore as well ; see p. 103, ftn. 159) 
of Lake Atitlan, and a center of settlement ("capi- 
tal") which corresponded in some measure with the 
present village of Santiago, though archeological evi- 
dence indicates a somewhat greater dispersion to the 
north of the modern site (map 20; pi. 47). There 
were also extensive Lowland territories, commonly 
held by Highland Indians primarily for the planting 
of cacao and some supplementary corn. 

Brinton's English translation (1885) of the Xahila 
manuscript^^^ reveals that the Zutuhil "originally" 
occupied the shores of the Lake, and divided it with 
the newly arrived Cakchiquels, who even married 
their women, "neither their mothers nor sisters hav- 
ing accompanied them" (Brinton, 1885, p. 107). 

According to Fuentes y Guzman, "the kingdom of 
the Zutugiles comprised the territories of Atitlan and 
Suchitepequez" (Lowlands) (Fuentes y Guzman, 
1882-83, vol. 2, p. 172). 

Juan de Pineda (1908, p. 438), writing between 
1560 and 1580, says of "Atytlan": "they all have 
horses on which they take to the Zapotitlan lowlands, 
a day's ride down below, all the things they produce, 
and they trade in cacao and cotton; furthermore, 

"^Dollfus and Mont-Serrat (1868, p. 521) wrote of Chimaltenango 
(1865-66): "Village of 1200-1500 inhabitants. . . . Most of the 
inhabitants, like those of the following villages, left their homes to go to 
work in the plantations of nopal and coffee, so that this region [High- 
lands around Chimaltenango} is on tbe verge of depopulation. 

133 The importance of roads was stressed during the rule of President 
Carrera (1844—65). For railway data, see p. 92, ftn. 141. 

134 Described briefly or mentioned by the following: Lothrop, 1928, 
1933; Tax, 1937, pp. 431, 434-^35; Wauchope, 1938. The name'' 
"Atitlan" does not appear in the Cakchiquel history, even though the 
account brings their story up to 1600. The entire name of the village 
probably came in with the Spaniards, though definite mention of Aztecs 
("Yaquis") is made as early as 1503, when they were executed for 
taking sides in a Cakchiquel (Akahal) revolt (Brinton, 1885, p. 161). 
There have been numerous spellings of Zutuhil as is often the case with 
Guatemala place names. A few of these have been as follows: Zutujil, 
Tzutuhil, Zutuhil. Sotohil, Sotojil, and Zutijil. 

135 Variously titled (Brinton, "Annals of the Cakchiquels;" Brasseur 
"Memorial del Tecpan-Atitlan"). 



almost all the inhabitants of this town have groves 
['myllpas'] of cacao in those Lowlands, in four 
plantations which they have, called San Bernar- 
dino,''^'' which is large, Sant Francisco and Santan- 
dres and Santa Barbara. They harvest quantities of 
cacao from their lands, and anotto, chile, large shrimp 
[in streams], and many of the fruits in which the 
region abounds. ..." Pineda was prone to exag- 
gerate the wealth of the Indians, in order to justify 
high tribute requirements by the Crown (see 
Relaciones, etc., 1908, pp. 75-76). 

In a letter from several Atitlan chiefs to the King 
of Spain, written in 1571, it was said of their 
"nation" that ". . . their chief was named Atziquini- 
hai, and along with him, the sub-chiefs were called 
Amactzutuhile . . . [who own] . . . plantations named 
Sant Bartholme and Sant Andres and Sant Fran- 
cisco and Sancta Barbola, and likewise they had 
servants and animals, and things given in tribute, 
such as precious stones . . . gold, cacao, and feathers, 
chickens, honey, and many plantations of corn and 
cacao." ^*" 

The Qapotitlan description states that Atitlan "has 
annexes at tlie towns of San Bartolome and San 
Francisco and Tollman the lower, called San Lucas, 
and the towns of San Pedro and San Pablo" (Anon., 
Ms. 1579, p. 23, f. 116). A hamlet of San Cristobal is 
also mentioned, probably being near the site of 
modern Chicacao (it was 2 leagues east of 
San Antonio Suchitepequez), and it was evidently 
also a colony of Atitlan. ^^* 

Cacao plantations. — The richness of the cacao 
plantations of the entire piedmont is frequently re- 
ferred to by early writers. In the Qapotitlan manu- 
script (Anon., Ms. 1597, p. 17, f. 113) the term 
"cacao mines" is used. It was the Lowland cacao 
groves (cacaotales) which Alvarado threatened to 
destroy, and he thereby brought the Zutuhils to 
terms (Diaz del Castillo, 1837, p. 415). On the 

IS" This probably should be San Bartolome, for the apparently more 
accurate description of "Capotitlan" in 1579 speaks of "San.Vernaldino 
[of the town of] St. Antonio su Chetepequez. . . ." (Anon., Ms. 
1579, p. 23, f. 116). This is more likely, for San Bernardino is west of 
San Antonio. (See also p. 15, ftn. 8.) 

i"Anon., Ms. 1571. A portion of the above is translated in Brinton 
(1S85. p. 38), who refers also to Ternaux-Compans, Recueil, etc. (1840, 
p. 419). 

1^ Ibid., p. 9, f. 109. It has been possible for me to locate these long- 
disappeared Lowland settlements of Atitlan (map 11) by identifying cer- 
tain of the numerous streams mentioned by the companions of Alonso 
Ponce (who meticulotisly counted and recorded them all; Ponce 1873, 
vol. 1, pp. 431-434), then comparing them with those on the detailed 
Railway Survey map (Intercontinental Railway Commission, 1898, 
map 2). With the exception of Santa Barbara, which still exists, I 
have found no reference to any of these villages later than the 16th 

basis of the present Highland territory of Santiago 
Atitlan, without knowledge of their former Lowland 
plantations, this passage would appear confusing, for 
all the territory of the present-day municipio of 
Santiago is well above the limits of cacao growth. 

The domain of the Zutuhils at the time of the Con- 
quest probably included the southern Lake shore 
from San Pablo to San Lucas, inclusive, and the 
Lowlands, extending east-west from Santa Barbara 
to San Bartolome Aguacatepeque.^'® (The southern 
limit is nowhere indicated.) This was precisely the 
pariichial x'isita and guardiania of Ponce's time 
(1586), and as defined in the 1579 Qapotitlan report. 

Immediately east of the Lowland Atitlan colonies, 
there were probably plantations of Solola. 

Pineda writes of the Indians of Tecpanatitlan 
(Solola) : "... they go to the Lowlands of (^apotit- 
lan, one day's ride away, and all these things [High- 
land products] they take on horses, everyone having 
two or three for cargo and others which they ride. 
They exchange their goods for cacao and cotton by 
barter, and sell cacao to the Spaniards for money. 
Of the cotton they weave more clothes to sell . . . 
and these Indians are intermarried with those of the 
Qapotitlan Lowlands." (For an appraisal of Pineda's 
comments, see al)ove.) 

Coflfee replaces cacao. — The production of 
coffee on a large scale revolutionized the agriculture 
of the piedmont, for cacao had declined and coffee 
became the one big money crop. 

As early as 1783 coffee is mentioned quite casually 
as a minor plant in Soconusco.^"'° 

The unpublished Solola "Monograph of the De- 
partment" (September 1926) relates that in Patulul 
(about 12 miles east of Chicacao) cofifee planting 
began between 1855 and 1860, reaching its peak in 
1895. Coffee brought with it a wave of prosperity 
for Guatemala, reflected, among other things, in 
expansion of railroads. ^''^ 

Chicacao, a coffee colony. — The unpublished 
1930 census report states that Chicacao was founded 
in 1889 (March 5), before which time it was an 

12^ The agnomen "Aguacatepeque" appears in the C^potitlan manu- 
script (Anon., Ms. 1579, p. 10, f. 109). 

"" (Anon., Ms. 1783, p. 49) ". . . achiote abounds without being 
cultivated, and coffee, little consumed, produces on the same lands as 

^'1 It was coffee export that occasioned the Intercontinental Railway 
Commission survey (1891-92); the road went through to Cocales (sta- 
tion 3 miles below Patulul) in 1897. This was the western terminal 
from Guatemala City until the opening of the Mazatenango extension, 
in 1903, which was a "memorable occasion" (Libro Azul, 1915, p. 87) 
that joined the Ferrocarril Central with the Occidental line (in opera- 
tion since 1883 between Mazatenango and Champerico). 



aldca of Santiago Atitlan. (Here were the ancient 
colonial cacao lands of the Zutuhils.) Local residents 
verify this, explaining further that the area was a 
"high forest" before an Atiteco named Francisco 
Chicajau (hence the name Chicacao, according to 
natives) came in with a small band of some 30 of 
his fellow villagers. They cleared a limited area to 
graze their cattle. Then, on the date mentioned 
above, the land was "traded" from Chicajau, whose 
house stood on the corner of the present square of 
Chicacao. No reason was given for the acquisition of 
this land ; but one has only to glance at the list of 
"rural districts" included in the 1930 census under 
Chicacao, and between the lines the story unfolds. 
There were 99 settlements listed ; 83 for which dates 
are given were founded between 1880 and 1900. The 
lowest of these is Roselia, 250 m., the highest, Baja 
Vista, 1,150 m. This was a part of a "mushroom" 
growth which occurred all along the piedmont, a de- 
velopment which separated ancestral colonial lands 
from Highland municipios ; which brought thousands 
of Indian laborers out of the Highlands, many des- 
tined for permanent Lowland residence ; and which 
sounded the death-knell to many already declining 
cacao groves. Juarros (1823, p. 22) states that 
Guatemala cacao was beginning (early 19th century) 
to lose its prominent place in world trade, owing to 
South American competition. Railway construction, 
which called for cross-ties of trees also used as cacao 
shade, was said to have furthered the collapse of this 
culture. Much of the ancient "cacao mines of the 
coast" thus went back to woodland and secondary 

The last step in the political fortunes of colonial 
Atitlan (Chicacao) came with its absorption by the 
Lowland Departmento of Suchitepequez. Until 1934 
Chicacao had remained in the Departmento of Solola 
(the old corrcgimicnto de Atitlan)}*- Then, along 
with Santa Barbara, San Juan Bautista, and Patulul, 
it was shifted bodily, so that now its cabcccra, or 
"state capital," is Mazatenango, in the piedmont, in- 
stead of Solola, high in the mountains. This was a 
logical (though late) and practicable shifting of 
boundaries as an adjustment to the new plantation 
growth, facilitating communications between the 
many piedmont coffee fincas and their piedmont ter- 
ritorial "seat." 

^*^ The map by Fuentes y Guzman (1932-33, vol. 2, opposite p. 60) 
shows this correciimicitto to have formerly embraced (late 17th century) 
not only all of Solola (before 1934) but much of southern Quiche as 
well, almost to the Cuchumatanes, for it included San Andres 

By the series of changes outlined above, then, the 
cacao lands of the Zutuhils have not only been shifted 
into a new municipio, but have become incorporated 
within another departmento, the old Provinca de 
Suchitepequez, or Zapotitlan. Yet, the dominant, 
native costume of Chicacao is still that of the modern 
Atiteco ; bright-red skirts and variegated head band 
"lialos," unmistakable raiment of the women of Santi- 
ago, fill the Chicacao plaza. These women, local 
inhabitants, are among the few large permanent 
groups in the Lowlands who preserve their original 
dress. And the Zutuhil language prevails, though 
there are certain variations from the Atitlan dialect, 
and there is more Spanish spoken — characteristic of 
the Lowlands. These generalizations cannot be 
made for the municipio as a whole. They must be 
confined to the environs of Chicacao and other 
settlements where former Atitecos predominate. 
Though this includes a majority of the coffee fincas 
of the municipio, there are many others of different 
provenience, so that an ethnic melting pot has been 
one of the results of the coffee boom. 

To cite a few illustrations : The fincas of La Indian 
(population 100, 1930) and Nanzales (established 
1890; population 66, 1930) are peopled almost en- 
tirely by Cakchiquel-speaking Solola colonos or 
ranchcros (permanent colonists) ; Colima, owned by 
a Totonicapan Ladino (foutided 1885, population 
79, 1930), is occupied almost solely by Quiche-speak- 
ing Totonicapeiios, both ranchcros and temporadis- 
tas (those who come down only for the harvest) ; at 
Los Angeles (founded 1900) there are 125 (1930 
census) ranchcros from Santa Maria Chiquimula 
(Quiche speech) ; Filadelfia (population 100, 1930) 
has colonists from Totonicapan, Nahuala, and sev- 
eral of the Lake villages, El Manatial (founded 
1887, population 300, 1930), La Estelina, and Las 
Esperanzas, are occupied mostly by Indians of San 
Juan. San Marcos,_ and San Pablo ; others, such as 
Los Horizontes, Bolivia, and El Brasil, have mostly 
colonists from Santa Clara, Santa Lucia Utatlan, 
and Nahuala (all Quiche speech) ; La Abundancia 
has become almost a labor colony of San Juan la 
Laguna Indians. A large percentage of the former 
Juaneros have gone to the finca to live as laborers, 
with land (about 4-5 cucrdas each) and house pro- 
vided, and wages of 12-15 cents a day. (For labor 
data on fincas, I am indebted to Don Jaime Pensa- 
rena, a labor-promoter of Chichicastenango.) 



Cutzan. — San Pedro Cutzan is unique in being a 
modern Lowland colony of Highland Indians who 
own lands both in the mountains and in the Low- 
lands, as in pre-Conquest times. It is peopled by 
Indians of San Pedro la Laguna, though it is in- 
cluded within the Chicacao municipio. Here, at an 
elevation of 400 m., an hour's walk south of the 
pueblo of Chicacao, a group of Indians from San 
Pedro la Laguna have established a colony of about 
850 inhabitants (local estimate, 1936), the second 
largest center in the municipio. The 1930 census 
indicates a population of 100, but this was probably 
for only a portion of the settlement. Cutzan appears 
on the Intercontinental Railway Commission map 
made in 1891, and it was probably established after 

Houses, identical with those of the mother village, 
except for the split-cecropia board walls instead of 
adobe brick, are widely dispersed along more than a 
mile of road, beside a meandering stream fed by 
many winding tributaries. The village has an area 
of 2J^ sq. km. (nearly 1 sq. mile). Here the allu- 
vial piedmont is dissected into rolling inter- 
stream ridges 50 m. (164 ft.) high, covered with 
smooth grassy slopes and scattered trees (pi. 2, /, g). 
Each homestead, with the dwelling usually about 50 
to 100 m. from the nearest neighbor, includes from 
yi to I mnnsana (about 10,000 sq. m., equivalent of 
a city block) of land planted to clumps of coffee and 
cacao ■'■*^ trees, and sometimes interspersed are 
jicaro (calabash tree), achiote, bananas, papayas, 
oranges, coconuts, guavas, and a few breadfruits 
serving mainly for shade and ornament. There are 
small gardens of squash, several varieties of beans 
and chiles, tomatoes, pineapples, sweet manioc, sugar- 
cane, and certain edible and medicinal herbs, notably 
rnda (rue, Ruta sp., see Standley, 1931. pp. 326- 
327; Standley and Calderon, 1925, p. 123), pito 
(Erythrina fubrincrvia, a remedy for insomnia, see 
Standley and Calderon 1925, p. HI), and kixfan 
(?). Giiisqiiilcs (chayofcs) are planted in little en- 
closures, as in the Highlands. There are maguey 
in small quantity (made locally into rope) and cotton, 
which is spun here, some being taken also to San 

The planting is done, however, chiefly on land that 
is rented from fincas to the south, below the coffee 
belt, in the vicinity of Nahualate and eastward along 

the railroad to Santa Elena. This takes them into 
another municipio, that of Santa Barbara. These 
lands, according to local inhabitants, are generally 
paid for in maize ^** to which they are primarily 
planted. There are also some rice and perhaps a few 
cuerdas of tomatoes, beans, sweetpotatoes, cassava, 
and cotton. 

Most families have one or two horses or mules 
(the latter are much fewer) and three or four head 
of cattle, for all of which there is ample good grazing 
land. There is only one local meat market, most of 
the cattle being bought by Highland butchers, who 
come down from Solola, Atitlan, Panajachel, Santa 
Lucia Utatlan, and a few from Chicacao and San 
Pedro la Laguna. 

Some engage in fishing, particularly in the rapid 
rocky Rio Cutzan, flowing along the western limit 
of the settlement, and the Tarro ^"'^ Creek on the east, 
which is joined by the Siete Vueltas, winding east- 
ward among the scattered houses. Small fish, 
shrimp, and crabs are caught, with the aid of hand 
nets 20 inches in diameter, for the rapids (pi. 4, b), 
and some cast-nets for pool fishing. Occasionally 
seines are used, but never fish poison as in Eastern 
Guatemala. For the large shrimp "* split-bamboo 
funnels are set out in a row, mouth upstream, during 
the night. They are made much like those used for 
fishing in Lake Atitlan villages and resemble those 
similarly used for catching fresh-water shrimp along 
the coast of Peru. About a yard long by 10 inches 
in diameter, they are placed, mouth upstream, in a 
row of 8 or 10 attached to a horizontal pole, with a 
vertical pole fence across the stream around them. 
These are set out all night, and the shrimp are taken 
out in the morning. 

The inhabitants of Cutzan are indistinguishable 
from the Lake Pedranos. They are closely related 
by blood and marriage to the Indians of San Pedro 
on the Lake ; in fact, many said that they had h.ouses 
in both places and spent some time in each. The 
products of the two are in large measure comple- 
mentary, corn being harvested at different seasons 

^*^ Squirrels were said to be very destructive to cacao here; they were 
blamed for destroying: about half the cacao and pataxte, usually eating 
only half or more of the beans of each pod, after gnawing a hole in it. 

^** Half a netload or about 40 pounds of maize ears for a cuerda 
(about 1/5 acre) of land per season. This is equivalent to about one- 
fiftli of the harvest. 

1*^ This stream is named "Toros" on the Intercontinental Railway 
Commission map (1898, Corps I, map 2). 

"•^ These are fresh-water shrimp of the genus M acrobrachium 
that are caught in greatest abundance during the first torrents of the 
rainy season. They apparently are found all along the Pacific slope of 
Central America, as Indians in El Salvador (Dolores Apulo, a village 
on Lake Ilopango) said they also caught them, here again, mainly in 
swollen streams. Shrimp of this genus are known to attain an over-all 
length of well over a foot. 



(though more appeared to go up than down) ; 
superior beans, avocados, jocotes, and maguey come 
down ; cotton, rice, cassava, and tropical fruits go up. 
Soap and candles are reportedly made (1936) in 
Cutzan as in San Pedro la Laguna. Costumes and 
language are the same in both places. The spinning 
of cotton thread as well as of rope, stick-loom weav- 

permission obtained from the local authorities, for 
cutting firewood, grazing Hvestock, and for cultiva- 
tion if additional acreage is needed. 

The amount of land owned or available for tillage 
by resident Indians varies with different sections. 
Some rough estimates by random informants are 
given in table 5. 

Table S. — Amount of land OTxmed or avaUahle for tillage by resident Indians, as estimated by residents 


Number of cuerdas^ of milpa per Indian family 




Number of cucrdas, according to crops 
grown (average and maximum range). 

Pacific Lowlands: 

Santo Tomas la Uni6n 
San Pedro Cutzan . . . 

Lake Atitlan Basin: 

San Lucas 

Santiago Atitlan 

San Pedro 



100 + 

Quezaltenango Valley: 

San Juan Ostuncalco 

Quezaltenango (Chiquilaj4) 
San Andres Xecul 




Coffee, 20-30; 80-100. 
Milpa, 50-80; 200-300. 

^ A cuerda is about 1/5 acre. 

2 1 finca has more than 1,000 cuerdas. 

ing, distinctive men's dress, and the few temescales 
(stone sweat baths) all are Highland traits, rare in 
the Lowlands, where they apparently are almost 
always indicative of recent introduction. 


The lands within a municipio are generally owned 
in large part by the municipal government (ntunici- 
palidad), except in the regions of great plantations. 
Land may be sold to those who have enough capital 
to purchase it and pay taxes on it, and much land is 
privately owned by Indians throughout the High- 
lands. But the usual procedure in the case of much 
of the population — Indian peasants and others with- 
out estates — is for the local government to grant 
residence and tillage rights to men reaching the age 
of 18 years. Title is given for plots of land, pro- 
portional to the size of the family, and this is tanta- 
mount to ownership during the life of the individual 
tenant. Land so granted is not transferable, nor is 
it inheritable property. Home lots are generally 
owned by individuals or families, and are inheritable. 
In some municipios, such as certain ones on Lake 
Atitlan, milpa land is granted for the period of its 
fertility, usually 8 to 10 years. Upon the death of the 
tenant, the land reverts to the municipio. No accurate 
data on land ownership are available. 

Many municipios have large amounts of communal 
land which may be used by the inhabitants, through 

The estimates in table 5, though not based upon 
any actual measurements, are not incompatible with 
population densities. Apparently, large landholders 
are to be found mainly in the high basins and valleys 
and in the Lowlands, with the Lake villagers having 
land more evenly divided among them. In some cases, 
notably the south-shore municipios, Santiago and San 
Pedro in particular, a number of Indian landholders 
have local Indian laborers who work for them. In 
the piedmont, especially around Pueblo Nuevo, In- 
dian finqueros are said to own tracts as large as 2,000 
cuerdas (about 400 acres), which are planted mainly 
to coffee and are cultivated by Indian laborers. In- 
dian owners of large plantations are rare, however. 

The natives of Guatemala generally have not ex- 
pressed such great demands for land as the Mexican 
peasants have. Large finca owners, who depend upon 
cheap Indian labor, have discouraged the Govern- 
ment from granting land to the Indians on the 
grounds that it would reduce commercial production, 
and hence the national income, because of the Indians' 
indifference to the development of plantations. The 
fincas appeal economically to the Indians, both tem- 
porary and permanent colonists, largely through the 
loan to them of land for corn, beans, and other sub- 
sistence crops. Formerly, through money, liquor, 
and goods, indebtedness of the Indians was encour- 
aged, to hold them in "debt bondage," but this was 
abolished by law in 1934. 



A little over one-fifth of the total territory' of Guate- 
mala (approximately 48,000 sq. miles, or 120,000 sq. 
km.) is privately owned, by only about one-fifteenth 
of the total population. This amounts roughly to 
one-eighth of a square kilometer, or about 32 acres 
for each landowner; but not over one-seventh of 
all privately owned land is under cultivation (Jones, 
1940, pp. 176-177). These estimates are for the 
period preceding the declaration of war on Germany 
by Guatemala in 1941. Over one-third of the privately 
owned land under cultivation was then in the hands 
of foreigners, especially Germans in the coffee regions 
of Alta Vera Paz and the western Pacific Lowlands 
and volcanic slopes. German lands were confiscated 
by the Guatemalan Government after war was de- 

A number of attempts have been made, since 
shortly after Guatemala gained its independence, to 
distribute lands for improvement and development. 
Appeals were made to foreign colonists, and also to 
native Indians, but with indifferent success. For- 
eigners encountered great difficulties in tropical 
agriculture, and the Indians seemed content to go 
on as they were, eking out a bare existence through 
primitive methods, many of them on municipal lands. 

Surveys. — The four-fifths of Guatemala that is 
government-owned land is very imperfectly known 
as to extent and location. This is due partly to in- 
complete and poorly kept records of titles and partly 
to inaccurate mapping of the country. Urrutia care- 
fully surveyed most of the privately owned coffee 
fincas of the Pacific versant, especially, and the Ger- 
man plantations of the Alta Vera Paz have also been 
fairly well mapped. The eastern boundaries of Guate- 
mala have been surveyed in recent years by aerial 
photography, under the direction of Sidney Birdseye 
for the Guatemala-Honduras Boundary Survey Com- 
mission (see Informe detalledo de la Comision, etc., 
1937). Aerial surveys have also been made in parts 
of the Peten by the Shell Oil Company. Elsewhere, 
most of the country has been very inadequately 
mapped. Alunicipio and even Department boundaries 
are often indefinite, but where they consist of streams 
and drainage divides, as is often the case (map 20), 
good maps would entirely clarify boundary questions. 


A distinction may be made between (1) muni- 
cipios in which settlements are clustered, most of the 
inhabitants living in one or more hamlets, villages, 
or towns and going out into the surrounding country 
to plant their fields, and (2) dispersed settlements in 

which the greater proportion of the Indians of the 
municipio are scattered rural dwellers who only 
occasionally come into their town or village, usually 
to trade or conduct some official business. The 
former is illustrated by Santiago Atitlan and other 
lakeside villages built on limited favorable sites (see 
pp. 97-126 and map 20). Since agricultural activity 
must be conducted chiefly upon steep surrounding 
slopes and people must go out from the center where 
they live, such settlements are centrifugal insofar as 
economic activity is concerned. Men of Santiago 
even sell their goods almost entirely in outside 
markets. The second type, illustrated to some de- 
gree by Solola, but much better by Chichicastenango, 
tends to be centripetal, in that trade and religious 
activities bring the scattered inhabitants into the 
village at frequent intervals. They take up their 
temporary residence often in town houses that may 
otherwise be unoccupied. Though few in Solola, 
these houses are numerous in Chichicastenango. 

Tax has classified municipios in the midwestern 
highlands of Guatemala "according to ecological type 
and the composition of population" as follows: (1) 
"Town-nucleus" type, dispersed and close-knit vari- 
eties (corresponding with my "clustered" type), and 
(2) "vacant-town" type (ordinarily equivalent to 
what I call "dispersed"), with small-town and large- 
town varieties (Tax, 1937, pp. 427-429). The 
"vacant-town" center is defined as having "prac- 
tically no permanent Indian residents," since many 
of them own both town and country houses, and 
occupy the former only on certain market and fiesta 
days. Those who have no town houses stay with 
friends on these occasions, so that there are few 
permanent Indian residents other than officials, who 
remain in town only during their terms of office. 

Chichicastenango, where Tax studied intensively 
over a period of years, is cited by him as a typical 
illustration of the "vacant-town" type, with which he 
includes also many of the larger towns of the High- 
lands, even Ouezaltenango. Though these towns do 
have many houses which are left unoccupied when 
the owners are tending their fields, working on Low- 
land fincas, or engaged in other activities that may 
even keep them away much of the time, there are 
nevertheless enough permanent Indian inhabitants 
(even local ones, to whom he refers) to make the 
"vacant-town" classification seem unsuited to them. 

The phenomenon of the "vacant-town" in almost 
a literal sense, is well exemplified by Tenejapa, in 
Chiapas, a bordering Mexican State which is cul- 



turally very similar to Guatemala. Except on 
market days, when it teems with Hfe, this village 
resembles a "ghost town," having rows of vacant 
houses with grass even on the walks between them. 
Great fluctuations in town populations are very 
general in the iMaya Indian regions of Guatemala 
and Mexico, especially in market towns. 

Though Indians may live near the center of a 
town or village, more often they are to be found on 
the outskirts (map 21) and scattered over the sur- 
rounding country where the terrain permits. Such 
dispersed settlements are common in the Ouezalte- 
nango-Totonicapan region. As a general rule, 
Indians are more dependent upon agriculture than 
are Ladinos, and even traders, craftsmen, and arti- 
sans among them plant cornfields. 


Certain salient geographical as well as purely 
cultural '*' factors encourage the agglomeration of 
Indians into villages and towns, some of them ex- 
tremely compact, such as Santiago Atitlan (map 20; 
pi. 47). Site limitations, in terms of water supply 
as well as steepness of slope in such rugged regions 
as the Lake Atitlan Basin, are chiefly responsible 
for condensed settlements which have little "rural" 
population (outside of the villages). 

On the other hand, in an area like the open valley 
between the towns of Quezaltenango and Totonica- 
pan, or the dissected plateau region around Santa 
Cruz del Quiche and Chichicastenango, there are 
many Indian dwellings scattered widely over the 
countryside. These people, being agriculturists pri- 
marily, and needing space for cornfields, pastures, 
and woodlots, tend to spread out widely, if possible, 
in establishing their dwellings or minor groups of 
dwellings near their fields (pi. 38, a. j). Small 
administrative and commercial villages and towns, 
surrounded by far-flung rural habitations, wherein 
live the majority of the municipio population, repre- 
sent much the commonest type of settlement in 
Indian Guatemala. These are the "dispersed-settle- 
ment" municipios mentioned earlier in this section. 

The principal nucleating factors are : ( 1 ) Perma- 
nent water supply; (2) site or surface features 

which limit settlement possibilities; (3) situation, 
including nearness to arable lands, markets, trade 
routes, and sources of supply of goods of all sorts, 
as well as general climatic and edaphic conditions; 
(4) specialized occupations, commercial, industrial 
or agricultural, which are supplementary to the basic 
milpa economy, and which may depend in turn upon 
certain specific advantages in the natural environ- 
ment; (5) availability of remunerative employment; 
(6) historical precedent. 


Santiago, the largest village (map 20; pi 47) on 
Lake Atitlan, is an excellent example of a clustered- 
settlement municipio and illustrates the operation of 
the six nucleating factors. 

Water supply. — The Lake is the only source of 
permanent water in the higher, more desirable por- 
tion of the municipio ; that is, the part which is at 
Lake level or above, rather than in the warmer lower 
levels. Streams on the slopes of the three volcanic 
cones are intermittent, flowing only during the rainy 
half year, except on the lower, coastal versant, where 
abundant springs, many of them percolating through 
from the Lake, irrigate the coffee fincas. The penin- 
sula of Santiago has a full kilometer of water 
frontage, greater than that of any other equal area 
along the shore, so that no Atiteca has far to go to 
fill her tinaja, or water jar (pi. 25, /). This avail- 
ability of Lake water, then, is a critical factor in 
limiting the location of settlements to within a short 
distance from the shore. 

Surface features. — The lava terrace town site, 
which has been described in a previous section 
(p. 86), presents the largest area of moderately level 
surface adjacent to the water, and is safe from flood- 
ing by streams or by the fluctuating Lake. This 
hazard of inundation exerts a major influence upon 
the choice of sites for the location of settlements. 

Situation. — Lying in the gap between volcanoes 
Toliman-Atitlan and San Pedro on a natural cor- 
ridor connecting the Highlands with the Pacific Low- 
lands, Santiago is on a major ancient trade route. ^^^ 

1*' No attempt was made to study and analyze such cultural factors 
as addiction to alcohol and religious fiestas. Overemphasis upon these 
two traits by Indians of Santa Catarina Palop6 was pointed out by Sol 
Tax (1937. p. 443) as a major reason for the small amount of land 
owned by the Catarinecos, since they have sold much of it to pay for 
their expensive indulgences. (Had their lands been abundant and 
productive to begin with, perhaps they would not have had to sell them.) 

6S4162— 47 8 

"^ One branch of the colonial Camino Real passed through Santiago, 
and this was an important dry-season alternate route to Mexico from 
Guatemala, via Lowland Soconusco. It was followed by Alonso Ponce, 
who found, however, that it was often impassable in rainy weather, be- 
cause of swollen rivers and swamps: "One cannot go to Guatemala by 
that road during the rainy season, when you must go by the province of 
Chiapas" (op. cit., vol. 1, p. 294). The other branch, from the junction 
at Godines, went by Panajachel, Solola, Argueta, Totonicapan, Huehue- 
tenango, and Chiapas, keeping to the Highlands. I had reports of re- 
mains of an old stone "highway" near .\rgueta, and the same year 
(1932) saw five well-preserved old stone bridges while mapping the 
ancient trail just south of Solola. 



Statistical Data on Selected Municipios mid Deparlameiitos in Southwest Guatemala 

(see map 20) 

Departaniento de Solola 


San Lucas Tollman 

Santiaga Aticlan 

Cerro de Oro 

San Pedro 

San Juan 


Santa Clara 

Santa Maria Visitation 

Nahuala and Santa Catarina 

Santa Lucia Utatlan 

San Pablo 

San Marcos 

Santa Cruz 

San Jose Chacaya 



Panajachel (some territory dis- 
puted with Chichicastenango) . . . 

Santa Catarina Palopo 


San Andres Semetabaj 

San Antonio Palopo 


Lake Atitlan area 

tion 1 














Area (sq. 
km.) 2 














806. 7 

Departamento de Totonicapan 



San Crist6bal 

San Andres Xecul 

San Francisco el Alto 

Santa Maria Chiquimula 


San Bartolome 

Santa Lucia (E. of San Bar- 


tion ^ 







Area (sq. 
km.) = 







spoken by 
Indians ^ 






spoken by 
Indians " 


Departamento de Quezaltenango 
(Highland: above 2,000 m.) 


Salcaj4 (mostly Ladinos) 



Santa Maria 



Santa Maria volcano 

San Martin Sacatepequez 

Concepcion Chiquirichapa 

San Mateo 

.San Miguel SigiiiKi 

San Juan Ostuncalco (formerly 

San Juan Zacualpa) 




San Carlos Sija (probably one-half 


San Francisco la L'nion (W. of 

San Francisco el Alto) 

Huitan (N. of Sibilia) 



tion ^ 










Area (sq. 
km.) = 














spoken by 
Indians 3 










Other areas for comparison 


Santo Tomas Chichicastenango 

(Depto. Quichi) 

Chicacao (Depto. Suchitepequez) 



Retalhuleu (Depto. ) ....._ 

Upper (San Sebastian and 


Lower coast (mostly Ladi- 


Lowland Quezaltenango (under 

2,000 m.) 

Upper half 

Western piedmont, Coa- 


Lower half (mostly Ladinos) 

tion 1 




Area (sq. 
km.) 2 




spoken by 
Indians ' 

Z (mostly). 

Q and Sp. 


Q and Sp. 

Q and ' Sp". 


1 Population figures are from the 1921 census. 

2 Areas of municipios computed with graph paper, from municipio plottings made in the field on maps 20 and 3, respectively. 
"Linguistic data from Stoll, Sapper, Andrade, and local sources. Language symbols: C = Cakchiquel; M = Mam; Q 

= Zutuhil; Sp. = Spanish. 
* Included in the area for Quezaltenango. 

Quiche ; 

Tec parv 



It is a crossroad location where Lake routes and land 
routes converge/''® giving accessibility to a great 
variety of products. To the north are elevated fields 
of wheat, vetch, beans, apples, peaches, and potatoes 
in abundance; gardens of onions and cold-land vege- 
tables ; wool and cotton looms ; limekilns ; products of 
potter and carpenter. To the south are Lowland 
sugar and coffee plantations (the Lake coffee is 
limited in amount, though of high quality) ; tropical 
fruits of every description, especially pineapples, 
zapotes, and nances ; rice, cotton, cacao, salt, chile, 
achiote • (anotto), palm flowers and leaves, fish, 
shrimp, caymans, and iguanas. The Lake shores 
furnish superior avocados, beans, oranges, limes, 
tomatoes, matasanos, sugarcane, garlic, jocotes 
{Spondias sp.), crabs, small fish, ropes, anise, and 

In such a setting it is understandable that the Ati- 
tecos should have become middlemen and professional 
translake navigators on a small scale. They have fine 
timber in the mountains on their west, a partly shal- 
low, sheltered bay, with numerous minor indenta- 
tions, and corn lands beyond, ^"'^ which most men 
visit only by canoe. Under these conditions, skill 
in handling boats is readily acquired from boy- 
hood. The fleet of fine dugout canoes in Santiago 
numbered about 250 in 1936, more than 10 times 
those of the Santa Catarina fishermen, whereas nearly 
all the other villages have but 4 or 5 each. Most of the 
Lake canoes are made in Santiago, and a few in San 
Pedro, the only other place on the Lake. Twenty or 
30, and during peak harvest even 80, dugouts daily 
break the early morning stillness of Santiago Bay, 
with one, sometimes two or four, white-shirted Atite- 
cos in each, paddling briskly across from Santiago 
southwestward to the opposite shore a mile or so 
away. They arrive in about 20 minutes, and walk to 
their milpas on the slopes of San Pedro volcano. 

For crossing the bay they employ small canoes, 
whose average length is AYz z'aras (12 ft.). Much 
larger ones are used in going across the Lake, a 

"'Main land routes: Trail from San Pedro and San Juan in the 
west: trail from Cerro de Oro, San Lucas, Patzum, Tecpan in tlie east; 
chief water route, for launches and canoes (mostly of Santiago) from 
Panajachel in the north, transporting some 200-300 merchants per week 
(especially on Saturday for Sunday coastal markets), mainly from 
Solola and Chichicastenango, going to Chicacao and the fincas, 

i=» It is tlie combination of the last two factors which may explain why 
the Atitecos, and not the Luqueilos (San Lucas natives), became the 
chief navigators and carriers, hence, the merchants of the Lake; for 
San Lucas, on an even easier pass route, is without the large bay and 
has less extensive arable lands (map 20: pi. 46, d, e) . 

9-mile trip from Santiago to Panajachel, made in 
about 4 hours. The gunwales of the canoes are built 
higher with heavy 12- to 15-inch boards that are 
nailed on (hence, probably a Spanish radier than 
pre-Columbian trait) as a protection against waves. 
The Lake crossing is made early in the morning 
(usually 4 to 8 a.m.) to avoid the heavy waves that 
come with the south wind, beginning about 8 :30 a.m. 
Two large pegs extending from the stern of a canoe 
(part of the original log) serve as handles for lifting 
the boat in beaching it. There is often a handle at 
the prow also (pi. 24, a-e\ see also Lothrop, 1929 a). 
The mail carriers (called Pescadores) of Santiago 
are municipal paddlers, usually four to six, who pro- 
vide a daily crossing for passengers, landing in Pana- 
jachel and walking to Solola. Men, women, and 
children with cargoes of every description, including 
pigs, are thus ferried across.-''^ Their largest canoe, 
"La Capoj Tzutuhil," is owned by the municipio, 
and is the pride of the fleet ; it is ii feet long hy ZY2 
feet wide, and carries usually 16 passengers, in addi- 
tion to 4 Pescadores, who were getting 8 cents (asking 
10) for the crossing. The Atitecos are expert boat- 
men, usually the best on the Lake, and they invariably 
win the annual Lake Atitlan regatta. The Santa 
Catarina fishermen are possibly as expert as Atitecos 
at maneuvering small canoes, such as the ones in 
which they have spent so much of their time in 
fishing and crabbing. 

Santiago village is almost in the geographic center 
of the best milpa lands of the upper municipio, rarely 
over a league and a half (though much may be steep 
climbing) from any of them. The largest nearly 
level plain, and the only such area of milpa close to 
Lake elevation, is that composed of alluvium from 
the eastern volcanoes, in the canton called "El Plan," 
over 4 sq. km. in extent, just south of the village. It 
is little over a league from the center of Santiago to 
the main firewood supply, across the south ridge 
(caldera escarpment) on the timbered Pacific slope. 
There is another source somewhat fartlier away, west 
of the village, across the bay, on the slopes of San 
Pedro volcano, and on the north face of the scarp 
(see map 20 and pi. 47). 

1^ Like all the Lake dwellers except Santa Catarina men and some 
Pedranos, few Atitecos can swim, and the occasional upsets of small 
canoes in the heavy waves usually result in drownings. The American 
engineers (Intercontinental Railway Commission Survey, 1S9S, p. 81) 
tell of a terrific battle with a norther, which their Atitlan paddlers 
weathered successfully. 



Exl'lanatio)! of Symbols and Numb 

A, Large dry goods and notions store. 

B, Bakery. 

C, Carpenter's shop. 
Cs, Coppersmith and brazier shop. 
Bs, Blacksmith shop. 
BT, Brick and tile kiln. 
Cf, Coffin maker's shop. 

D, Drugstore. 
Dr, Doctor's office. 
FI, Flower store. 

G, Small home store ; groceries and a few staples. 
G, Home store licensed to sell liquor (national rum). 
H, Hotel. 

Hd, Hardware store. 
L, Lawyer's office. 
M, Butcher shop. 
MC, Mill (gasoline-driven) for grinding maize (every day 

but Saturday) and cofifee (only on Saturday). 
MR, Marimba players' shop. 
P, Barber shop. 
PA, Panela agency. 
R, Rooming house and meals. 

RI, Rooming house for Indians (floor space in corridor). 
S, Shoemaker. 
Sn, Saloon, or liquor bar. 
T, Tailor. 
TI, Ladino foot-loom weavers, of cotton textiles (especially 

dark-blue skirts) for Indian wear. 
T.O., Telephone and telegraph (Government) office. 

-rs for Map of Solold (map 21) 

1, Church of Calvario. 

2, Church of San Antonio. 

3, Municipal brick and tile kiln and storage shed. 

4, Internal Revenue office ; liquor distillery. 

5, Boys' school. 

6, Municipal printing shop. 

7, Boys' kindergarten (under 6 years). 

8, Public Library. 

9, Municipal ffoor-tile shop. 

10, Indian mimicipalidad (municipal court). 

11, Highway office. 

12, National police headquarters. 

13, Primary court. 

14, Red Cross office. 

15, Department headquarters (Jefatura politico) ; office of 

Governor (jefe politico), residence in inner court. 

16, Adventist (Protestant) hall 

17, \\ 'omen's prison. 

18, Mimicipalidad (municipal court and headquarters). 

19, Justice of the peace. 

20, Central American tower. 

21, Municipal theater. 

22, Electric power substation. 

23, Municipal square (park), 

24, Temple of Minerva. 

25, Municipal slaughter nen. 
2(\ Girls' school. 

27, Principal church. 

28, Church of San Bartolo. 

Specialized occupations. — Chiefly for reasons 
outlined above, the Atitecos have become the great 
merchants of the Lake ; their industries include rush 
mat making and fishing (favored by the sliallow 
water, warm in places, and a good growth of rushes) 
as well as canoe building : their agriculture is espe- 
cially successful on the rich volcanic soil, with the 
wide altitude range prolonging the harvest period 
(August-Jaiuiary), and dry-farming methods start- 
ing it early, all of which gives them about 3 months' 
lead over other upland towns on the corn .market. 
Then in particular it becomes the granary for all the 
west end of the Lake. I have seen canoeloads of 
Lidians (pi. 24, c) from every village on the north- 
west shore, between San Pedro volcano and the Rio 
Quixcap, and once even from as far as Argueta, 
arriving daily at Santiago for the chief purpose of 
buying corn (this was in September and October). 
The growing of tomatoes and some cabbages in gar- 
dens with Lake-water irrigation is supplementary 
to the milpa. and a good source of income, especially 

during the rainy season, '''- when tomatoes are ex- 

Available employment. — Santiago is only 2 or 
3 hours' walk from the heart of the coiifee belt, where 
many Atitecos work during the harvest (September- 
December ). 

Historical precedent. — There is tnuch archeo- 
logical evidence to indicate a pre-Columbian concen- 
tration of population along the shore north and east 
of Santiago (Lothrop, 1933, pp. 17-71 ; see also map 
20). It is probable that the present village site was 
then included in the land occupied, though perhaps 
it was not as densely settled as it is at present. Loth- 
rop suggests that "their populations [San Lucas, 
Cerro de Oro, and Santiago] have been augmented 
owing to the concentration of surburban residents 
under missionary influence" (ibid., p. IS). There is 
no vestige today of the old colonial governmental and 
religious forces of the rednccioncs through which, 

'== They may be as high as 10 cents a pound during the late rainy 
season (September-October), and drop to 1/5 cent during Holy Week 
(March or April). 


MAP / 









after the Conquest, the Indians were gathered into 
towns.^^ The fine old church at Santiago is even 
without a resident priest; he comes from Solola to 
minister during fiestas. The settlements of San 
Lucas and Cerro de Oro (in the municipio of San- 
tiago) are much smaller and more scattered than the 
village of Santiago. Natural advantages in setting 
as described above probably account for the greater 
growth and development of the latter village. 

The Atitecos are the most impressive cultural unit 
on the Lake. Their municipio and village are the 
largest among the Lake-shore settlements, having the 
only big daily market*'^ in the region, and it is the 
only one regularly attended by Indians from seven 
shore communities (western half of the Lake, includ- 
ing Cerro de Oro). Santiago merchants are almost 
without competition in their particular line ; the men 
carrying special products in quantity between High- 
land and Lowland markets, the women dealing in 
local produce, on a small scale, in their own market 
(see p. 82, ftn. 116). Their leadership in navigation, 
their significance as a corn-producing center, and 
their industries, though relatively minor, have already 
been mentioned. 

It is for these reasons, as well as for obvious en- 
vironmental relationships, that I have taken up the 
physical analysis of this community in more detail 
than any of the others. 

1^3 The Cakchique] historian (Xahila) wrote: "One hundred and six 
days after they had really begun to teach us the word of God, then 
they commenced to gather together the houses in groups, by order of 
the ruler, Juan Roser, and the people came forth from their caves and 
ravines" (Brinton, 1S85, p. 191). 

One of the best discussions of the reducciones and town-building 
activities brought about by the Conquest is to be found in the Memorias 
of Garcia Pelaez, drawing upon the earlier writings of Remesal, Las 
Casas, Herrera, Vazquez, and others. "By decree of June 10, [15]40, 
sent to the governor and to the bishop of Guatemala, they took charge 
of the consolidation of small communities into towns, at the same time 
exempting the Indians from tribute for a year or more. . . . the 
towns of Comalapa, Solola, Alotenango, Quezaltenango, Totonicapan, 
and others, [like] San Anton, San Bartolome, San Miguel, Chalxcua, 
San Pedro Xocopila, and Cunen, all . . . were formed from many 
small towns, and where most were brought together was in San 
Andres. . . 

"The procedure followed in moving the towns was this. First, the 
chiefs and elders looked over and evaluated the new site, and if any 
of the elders cared to group others with him, this was done. To begin 
with, the milpas were planted next to the new town-site. While the 
corn grew and matured, they built their houses: the grain dried, and 
when the fields were ready for harvesting, on an appointed day every- 
one moved to the new place, with much dancing and festivals which 
lasted several days in order to make all the people forget their old 
homes" (Garcia Pelaez, 1851-52, vol. 1, pp. 173-174). 

1" It expands on Saturdays and Mondays as it feels the pulse of 
trade between the Highlands (Solola, Friday and Tuesday) and the 
Lowlands (towns and fincas, Saturday night, Sunday and Thursday; 
see p. 82, ftn. 116, and map 19). 


Of the other south shore villages with settings 
somewhat similar to that of Santiago (map 20; pis. 
4o, a; 46, d, e, /), the following generalizations with 
regard to nucleating factors may be made. 

Water supply.— All of them lack permanent 
streams and depend upon Lake water; hence all of 
necessity have a littoral location. 

Surface features.— They are built upon small 
lava-flow terrace sites, for the most part 10 to 40 m. 
(33 to 131 ft.) above the Lake (to escape inundation 
by rising Lake water as well as by swollen streams ; 
p. 120), and from one-fourth to three-fourths of a 
square kilometer in area, these being in some cases, as 
at San Pedro, the largest available in the vicinity. 
Alluvial surfaces are generally avoided for home 
sites, not, I think, to keep them clear for crops, as 
suggested by both Atwood (1933. p. 66) and Lothrop 
(1933, pp. 17, 70), whose studies were made in the 
dry season, but rather for the more compelling reason 
of escaping the rain-flood hazard. During my Sep- 
tember-October stay in Santiago, I saw such small 
gullies as Xechiboy (south edge of Santiago) fill and 
overflow quickly after a hard shower. Such rains, 
common from May through October, endanger much 
of the alluvial land either through flooding or isolat- 
ing it from the villages. 

Situation. — They are located on or near trade- 
route nodes or intersections (San Lucas is favored 
most in this regard, and San Pedro ^^^ and San Juan 
least) and almost equidistant from Solola and from 
Lowland markets (the two western centers are 
favored least also in the latter respect). 

Specialized occupations.— San Pedro and fewer 
San Juan inhabitants arc active traders, though they 
liave no home market ; they make rope, soap, and 
some stick-loom textiles, while they engage also in 
diversified agriculture, with a specialty in chickpeas 
(see pp. 28, 76), whereas San Lucas depends more 
upon its colYee (pi. 46, c). 

Available employment. — Though Pedranos and 
Juaneros seldom seek employment on coffee planta- 
tions (San Pedro has its own Lowland colony of 
Cutzan), many San Lucas Indians work part of the 
year on Lowland fincas. 

li^ Though they use cinoes in traveling to Santiago and SololS (as 
far as Jaibal), Pedranos depend more upon land travel than do Atitecos. 
It is probably for this reason that so many of the Pedranos employ 
mules in trade journey?, while the latter use them almost solely for 
local burden bearing. The "Ladino" tendencies of the Pedranos, re- 
ported to have much white blood, and looking as if they did, may have 
something to do with this also, however. 



Historical precedent. — All are said by Lothrop 
(1933, p. 100) to be pre-Conquest towns, including 
San Pedro and San Juan, but if this is so the last 
two named were probably not situated as they are 
today. Vazquez in the ISth century refers to the 
former as "San Pedro de la Laguna." '■'^'^ Neither 
one has an Indian name. No mention of San Juan 
appears in the several 16th-century tribute lists and 
manuscripts which I have examined, and the 'earliest 
reference to San Pedro which has come to my at- 
tention is the 1579 account of Qapotitlan (Anon., 
Ms. 1579, p. 23, f. 116). San Juan is cited by 
Fuentes y Guzman (1932-33, vol. 2, opposite p. 60), 
whose map of the Lake (ca. 1685) shows them both. 

Cerro de Oro (pi. 46, /), a small aldea of Santiago, 
which has been omitted from much of this discussion, 
is made up largely of recent immigrants from Pat- 
zicia. They retain most of the cultural characteristics 
of their former home locality, and their costume in- 
cludes elements typical of both places (pi. 7, «). 


Just as there is an environmental similarity among 
the south shore villages, so those of the north side 
have many common elements in the physical setting 
(map 20; pis. 45, b, c, d, e, f; 46, a, b, c). In 
several respects there is a marked contrast between 
the two shores : the southern villages generally have 
an abundance of fertile land, but not of running 
water, because of the volcanic cones, down which 
streams flow only during the rainy season ; the 
northern ones are very poor in arable land, but nu- 
merous mountain streams tumble from the cliffs at 
their backs, and flow by the villages to the Lake. 

There is a physical division and distinction be- 
tween the northeastern and northwestern Lake 
settlements; Panajachel, lying between the two 
groups, is fundamentally different from them all, and 
falls mainly into the garden-culture area of Solola. 
Though all but San Antonio have very little agricul- 
tural land, and all but Santa Catarina get their water 
from streams piped to pjVaj,"' there is a major 

i=» Vazquez, 1937-3S, p. 171; see also p. 104, ftn. 162. 

"'A pila is a watering place (pi. 38, e), usually supplied through an 
iron pipe, which- is directed, in tlie more advanced settlements, into a 
cement tank, frequently ornamented with more or less artistic statuary. 
The most primitive system of all I saw was at San Marcos (la Laguna), 
where the conduit consists of maguey (agave) flower stalks, cut in half 
and bound end to end. I was told there were some 900 of these stalks, 
making a 2-kilometer watercourse, which must be renewed annually. 
The old f'ila and iron pipe were assertedly stopped up 4 years previ- 
ously. A spring was diverted through a pipe of bamboo, in the Lowland 
village of San Pedro Cutz^n. (For discussion of the SoloU water- 
supply system, see McBryde, 1933, pp. 65-66; also map 21.) 

difference in the matter of isolation. This factor is 
seen in the northwest shore villages to a degree not 
exceeded anywhere in Guatemala, if their horizontal 
proximity to neighboring settlements is also con- 
sidered. Often they are only a league (2yi miles, or 
4 km.) removed, on the map, from a market town 
(e.g., Santa Cruz to Solola, San Marcos and San 
Pablo to Santa Clara and Santa Lucia, etc.). Yet 
high, precipitous ridges rise as much as 800 to 1,000 
m. in between. This does not prevent the Indians 
from attending those plazas weekly and in consider- 
able numbers, but it does tend to discourage free 
intercommunication.^^^ High promontories separate 
the shore villages one from the other, each secluded 
in its own arroyo (pi. 45, b-e). 

East of Santa Cruz, cliffs are especially high, 
where it appears that fault blocks slumped into the 
caldera. The ridge of Santa Cruz village itself is 
probably a fault block of this sort (pi. 45, e). 
Farther east, the deep gorge of the Rio Quixcap 
(pi. 45, /), which floods during the rainy season, 
presents such a barrier that the land route between 
Santa Cruz and Panajachel goes by way of Solola, 
following the road from San Jose. Southeast of 
San Pedro village the trail ends on the steep slopes 
of volcano San Pedro. Those, then, are the two big 
interruptions in land communication. A circuitous 
trail or path connects Santiago with Panajachel, 
around the south and east shores of the Lake (pi. 23, 
a), and another path connects San Pedro with Santa 
Cruz along the west and northwest shores (see map 
20). The trail around the Lake never dips below 
the level which I estimated as the late 19th-century 
high-water line, though it frequently runs just at 
that level. 

The northeast shore villages are shut in by equally 
precipitous, though generally less elevated walls (pi 
46, b, c). Certain linguistic variations here, prob- 
ably due in part to seclusion, have been cited. I 
noted little difference in this regard between north- 
east and northwest, despite the greater isolation of 
the latter. Ladinos are virtually absent from all 

1^ Though these villages have no markets, buyers come occasionally, 
nevertheless. While in San Pablo, in October 1936, I saw four men 
from San Andres Xecul, there to buy ropes, nets, and other maguey 
products. I was told that traders come rather often from San Andres, 
and from Totonicapan and elsewhere in that region, for cordage, since 
Pablenos do not go there to sell. Rope goes to the Quezaltenango- 
Totonicapdn region from the Coban area, however. An old resident 
of Chichicastenango told me tliat he saw, in 1896, Indians from the 
latter town and from Totonicapan trading pottery for much-prized 
jocotes (for which the north shore is noted), giving a clay jar in ex. 
change for the fruit it would hold. This kept both in proportion to 
their value, a larger jar being worth more jocotes. 



north shore villages except Panajachel (the only 
one on a much-used road). From all except Panaja- 
chel, men go in considerable numbers to the coffee 
fincas for seasonal labor, often getting corn as part 
payment ; many native north shore Indians have 
permanently settled in the Lowlands. The only 
north shore village which is known to be of pre- 
Columbian origin is San Antonio. Even the site 
is in all likelihood pre-Spanish, for Fuentes y Guz- 
man's late 17th-century map (1932-33, vol. 2, op- 
posite page 60) shows "Polopo" ; Santa Catarina 
Laguna (not Palopo) is the next village north on 
this map.^^^ It is probable that all the rest, with 
the possible exception of San Pablo, ^'^° were con- 
cerned, after the Conquest, though apparently there 
were scattered settlements of some sort along the 
shores. There is historical evidence regarding the 
establishment of at least three of these. The 
Cakchiquel Annals (Brinton, 1885, pp. 113, 175), 
in pre-Spanish sections, refers to Tzununa, Tzolola, 
Ahachel, Pacaval, and Xepoyom as Lake Atitlan 

These may have corresponded, respectively, to the 
modern Tzununa, Solola (Brinton, 1885, p. 54, erro- 
neously identifies Tzolola as Santiago Atitlan), Pana- 
jachel, Pacavaj, and Chupiom (see map 20; cf. also 
Brasseur de Bourbourg, 1858, vol. 2, p. 172). Loth- 
rop (1933, p. 71) suggests that the present Pavocol 
was Pacaval, but as there is a Pacavaj (Lothrop, 
1933, map, p. 17, records it as Pachinak, but "Paca- 
vaj" is indicated on the official municipio map) just 
north of Santiago, this is where I think the ancient 
Pacaval was situated. 


Economic pursuits of the northwestern Lake vil- 
lages, in the small, rugged municipios of San Pablo, 
San Marcos, and Santa Cruz, reflect environmental 
conditions. At San Pablo, for example, as at San 
Pedro, across the Lake to the south, ropemaking is an 
important industry (pi. 26, b-c, and p. 69). It is 

"* A frontier outpost of the Zutuhiles, and one of the three lake towns 
frequently mentioned in the earliest literature; the others were Tuliman 
(there were Tollman alto and Tollman vaxo, according to Anon., Ms. 
1579, f. 109) and the "capital of the Tzutuhiles" Atitlan or Atitan, 
as the Mexicans .with Alvarado called it. This may have been 
At2iquinih.^i (Lothrop, 1933, p. 14, ftn. 6, and Fuentes y Guzmdn, 
1882-83, vol. 1, p. 21), though usually this name was applied to the 
"king" or chief of the Zutuhiles (Anon., Ms. 1571, f. 115, or Brinton, 
1885, pp. 119, 123, ft.). 

i«o Mentioned as early as 1579 in Capotitlan manuscript (1579, p. 23, 
f. 116). That it was already back from the Lake about 1700 is im- 
plied by Vazquez: "From San Pablo, taking a turn to the lake, one 
begins there to go towards the east . . ." (Vazquez, 1937-38, p. 171). 

more significant in the economy of the former, how- 
ever, and is conducted on a relatively larger scale 
there, apparently because of a greater need for supple- 
menting deficient returns from agriculture. 

San Pedro has extensive milpa land on the volcano 
slopes, and furthermore has bought or rented some 
two-thirds, I was told, of adjacent San Juan's terri- 
tory (pi. 45, a). San Pablo, on the other hand, is 
hemmed in by mountain walls (pi. 45, b), and 
Pableiios must even buy corn from the villages across 
the Lake (Santiago and San Pedro). At first glance 
it seems quite paradoxical that, though San Pablo is 
the village most dependent upon the making of ropes, 
the finest maguey (agave) grows in luxuriant 
abundance around San Pedro.^"^ It was said that 
the natural supply had been supplemented by planting 
during the past 50 years, and much agave is now 
planted. There were repeated statements that Pable- 
iios have made every effort to get such results on 
their own lands by transplanting shoots from San 
Pedro. But for some reason, perhaps a deficiency 
in the soil, which undoubtedly is less fertile than the 
volcanic lands of the latter municipio, results have 
never been satisfactory, and their home-grown prod- 
ucts never so large. I have seen men from San Pablo 
almost daily load their canoes with maguey leaves 
that they had purchased from Pedranos, 50 or 100 at 
a time. ' 

San Pablo has 8 sq. km., largely cliff and flood- 
swept arroyo, less than one-third of San Pedro's 
24.5 sq. km., mostly fertile volcanic slopes, which 
have such an altitude range as to permit maize 
harvests from December to March. San Pedro, 
furthermore, has only 2.2 times the population of 
San Pablo (2,226 as compared with 1,000) in spite 
of having over 3 times its area, not including exten- 
sive San Juan lands used by Pedranos. San Pedro 
also has its colony of Cutzan, where corn and other 
crops are grown, and ropes are made. 

That the Pedranos have a maize surplus was 
brought home to me when, in 1936, I saw Indians of 
San Marcos, in canoes and on foot, buying the grain 
in quantity at San Pedro, and they told me such visits 
were frequent. This was early in January, and prob- 
ably preceded the general harvest. Otherwise, that 
this should occur during the main harvest month in- 
dicates, indeed, a shortage at San Marcos, smallest in 
area of all the Lake municipios. How much of this 

i«i I have measured pengas (leaves) 9 feet long, the longe-t I saw 
anywhere in Guatemala. These large leaves provide excellent long fibers 
for ropes (pi. 26, d). 



maize was local and how much bought at Santiago for 
resale, I could not determine. One Friday in April 
1932, I saw a dozen Pedranos selling maize in the 
Solola market. They also buy maize, however, at 
Santiago, mainly when their supply runs low, just 
preceding the harvest at San Pedro. Their lean 
months are from August to November, during which 
time, while I was there in 1936, they were coming to 
Santiago at the rate of from 50 to 75 a week, and 
though some sold black beans and a few ropes, their 
main interest, as in the case of all the west Lake 
villagers, seemed to be in buying corn. I was told 
that the Pedranos resold much of it at a profit (price 
increased from 1 cent per pound to IV^ cents). 

Canoes are made at San Pedro, though not on a 
scale comparable with Santiago's production ; they 
have a good soap industry, based upon fat from pigs 
of Lowland Cutzan ( there were four or five San 
Pedro soap vendors every Friday in the Solola 
market during the summer of 1936) and their income 
is augmented handsomely from March to May, par- 
ticularly during Lent, when far and wide they market 
their chickpeas, in which they have long specialized.''*- 
I have seen them in Retalhuleu (two men with six 
mules on one occasion), in Quezaltenango (nine men 
one day), in Totonicapan and other equally distant 
plazas, their product much in demand for making 
dukes (especially jelly and presers'es). They are 
widely noted also for their black beans ^"^ which, to- 
gether with a few avocadoes, they sell in quantity 
along the piedmont. Pedranos burn castor oil on the 
altar. The castor plant, which is widely found as a 
weed in Guatemala, is especially abundant at San 
Pedro, where it is sometimes planted. 

Two other minor money crops are tomatoes, 
watered with jars carried from the Lake (I have seen 
San Pedro tomatoes sold in Solola and as far away 
as Quezaltenango), and peanuts, selling in quantity 
in Santiago, October 1936. The latter crop was said 
to be an innovation, started in 1926. The Pedranos 
are credited with introducing the jaspe (tie-dye) 
style among the Lake villages, men of San Juan tak- 
ing it up (in trousers), and, to a lesser extent, San 
Pablo also. Weaving "jaspeado" cloth for sale to 
Indians and tourists is a profitable occupation among 
the women. They even weave Santiago costume 

i«= "Produces . . . the best chickpeas of the Kingdom in tlie town 
of la Laguna and its dependencies . . ." (.\non., Ms. 1778, p. 16. 
f. 233). 

^^ The fame of Lake beans is traditional. Vazquez (1937-38, p. 
172) mentions sale of them in many markets, especially on the coast, 
"provincia de Suchitepeques." 


(MAP 22) 

PmbBble n vBrngi- mimerl- 
spi rnn^B of Tendora In 
PT-nvenlenfff of vendors crgiriaTT Frlflny pftfltgt 

T Argueta 100-125 

A Atltlan (Santiago) 10-25 

@ Cerro de Oro Under 10 

C Chlchlcaotenango (Santo Tomas) . . 200-250 

N Nahuala 10-25 

P Panajaehel 50-100 

Q auezaltenango Under 10 

-(- Sacapulas Under 10 

V San Andres SemetabaJ 10-25 

□ San Antonio Palopo 10-25 

A San Francisco el Alto .... Under 10 

< San Jorge 50-100 

(San Marcos la Laguna .... Under 10) 

(g) San Pablo la Laguna Under 10 

^ San Pedro la Laguna Under 10 

n Santa Oatarlna Palopo' .... 10-25 

(Santa Clara la Laguna .... Under 10) 

X Santa Cruz la Laguna 

(Including Ttununa) .... 50-100 

a Santa Luofa Utatlan 50-100 

(Santa Maria Chlqulmula .... Under 10) 

S Solola 300-350 

San Jose Chacaya 100-126 

Concepclo'n 100-125 

T Totonicapan 10-26 

Note: The total number of vendors was approximately 1,325 (about 
1.000 from other municipios and 325 local). The numbers given in 
the tabulation are higher than those on the actual diagram, which 
required 3 hours to make, during the peak of the market (10:30 a. m.- 
1:30 p. m.): during this interval some new vendors came and some 
left (usually beginning 1 p. m.). A square drawn around a letter 
means vendor is under canvas shelter. Towns in parentheses not 
represented on this Friday; occasional. *'w" by a symbol indicates 
vendor is a woman. .\Iways read facing vendors. Read "maize" for 
"corn," "rush" for "reed," and "limas" (sweet limes) for "limes." 

material and sell it to Atitecos in the Santiago market. 
This particular type of enterprise is probably unique 
in Guatemala. 

Pedranos often take their goods to markets on 
mules, of which they have several hundred in the 
municipio. Ropemaking to the Pedranos is but one 
of a number of diversified economic pursuits, and is 
engaged in probably only because of the unusually 
fine agave which is readily available. To the Pable- 
fios, on the other hand, with so little opportunity in 
agriculture or industry, this craft is important enough 
for them to go to San Pedro and buy agave leaves. 
In the Solola and Santiago markets there are almost 


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APRIL 15, 1932 

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APRIL 15, 1932 



Map 22.— SoloW market. (See eitpUnation, p. 104, and pp. 105-119.) 

6WI62 0-17 {Face ]). IM) 



(See map 22) 
Line 1 (E.-W.) : - 

3, Solola Corn leaves (fodder) 

1 w, Totonicapan Small pottery 

2, Totonicapan Large pottery 

1, San Antonio Palopu Pig (live) 

1, Quezaltenango Candles 

8 w, Solola Pork (all parts of pig) 

2, Solola (Ladinos) Do. 

I w, Solola Limas 

1, Solola Handkerchiefs, cloths, shirts, cups, mirrors, seeds, spices, herh 

medicines, cigars, tinware, machetes, a.xheads, etc. 

2, Totonicapan Furniture, especially chairs, tables, beds, and decorated chests. 

4, San Pedro Maize" 

4, Solola Maize 

3 w, Solola Maize, spinach, turnips, eggs 

2, Argueta Maize 

1 w, Argueta Do. 

. 2, San Andres Semetabaj Do. 

1, Chichicastenango Do. 

1, Solola Red beans (kidney) 

1, San Antonio Maize 

1, Solola Piloy (large kidney beans) 

1 w, Solola Maize 

1, and 1 w, Chichicastenango Do. 

2 w, Solola Do. 

1, and 1 w, Chichicastenango Do. 

2 w, Solola Do. 

3 w, Solola Black beans (kidney) 

2 w, Solola Maize 

w, Santa Lucia Utatlan Do. 

Solola Do. 

San Pedro Do. 

Solola Maize and black beans (kidney) 

San Pedro Maize 

w, San Andres White beans (kidney) 

w, Panajachel Maize 

Panajachel Do. 

Solola White beans (kidney) 

San Andres Maize 

Chichicastenango Do. 

Solola Do. 

and 1 w, San Andres Do. 

San Antonio — Do. 

Solola Do. 

w, Solola Maize, eggs, turkeys (4) 

w, Solola Black beans (kidney) and eggs 

w, Argueta Toasted habas and hen 

w, Solola Squash seeds 

Do Maize 

w, Santa Lucia Maize, eggs, black beans 

w, Solola Maize, canna( ?) leaves (for wrrapping), turnips 

3 w, Solola Maize 

>w = woman; Solola = Solola, San Jose Chacaya, or Concepcion. 

'All maize in market sold as grain, by the pound; mostly white and yellow, colors separated. 


Line 1 (E.-W.) — Continued 

1 w, Solola Black beans 

Do Red beans 

Do Maize 

Do Black and red beans, hens 

1 w, San Andres Maize 

1 w, Solola Eggs (about 2 dozen) 

Do Hens (5) 

Do Eggs 

Do Marigolds 

Do Hens 

Do Greens (Chipilin) , turkey- 
Do Flowers and com 

Do Turkeys and hens 

3 w, Solola Hens 

1, Argueta Roundish leaves (canac) for wrapping 

1, Chichicastenango Small pigs (IS) 

Line 2 : 

3 Chichicastenango, 1 Solola, 1 San Andres Maize 

Line 3 (E.-W.) : 

2. San Pedro Maize 

2, San Andres Do. 

1, Solola Do. 

3, San Pedro Do. 

1 w, Solola Eggs 

1, Solola Maize 

1, Chichicastenango Do. 

1, Solola Canac leaves for wrapping 

1, San Andres Maize 

1, Solola Do. 

1, Chichicastenango Do. 

1, and 1 w, Solola Do. 

2, Chichicastenango Do. 

3 w, Solola Maize and eggs 

1, Solola Maize 

1, Chichicastenango Do. 

2 w, Chichicastenango Maize, eggs, ocote 

1 w, Solola Maize and maize fodder 

Do Maize 

1, Solola Maize and black beans 

1 w, Solola Maize, granadillas, maize husks (for tamales) , greens. 

9, San Francisco el Alto Quicklime 

7, Chichicastenango Do. 

14 w, Solola Hens and eggs 

2 w, Panajachel Tomatoes 

1, Nahuala Chickens 

1, Chichicastenango Turkeys 

1 w, Chichicastenango Hens 

3, Chichicastenango Small pigs (40, total) 

3, Totonicapan (Barbers) 

Line 4 (E.-W.): 

1 w, Solola Radishes 

1, Solola Maize 

1 w, Solola Coffee (unroasted) , red flowers, peas 

3 w, Solola Atol 

1 w, Solola Flowers (white and red) , eggs 

4, Argueta Maize (10 sacks), mostly white 


Line 4 (E.-W.) — Continued 

1 w, Solola Atol 

1 w, Argueta Ocote 

2 w, and 3, Chichicastenango Maize (white, yellow, black) , eggs, white beans. 

1, Chicliicastenango Maize (yellow and black), bread 

2, Chichicastenango Maize 

1 w, Solola Habas (toasted) , eggs 

Do Black beans 

Do Maize 

Do Habas (toasted), eggs 

Do Coffee (unroasted), eggs 

. Do Maize 

2, San Antonio Maize, black beans 

1, Solola Maize 

Do Piloy (butter beans) , eggs, maize 

Do Maize and cabbages 

1, Chichicastenango (itinerant merchant) Dried shrimp, spices, cigars, incense, threads, needles, matches, 

herb medicines, etc. 

1, Solola Ocote, large cargo (80 lb. ?) 

1 w, Solola Maize and ocote 

2, Chichicastenango Bread 

1, and 1 w, Chichicastenango Maize 

1 w, Solola Bananas, eggs, maize 

Do Limas 

1 w, Argueta Potatoes 

1 w, Solola Onions and Bananas 

Do Bananas^ 

Do Maize, black beans 

Do Maize, ocote 

Do Peaches, eggs 

Do Maize 

Do Onions 

1 w, Argueta Black beans 

Do Habas (toasted) 

1, Chichicastenango Maize and black beans 

2 w, Argueta Black beans, squash seeds 

I, Argueta Black beans 

1 w, Argueta Ocote 

2 w, Argueta Habas (green), squash seeds, eggs 

1, Chichicastenango Maize 

1 w, Argueta Piloy (large kidney beans), red beans, eggs. 

Do Black and white beans, eggs, squash seeds 

Do Black beans and eggs 

1 w, Solola Squashes 

1 w, Argueta Habas (green) , black beans 

1, Argueta Maize, red beans 

1 w, Argueta Beets, cabbages 

2 w, Argueta Small, thin-wood boxes with rounded ends, like U. S. fruit 

boxes ; bright colored designs. 

1 w, Argueta Black and red beans, green habas 

Do Small pigs (4) , pitiol, black beans 

1 w, Solola Atol and 1 hen 

1, Solola Ocote 

Line S (E.-W.) : 

1 w, Solola Eggs, black beans, squash seeds 

2 w, Solola Maize 

2 w, Argueta Black beans, peas, habas (toasted) 

1 w, Solola Maize 

Do Maize, black beans 

' Lowland products are sold by women in families of Solold vegetable merchants who sell in Lowland markets. 


Line 5 (E.-W.) — Continued 

I, Chichicastenango Maize piloy (large kidney beans) 

1 w, Argueta Maize, peas, black beans 

1 Argueta Potatoes, toasted hahas 

4, Chichicastenango Maize 

Line 6 (E.-W.): 

13, and 15 w, Santa Lucia Bread 

1, Solola (Ladina) Candy and soft drinks (sweetened, colored water), table. 

I w, Solola Boiled potatoes 

1 w, Solola Black beans and bananas 

I, Argueta Potatoes 

1, Solola Black beans 

I w, and I, Solola Potatoes 

2, Argueta Do. 

1 w, Argueta Habas (green) 

Do Potatoes 

2 w, Solola Giiisquilcs, eggs, mint leaves 

1 w, Panajacliel -■ Oranges 

1 w Solola Oranges, bananas, liiuas 

Do Pepinos, ocole 

Dq Mamaiiilla (camomile?), a medicinal asteraceous herb. 

1, Solola Potatoes 

1 Argueta Soap and avocados 

1 w Solola Matasanos, giiisquilcs, miltomatcs (groundcherry ) , eggs. 

4 Solola Onions, miltomatcs, habas (green) 

1, Solola Flowers, radishes, eggs, canac leaves for wrapping. 



San Andres Black beans, avocados, maize 

1 w, Solola Oranges, eggs, viillomatcs 

2, Argueta Avocadoes, (nioy (large kidney beans), maize. 

Animal market (upper left-hand corner of diagram) : 

2, Chichicastenango Little pigs (about 10 each) 

2, Argueta Black sheep (8) 

1, Solola ' Sheep (4), half-grown pigs (8) 

Do Sheep (5, black and white) 

I, Argueta Dog (l),goat (1), sheep (4) 

I, Solola Black sheep (2) 

Do Large pig 

Do (ioats (3) 

Do Goats (12) 

Line 7 (N.-S.) : 

1 w, Solola Pig (half-grown) 

Do Lettuce, beets, flowers ( red and white) 

2 Solola Avocados and turnips 

2 w Solola Avocados and habas (green) 

I Solola Avocados and onions 

1 w Solola Flowers, onions, lettuce 

1 w, Solola Peas, onions 

1 w, and 1, Solola Onions, flowers 

1, Santa Lucia • • ■ ■ Suyacalcs 

Line 8 (N.-S.) : 

2 w, Solola Carrots, onions, cauliflowers 

1 w, Solola Flowers (white and red) 

1, Solola Lettuce and flowers (white and red) 

2 w, Solola Onions and red flowers 

5, Solola Onions 

3 w, Solola Do. 


Line 9 (N.-S.) : 

5, Solola Onions (1 with cabbages also) 

10 \v, Solola Lettuce, onions, flowers, caiiac leaves, peas, cabbages, beets, 


3, Panajachel Onions, flowers, avocados 

Line 10 : 

10, Totonicapan Semiglaze potterj- 

Line 11: 

8 w, and 6, Solola Mainly onions ; also (women) beets, miltomates, ocote, 6nion 

seeds, flowers, cabbages, carrots, turnips, granadiUas ; (men) 
cabbages,, and chiles ( 1 ) . 

Line 12 (N.-S.) : 

13 w, and 10, Solola Onions and garlic 

5, Panajachel Onions and garlic (some cabbages, carrots, turnips, etc.) 

2 w, Solola Black beans and eggs 

3 \v, Panajachel Black beans, eggs 

7, Chichicastenango Jocopilas jars and comales 

1 w, Argueta Semiglaze pottery 

1, Argueta Chinautla titiajas (decorated) 

Line 13 (N.-S.) : 

24 w, and 10, Solola Onions and other vegetables as in Line 11 

4, Santa Cruz Sugarcane, oranges, tomatoes, bananas 

Line 14 (N.-S.) : 

1, Santa Cruz Oranges and limas 

1. Solola Eggs • 

1. Solola Onions 

7, Santa Cruz Oranges and li}nas 

2 w, Solola Green beans 

1, Santa Cruz Hen 

1, and 1 w, Solola Black beans 

1 w, Santa Cruz Do. 

2, and 1 w, Solola Onions and garlic 

1, Chichicastenango Black beans 

6 w, Solola Onions, beets, carrots, and other vegetables. 

Line 15 : 

26 w, and 11, Solola Onions, flowers, viiltomalcs, peas, lettuce, greens, granadillas, 

avocados, eggs. 

Line 16 (N.-S.) : 

27, and 24 w, Solola Onions, onion seeds, beets, peas, flowers, miltomates, maize, 

liabas (green). 

4, Panajachel Tomatoes, garlic, bananas, chile, onions. 

Line 17 (N.-S.) : 

3, and 6 w, Solola Onions and flowers 

4 w, and 1, Chichicastenango Plantains, bananas 

4, Santa Cruz Bananas 

16 w, Solola Flowers, vegetables, bananas, Umas. 

Line 18 (N.-S.) : 

1 w, Solola Onions 

1, Argueta Injertos, green beans 

7, and 1 w, Chichicastenango Bananas, plantains, coyol palm fruits, injertos, zapotes, caimitos. 


Line 18 (N.-S.) — Continued 

8, Chichicastenango Chiles, salt, coffee (unroasted) rice, cotton (white and brown), 

tiinas, coyol palm fruit, paxtes (gourd sponges), luffa. 

3 w, Solola Limas, miltomatcs, avocados, onions, cabbages, flowers. 

1, Solola Onions 

1 w, Solola Flowers 

Do .'\vocados 

1, Argueta " Eggs 

Do Candlesticks, toy dishes and whistles of glazed pottery. 

Line 19 (N.-S.) : 

5, and 7 w, Solola Onions, vegetables, flowers, etc. (see Line 11). 

14, Chichicastenango Chile, salt, plantains, pataxes, spices, limas, giiisquiles 

2, and 7 w, Solola Onions, avacados, flowers, beans, cabbages, etc. 

Line 20 (N.-S.) : 

9 w, and 2, Solola Onions, radishes, carrots and other vegetables, flowers. 

2 w, Argueta Small pottery, toys, spices, seeds 

3, Chichicastenango Salt (Tahuesco via Mazatenango) 

1 w, Santa Lucia Flowers 

2, Solola Pepinos ( from Panajachel) 

4, Chichicastenango Salt (Tahuesco via Mazatenango) 

13, Santa Cruz Bananas, limas, orsmges, tomatoes 

2 w, Argueta Do. 

Line 21 : 

12 w, Solola, 1 w, Panajachel Onions and beets 

Line 22 : 

4, Chichicastenango , Salt and brown cotton 

Line 23 (N.-S.) : 

7, and 2 w, Santa Lucia Salt (1 also with spices, cigars, etc.— see Line 4). 

2 w, Solola Avocados 

1, Solola Onions 

Line 24 (N.-S.): 

9, Chichicastenango Dried chiles, especially "chocolate" 

2 w, Santa Cruz Oranges 

1 w, and 2, Santa Cruz Bananas 

Line 25 (N.-S.): 

12 w, Solola Atol, beans, ocote, peas 

2 w, Panajachel Green beans, ocote 

1, San Antonio Palapo Anise 

Line 26 (N.-S.) : 

5 w. San Jorge Flowers, tomatoes 

2 w, Panajachel Green beans 

2, and 1 w, San Antonio Anise 

Line 27 (N.-S.): 

2, Santa Cruz Limas and bananas 

1 w, Solola Peas, eggs 

6, Santa Cruz Oranges, limas, tomatoes 

Line 28: 

7, Chichicastenango Dried chiles (especially "chocolate") 


Line 29 (W.-E.) : 

2, Solola (Ladina) Soft drinks (bright-colored, sweetened water), cakes (table). 

2, Chichicastenango Annatto, chiles, peanuts, cigars, cracklings, cotton (white and 


1 w, Solola Cracklings, peanuts, chiles 

2, Chichicastenango Annatto, chiles, peanuts, cigars, cracklings, cotton (white and 


4, Chichicastenango Chiles, salt, spices, annatto, cotton, cigars, seeds, herb medicines 

1 w, and 2, Argueta Tinajas (Chinautla) and cracklings 

2, Totonicapan Dried shrimp, coffee (unroasted), hats, ropes, sapotes. 

2, Chichicastenango Do. 

Line 30 : ' 

12, Chichicastenango Chile (dried), coffee (unroasted), annatto, cotton, cracklings; 

4 of them also with cloth goods, thread, spices, seeds, herbs. 

Line 31 (N.-S.) : 

1, Chichicastenango Coffee (unroasted) 

1, Solola Cracklings 

3, Solola Onions 

9 w, Solola Miltonmtes, onions, squash seeds, rnatasanos, avocados, caibas. 

1 w, Panajachel Onions, maiasaiws, avocados 

Line 32 (N.-S.) : 

5 w, Argueta Avocados, green beans, potatoes, toasted habas. 

1, Argueta Cracklings 

1 w, Solola Avocados 

1 w, Panajachel Injertos 

1 w, Argueta Pottery 

3 w, Solola Oranges and bananas 

Line 33 (N.-S.) : 

1, Panajachel Garlic 

1 w, Solola Cracklings and limas 

1 w, Argueta Squash seeds, toasted habas 

2 w, Argueta - • Cigars, matches, spices, tinware, ciimamon bark, pottery (small 

glazed bowls, cups, candlesticks, whistles, toys), thin-wood 
decorated boxes. 
1 w, Solola Tomatoes, chiles 

2, Panajachel Injertos 

3, Solola Onions 

Line 34 (N.-S.) : 

1 w, San Jorge Panela, injertos 

1 w, Solola Atol 

3 w, Solola Bananas, sweetpotatoes 

1, Argueta Cigars, etc. (see Line 33) 

5 w, Solola Ocote, bananas 

3 w, Solola Atol 

1 w, Solola Miltomates, cabbages 

3, Chichicastenango Agave fiber 

1, Solola Oranges 

Line 35 (N.-S.) : 

1, Argueta Cracklings 

1 w, Solola White beans 

1, and 3 w, Argueta Plantains, limas, toasted habas 

4 w, Solola Alol 


Line 35 (N.-S.) — Continued 

2 w, Solola Limas, garlic, vegetables, bananas 

6, and 1 w, Santa Cruz Bananas, granadiUas, tomatoes, oranges, small fish on grass 


Line 36 (N.-S.) : 

1 w, Solola Panela 

2, Atitlan Chile 

5, Santa Cruz Oranges 

8 w, Solola Maize, flowers, vegetables, chile, small fish on grass stems. 

Line 37 (N.-S.) : 

2, Santa Cruz Oranges, limas 

11 w, and 1, Solola Coffee (roasted and ground), flowers, eggs, beans, coyol palm 

fruit, onions ; 4 with atol also. 

Line 38 (N.-S.) : 

1 w, Solola Chile seeds 

3, Atitlan Small smoked Lake fish (sold in small saucer measures) 

8, Atitlan Bananas and plantains and a few other Lowland fruits 

Line3Q (N.-S.) : 

4 w, Solola Black beans and eggs 

2, Santa Cruz Limas 

1. Santa Cruz Oranges 

Line 40 (E.-W.) : 

17, Argueta (usually under canvas shelters) Sandalmakers ; also have belts, straps, and other leatlier goods. 

4, Cerro de Ore Rush mats 

2, Santa Catarina Palopo Do. 

13, Chichicastenango Blankets (small, black, with bar of small red and white checks 

near each end; fringed). 

15, Nahuala Wool rodilleras and black capixa'i cloth ; few blankets. 

Line 41 (S.-N.) : 

1 1 w, Santa Lucia Toasted habas 

1 1 w, and 4, Santa Lucia Soap 

1, Chichicastenango Cigars, spices, etc. (see Line 33) 

2, Atitlan Bananas 

4, Chichicastenango Bread 

2 w, Solola Candy (taffy) 

1 w, Totonicapan (now lives in Solola) Rice in milk (hot) 

1 w, Solola Candy (table) 

Line 42 (N.-S.) : 

4 w, and 2, Santa Lucia Bread 

2, Chichicastenango Do. 

6, and 1 w, Santa Catarina Palopo Small fish (smoked) on grass stems, live crabs (from Lake 


6, Chichicastenango Coffee (unroasted). hats, ropes, chile, spices, cotton. 

Line 43 (N.-S.) : 

24 w, and 2, San Jorge Panela 

1 w, Solola Avocados 

1 w, Solola Atol 

Line 44 (omitted from map) : 

5 w, and 1, Santa Lucia Panela 


Line 45 (N.-S.) : 

5, Chichicastenango Hats, tinware, ropes, cigars, matches, thread, spices. 

2, Totonicapan White cotton manufactured cloth from Cantel mill. 

1, Chichicastenango Hats from Quiche 

Line 46 (N.-S.) (under canvas shelters) : 

1 , Chichicastenango Cloth goods and threads 

1 w, Solola Cloth goods and threads (cotton), yarns 

2, Totonicapan Cotton yarns of various colors (Cantel mill and imported). 

Line 47 (under canvas shelters) : 

2, Chichicastenango Cloths, thread (imported), and yarns, cloth goods, shirts, 

trinkets, cigars, etc. 

Line 48 (E.-W.) : 

5, Chichicastenango Same as in Line 47, under shelters 

2, Quezaltenango Yarns and cloths 

1, Totonicapan Yarns and cloths 

3, Chichicastenango Same as Line 47 

1, Sacapulas Candy (alfeiiiqiie) 

1, Chichicastenango Needles, ropes, spices 

1 w, Totonicapan Bread and candy (taffy) 

3 w, Solola Toasted habas, squash seeds, miltomatcs, chickpeas, tomatoes, 

ocotc, avocados, panela. 

No. 49 (corner) : • 

1 Totonicapan Ladino and his wife Skirts (jaspe), shawls, belts, and other cloth goods. 

1,130 total nimiber of vendors. 


(Along street by Public Square) 

Line 1 (E.-\V.) : ' 

1 w, Solola Matasaiws 

2, Chichicastenango Hats, ropes, cigars, etc. 

3 w, Solola Tortillas 

1 w, Solola Pig meat, soap 

2 wt Solola (Ladinas) Do. 

4 w, Solola Do. 

1 w, Solola ( from Quezaltenango) Taffy 

Line 2 (E.-W.) : 

1 w, Solola Onions 

Do Onions, ground coffee, candy 

Do Matasanos 

1, Solola Greens 

1 w, Solola Greens, onions, cabbages 

Do Eggs 

Do Onions, ground coffee, tomatoes 

Do Chile and onions 

Do '-^'0/ 

1 w, Concepcion Avocados 

1, Sacapulas Alfcnique 

Line 3 (E.-W.): 

1 w, Solola AtolmA%rttm 

Do Ground coffee and canna ( ?) leaves (for wrapping). 

Do Peaches 

654162—47 9 



Line 1 (E.-W.) : 

1 w, Solola Eggs and tortillas 

Do Pig meat and soap 

2 w, Solola Lard, cracklings, soap 

1 w, Solola (Ladina) Pig meat 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) Taffy 

1 w, Santa Lucia Soap 

1 w, Solola ( from Quezaltenango) Taffy 

Line 2 (E.-W.) : 

1 w, Solola Ground coffee 

1 w, and 1 girl, Solola Onions, yucca flower, avocado 

1 w, Solola Oranges 

Do Eggs and greens 

Do Beets 

Do Avocados, onions, plantains, lettuce. 

Do Avocados 

4 w, Solola Atol 

1 w, Solola Avocados, lim-as, beets 

3 w, Solola Onions and lettuce 

1 w, Solola Avocados and Ihnas 

Do Avocados and inatasanos 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) Rice in milk. 

1 w, San Jorge Panela, injertos, ocote, ground coffee. 

2 w, Solola Avocados 

1 w, Solola .\vocados and miltcrniatcs 

Do Very small bananas and limas 

Do .\vocados 

Do Bananas and peaches 

Do Bananas and miltantates 

Do Chile, garlic, avocadoes 

Do A chiote, salt, panela, millomates. 

Do Lettuce, greens, brown cotton 

Do Onions and cabbages 

Do Onions, cabbages, avocados 

Do Avocados 

1, Santa Cruz Matasanos 

1, San Jorge Panela 

Do Panela, injertos, black beans 

1, Solola Avocados and ocote 

Line 3 (E.-W.) : 

1, Chichicastenango Maize 

1, Solola Do. 

1, Chichicastenango Maize, piloy (large kidney beans) . 

2 w, Totonicapan Maize 

1 w, Solola Do. 

3 w, Solola Do. 

6, Chichicastenango Do. 

2 w, Solola Cabbages 

1 w, Solola Avocados 

Do Onions 

Do Cabbages and miltomates 

Do Avocados 

Do Peas and lettuce 

1, Solola Plantains and bananas 

1 w Solola Squash seeds and small tomatoes. 

Do Ocote, onions, eggs 

Do Avocados and peas 



Line 1 (E.-VV.): 

1, Agueta Timjas (Chinautla) 

3, Chichicastenango Merchandise (see Friday market list, Line 33) 

1 w, Solola Tortillas 

Do Tortillas and onions 

Do Soap 

Do Pig meat 

3 w, Solola Tortillas 

1 w, Solola Soap, cracklings, avocados 

Do Pig meat and soap 

1 w, Solola (Ladina) Do. 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) Taffy 

1, Totonicapan Potatoes 

2 w, Santa Lucia Habas (toasted) and soap 

1 w, Solola Squash seeds, chile, salt, miltomates, brown cotton, panela. 

2 w, Solola Onions 

1, Sacapulas Alfenique (candy) 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) Taffy 

Line2 (E.-W.): 

1, Nahuala Plantains 

1 w, Solola Avocados, Umas, pepinos 

1, San Pedro Tomatoes 

1 w, Solola Maize 

2 w, Solola Avocados 

1 girl, Solola Green beans, Umas, injerios, small bananas. 

1 w, San Jorge Oranges, eggs, bananas 

1 w, Solola Giiisquiles, injertos, onions, lettuce, cabbages, beets. 

Do Atol 

Do Bananas and green beans 

Do Onions and tortillas 

Do Avocados 

Do Cabbages 

Do Fish on grass stems 

Do Atol 

2 w, Solola Avocados 

1 w, San Jorge Bananas and granadillas 

Do Bananas and Umas 

1 w, Solola Atol 

Do Oranges 

Do Onions, chile, salt, ground coffee 

Do Oranges, Umas, bananas, injerios 

Do Cabbages, greens, diile, avocados 

Do Limas, oranges, bananas 

1 girl, Solola Atol 

1 w, Solola Leaves and cotton 

Do Avocados and tomatoes 

Do Limas 

1 w, Totonicapan Toasted liahas and ground roast corn. 

1 w, Solola Atol 

2, San Jorge Paiiela 

Line 3 (E.-W.) : 

1, Totonicapan Maize 

1 w, Solola Do. 

Do Atol 

1, Solola Onions and maize 

3, San Jorge Maize 

2 w, Solola Onions and avocados 


Line 3 (E.-W.) — Coiitimied 

1 w, Solola Anoiias, avocados, yraiiadillas 

3, Solola Maize 

1 , Solola Onions 

1, Santa Lucia Habas (green and toasted) 

1 w, Santa Lucia ; Habas (toasted) 

1, Solola Onions 

1 w, Solola Ocote 

1 w, Argueta Squash seeds (raw) and ocote 

1 w, Solola Avocados 

2 w, Solola Onions 

1 w, Solola Taffy, avocados, oranges, peaches 

1, San Jorge Onions, cabbage, yucca flower 

1, Solola Onions 

1 w, Solola Onions and miltomatcs 

1 w, Argueta Small tamales 

1, Solola Greens and small tomatoes 

1 w, Solola Avocados 

Do Matasanos 

Line 4 (E.-W.): 

1 w, Solola Atol 

Do Peaches, injertos, giiisquiles 

Do Onions, turnips, greens 

Do Black beans, eggs, corn leaves (fodder), fish on grass stems, 


Do Avocados, ocote, onions, yiiisquiles 

1, Santa Cruz Oranges 

Do Bananas 

Do Matasanos 

Do Oranges 

2, Santa Cruz Matasanos 

Line 1 (W.-E.) : 

1, Totonicapan Sandals, belts, and other leather goods. 

2 w, Solola Tortillas 

7 w, Santa Lucia Soap 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) . . . .' Taffy 

1 w', Chichicastenango Potatoes and coffee 

Do Maize and coffee 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) Taffy 

1 w, Solola Limas, ground coffee, toasted habas, tomatoes, onions, chile. 

3 w, Solola (Ladinas) Pig meat 

2 w, Solola ( Indian) Do. 

1 w, Solola Nfaize and tortillas 

3, Totonicapan Furniture (especially chairs and chests). 

Line 2 (E.-W.): 

3 w, Solola Maize 

1 , Chichicastenango Do. 

17 vv, Solola Maize, also toasted habas, cabbages, beans, and avocados. 

1 w, Totonicapan Toasted habas 

2 w, Solola Onions, yiiisquiles, avocados 

Do Flowers, panela, ground coffee, green habas, onions. 

8, Chichicastenango Hats, ropes, cigars, spices, tinware, etc. 

5 w, San Jose Panela and ground coffee 


Line 3 (N.-S.) : 

1 w, Solola Ato! 

Go Eggs, onions, miltomates 

Do Garlic and greens 

Do Onions 

Do Eggs 

Do Miltomates, garlic, ground coffee 

Do Cabbages, t/uisquilcs. avocados 

Do Ocote, onions, matasanos 

1 , Solola Onions 

Line 4 (N.-S.) : 

1, Solola Maize , 

1 w, Solola Matasanos 

Do ; Miltomates and carrots 

2 vv, Concepcion .Avocados 

1 w, Solola Onions 

Do Atol, piloy (large kidney beans), corn leaves. 

Do Corn, coffee, onions 

Do Ocote 

2 w, Solola Atol, tortillas, greens 

1 w, Solola Fish on grass stems 

1 w, Solola Bananas, limas, avocados, tomatoes 

1 w, Santa Lucia Carrots and greens 

1 w, Totonicapan Ground coffee and gourd sponges 

Line 5 (N.-S.) : . 

1 w, Solola Maize and atol 

1 vv, Santa Lucia Soap 

1 w, Solola Maize 

Line 6 (N.-S.) : 

3 w, Santa Lucia Toasted habas 

7 w, Solola Eggs, carrots, squash seeds, oranges, and peas. 

Line 7 (N.-S.) : 

4, Santa Lucia Soap 

6, Santa Cruz Tomatoes, oranges, limas, rush mats 

1, Totonicapan Cloth goods and trinkets 

1 w, Solola Miltomates 

Do Cabbages 

Do Onions 

Lines (N.-S.): 

3 w, Santa Lucia Toasted liahas 

4 \v, Solola Peas and cracklings 

Line 9 (N.-S.): 

3, Chichicastenango Pomarosa (rose-apple, Eugenia jamhos) , giiisguiles, bananas, 

plantains, limas, mangoes, zapotes, coyotes, chile. 

2, Solola .Same (up from Lowland Sunday markets) 

6, Chichicastenango Same fruits as first three vendors 

2, Chichicastenango Pottery 

1, Chichicastenango Cinches (agave) 

1, Chichicastenango Same as first three. 

2, Chichicastenango Spices, ropes, hats, etc. 

4, Chichicastenango Same as first thr«e. 

1 w, Solola Oranges and avocados 

1 w, Solola Green beans 

1 w, Solola Onions 


Line 10 (S.-N.) : 

1, Santa Cruz Oranges 

5 w, Solola White beans, eggs, onions 

1 w, Solola Rooster and vegetables 

5 w, Solola Ocote, limas, onions 

4, Totonicapan Plantains, oranges, pottery, coffee, spices, cajctas (thin-wood 

7, Solola Bananas, pomarosa, zapotcs, giiisquilcs, limas, adiioie, plantains. 

Line 11 (E.-W.) : 

1, Solola Maize 

8 w, Solola Do. 

Group 12 : 

1, Solola Avocados 

2 w, Solola Limas and bananas 

Group 13 : 

1, Totonicapan Toasted hdbas 

5 w, Totonicapan Do. 

Line 1 (E.-W.) : 

2 w, Solola Pig meat 

3 w, Solola (Ladinas) Do. 

1 w, Solola Candy 

2 w, Solola Pig meat 

1, Momostenango Wool blankets and rodiltcras 

Line 2 (E.-W.) : 

1 w, Solola Onions 

2 w, Totonicapan Toasted hahas 

1 w, Solola Limas and oranges 

1 w, Totonicapan Eggs 

1 w, Solola Garlic and onions 

Do Bananas and beans 

Do Onions 

Do Atol and limas 

1 w, Totonicapan Coffee (liquid) 

1 w, Solola Candy 

1 w, Totonicapan Toasted habas 

1 w, Concepcion Avocados 

1 w, Solola Atol 

Do Avocados 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) Rice in milk (hot) 

1 w, Solola Bananas 

1 , Santa Cruz Do. 

1, Chichicastenango White cotton 

1 w, Chichicastenango Brown cotton 

2 w, San Jorge Panela 

Line 3 (E.-W.): 

6 w, Solola Maize (all here mostly white) 

1, San Andres Maize 

2, Totonicapan Do. 

S w, Totonicapan Do. 

4 w, Solola Maize (yellow, white, black) 


Line 3 (E.-W.) — Continued 

1, Santa Cruz Maize 

1 w, Solola Onions 

2 w, Solola Maize 

1, Solola Do. 

2 w, Solola Do. 

1 w, Totonicapan Eggs 

1, Solola Cracklings 

Do Onions and eggs 

1 \v, Chichicastenango Potatoes 


Line 1 (E.-W.): 

1, Chichicastenango Coffee, chile, cigars 

2 w, Solola Tortillas 

4 w, Solola Pig meat and soap 

2 w, Solola (Ladinas) Do. 

1 w, Solola Coffee (ground), roast corn (ears), squash seeds 

1, Santa Lucia Maize 

1 w, Santa Lucia Do. 

1 w, Solola (from Quezaltenango) Taffy 

Line 2 (E.-W.) : 

1 w, Solola Onions 

Do .A.vocados 

1 w, Totonicapan .\vocados, toasted liubas, and granadillas 

1 w, Argueta Hahas (toasted) 

1 w, Solola Maize 

Do Peaches and eggs 

Do Bananas, onions, corn 

Do Graiiadillas, onions, eggs, toasted hahas, miltomates 

Do -Avocados 

Do Atol 

Do Avocados 

Do Rice in milk (hot) 

Do Toasted chickpeas, atol 

Do Onions, ground coffee, eggs, panela 

Do Oranges and limas 

Do Liinas 

Do Limas, oranges, tomatoes, eggs 

Do Onions and oranges 

Do Chile and beans 

Do Atol 

Do Onions and chile 

Do Onions, cabbage, chile 

Do Atol 

1 w, San Jorge Panela 

Line 3 (E.-W.) : 

1, Chichicastenango Maize 

1 w, Solola Do. 

1, San Andres Do. 

1, Solola Do. 

1, Totonicapan Do. 

1, Solola Do. 

1 w, Solola Onions and cabbages 

1, Santa Cruz Bananas 

Do Oranges 



as many Pedrano rope vendors per week as Pableiio. 
And at Chicacao, where sogaSj or halters, are much 
in demand for Hvestock, I have ahvays seen more 
men from San Pedro, who have the advantage of 
greater proximity to the coast, and close relationship 
with their colony of Cutzan. Pedranos occasionally 
sell Lowland products on a small scale in Highland 
markets, but for the most part they are resold at 
dwellings in San Pedro, where there is no market. 


The 3.3 sq. km. of arroyo land in San Marcos 
(map 20, pi. 45, b, c) is occupied by 490 people, 
which amounts to a density of 148 a sq. km., almost 
twice that of Santiago (about 81.5 per sq. km.). 
This area cannot keep the inhabitants supplied with 
corn, so much of which must be bought elsewhere, 
or obtained as compensation for work on the fincas. 
To pay for some of it, the Marquefios have under- 
taken various economic activities, all on an insig- 
nificant scale. These include some rope spinning from 
local maguey, mat weaving, raising certain money 
crops, such as tomatoes, jocotes, and citrus fruits 
(especially oranges and limas), and catching tiny 
fish and crabs (until fishing was outlawed in 1937). 
These products are marketed far afield. I have seen 
one or two men selling tomatoes and stringbeans in 
Quezaltenango ; dried jocotes and oranges on the 
fincas (they also sell these in Santa Lucia, Nahuala, 
and Tecpan) ; dried fish strung on bunchgrass stems 
(p. 124), jocotes, and mats in Solola; and crabs in 
Santiago. There is apparently a little commerce in 
bananas and other Lowland fruit, which are sold in 
the Highlands. 

The fish traps of San Marcos, corrallike enclosures 
of Lake weeds built against the shore, with two open- 
ings, were more elaborate than any I saw on the Lake 
except those of Santa Catarina. I was told that about 
one-third of the people fished at that time, and that 
there were eight crabbers. Though crabs were caught 
wherever it was practicable to do so around the Lake, 
I never saw them marketed except by Indians of San 
Marcos and Santa Catarina. Crabs were always sold 
alive in strings of 5 or 6 tied together with strips of 
yucca leaves ; Marquefios even bound all the crab legs 
together with rushes, and they could thus be recog- 
nized in the markets. Though there is little meat on 
these crabs, they make an excellent soup. The Mar- 
quefios were second to the Catarinecos in fishing, in 
terms of relative importance. More fish were caught 
in Santiago, but it had 1 1 times the population of San 

Marcos. San ]\Iarcos and Santa Catarina are by far 
the smallest of all municipios on the Lake (or of any 
others in Guatemala that I have yet seen), having 
areas of about i.Z and 4.2 kms. respectively (largely 
cliffs and ridges, which, with one exception, form 
the boundaries in both instances). For want of land, 
they turned for resources to the water and what little 
it had to offer. Villages which engaged in commercial 
fishing and crabbing were hard hit when these activi- 
ties were prohibited by law. 

San IMarcos, according to tradition,^^* has moved 
its site five times. The most recent change was from 
the alluvial valley bottom to the two terraces (where 
most of the inhabitants now live, in the "Barrio 
Oriental" and Barrio Occidental," each with about 
150 persons) on either side of the streambed, fol- 
lowing the 1881 flood which destroyed the village 
(Panajachel and Finca Jaibal were known to have 
been partly destroyed in the same year) . San Marcos 
had been moved to that valley under the direction of 
Alcalde Juan de Barranich, of Solola, who on Janu- 
ary II, 1726, officially transferred the vdlage from 
"Jaibalito," the second arroyo west of Santa Cruz la 
Laguna (see map 20 and pi. 45, c, d, e), where they 
had settled in 1666 ( ?). A "terrible flood" at Jaibalito 
had destroyed the houses, sometime between 1724 and 
1726, leaving the church in ruins (where today 
brttjos, or shamans, conduct pagan rites). A few 
Indian huts of Santa Cruz still occupy this hazardous 
arroyo site. The present territory of San Marcos was 
said to have been granted jointly by an old woman 
of the family "Sipac" in Santiago, and by Santa 
Lucia Utatlan and San Pablo, each contributing a 
parcel of land. The first settlers of San Marcos, 
according to tradition, came to the Lake about 1666 
from a coast site below San Lucas Tollman, where 
they had lived near the present Finca Santo Tomas, 
until a "bat plague" drove them out, as they had 
previously been forced by these animals to move 
from their home two leagues below, near the present 
Finca San Jeronimo el Ingenio.^"^ Fuentes y Guz- 

^^ Supported by historical data from an unpublished manuscript en- 
titled, "Monografia del Departamento," dated September 9, 1926, ap- 
pended February 24, 1930. 

i*^ This is plausible, as it was probably the vampire bat. Destruction 
by this pest, and even annihilation of herds of cattle is recorded in 
1576 by Palacio (1S66, p. 10). He says that on the "coast of 
Guazacapan," below Escuintla and Amatitlan, there were many bats 
bleeding and killing animals, especially calves, so that entire ranches 
were in places bereft of their cattle: "So many bats that it is astonish- 
ing: and they are so bad that if they come upon a calf they kill it and 
bleed it." In and about the large ruins of the colonial church of 
(Santiago) Zambo, formerly a town, now a finca, I have seen enough 
b.its to make life disagreeable if tliey were true vampires, whether they 
attacked only animals or included human blood in their diet. 



man verifies in some measure the later history of 
San Marcos ; for his map (about 1685 ; Fuentes y 
Guzman 1932-33, vol. 2, opposite p. 60) shows San 
Marcos near Santa Cruz, even east of it ; however, in 
about 1700, Vazquez states that, going east from San 
Pablo "the first town one comes to ... is San Mar- 
cos" (Vazquez, 1937-38, p. 171). This could refer 
either to the present site or to Jaibalito, as both are 
between San Pablo and Santa Cruz. 


Economically as well as physically there is a fairly 
close parallel between the municipios of Santa Cruz 
(particularly the aldea, Tzununa) and San Marcos 
(map 20; pi. 45, d, e). The last two named are 
at present among the closest neighbors on the Lake, 
and the erstwhile proximity of the sites of San 
Marcos and Santa Cruz has already been pointed 
out. The latter is but slightly better situated with 
regard to area and quality of land than are the two 
villages west of it (San Pablo and San Marcos). 

Fruits, mostly uncultivated, are prominent among 
the products of all the wooded ravines along the 
northwest shore ; far more so than on the more open 
south side. Though in the main, fruits are consumed 
locally, these north shore municipios seem to 
derive a small profit from them in the markets. 
The area is too high for large papayas like those of 
the Lowlands and too low for the best grade High- 
land aMo;K2j (A. cherimolia)}^^ Certain smaller fruits 
thrive, however, especially nmtasano and injerto; 
and there are avocados, mangos,^^^ and small, gen- 
erally acid guavas, wild or semicultivated. The im- 
portant 'fruits, and those which enter the markets, 
are the several yellow jocotes, oranges, and lintas. 
I have seen numbers of Santa Cruz and Tzununa 
men in Chicacao early in March selling lintas (pi. 
27, /), oranges, tomatoes, onions, and boiled jocotes, 

^"^ All along this shore these anonas were small, inferior, and wormy 
(a common condition even higher up) and hardly valued at all. Regions 
from 1,950 to 2.200 m. (6,398 to 7,218 ft.) are best for them; at 
Concepci6n, at the former elevation, being as famous for anonas as for 
avocados. The Anuario del Servicio Tecnico, 1931, p. 59, gives 1,220 
m. to 1,830 m. (4,000 to 6,000 ft.) as the best general limits, but 
this does not appear true on the Lake. Papayas (op. cit., p. 66, gives 
1,220 m. as the upper limit) bear small fruit at Cerro de Oro, 1,585 m. 
(5,300 ft.), on the south shore, which is the highest record I have for 
them. Bukasov (1930, p. 536) places the upper limit of papayas at 
1,700 m. (5.577 ft.), but they certainly do not go so high by the Lake, 
despite its mild climate. That the fruits on the north side, as at San 
Marcos, are generally too small to eat is evidence of climatic and 
edaphic differences between the two sides of the Lake. The behavior 
of both these fruit plants is indicative of the relative mildness of this 
basin, for its elevation, apparently owing, in part at least, to the water 
body (see p. 131). 

i<"The Anuario del Servicio Tecnico, 1931, p. 81, gives as the usual 
upper limit of mango 1,220 m. 

which were much in demand; the same, with fresh 
jocotes, sugarcane, tomatoes, and bananas, in Pana- 
jachel and Solola. The jocotes of Santa Cruz were 
die following: Chicha, petapa, and mico, approxi- 
mately in descending order of importance (though 
only the first two, with some corona, were much 
sold) ; Santa Cruz seemed to have more petapa. 
Corona was rare, much having been inundated by the 
rising Lake, especially at Tzununa. (See Appendix 
2, table 8; pi. 19, c.) 

That even limes (only about one-third as abundant 
as limas) bear at Tzununa (1,560 m., or 5,118 ft.) 
when the Guatemala Anuario del Servicio Tecnico 
report (1931, p. 68) gives the upper limit as 910 m. 
(2,986 ft.) and the fact that this aldea is particularly 
noted for its oranges are further indicative of the 
mildness of the Lake climate (map 6). 

Alany wild herbs are eaten, particularly chipilin 
(Crotalaria longirostrata) , and in Santa Cruz and 
Tzununa, small irrigated Lake shore gardens are 
planted to sweet manioc, sugarcane, tomatoes, and 
onions. Thus, they do not depend so largely upon 
fruit as does San Marcos. They fish with seines (pi. 
27, d), also with baskets and cane funnels, but there 
is little crabbing in this locality, reportedly engaged 
in by only one family, using lines. Hunting of small 
animals, especially armadillos, using dogs, was re- 
ported at Tzununa. Mats and cordage are made at 
Santa Cruz, on a small, almost noncommercial scale. 

As in the case of San Pablo and San Marcos, in- 
habitants of Santa Cruz must buy most of their corn 
outside the municipio (e.g., in Solola, Santiago, and 
Panajachel) ; I have even seen them buying it in San 
Andrtjs Semetabaj. 

The village of Santa Cruz was said to have for- 
merly occupied a "valley ten blocks away" (probably 
the larger alluvial fan just below its present ridge), 
but "was destroyed there by a flood and moved to its 
present site 100 years ago." (Also from "Mono- 
grafia del Departamento," September 9, 1926. Copies 
of both the above accounts were lent to me by Don 
Isaias de Leon, of Solola.) If this report is correct, 
the playa settlement must have represented only a 
portion of the village, for the church of the present 
settlement up on the ridge appears to be contempo- 
raneous with the others around the Lake. 


Xo such similarity as e.xists in the three last-m.en- 
tioned villages is to be found east of the Rio Quixcap, 
(map 20; pis. 45, f ; 46, a, b). That is an area of in- 



tensive vegetable garden culture (see maps 21, 23), 
which was first studied and described in detail, at 
Solola, in 1932 (McBryde, 1933, pp. 109 £f.)- A 
great number of mountain streams, easily diverted, 
supply the needs of irrigation throughout this area, 
which lies within the optimum elevation limits for 
vegetables (1,500-2,200 m., or 4,921-7,218 ft.). 
Almost all of the numerous springs along the steep 
north slopes supply irrigation water to gardens. The 
"tablon culture" (see p. 30) area includes most of 
the municipios of Solola, Panajachel, Concepcion, 
much of San Jose Chacaya, and a part of southern 
Chichicastenango, adjacent to Solola. In several 
Lake shore villages besides Panajachel, tablones. 
mainly planted to onions and cabbages, are cultivated 
on a small scale. 

San Jorge. — The economy of San Jorge, based 
largely upon irrigated vegetable and flower gardens, 
is very similar to that of Solola, of which it is an 
aldea (pi. 12, d). Citrus fruits and jocotcs are of 
high quality in San Jorge, since it is near the upper 
elevation limits of their production. San Jorge In- 
dians are also the traditional panela merchants for 
Solola. Though they still retail panela on a large 
scale in the Solola market, they lost their old busi- 
ness of carrying the wholesale panela shipments on 
foot between the Tzanjuyti boat pier and Solola. 
Since the completion of the highway in 1926 it has 
nearly all gone by truck. I was told in 1932 that 
the Jorgeiios were still disgruntled about it. At 
that time, agents in Solola received about 160 tons 
of panela a month in addition to about 55 tons a 
month used in the Government-controlled aguardi- 
ente (rum) industry in Solola. Intermediate loca- 
tion on the portion of the Lowland-Highland trade 
route extending between Solola and the Lake once 
was basic to San Jorge's supplementary occupation of 
transshipping panela, and to some extent this is still 
the case. 

The Jorgenos rely now, however, mainly on garden 
culture and finca labor to supplement the products of 
their fields. Besides their tablones in San Jorge, a 
considerable tract of Lake front vegetable gardens in 
Panajachel was pointed out to me as being owned by 
San Jorge Indians, who come down to the delta to 
cultivate them. Tax recorded 75,000 sq. m. of "for- 
eign-Indian" property (delta) mostly owned by 
Jorgeiios in Panajachel. 

San Jorge Indians are almost indistinguishable in 
dress and general appearance from those of Solola, 

Concepcion, and San Jose Chacaya, all of which 
differ considerably from those of Panajachel (pi. 6). 

Of San Jorge, Francisco Vazquez writes (about 
1675 ?) that it occupied "twenty years ago" a sandy 
plain, and that it was "destroyed by a flood." I am 
certain that this was the delta of the Quizcap, where 
tradition still holds that there was an important mar- 
ket "long ago," and from which the Finca Jaibal 
(caibal means market place in Cakchiquel, Quiche, and 
several other Guatemala Indian languages) was wiped 
away by the great flood of October 1881. The 
finca was rebuilt on higher ground, where it still 
stands. Ponce's companions described in 1586 the 
old site of San Jorge as a "good distance" from the 
Lake shore (Ponce, 1873, vol. 1, p. 443), so that it 
was probably built well back to avoid Lake flooding, 
but was exposed to overflows of the Rio Quixcap 
(pis. 10, c;45, f). 

Panajachel: village of tablones (maps 20, 23; 
pis. 19; 20; 46, a, b). — Panajachel"* is the most 
important garden center on Lake Atitlan. The 
lower Panajachel River delta, ^^^ parts of it subject 
to periodic flooding, is nearly covered with scattered 
Indian houses (all except the tourist-hotel section of 
the west corner) and most of this premium land is 
carefully gardened. The river furnishes ample water 
for the network of diversion ditches used for irrigat- 
ing the fertilized "" tablones, or plots (map 23 ; pi. 
20). So inclined are the Panajacheleiios to garden- 
ing that even a great amount of corn (unirrigated) 
and some beans are planted in these delta gardens. 
Cofifee, mainly in small non-Indian fincas, occupies 
most of what is not gardened. The chief money 
crops are onions and garlic, though there are many 
vegetables of various sorts produced, as well as 
fruits (p. 31). Pepinos are especially prominent 
from March to July (the harvest months) . I was told 
that Solola Indian merchants come down and buy 
onions by the tablon. Both onions and garlic are sold 
in quantity to itinerant merchants in the Panajachel 
plaza. The steep slopes are planted largely to milpa, 
wherever possible, yet the corn produced here is not 
enough to meet local needs. There is practically 
no fishing, and finca labor, as well as industrial pur- 

1*^ Sol Tax, Carnegie Institution ethnologist, has made a detailed 
study of lliis community. Other villages of the Lake where he has 
worked intensively are San Marcos and Santa Catarina Palop6. He 
has spent much time also at Santo Tomas Chichicastenango. 

^^^ I made a physical and economic map of this delta (map 23) in 
September 1936; Tax mapped it, even to land ownership and tenure, 
during the preceding dry season. 

wo These are fertilized mainly with leaf litter from the cafetales 
(coffee groves), though some animal manure is also used. 


Tabl6nes (vegetables) 




Mllpa (cornfields: 


Coffee 11 




Drugs -< y- 



General Store 



2 3 

L 1 


Tenths of ■ tillfl 

Map 23— Paiiajachel. (Irrigation ditcht-s are shown aH solid, single lines: u'»|J'^'^''ails and Hide roads, 6» small-dash lines; old course of Panajachpl 
River, as large-daeh lines, No attempt has been made to show all trai " tpaiha. or even all houses, but merely to give the general plan. 

Catholic church (Franciscan, in ruinit on square) and Protestant n««"o are shown by the conventional Latin cross, as is cemetery at 

lower right.) 

«Mie2 (7 (Fttccp. ia3> 



suits, is uncommon."! There are only a few pro- 
fessional Indian merchants living in Panajachel. 
Tax recorded five, one an Atiteco. 

This vegetable-garden economy"^ ^^^g j^^^ known 
in Panajachel in Alonso Ponce's time, 1586 (op. 
cit., vol. 1, p. 447), when the delta was planted to 
corn and "many fig and peach trees." Neither of 
these fruits is to be found there today, vegetables and 
coffee having replaced them, along with much of 
the maize. As a consequence, the production of this 
basic grain is insufficient, so that it must be bought 
in the plaza by most Panajachelenos, from Indians 
of east Lake municipios. Native fruits, of which 
injcrtos and jocotes are particularly important, prob- 
ably were grown then as now.*'^ A 1778 Noticias 
(Anon., Ms. 1778, p. 16, f. 235) records rope manu- 
facture there, and this is corroborated by Tax's rec- 
ords of tradition and folklore. The growing tourist 
trade at Panajachel, a fairly important industry by 
1930, probably had its beginning in the establishment 
of Tzanjuyu, about 1885.'^* 


Just 2 miles southeast of Panajachel by a well- 
beaten path skirting precipice walls, one comes upon 
a little village so different from the first that it might 
almost be a part of another continent. And yet 
those two villages have existed, 2 miles apart, since 
about the time of the discovery of America, and 
possibly before. A native of one village may be dis- 
tinguished from one of the other almost as far away 

^^ In direct contrast witli this is the transplanted, exotic economy of 
a small settlement of Totonicapenos (almost always craftsmen of some 
sort), called Patanatic (3 km. northeast of Panajachel village, yet 
within this municipio), who tan leather, make sandals, and dress 
lumber (all as in Totonicapan, whence they emigrated, according to the 
unpublished 1930 census report, in 1S90). They probably came orig- 
inally to work on tlie lumber finca, Santa Victoria, less than a kilometer 
away. This culture is similar to that of Panimach^, a canton of 
Chicliicastenango just to the north. Costumes and language of tlie home- 
land are preserved, as usual, and women use the tumpline and sandals, 
^ as in their former municipio. 

1^" The first dated reference I have found relating to gardening of 
European vegetables by Indians in Guatemala is in the Relacidn for 
Vera Paz written in 1574 and covering the years since 1544. The 
vegetables and herbs mentioned were coles, radishes, lettuce, parsley, 
coriander, ycrba buena, borage, marjoram, fennel, artichoke, and onions; 
"which bear very well and the water-wheel is not necessary, for the 
Lord waters them" (Anon., Ms. 1574, p. 5, f. 93). This referred to 
the year-round rains of Vera Paz, which made it a favorable place 
for introducing such crops. Oviedo (1851-55, vol. 1, pp. 373-374), also 
writing early in the 16th century, lists a great number of European 
vegetables, with the remark in almost every case, that they do not seed, 
but the seeds must be brought from Europe. Most vegetable seeds are 
still imported (see p. 32). 

1™ The altachel, or matasano, from which the name "Panajachel" is 
derived, should have been tlie injerto, if we judge by its present 

"* The 1930 census report states tliat power navigation on the Lake 
began here in 18S8, with the steam launch "General Barillas." 

as the human limbs are discernible, so different are 
the costumes (see pis. 6;7, d, e, f, g; 9, a, b). Santa 
Catarina dress resembles that of San Lucas far more 
closely than it does the Panajachel costume. And 
of the 13 common words selected by Tax (1937, p. 
346) from Andrade's list, only five approach identity. 
Of all the Lake neighbors, this is perhaps the ex- 
treme example of diversity in proximity, in a region 
where such a condition is almost the rule. There 
are almost as many inhabitants in Santa Catarina 
as there are in Panajachel ; and population density is 
much greater in Santa Catarina because of its highly 
limited area. Yet there is no delta, nor even much 
of a beach. Steep slopes are right at their backs and 
all around the banks of their little-sheltered bay (map 
20; pi. 22, a, b). Since the Lake has risen (begin- 
ning in 1933) even the narrow beach is reduced, and 
the rush-fringed shoal is deepened. There is some 
fairly level land above the cliffs behind an elevated 
glade, just 600 m. (1,968 ft.) higher than the Lake. 
Most of this is cultivated, however, by the small 
settlement (labor) of Xepec, a community of Luci- 
anos, from the high plateau municipio of Quiche- 
speaking Indians, Santa Lucia Utatlan."^ Qne of 
them told me that they had been there only about 25 
years, and had bought 5,000 cuerdas"*^ (roughly 
1,000 acres) from the Catarinecos. The latter have 
an insignificant caserio, Xesiguan, situated high on 
the bench, and remote from cabecera or chief village 
(Santa Catarina). 

The old church of Santa Catarina (bell dated 1762) 
was 20 feet (6 m.) above the water level in Septem- 
ber 1936, the lowest such edifice on the Lake (except 
for the later ruins of Jaibalito) ; it is built on a gently 
sloping terrace 100 feet (30.5 m.) wide. Most of the 
houses are on the steep slopes behind. In Santa 
Catarina much importance is attached to jocotes, 
which are sold in great numbers, and to the small 
(|uanlities of oranges and injertos. Four tablones (pi. 
22, c) near the small Xepec Creek were planted to 
onions by a Catarineco, and twice that many by 
Panajachelenos who rent the land. The limited local 
maguey is spun into cord, though it is not durable in 
water and so is not suitable for fishing. There are a 
few merchants in Santa Catarina, some selling 

I'^They cultivate, in addifion to corn and beans, such cold-land crops 
as broadbeans and wheat — in contrast to the jocotes, oranges, and 
tomatoes grown in the village directly below. 

i" I coultl not verify this. The area seemed a bit exaggerated. I 
can testify, however, to the existence of the settlement, though neither 
this nor Xesiguan is included in tlie official 1921 census. This may be 
attributed to an oversight rather than to their not having been there. 
Catarinecos concurred on the age and provenience of both settlements. 



Patziim maize in Solola, others, Solola vegetables in 
Patuliil, while still others peddle crabs. 

The major occupations here are dependent upon 
the Lake : fishing, crabbing, and mat weaving. The 
land limitations of the municipio having been pointed 
out, the water advantages may be summarized as 
follows: (1) Hot springs (aguascalienies) occurring 
in the shallow water along the bank for a mile or 
so on one side"' and on the other (2) shallow water 
along the shore for a total littoral distance of nearly 
4 miles. "^ Both conditions, largely nullified when 
the lake level is high, favor the abundance and avail- 
ability of fish, while the shallow water is conducive to 
a good growth of rushes and the propagation of 
crabs in an accessible zone. No doubt the Pana- 
jachel natives availed themselves also of these na- 
tural advantages, meager though they are, prior to 
their development of vegetable culture. Their aquatic 
occupations have made the Catarinecos extremely 
sensitive to the vagaries of the Lake, and their for- 
tunes have risen and fallen, in reverse order, with 
periodic fluctuations of the water level. In 1936 
their fish runways by the hot springs could be seen 
well below the water, too deep for much benefit, and 
their larger rush funnels (often 6 ft. long; pi. 22, d), 
especially made for hot-springs fishing, were lying 
idle, as many of them had lain since 1933. Rushes had 
likewise suffered from inundation: the planting of 
rushes and the purchase of them from other parts 
of the Lake were necessary even for small-scale 
mat making. Only crabbing seems not to have been 
affected by the rise of the Lake level. A recent 
law prohibiting all catching of fish and crabs during 
the "breeding season" (May to August was the 
closed season in 1936, I was told),"» as recom- 
mended in 1905 by Meek (1908, pp. 177, 191, 203), 
followed by a law prohibiting all fishing, also affects 
the Catarinecos more than any other group. These 
are among the economic reasons why they have come 
to depend so largely upon employment on the fincas. 
In attempting to understand the importance of fish- 
ing to the Catarinecos above all other Lake dwellers 
(until 1937) the question is not why others do not 
fish so much, but why the Catarinecos do. It seems 
that, of the two influences, water resources and land 

1" Mainly south; several reported also in 1893 to have existed at 
either extremity of the Panajachel delta. 

1" Not far away is the rock>' shoal off Cerro de Oro and the lava 
fringe, which, being shallow, is good fishing ground. 

1" Meek (1908, pp. 17S. 186, 189, 203) recorded the breeding seasons 
as follows: Mojarra, April-June; gulumina and pescadito, March-May; 
serica, April-June; crabs, February-April. 

poverty, the latter is the more significant. For, if 
they had an abundance of cultivable land, the prob- 
ability is that they, like most of the other villagers, 
would pay little attention to the crabs and very small 
fish. Delicacies though they might be to the Indians, 
the resource does not appear to be a lucrative one. 
Meek suggested this when he wrote: "These fishes 
are much used for food by the natives, especially by 
those people living in Santa Catalina. These fishes 
are eaten only because no others are to be had" 
(Meek, 1908, p. 180). Large numbers of them are 
sold in the markets, however, especially at Solola. 
Catarinecos take them to market as the Marqueiios 
do, impaled on bunchgrass stems, five or six on a 
stem, and smoked. Natives of Atitlan and other 
villages sell them in smaller quantities, by measure, 
in bulk. Ocaiia in 1662 wrote that crabs and little 
fish (pcscaditos de Atitlan) prepared exactly as they 
are today, roasted on grass stems, were a major 
source of livelihood. Little fish were caught because 
of their abundance and the ease of getting them ; the 
big mojarras would not bite a hook. Little fish were i 
sold for cacao in many provinces (Vazquez, 1937-38, 1 
pp. 167-168). 


San Antonio is just a league (2i<^ miles) south- 
east of Santa Catarina. (Though both villages are 
given the agnomen Palopo, the original "Polopo" 
was probably San Antonio, according to early maps ; 
see p. 103.) Linguistic and costume differences are 
almost as great as in the preceding instance. Nor 
does the economic comparison show any greater 
similarity. The distinction is in fact fundamental ; 
the Antoneros look only to the land and not at 
all to the Lake for support. And with good reason, 
for their municipio extends as far east as the Rio 
Madre \'ieja, and as far south as the southern 
Lake shore. Their area of 25.5 sq. l<m. (about 10 
sq. miles) is more than six times that of Santa Cata- 
rina (4.2 sq. km.), yet their total populations^** is 
scarcely double that of the latter. Though there is a 
steep wall with a few cliffs behind them, the situation 
is not nearly so bad (map 20; pis. 23; 46, c, d) ; 
to the south the mountain rim is considerably lower, 
and there are many excellent cultivable slopes, espe- 
cially east of the divide, in the drainage basin of the 
Madre Vieja River. A number of small communities 

1*0 According to the 1921 census, San .\ntonio had a population of 
1.963, and Santa Catarina had 844. 





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have been established here, notably Agua Escon- 
dida/si ^jjj jj,g^g ^j.g several Ladino finqueros in the 
municipio. The supplementary specialty is the culti- 
vation of aniseed (in fields like milpa, but planted at 
the end of the rainy season), which they sell far and 
wide. Anise js used mainly for flavoring drinks, such 
as pinol ; in the capital it is used in baking. Vazquez, 
writing about 1700, says: "much anise is gathered 
especially in the north" (Vazquez, 1937-38, p. 172). 
According to informants in both communities, anise 
and pepinos have changed places in the last 50 years, 
anise before then having been much planted in Pana- 
jachel, where it is not cultivated today. Pepinos, 
requiring milder temperatures, were introduced into 
Panajachel, it was said, 10 or 15 years ago, from 
San Antonio. These reports are mentioned also in 
Tax's Panajachel manuscript, though he gives no 
dates. Local tradition is frequently inaccurate in this 

At low levels, near the village, tomatoes and beans 
are important, and recently (mainly since 1933) 
tablou-cuhme has spread here from the west, with 
crops confined as yet (1936) to onions and cabbages. 
That the latter are not abundant there is indicated in 
the purchase of cabbages, among other vegetables, by 
Antoiieros in the Panajachel market, primarily for 
resale in Patulul. Wheat, having a summer growing 
season (May-November), is much planted on the 
higher slopes (pi. 23, c), though in one field it is as 
low as 1,650 m. This is the lowest that I have seen 
it in Guatemala. As would be expected, the yield 
here was poor. 

Industrial pursuits are lacking at San Antonio, and 
even fishing is extremely rare, confined to the placing 
of a few small traps (garlitos) along the shore. 

Commercial activity here is secondary. A few 
men, said to number about 15, buy vegetables from 
Solold and Panajachel, in the latter market, and re- 
sell them in the plaza of Lowland Patulul. Their 
intermediate position on this important trade route 
favors such traffic. Local residents reported a small 
market at San Antonio, though I never verified this 
by personal observation. The village is on a "cross- 
road" between the Chichicastenango-Solola to San 
Lucas-Patulul and the Santiago Atitlan to Patzum- 
Tecpan routes, crossing at right angles. Santiago 
merchants, en route to the two last-named plazas 
(convening Sunday and Thursday, respectively), 

"^ It is here that Robert Redfield has established a sociological re- 
search base. 

beach their 15 or 20 canoes at San Antonio and climb 
the steep trail behind (pi. 23, d). The few Chichi- 
castenango and Solola merchants who take the cir- 
cuitous land route to the Sunday and Thursday 
Lowland markets, go through San Antonio mainly 
on the same days, as well as on Fridays and Tuesdays 
(also Solola market days) from the San Lucas mar- 
ket. Thus, though some merchants are passing 
through on virtually every day of the week, there 
seem to be more at one time on Wednesdays and 
Saturdays, when both coast-bound and east-bound 
groups of merchants converge. The vendors were 
said to line up as on the small fincas, remaining only 
a short while. Because of the relative isolation of 
San Antonio, the merchants have only local buyers, 
and were it not for the more distant objectives of 
the couierciantes, there would be little or no mar- 
ket. There are actually only three real market places 
on the Lake, Santiago, San Lucas, and Panajachel 
(map 19), all of them in large communities, on con- 
verging trade routes, and readily accessible. 


The municipios of San Andres Semetebaj, Tecpan, 
and Patzum, northeast and east of the Lake, grow 
maize in large quantities, and constitute the greatest 
granaries of the Lake region, more significant by far 
than the southwestern municipios, Santiago and San 
Pedro. The eastern municipios have the lands for 
it,^*- the smallest of them, San Andres Semetebaj, 
being considerably larger than the combined area of 
all five of the north shore Lake municipios. 

At San Andres, Old World broadbeans, or habas 
(Vicia jaba), are grown with maize, as around Que- 
zaltenango (having elevations that are comparable), 
and there are wheat and some potatoes planted mostly 
by Ladinos but their specialty is bush beans in sep- 
arate fields, frijolcs de suelo. Anise culture (mostly 
Ladino) seems to be coming in more and more, 
brought from San Antonio, where, at Agua Escon- 
dida an undetermined disease is said to have reduced 
the yields considerably between 1929 and 1936 (time 
of observation). 

Patzum and Tecpan have their industrial special- 
ties as well as large-scale agriculture, the former town 
supplying the area with candied popcorn, sold in 
great quantities during fiestas. In Tepcan, wooden 
articles are made, such as double-edged combs, loom 

"■= Roughly 55, SO, and 160 sq. km., respectively. 



Sticks, and dolls.^*^ These are secondary, however, 
to the big surplus of maize, which is the chief source 
of income. This is not always apparent in the various 
neighboring Indian markets, however, for most of 
the maize is taken out in quantity, by mule train ;i^* 
it is grown by Ladinos with large estates. 


Settlements and communities in other parts of 
Guatemala may be analyzed in the same manner 
in which the Lake villages have been considered 
above, and with certain similar results. Nowhere 
will there be found, probably, such a degree of local 
diversity, both physical and cultural, as exists about 
the shores of Lake Atitlan. As to the general dis- 
tribution of villages and towns in southern Guate- 
mala, it can be summed up by saying that, between 
350 m. and 2,600 m. elevations, there are numerous 
small towns and villages in which the Indian element 
is high, but for the most part the Indians are rural, 
living out in the fields and woods (monte). That the 
concentration of their numbers into compact settle- 
ments is often a result of relief conditions is evidenced 
not only by the Lake centers, but by such villages 
as Almolonga, Zunil, and Santa Maria, in the deep 
gorge along the Samala River. And yet, that site 
restriction is not essential to agglomeration is clearly 
shown in such open-valley towns and villages as 
San Andres Xeciil, San Juan Ostuncalco, and Con- 
cepcion Chiquirichapa ; and even the larger towns, 
Quezaltenango and Totonicapan. Though they had 
a wide valley from which to choose their town sites, 
nearly all have concentrated upon the piedmont of 
one side or the other. There are several reasons 
for this, as will be brought out in the following pages. 


Abundance of water is a major basis for piedmont 
locations, where streams and springs are numerous 
and rapid. Most of the upper Samala Valley settle- 
ments are at the foot of the mountains, abundantly 
supplied with water. The water system (see map 21 ; 
also McBryde, 1933, p. 65) depends upon streams 

ifisThe last two are from Tax, Ms. 1935. 

:>»* Though Indians from San Andres, Patzum, and Tecpan sell 
maize in big sacks at Panajachel on Sunday (on one occasion, October 
25, 1936, I walked along the trail with six Tecpan men, each having a 
mule loaded with 120 lb. of maize, all of which was sold in Panajachel, 
with no return cargo), they are little in evidence at Solold, among the 
rows of maize vendors. Ladino mule-shippers, usually two or three at 
a time, with five or six mules each, seem to handle this almost entirely. 

of good gradient for the small, slightly elevated \ 
reservoirs, to which water is conducted for redistribu- 
tion to pilas. These are open watering places on the 
streets and in parks, patios, and buildings (pi. 10, d). 
Though I have as yet no record of their first estab- 
lishment, they are certainly colonial, and probably 
were built at the time when the towns were founded. 
Even though the Ladino town of Salcaja appears 
to be a notable exception, out on the Rio Samala, 
it is fairly near the mountains, and there are tribu- 
tary springs flowing into the river here. Ruins near 
Salcaja indicate a pre-Columbian beginning, as do 
early accounts for Quezaltenango (ancient Xelahu; 
see p. 10). 

Another important consideration here regarding 
bases for settlements is the matter of land diversity 
in supplying various needs of the community. Since 
trees are almost lacking from the valley, each settle- 
ment looks to the hills behind it for firewood. One 
of the unique features of this region is the appear- 
ance of firewood as a commodity in the market 
place (pi. 38, c), besides its usual role as a peddler's 
vendible. In this valley, as is often the case else- 
where, woodlot, pasture, and field converge at the 

The situation of Quezaltenango on the southern 
edge of the valley, centrally located with respect to 
the settlements of the region, gives it an excellent 
trade position. It is on the crossway of two 
important automobile roads and routes of native 
commerce ; the north-south road from coastal Mazate- 
nango to Huehuetenango and the Cuchumatanes (the 
southern part is by far the busiest transverse traffic 
line through the Altos of the Southwest) ;"^ and 
the east-west Altos road— the national highway that 
leads to the capital — afifords a well-traveled route 
to Totonicapan in the east and San Marcos in the 
west (map 1). The daily market of Quezaltenango 
is large and crowded with as many vendors in a 
day as some of the big Altos centers have in a week 
(map 24). It is within easy access by open, level 
trails and roads, to all the numerous surrounding 
villages of the Valley. And, since this is a region 
of crafts, manufactured goods of all sorts fill the 
stalls of the large, enclosed market place. Pottery 
pours in from the eastern ceramic area of Totoni- 
capan-San Cristobal-Santa Maria Chiquimula (map 

i» This is such an important trade route that the Guatemala Gov- 
ernment spent eight million dollars in the construction of an electric 
railway from Lowland San Felipe to Quezaltenango. It was soon 
abandoned, however, for the grade was too steep and traffic was 
insufficient to repay high operating and maintenance costs. The line 
was in operation for only Hi years (1930-33). 



15). Local foot-loom (cotton) textiles, skirts, hui- 
piles, and sutcs, and "ready-made" clothes are sup- 
plements by cotton goods from the electric looms of 
Cantel by the jaspe (tie-dye) skirts and antes of 
Salcaja and San Cristobal, the huipiles of Totoni- 
capan, and the famous blankets and woolens of 
Momostenango. Baskets are brought from Agua- 
catan, ropes from Coban, hats from Quiche, lime 
from San Francisco, Cabricau, and Santa Maria 
Chiquimula ; and so on ; special products from 
centers in every direction (see maps 9, 10, 13, 15, 
16, 17, 18). Highland broadbeans, piloy (large 
butter beans), and peaches meet coastal rice, panela, 
and pineapples. 

Though a linguistic boundary is crossed, and the 
western villages of the valley fall within the region 
of the Mam dialect, while the rest speak Quiche, 
paucity of distinctive costume types is apparent. 
From Cantel to Momostenango, from Totonicapan 
to San Marcos, the same peg-bottom, ill-fitting and 
shrunken blue denim suits, of modern European de- 
sign, make all Indian men practically indistinguish- 
able as to provenience (pis. 12, e, 13, a). There 
may be a bright-colored, distinctive, trouser belt of 
hand-woven material here and there, but that is the 
only identifying feature. The same condition exists 
on the Coastal Plain, with white trousers and often 
no top garment. One has but to step out of the 
high Quezaltenango Basin southward, however, in 
the strip above the Lowlands, to find distinctive dress 
still worn. Tlie robes of San Martin men are strik- 
ing, for example (pi. 39, b, c), and the men of Zunil 
who have not become Ladinized still wear a purple- 
and-orange-striped white suit (short trousers and 
capelike shirt of women's huipil cloth ) that resembles 
the Lake Atitlan dress. Almolonga men have 
special ceremonial costumes, including double panta- 
loons (pi. 31, a), of a type said to have been com- 
monly worn a few generations ago, but otherwise they 
dress like Quezaltecos. These municipios where 
men have distinctive dress are also among the few 
surviving centers of stick-loom weaving. Just as 
the Lake Atitlan Basin is an area of isolation 
and diversity, so the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan 
Valley is one of intercommunication and relative ho- 
mogeneity, bordered by areas of distinctive costumes. 

Even among women whose dress is generally 
distinctive, many villagers in the Highland Quezalte- 
nango region are difficult to identify. No one could 
mistake a Quezalteca or a woman of Almolonga, 
Cajola, or Olintepeque; but one cannot always be 

sure about the identity of women from San Cristobal, 
San Andres, Cantel, and San Francisco. Since 
stick weaving is no longer practiced (except for 
San Francisco zutes, and foot-looms turn out only 
skirts, sutes, napkins, belts and the like, the women 
have no huipil patterns of their own. They buy 
tlie electric-milled white cotton, and a few of them 
add a distinctive touch of collar embroidery (p. 52). 

In this valley, among the professional itinerant 
merchants there are even many women middlemen 
who buy in one town and sell in another,^^® or sell 
goods in a number of different markets^*' during 
the week. 

San Francisco has probably the greatest "mush- 
room market" of the entire Highlands; it is chiefly 
a wholesale market. From an almost deserted vil- 
lage on all other days, high on a cold, wind-swept 
ridge, it becomes a crowded market center for 
thousands of Indians every Friday (pis. 35, 36). 
This is an illustration of commercial development 
due largely to intermediate location between several 
diversified producing areas. Though no pottery is 
made there, it is sold in great quantities, coming in 
from at least five centers on almost every side, both 
near and far. Numerous middlemen stock up with 
it, for resale in various smaller Highland centers, 
but particularly the Lowland plazas. Momostenango 
blankets, and local ones as well, are offered for sale 
in large stacks, and side streets are carpeted with 
newly made ones drying in the sun. Blankets are 
piled high on mules and shipped to Quezaltenango 
by hundreds. Sheep and raw wool come from many 
sources in the neighboring high country, and wire 
wool cards made in Chiantla are much in demand. 

The many loads of garlic ^^^ that come from far- 
away Aguacatan, in the deep valley of the Rio Negro, 
far exceed the production of Panajachel, which is the 
chief source of garlic in the Lake region. Little pigs 
are driven by the hundreds down the trail, each 
squealing on the end of a string, to be sold in Lowland 

^^ Illustrative of this were five Olintepeque women, who bought 
mixed pottery, from three or four sources, on Friday at San Francisco 
el Alto and resold it Sunday at San Juan Ostuncalco. They carried 
large loads by tumpline. Ordinarily, such merchants are men (p. 80). 

iJiT One group of women, soap merchants of San Andres Xeciil, sold 
regularly at San Cristobal on Sunday, Salcaja on Tuesday, and San 
Francisco on Friday Cpl. 39, o). I recognized only two who visited all 
three places. There were alwlfys about six of them. Such circuit trade 
is extremely rare around Lake Atitlan, because of relative inaccessi* 
bility and the scarcity of markets. 

1**^ I have seen Quezaltec middlemen, who have bought tliis Aguacatin 
garlic here in quantity, crossing the border into Salvador to sell it. Salt 
is brought up by truck; chiefly by a Ladino storekeeper of San 
Crist6bal. This is also the case now in San Marcos, Quezaltenango, 
and other large Highland centers. 



markets (pi. 13, c, inset). From there come the great 
piles of salt ; truckloads of panela (crude block cane 
sugar) and, sometimes during Lowland harvests, 
maize. Most of the enormous sacks of dried red 
chile are from the desiccated lands of the east, around 
Asuncion Mita, being sometimes trucked in, especially 
for fiestas. 

Though there probably are not many more vendors 
at San Francisco than at Solola, there are more 

wholesalers, with a greater variety of goods, and more 
commercial merchants. Here, near the Continental 
Divide, is a major meeting place of north and south, 
where streams of people flow to and from the weekly 
market. Apparently, this divide location, with 
accessibility to diversified products on all sides, con- 
stitutes the chief basis for the commercial importance 
of San Francisco el Alto (p. 82). 


Physically, Southwest Guatemala is highly diversi- 
fied. The Pacific Coastal Plain is low and hot, with 
rain falling only during the summer half year (here 
called winter, as in many other countries of the Latin 
American Tropics). Trees are usually scattered ex- 
cept along stream courses, and there is much good 
savanna grass for pastures. Soils are of rich alluvium 
derived mainly from volcanic ash and lava. Popula- 
tion is sparse and nearly all are Ladinos (culturally 
non-Indians) or Ladinized Indians, except along the 
inner plain, where there are towns and plantations 
(fincas) on or near the railroad. At the inner edge 
the Lowlands rise steadily to the foot of the vol- 
canic range, a straight row of high cones with long, 
steep slopes extending seaward. Warm, very rainy 
almost all year, and clothed with lush monsoon 
forest except where cleared for coffee plantations, 
this piedmont zone (to 1,500 m. or 4,921 ft. eleva- 
tion) is well peopled. Indian laborers predominate — 
parllv Ladinized permanent colonists of Highland 
origin and seasonal migrants coming down for the 
clearing and harvest. Climate and soil are ideal for 
coffee, which covers much of the piedmont. As in 
other crops, the quality is best near the upper limit 
of cultivation. 

The Continental Divide is formed by an older 
volcanic range, mostly inland from and parallel to 
the file of young cones. Immense canyons have re- 
sulted where the larger streams rising at the Divide 
flow between high volcanoes to the Pacific. The 
volcanic Highlands, where most of the independent 
Indians live, are wooded in large part, oak and pine 
predominating. Much of the region has been re- 
peatedly cleared for maize, so that it is covered only 
'vith grass or scrub. The Quezaltenango-San Cris- 
tobal-Totonicapan Valley is almost without trees. 
The climate is cool, with rain coming during the 
summer 6 months as in the Lowlands. Soils are 

fertile, derived mainly from volcanic ash and lava. 
The east-west deep interior valleys — structural de- 
pressions through which large rivers flow — are hot 
and dry (only a little rain coming during the sum- 
mer), covered with scattered thornbush, cactus, and 
brush, with scrub oaks and pines coming in at higher 
levels on the mountains. This region, like the lofty 
Cuchumatanes Mountains to the north, is essentially 
nonvolcanic, consisting largely of limestone. 

About 65 percent of the population of Guatemala 
is Indian, predominantly of Maya linguistic stock. 
Most of the rest are native-born whites and Mestizos 
of European culture (listed in the census as Lad- 
inos), who control the political and economic aft'airs 
of the Republic. There are a few foreigners and 
fewer Negroes. The densest population in Guate- 
mala is found in the cool southwestern Highlands, 
where most of the Indians reside. Here — besides 
climate — favorable terrain, good water supply, and 
natural routeways stimulate concentrations of popula- 
tion. In the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan area, 
densities range well over 300 per square mile, with 
as high as 97 percent Indian. Lowland agricultural 
colonies of Highland Indians are sometimes still 
maintained as was done on a much larger scale in 
pre-Columbian times. In speech and in dress, es- 
pecially, Indians have become Ladinized in regions 
of greatest ease of intercommunication where many 
Ladinos live in fairly close contact with them, and 
where Indians go far to trade and must speak 
Spanish. With isolation, the cultural individuality 
of the Indians is best preserved. Ladinos are for 
the most part town dwellers, whereas Indians usually 
live on the outskirts, or in small villages, or scat- 
tered over the countryside. 

The economy is basically agricultural, with maize 
by far the most important staple, supplying possibly 
as much as 80 percent of the food consumed in the 








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region. Beans and squashes are next in importance. 
The milpa, or cornfield, is deeply and carefully hoed 
and in some regions plowed, notably in and near the 
Cuchumatanes Mountains. Fertilizer is often used, 
in the Highlands almost exclusively, with shifting 
sheep pens providing most manure in the higher 
mountains where soils are leached. One harvest in 
the Highlands, two or more in the Lowlands, and 
all coming at different seasons, contribute to an im- 
portant interzonal corn exchange. Some of the most 
important New World cultivated plants were domes- 
ticated or improved in western Guatemala. Wheat, 
broadbeans, and European vegetables are important 
introduced crops in the Highlands, from high lati- 
tude Old World regions ; coffee, rice, and sugarcane 
are the chief Lowland exotics from the Old World 
Tropics and sub-Tropics. Coffee grown mainly along 
the volcanic piedmont, began to replace cacao, ancient 
Maya and Aztec "money", as the chief plantation 
crop about 1850. In its cultivation, clearing of the 
monsoon forest and replacement of shade trees has 
transformed the vegetation in much of the inner Low- 
lands. Great population shifts have taken place also ; 
foreign planters have come in, and thousands of 
Indians have moved, some permanently, some season- 
ally, from their Highland homes. Vegetable culture, 
one of the major local enterprises in commercial 
agriculture, is confined almost entirely to three areas 
in the Highlands. Though this is an Indian occu- 
pation, the Indians themselves have acquired a taste 
for little other than onions and garlic; they grow 
vegetables to sell primarily to Ladinos. Lowland 
agriculture is generally desultory, and most of the 
many useful trees are little cultivated. Chickpeas 
constitute an important Lenten specialty, produced 
almost solely in one locality, San Pedro on Lake 

The chief domesticated animals are cattle, mules, 
sheep and a few goats, and pigs. Cattle bred in the 
dry Departments of eastern Guatemala are driven to 
the Lowlands of the Pacific southwest. There they 
are raised and sold, the bulls for slaughter mainly in 
the Highlands, where cows are kept chiefly for milk. 
Sheep, numerous above 2,000 m. (6,562 ft.), are little 
eaten. Wool is their most important product, and 
many flocks consist principally of black sheep. Pigs 
bred largely in the Highlands by small-scale farmers, 
are raised for the most part in the Lowlands, where 
there are more seeds, greens, fruits, and corn to feed 
growing animals. Iguanas are the most important 
wild animals eaten. They are marketed alive, mostly 

during Lent, as they are not considered flesh (at that 
time of year the females are more easily caught while 
on the ground to lay eggs). Much salt fish is then 
eaten also, brought from the Pacific coast of Guate- 
mala and Mexico. Most of the meat consumed is un- 
sorted beef and pork ; but meat is considered a luxury 
reserved mainly for festive occasions, and constitutes 
probably less than 5 percent of the total diet. 

House types show a close relationship to the 
natural environment. In the hot Lowlands, walls 
are of vertical canes, poles, or boards, widely spaced 
for ventilation. Better houses and buildings are made 
of adobe. Above about 1,500 m. (4,921 ft.) eleva- 
tion, where it is cool, adobe brick and wattle-and-daub 
walls predominate. Adobe, usually whitewashed and 
tinted, is the wall material for house and courtyard in 
the towns, where tile roofs are the rule. Thatch, of 
the best material locally available, is the roof type 
for rural dwellings from the Pacific shore to the 
mountains. There are no chimneys, and large win- 
dows are seen only in Ladino houses. 

Ladino dress is essentially European, of simple 
peasant style except among the modern well-to-do 
plantation (finca) owners and town dwellers. Such 
exceptions would be considered Ladinos only in the 
census, for the well-dressed aristocracy are "Guate- 
maltecos." Indians, on the other hand, have a wealth 
of colorful, individualistic costumes, varj'ing from 
one municipio to the next in areas where villages 
are isolated from one another and women weave 
much of their own clothing. There is less variation 
in easily traversed regions, where men nearly all 
dress alike in blue denim. Women retain more of 
their traditional costumes than men, just as they 
learn less Spanish, for they do not travel as widely. 

In the Highlands especially, crafts and industries 
are varied and localized. This is true in the making 
of pottery, basketry, metates, lime, textiles, hats, mats, 
leather, furniture, charcoal, and many other products. 
To a large degree, special occupations are located 
within easy access to raw materials, as in the case 
of wool weaving, metates, lime, pottery, calabashes, 
and others. In many cases, however, they are based 
largely upon tradition. Weaving is the most highly 
developed of the crafts, and the one which offers the 
best medium for artistic self-expression. Few indus- 
trial pursuits are carried on in the Lowlands; there 
are not so many Indians or raw materials. 

With agriculture and crafts extremely specialized 
and diversified from place to place, owing largely to 
great local environmental and traditional differences 





close together, complementary and mutually depen- 
dent economic regions have developed in juxtaposi- 
tion. This has stimulated trade, so that markets play 
a major role in the economic and social life of most 
of the larger communities. This seems to have been 
equally true in pre-Columbian time, for Maya and 
Aztec commerce were well established. Plaza and 
church are closely associated, as were market and 
temple in ancient days. 

Acculturation is evident in settlements and settle- 
ment patterns as in other aspects of culture. Not 
only combined Spanish saint and Indian place names, 
but village and town plans as well show the stamp 
of the European veneer over the deep-rooted native 
substratum. A stone church and a square often appear 
among irregularly scattered thatched huts. In larger 
villages and towns there is usually a rectangular street 
pattern; but people of European descent determine 
the nature of town or village in most cases. A large 
number of Indians almost without Ladinos generally 
occupy a village, such as Santiago Atitlan, which is 
almost twice as large in population as the town of 
Solola. The latter has more Ladino than Indian in- 

The municipio (smallest political unit) is ordi- 
narily the area of greatest cultural homogeneity, 
manifested in dress, speech, kinship, and even eco- 
nomic pursuits in many instances. Some of these areas 
are probably modern survivals of colonial reditcciones , 
or groupings of Indians into compact settlements. 

They were established by Spanish governors in con- 
junction with the Church, for ease of administration 
of the "heathens." Similar municipios grouped to- 
gether may formerly have been larger culture areas. 
Much land is privately owned by the Indians, but 
municipios have communal property, which, besides 
woodlots and pastures, contain farm lands that may 
be deeded for life to landless inliabitants. 

Some settlements are clustered, with the population 
compressed into small, compact centers, from which 
the people go out to work their fields, or to trade and 
return home. Other settlements are dispersed, with 
dwellings widely sprinkled over the landscape, and 
a relatively minor village to which the Indians come 
in from market, church, and any official business to 
be conducted. Clustered settlements are best de- 
veloped around the shores of Lake Atitlan, where 
site limitations are extreme. Other nucleating factors 
besides terrain conditions are : Permanent water sup- 
ply ; situation with regard to arable lands, markets, 
trade routes, and sources of goods; specialized occu- 
pations, commercial, industrial, or agricultural, which 
may depend in turn upon environmental advantages ; 
availability of remunerative employment : tradition 
or historical precedent. 

Though routes follow natural corridors wherever 
possible, many cross major relief barriers, to which 
the movement of people is often remarkably 






(Map 5) 

In their broad features, the physical la:idscapes of South- 
west Guatemala reflect to a high degree the underlying 
geologic make-up of the region. The Pacific Coastal Plain 
(casta), with its frayed, recently emerged lagoon shore, 
consists for the most part of alluvial material (V. AL, map 
5) derived from the parallel volcanic Highlands which loom 
to the north and rise abruptly from the Lowlands in the 
fomi of a nearly straight inner range, trending northwest- 
southeast. This southwestern margin of the elevated interior 
is fringed with strikingly steep, young eruptive cones of 
andesite, ash layers alternating with lava flows (V., map 5). 
There is a disparity between the highest points of elevation 
and the Continental Divide. The latter is formed by an 
older volcanic range (Los Altos, V'., map 5) with its axis 
parallel to and inland from the recent volcanic chain; many 
of the cone summits rise higher than the broadly undulant 
crest of the Altos, the average elevation of which is greater, 
however, than the file of recent volcanoes. The trough be- 
tween the two ranges, which coincide only at the great cone 
of Tajumulco, highest point in Central America, is filled 
with immensely deep deposits of pumiceous asli and breccia. 
Great irregularities characterize this zone, with basins which 
may contain lakes such as Atitlan (map 20) and Amatitlan, 
or wide expanses of nearly level plains composed of fine 
fragmental ejecta like that of Quezaltenango (pi. 38, a) ; 
between such basins rise great ridges of resistant volcanic 
material such as lava flows from recent cones. The interior 
trough country of Huehuetenango-Sacapulas-Salama (pi. 
42, e) is made up predominantly of ancient crystalline rocks 
(Cr., map 5), especially granites and gneisses, which appar- 
ently form a basal horizon underlying much of the more 
recent, superimposed volcanics to the south. In this older 
region of Antillean structure, the fold-axis is east-west, the 
strike of which is reflected in the master streams, as the 
Cuiico and Negro. These rivers follow close upon the line 
of contact between the crystallines on the south, and the 
calcareous sedimentaries of the tremendous, sharply elevated 
horstmassif of the Altos Cuchumatanes, directly to the north 
(Ls., map S). 

The Highlands are everywhere deeply dissected, though 
the barrancas, or gorges, that attain immense depths, are 
most steep-sided and abrupt in the region of fragmental 
eruptives, where loesslike ash retains high, vertical faces. 
Short, rapid, nearly parallel rivers are very numerous along 
the rainy Pacific versant (map 1). The greatest canyon 
profundity is attained where antecedent streams flow be- 
tween volcanic cones. Erosion is at a maximum where steep 
initial slopes (fonned by eruption or faulting) lend high 
velocities to the torrential wash of heavy rainy-season down- 
pours, and unconsolidated material has been exposed by 

agricultural clearings. Such combinations of factors are not 
at all uncommon in the more populous sections of the High- 
lands (pis. 26, a; 45, c). 


(Map 6) 

Climates in native terms, as generally classified in moun- 
tainous Latin American countries within the Tropics, are 
three: Tierra caliente (hot) roughly 0-1,000 m. (3,280 ft.), 
tierra templada (temperate) 1,000-2,000 m. (6,562 ft.), and 
tierra fria (cold) over 2,0(X) m., the limits being somewhat 
vague and inconclusive as regards natural vegetation and 
agriculture. There are two seasons recognized locally : 
"Verano" (dry) and "invicrno" (rainy), in which the words 
"summer" and "winter" are actually applied in reverse to 
seasons of low sun and high sun, respectively. In terms of 
the Koppen system, there are three major climatic belts, a 
broad Lowland tropical savanna (Awgi) (see map 6 for ex- 
planation of symbols), extending upward into the Lake 
Atitlan Basin through the low gap of San Lucas ; a nar- 
rower tropical monsoon (Amw"i) along the piedmont and 
orographic front exposed to marine winds ; and a meso- 
thermal winter-dry (Cwg), extending throughout the High- 
lands, above an average elevation of about 1,450 m. Sea- 
sonal ranges of temperature are everywhere slight, though 
diurnal extremes are generally high, especially during the 
clearer dry season. This almost rainless verano lasts from 
early November through April in most of the region except 
in the monsoon belt, where it is reduced to a December- 
March period of low rainfall, not, however, so dry as in 
other climates above and below the wet zone. The band 
of heaviest precipitation here along the Pacific slope is be- 
tween about 700 and 1,400 m. (2,297 ft. and 4,593 ft.) ele- 
vations, where humid marine air is cooled below conden- 
sation temperatures by orographic ascent. There is a distinct 
double maximum (June-September), with most of the rain 
coming in heavy afternoon and evening showers. The pre- 
vailing day-time wind of the Highlands is southerly 
(marine), beginning about the middle of the morning, and 
accompanied by heavy cloudiness above about 2,000 m., even 
during the dry season. Only on days of high pressures and 
strong northerly winds, commonest from December through 
March, are skies exceedingly clear all through the day. The 
pronounced diurnal wind-shift ordinarily brings such north 
winds ("land-breeze," "mountain-breeze," and trade-wind, 
combined) at night, through most of the year, except during 
wet season "temporales," or prolonged, almost uninterrupted 
spells of rainy weather. Nonnally, after sunset the massive 
cumulus banks associated with afternoon convection arc 
rapidly dissipated or swept southward, leaving the sky clear. 
(For a more complete discussion of climate and weather, see 
McBryde, 1942 a and 1942 b.) 




Soils in the Lowlands {casta) below about 700 m. are 
predominantly alluvial. In the outer Lowlands, or Coastal 
Plain, from sea level to 100 m. (328 ft.), there is a heavy 
black silty soil, swampy in the rainy season, then dried and 
cracked in rough, irregular blocks during the rest of the 
5'ear. Above this region there are loams, var3'ing in color 
from buff to mahogany brown. Reddish loams over pumi- 
ceous, ashy subsoils characterize the boca casta, or piedmont, 
marginal to the inner edge of the Coastal Plain, with which 
it blends imperceptibly. Highland soils are loamy, with more 
clay than in the Lowlands, yello\vish to dark brown in the 
young volcanic region, often reddish in leached and eroded 
sections of the older volcanic and nonvolcanic areas. Severe 
gulljing is widespread, especially in the sheep-grazing regions 
of the Highlands. Near Momostenango and Quiche it is 
particularly evident (pis. 29, c; 30, e, /). Raw humus is 
deep and well developed in the high, undulant alpine mead- 
ows, especially above about 2,500 m. (8,202 ft.) (pi. 32, a, b). 


(Map 7) 

The vegetation pattern fits roughly into the climatic and 
edaphic scheme. Along the littoral back from the high, bare, 
barrier beaches is a low, dense thicket dominated in places by 
swamps of mangrove and fan palms. Most of the Coastal 
Plain, however, is covered with savanna grasses and open 
stands of tall, spreading trees, having a somewhat deciduous 
character (pi. 3, c, d). Gallery forests line the numerous 
streams which flow across the plain. Dense groves of 
giant corozo palms are common in the outer Lowlands 
(pi. 2, a). There is a great diversity of useful plants, culti- 
vated and uncultivated, throughout the coastal Lowlands, the 
open, parklike aspect of which is in part a result of climate 
and in part, of oft-repeated clearing for agriculture. The 
belt of hea\-y orographic rains, along the lower Pacific moun- 
tain slopes, is covered with a natural vegetation of lu.xuriant, 
wet monsoon forest (pi. 5, b, c; maps 6, 7). Much of this 
has been replaced by artificial plantings, especially along the 
interfluvial ridges, of coffee and shade trees. Upward from 
about 1,500 m., where annual rainfall is generally reduced, 
more open forest prevails, with evergreen oaks and long- 
leaved pines in abundance, the latter appearing especially 
above 1,800 m. along the Pacific versant (pis. 10, o; 12, d; 
28). A giant, coarse bunchgrass (Mulilenbergia sp.) becomes 
dominant in the vegetation picture, along with pines, in the 
elevated realms (above 2,500 m. or 8,202 ft.), while the 
rounded summits are crowned (above 3,000 m. or 9,842 ft.) 
with flower-carpeted alpine meadows, shaded occasionally by 
thin stands of cypress and giant pines, and draped, during 
the day, with billowing mountain fog (pis. 30, a; 32). The 
desiccated interior troughs and basins of Southwest Guate- 
mala are covered with .xerophytic associations, dominated 
by cactuses and thorny acacias and mimosas (pis. 42, e; 
43, e. 



(Map 4) 

Lake Atitlan region (map 20). — The Lake Atitlan 
Basin is a huge, oval-shaped, volcanic depression (caldera) 
which has resulted apparently from a crustal collapse fol- 
lowing long-continued outpourings of ash and lava. The 
average diameter of the caldera is about 15 miles (24 km.). 
Precipitous gullied walls, gorges, and headlands border the 
crescentic Lake (mean elevation 5,100 ft. or 1,554 m. ; maxi- 
mum depth 1,083 ft. or 330 m.) on three sides (pis. 43, 46), 
the south shore being formed by volcanic cones (three major 
and four minor ones) which have risen from the old caldera 
floor and rim, and which have apparently elevated the level 
of the water somewhat by blocking the normal drainage 
toward the Pacific. Because of the rugged surroundings and 
rough water, most of the 13 well-nucleated Lake-shore settle- 
ments are sharply isolated from one another. The Lake 
drainage is now entirely subterranean, the greater flow prob- 
ably being from under the southeastern comer. There are 
long-term periodic fluctuations in level which seem to be due 
to shif tings of deep-seated fissures, variously opening and 
closing outlets. I observed water moving toward one of 
these outlets near San Lucas in 1936 (see map 20). (What 
is probably this same outlet, and another near San Antonio, 
are indicated on the 1685 (?) map of Fuentes y Guzman, 
1932-33, vol. 2, opposite p. 60.) A subordinate factor is seen 
in alternations of abnormally wet and dry years. A hypo- 
thetical physiographic and probable historical sequence of 
levels, based upon field and library evidences, follows. 

In the early history of the Atitlan Basin the water line 
was much higher than at present, perhaps between 5,700 feet 
(1,737 m.) and 6,000 feet (1,830 m.) elevations, with surface 
drainage, mainly, if not solely, at the present bay of San 
Lucas (pi. 46, d). Erosion may have cut down the south- 
eastern arm, dropping the Lake far below its present level, 
so that the Rio Panajachel and Rio Quixcap, entering the 
basin from the north, cut deep canyons. As Volcano Atitlan 
grew, it raised the southeastern Lake rim, and hence the 
water level, to about 5,200 feet (1,585 m.). Then the 
northern river valleys were flooded, so that fine-grained 
deltaic deposits resulted. At the time of the Conquest, the 
Lake level was about 30 feet lower than at present (5,080 ft. 
or 1.548 m., 1936), then by the late 17th century it was about 
20 feet higher (5,100 ft. or 1,554 m.), where it still appeared 
to be early in the 19th century. In about 1824 it had fallen 
40 feet or 12 m. (to 5,062 ft. or 1,543 m.) ; rerisen to 5,100 
feet by 1866; dropped to 5,080 feet (1,548 m.) between 1900 
and 1910; reached 5,062 feet about 1920, until it began to rise 
once more in 1930 (pi. 18, 6). The greatest known increase 
of any one year was 11 feet, in 1933, which was phenomen- 
ally rainy. The rise continued until 1936, when outlets 
appeared to maintain it at about 5,080 ft. (pi. 18, d). An 
average annual rise and fall, with wet and dry seasons, is 
approximately 35/2 feet. As an historical average, and for 
convenience, 5,100 feet has been assumed as the Lake level 
for map 20 (pi. 47). Rich in micro-organic life, the Lake 
teems with fish, especially very small ones, of which there 
are three main species, one of them important for food. 
Larger fish (mojarras) , though numerous, are seldom taken, 



the natives preferring the more easily caught pcscaditos (pis. 
22, d, e; 27, c, d). The only other fauna of economic 
significance in or around the Lake are crabs, which are 
numerous and much in demand, being caught by natives of 
only a few of the shore villages (pi. 22, /, g). All of the 
above-mentioned forms of life have been known in the Lake 
since pre-Columbian time. Climatically, the Lake is in a 
border zone between tropical and mesothermal, winter-dry 
(map 6). Chaparral and oak-pine vegetation predominate 
(map 7), and population is generally sparse except in the 
concentrated villages (map 8). 

Quezaltenango-Totonicapan Valley region. — The High- 
land Quezaltenango-Totonicapan Valley region ranges around 
2,350 m. (7,710 ft.), 800 m. (2,625 ft.) higher than Lake 
Atitlan. The rather level floor is composed of recent beds 
of pumiceous ash, across which meander the entrenched 
Salama headwaters (pi. 38, a, /). The area is colder and 
drier than the Lake Basin (map 6) ; short grass predomi- 
nates in the valley (map 7), bunchgrass on upper slopes; 
trees are few, except for pines on the high surrounding 

mountains (Continental Divide range to the north, young 
volcanic cones to the south) ; most of the land is cultivated, 
settlement is dense (pi. 8), yet extensively scattered; inter- 
communication is easy and people travel freely from village 
to village. 

The Lowlands, — The piedmont between Chicacao and 
Retalhuleu, and the Coastal Plain between Mazatenango and 
Tahuesco, constitute the third region of emphasis. Eleva- 
tions here range from 200 to 1,000 m. (656 to 3,280 ft.). 
Physically, this is a region of mainly unconsolidated volcanic 
eruptives and alluvium, traversed by numerous short rivers, 
roughly parallel, flowing from north to south (maps 1-5). 
Tlie climate is tropical, ranging from savanna to monsoon 
(map 6) ; natural vegetation, open park-savanna to dense, 
lush monsoon forest (map 7). Shrimp and fish both large 
and small, and all of economic significance, are numerous in 
the streams and lagoons, while iguanas abound in the outer 
Lowlands. Plantation settlements prevail, population is mod- 
erately dense in the piedmont and sparse in the Coastal 
Plain (map 8) ; and accessibility high. 







Maize (inaic, Zea mays) until recently was thought by 
most authorities to have been a derivative of some sort, 
probably hybrid, of teosinte (Euchlaena mexicana). Since 
this "god grass" of the Aztecs has been found as a weed 
in Mexico, and as a true species growing wild only in sev- 
eral limited areas in Guatemala,"" the Mexico-Guatemala 
region was regarded as the original home of teosinte and 
maize. Vavilov reached this conclusion on the basis of varietal 
diversity in conjunction with the occurrence of wild rela- 
tives."' He was strongly influenced by the presence of teosinte 
solely in Mexico and Central America, so much so, in fact, 
that, as Mangelsdorf and Reeves point out (1939, p. 243), 
he was apparently inclined to overlook the greater variety of 
maize types in Peru than in Central America. These latter 
authors have shown that teosinte is a relatively late and 
natural hybrid of Tripsacum and Zea which originated in 
some part of Central America (ibid., pp. 203 ff.). They 
conclude that maize in its original form was a wild pod com 
(the homozygous, true-breeding type), having, as Weather- 
wax (1918) had earlier suggested, and Montgomery before 
him (1906), a common progenitor with Tripsanmi, and 
native possibly to extratropical South American Lowlands 
(Mangelsdorf and Reeves, 1939, pp. 231, 248 ff.), whence it 
spread to the Andean region and was improved by domesti- 
cation and selection, reaching Central America and Mexico 
relatively late, as a small-seeded flint (ibid., p. 254). This 
latter idea is evidently based, at least in part, upon the Rus- 
sian findings here of the greatest diversity of flint com in 
the world (Bukasov, 1930, p. 33, English summary, p. 472). 
My collections of over 500 ears from nearly SO localities 
representing most of western, and much of southern and 
eastern Guatemala, have shown a maximum variety and 
abundance of flinty corn, especially in the Highlands, with 
much less flour and dent corn there (pi. 30, d). The latter 
grows mainly at lower altitudes. 

Bukasov (1930, pp. 472-473, English summary) concluded 
that dent com originated in Mexico, flint in Central America, 
and flour com in Colombia. Mexico and Central America 

i*»The question of origins of American cultivated plants has been 
considered in a critical and stimulating paper by Carl Sauer (1936). 

1"* Kempton and Popenoe, 1937. These men determined the distribu- 
tion of teosinte in the Tutiapa-Lake Retana region of eastern Guatemala 
and discovered remarkably heavy growths of tlie plant in the vicinity 
around San Antonio Huista, western Guatemala. I found it also, in 
1940, near San Luis Jilotepeque (eastern Guatemala) and as far out 
from the San Antonio Huista center as Santa Ana Huista and Santiago 
Petatan. Jusepczul<. of the Vavilov school of Russian plant geographers, 
ventured to call Guatemala the "cradle of maize" (on the basis of horn- 
like, teosintelike endosperm in Guatemala Zea mays hidiirata'}. 

1^ Vavilov, 1931. For a good summary of the Russian method, see 
Bruman, 1936. 

were foimd by the Russians to be the center of diversity of 
three out of the four main corn endosperm types (apparently 
considering Zea mays everta, or popcorn, as one of these, in 
addition to the three named above), and hence, according 
to them, "the primary center of maize origin." 

One of my collections, made in 1940 for Harvard Uni- 
versity, was studied cytologically by Mangelsdorf and Cam- 
eron. Their publication, "Western Guatemala a Secondary 
Center of Origin of Cultivated Maize Varieties," presents 
tlieir principal conclusions derived to date from this study. 
Plants from 200 ears of the collection were grown in 
Connecticut. With regard to chromosome knobs, they found 
in an area approximately the size of New York City, in 
corn from the Department of Huehuetenango, "almost all 
the knob positions known in maize from any part of the 
world. . . ." They concluded that "in an area less than 
half the size of the State of Iowa, are found probably 
more distinct types of corn than occur in the entire United 
States," and that western Guatemala, though "not the area 
where maize culture originated or the focus from which 
it spread to all parts of the Americas," is "the center 
from which the majority of maize varieties now cultivated 
in Central America, North America, the lowlands of South 
America and the West Indies, have been derived" (Mangels- 
dorf and Cameron, 1942, p. 224). 

Beans {Phaseolus spp.), frijol in Mexico and Central 
America, and according to Bukasov (1930, p. 505) usually 
frisol in Colombia, also showed greatest diversity, in the 
Russian collection, from Mexico and Guatemala, with Co- 
lombia second, and Pem-Bolivia third."^ The large geo- 
graphic group north of the Isthmus of Panama appeared 
to be quite distinct from those of South America. Of the 
four species of Plutscolus the Russians found tepary (P. 
actttif alius) to have the most limited distribution. They col- 
lected it only along the Pacific coast of Chiapas, to the 
"frontier of Guatemala, where it probably also occurs."^" 
In 1936 I collected this bean at Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, 
in Guatemala, 40 miles from the Mexican border, substan- 
tiating their supposition and extending the record of its oc- 

1^ Results of Ivanov's research showed 246 Mexican varieties of 
"common and multiflorus bean" (2/3 uncolored) and only 77 Peruvian, 
all colors equally divided (Bukasov, 1930, ch. 12). 

303 Bukasov, 1930, p. 505. The English summary of this work erro- 
neously states further that the Russians actually found Phaseolus 
acutifolius in Guatemala; "to its area known up to the present time 
and limited in the south by the state of Guadalajara must be added 
the region of Chiapas and Guatemala established by us" (ibid., p. 511). 
Yet in the Russian text, they state specifically their single discovery; 
"Two rare species were discovered here side by side with Phaseolus 
vulgaris, P. tfutltiflorusl=:P. coccine^ts] and P, hinatus: on a small 
strip of Chiapas (Tapachula, Suchiapa) was P. acutifolius, and only in 
one place namely in Santa Isabel (fig. 47), Cannvalia cnsiformis" (for 
discussion of C. ensifomiis, see p. 147). 


currence into Guatemala; it was called ixcumita (Bukasov 
recorded cscumitc or escomite from Chiapas and Guate- 
mala).^" Butter beans (P. cocchwus, midtiflorus) the 
Russians found in greatest variety of form and "widely 
grown only in Mexico and Guatemala" (Bukasov, 1930, p. 
505). Common Mexican names are ayecote (Oaxaca) and 
hotil (Chiapas). In the Cuchumatanes Mountains of Guate- 
mala it is called chainborote. In Southwest Guatemala large 
varieties of butter beans are generally called piloy, white, 
red, yellow, black, and mottled, common in the Quezaltenango 
market and other Highland centers. In the Lowlands, 
"piloy" ordinarily refers to the small and large lima (respec- 
tively, P. Itmatus sieva and P. lunatus macrocarpa), also 
called ixtapacdl in certain regions.'*' The lima bean is not 
called haba in Southwest Guatemala, as it is in some Spanish- 
speaking countries. Haba always refers here to Vicia faba 
(see pp. 22, 28). P. lunatus is reported by Bukasov ( 1930, p. 
SOS) as "grown everywhere [in Guatemala], but in limited 
quantities." In Southwest Guatemala it is not grown except 
in the Lowlands,'*" and is rarely seen in any of the Highland 
markets. Bukasov 's statement that "P. vulgaris is cultivated 
upon the largest area and in preference to the other species" 
is true for Guatemala as a whole, but near the upper limits 
of bean cultivation P. coccineiis is grown almost exclusively. 
The small, black P. vulgaris of middle altitudes is most 
in demand of all beans in the area (p. 104). Bukasov's state- 
ment that all the beans are cultivated to elevations of 2,500- 
3,000 m. (8,202-9,842 ft.), with P. hmatus and P. acutif alius 
belonging "chiefly to the torrid zone," should be modified. It 
is doubtful whether tliese two grow above 1,500 m. or 4,921 
feet (except on Lake Atitlan) and 1,300 m. (4,265 ft.) re- 
spectively, so that they more properly belong only to the 
warm Lowlands. 

The Russians present a strong case for the origin of all 
the beans except P. acutif alius (Mexican origin ; see 
Bukasov, 1930, p. SSI) in Central America. E. Ditmer (ms.) 
is quoted by Bukasov to the effect that P. coccineus and 
P. lunatus var. microspermus (small-seeded) are native to 
Central America. Bukasov puts the small round variety 
in Yucatan, and the small flat type in Mexico and Guate- 

Oviedo, in listing the major 16th-century food staples of 
Honduras, included "maize, manioc (bitter and sweet), 
sweetpotatoes, chile, and a great abundance of zapote 
mamey" (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 3, p. 219) but did not even 
mention beans. However, he said of Guatemala that the 
healthy, prolific soil produced "maize, many fruits and vege- 
tables, beans of many kinds," etc. (ibid., vol. 4, p. 33). In 
his special section on crops, he cited Mexico and Nicaragua 
as particularly noted bean-producing areas. The mainland 
generally was more important for beans than the West 
Indies. In Nagrando (Nicaragua) Oviedo "saw harvests of 

'*> He states also that the name escomita or escumita is applied in 
the Department of San Marcos to Vigna siji^tisis, 

18= In the United States, "butter bean" may refer either to P. lunatus 
or P. coccineus, so that lima and butter bean are sometimes not 
distinguished, as is the case in Guatemala. 

i^A small, red, flat "piloy" at Santa Catarina Palop6 is a lima 
variety (sieva); tliis (1,550 m. or 5,OS5 ft.) is probably higher than 
the usual upper limit, since it is on the mild Lake shore. 

^ Bukasov, 1930, p. 551. In a later work, Ivanov says, "Yucatan 
appears as a secondary center and a noteworthy focal point of endemic 
forms of Phaseolus lunatus. . . ." (Ivanov, 1937, p. 62). 

hundreds of 'hanegas' '°' of beans." In that land and others 
of the coast (Pacific) there were many kinds of beans, some 
yellow, others speckled. A large one like an haba (broad- 
bean), bitter when eaten raw, may well have been a large 
lima."* More care with this agriculture was taken in 
Nicaragua than in any part of the Indies where Oviedo had 
been (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 285). 


Kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).— In December 
1941, I found a wild bean that was strikingly similar to 
P. vulgaris (no wild form of 'which had been previously 
recorded in botanical literature), though it was considerably 
smaller than the common kidney bean. It was growing on 
a steep slope high above San Antonio Huista, along the 
trail leading from Jacaltenango, and at an altitude of about 
1,500 m. (4,921 ft.). Here, it was deriving mechanical sup- 
port from stalks of teosinte, wild relative of maize. Pods 
were small and green, and there were no flowers. The 
same bean came to my attention in the woods just south- 
west of the village of San Antonio, elevation 1,200 m. (3,937 
ft.). The pods were dry and many of them had sprung open; 
with a quick spiral twist they ejected the seeds. Varied col- 
lections of these (most of them quite small, black, dark 
brown, yellowish brown, or mottled black and coffee brown) 
were sent to several botanists, but to no avail insofar as 
positive identification was concerned. It was agreed that 
the plant looked in every way like a wild form of P. vulgaris. 
There were no flowers, however, and none of the seeds which ' 
were grown in California, Ohio, and Maryland produced any 
inflorescence, though the plants were vigorous. The long 
summer day no doubt caused the difficulty (see Mackie, 1943, 
p. 12). Finally, through the efforts of Gen. Miguel Ydigoras 
Fuentes, Guatemala Director of Roads, and Colonel Rosales, 
Jefe of Huehuetenango, I was able to obtain flowers early 
in 1944. Dr. Roland McKee, of the United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, identified the bean as a wild form of 
P. vulgaris, and found a record of a similar bean sent from 
Guatemala by Garcia Salas in 1933. Because of the removal 
of this material from Washington for safekeeping, it will not 
be possible to compare these beans and make certain the 
identification until after the present war. Dr. McKee doubts 
whether the plant has been named. 

Locally, this bean is called "matz" or "cumatz" by the 
natives of San Antonio Huista. The Indians collect the 
beans, which are highly esteemed, and eat them usually in 
gruel (atol), I was told; mats means atol in Tzental, a 
language of nearby Chiapas. They are also eaten in the 
pod (ejote). 

The occurrence of this wild form, with highly varied seed 
colors, as well as the great variety of cultivated types of 
P. vulgaris throughout the region, may be regarded as strong 
evidence of Guatemala origin of the common kidney bean. 

'^ Hanega=fanega (hundredweight, a measure of grain, roughly 
corresponding with the English bushel. 

'"> The cyanogen contained by all limas (according to Mackie's species 
criterion) would cause the bitter taste. Although this large bean may 
have been a lupine, as Mackie suggests, the date was early for such an 
introduction (the lupine of cultivation in El Salvador today is Lupinus 
hirsutus, of European origin. See Standley and Calder6n, 1925, p. 



Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatiis). — W. W. Mackie 
recognized great varietal diversity of limas in even the small 
seed collection which I made in various parts of western 
Guatemala in 1935-36. This diversity served as corrobora- 
tive evidence in support of his hypothesis of large and small 
lima origin in Guatemala (Mackie, 1943). Ivanov (1937) 
expressed the belief, with little evidence to support it, that 
the large lima as well as the small originated in Central 
America. Most botanists put the home of the large lima 
in Peru as the name indicates. A remarkably large, thin 
lima, bright red and black striped and splotched, under 
desultory cultivation by the Indians along the piedmont of 
w-estern Guatemala, from whom I first obtained it in 1935, is 
regarded by Mackie as a primitive prototype, and indicative 
of Guatemala origin for llie large lima (Mackie, 1943, 
p. 8). In 1940-41 I found wild limas in the western 
Cuchumatanes piedmont (near San Antonio Huista, depart- 
ment of Huehuetenango) , in the Lake Atitlan region, and 
along the Pacific piedmont. 

Among the economically important varietal traits of some 
of the small black limas from Guatemala was a strong 
nematode resistance, which Mackie was able to breed into 
commercial California limas, at great savings to those crops. 

Both in Chiapas and Guatemala great local diversity of 
limas is apparent, and special Indian names are given to 
them, such as ixtapacdl, ixpanque, piloy, etc. There is a 
great range in size, color, and shape, from nearly spherical 
to flat, as evidenced in table 6, describing some of the beans 
which I collected in 1935 and 1936. 

squashes, pumpkins, and gourds 
(family cucurbitaceae) 


The many cucurbits, both American and those of Old 
World origin, serve a great range of purposes in Guatemala ; 
for receptacles, the gourds are probably as important in the 
daily life of the Indian as are the squashes and melons for 

food; greens, flowers, and seeds (for dulces, or candy) as 
well as fruit, are eaten in abundance. 

The American origin of all species of the genus Cucurbita, 
as maintained by most botanists since Decandolle, is con- 
firmed by r<.ussian opinion (Bukasov, 1930, p. 301). 

Squashes and pumpkins (ayote and calabaza, Cucur- 
bita moschata and C. pepo). — Particularly widespread and 
abundant are the varieties of squash and pumpkins {ayote 
and calabaza, Cucurbita moschata and C. pepo) ;"°° many 
dark greens and whites, variously mottled and striped, though 
some are yellowish ; round (globular and flat) and oblong, 
smooth and lobed, they form an essential element of the 
milpa. Not only is the flesh of the squashes eaten, generally 
boiled or in soups, but the seeds (pepitoria, commonly made 
into candy and preserves), leaves and flowers as well, boiled 
as greens. 

Since C. pepo was "not found" by the Russians "to belong 
to the crops grown in South America by the natives" (Buk- 
asov, 1930, p. 531), and since it is commonly called in Central 
America "ayote" (an Aztec name), these facts would seem 
to indicate northern origin, possibly Mexican, or as Zhitenev 
suggests, even farther north, in "Canada and the U. S. A." 
(Bukasov, 1930; Zhitenev's ch. on Cucurbitaceae). He 
states that the determination "is difficult by reason of the 
suppressing of the native culture from Canada and the 

"» Standley points out the confusion in the identity of the squashes: 
"There is some doubt as to the proper specific name of the 'calabazas* 
grown in Central America, but they seem to be squashes rather than 
pumpkins, and are therefore referable to Citcttrbita moschata, rather 
than to C. pepo L., if there is any essential difference between the two" 
(Standley, 1930, pp. 434—435). In an earlier work he identified the 
ayote of El Salvador as C. pepo (Standley and Calder<5n, 1925, p. 
213). The terms are loosely applied in Guatemala. Bukasov says with 
regard to this nomenclature, that "at present C. Pepo carries in Mexico 
and Costa Rica the native name 'ayote' or the Spanish one 'calabaza,' 
serving for all Curcurbitae. C. Pepo is called by the natives 'giiicoy' " 
(Bukasov, 1930, ch. 19). From my own experience, I cannot verify 
this with reference to Southwest Guatemala where the name "giiicoy" 
is always applied specifically to a small, warty, deeply-lobed variety 
(apparently C. pepo), confined to altitudes probably above 1,600 m. 
(5.249 ft.). 

T.\Bix 6. — Phaseolus specimens aiid other edible legumes collected in Guatemala during 1935 and 1936' 


Scientific name 

Common local name 


Weight in grams 
per 100 beans 



Phaseolus coccineus 

P. vulgaris 

. . . .do 



71 4 





60 2 









White ...;.■-. 



Frijol bianco de surco 

Frijol negro de surco 

Frijol de milpa 

Frijol Colorado 


Santa Catarina Palop6 




Bright black kidney 

Long, dark-red kidney 



Santiago Atitlan 

Santo Domingo Suchitepequez 


Vigna sinensis 

.... do 

10 7 




P. lunatus sieva 


Red like Hopi; 1 or 2 seeds 

per pod, small. 
Gray mottled 









P. lunatus macrocarpa 

Ixpanqui, ixtapacil pinto . . . 

Frijol bianco de vara 

Frijol negro de suelo 

Frijol huevo de gorrion 

Frijol negro de vara 

Large, flat, thin lima; dark 
red, black stripes. 

Dull white, cylindrical 

Dull black, cylindrical 

Dull gray striped or mottled. . 
Dull wrinkled, cylindrical . . . 

Black and red splotched 

.... do 










P. vulgaris 

P. lunatus sieva 



... .do 




Canavalia ensiformis 

Frijol haba 

Ixtapacal bolinillo (black).... 


Bright black, flat 


Do .... 


Bright, black, flat, thin 


> From notes of \V. W. Mackie on beans collected by the author 



U. S. A." C. moschata is widely grown from Mexico into 
South America ;™ Bukasov suggests "2vIexico and Guatemala 
origin," on the basis of "varietal endemic forms." In 1940 
I found a wild squash or gourd with a globular, hard-shelled 
yellow and green fruit about 4 inches in diameter, growing 
in great profusion near the port of San Jose. 

Chilacayote (Cucurbita ficifolia).— This fruit, which 
looks like a greenisli-white watermelon, thrives in high alti- 
tudes, mostly above 2,000 m., and, like giiicoy, is a ratiier 
common higli-elevation cucurbit. Chilacayote is eaten cooked 
(usually boiled) and in soups, green, and boiled with panela 
when ripe. Standley and Calderon (1925, p. 213) state that 
it was thought to be Asiatic in origin. The Russians point 
out that it is probably Mexican, however, largely on the basis 
of linguistic evidence.'"^ The ones which I have seen around 
Lake Atitlan had white flesli. As in the squashes, tlie seeds 
ipepitoria) are widely used in making didces, and both seeds 
and sweets appear in markets.'"" 

Tamalayote (Cucurbita maxima). — Another variety of 
cucurbit which is common in Guatemala, and which has a 
much wider range than many of the others, is the so-called 
tamalayote. One near Lake Atitlan (at Tzununa) looked 
like a small white pumplcin. Tamalayote was also grown in 
Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, in the Lowlands, where it was 
sometimes called ayote bianco'"' and seemed to be the same 
plant. Zhitcnev mentions three distinct varieties of what he 
suggests might, for the size, be called C. maxima'"' under the 
name tanuiiayote (one of them from the "torrid zone") and 
states it is an "indubitable South American species," which 
he thinks did not penetrate into Mexico, since he found none 

Two statements of Zhitenev regarding cucurbits only in 
Mexico are equally applicable in Guatemala : (1 ) "in Mexico 
they are often raised between rows of corn ;" (2) "the Aztecs 
used the buds of the Cucurbitae in cooked and fried form 
. . . the flowers of Cucurbita are always on sale on the 
Mexican markets. . . ." (Bukasov, 1930). 


Vegetable pear, giiisquil (Mex., chayote, Sechium 
edule or Chayota edulis). — This vegetable, familiar to many 
Americans, especially in California, where it is sold in mar- 
kets, is widely grown and is important in Guatemala (pi. 14, 
d). All parts of the plant are commonly eaten, the vine being 
among the major greens consumed, while the large, bulbous. 

"" Zhitenev states that in Colombia and Panama it "is the only an- 
nual species of cultivated Cucurbitae" (Bukasov, 1930, p. 531). Ac- 
cording to Zhitenev, "the varietal diversity (of C. moschata in Central 
America and Colombia) proves to be unique on the globe" (Bukasov, 
1930, p. 311). 

*'" Etymology given: Aztec, tsikayoti, or "droning pumpkin," from 
the noise made by striking it. Bukasov (1930) states also that C. fici- 
folia had (1925) the "largest area under cultivation of all Cucurbitae" 
in America, that it was "disseminated over Mexico before the discovery 
of America," and that it "is confined to the moimtain regions of the 
temperate climatic belt." 

»« Standley and Calderin (1925, p. 213) and Bukasov (1930) also 
mention tliis use of seeds. 

**This may be the Mexican ixlacayolli or white cucurbit (Bukasov, 

^** Bukasov suggests that this form "probably belongs to C. moschata.'* 

Starchy root is known as ecldntal.-"'' In Central America it 
is usually planted in little enclosures built of poles and sticks 
for the purpose, close to the Indians' houses (pi. 22, d). 
There are many varieties of giiisquil, large and small, spiny 
and smooth. Though it is consumed more and is of better 
quality^"' at higher elevations (probably planted as high as 
2,200 m.), I have seen it at San Pedro Cutzan (350 m.) and 
elsewhere along the Pacific piedmont. Judging from Stand- 
ley's publications, it is not so abundant on the Atlantic side.'"' 

Zhitenev supports Decandolle's idea that Sechium edule is 
of Mexican-Central American origin. This is based upon 
wide dissemination among natives of these regions. The 
presence of a near relative in the wild state {Chayote ta- 
caco'" in Costa Rica) is also of significance. Supported by 
Pittier's statement that only non-Indians use chayote in Costa 
Rica,"° Zhitenev suggests that "the initial distribution of the 
cultivated chayote was restricted to the region of the old 
Toltec cultural influence, including that of the Maya." He 
considers the home of Sechium edule as central Mexico- 
north Central Aiuerica, which coincides with these old cul- 
ture areas (Bukasov, 1930). Standley also suggests "prob- 
ably native in Mexico and Central America" (Standley, 1938, 
p. 1404). 

Zhitcnev points to the "value of the chayote" as "proven 
by its introduction under cultivation in southern Europe 
(Spain), Africa (Algeria), the U. S. A. (down to Georgia), 
India and Australia." From his statement that "the chayote 
fruit used to be on the Paris market," one might conclude 
a waning popularity. Standley frequently refers to the re- 
luctance of Americans to accept it, but he is inclined to blame 
this upon the "conservatism" of the American, especially 
the housewife (Standley, 1931, p. 381; 1938, p. 1404). This 
explanation seems plausible. 

Caiba (Cyclanthera pedata). — This plant is rather com- 
mon in the Southwest Highlands. Being somewhat hollow, 
the elongated fruit is generally eaten stuffed, and the yoimg 
leaves are also consumed, as in so many of the Cucurbitaceae. 
Zhitenev also mentions both of these uses, and says the 
name in Costa Rica (where it is known wild) is "'caifa'*" 
(from the Peruvian caihua)," and cites its greatest frequency 
in Peru and Colombia. All names are thought to be of 
Peruvian origin (Bukasov, 1930). Though Zhitenev calls 
it simply an "American annual," it seems that the evidence 
points strongly to South American origin, with probably 
Peru as the homeland. 

Melocoton (Sicana odorifera). — This lowland cucurbit 
(not observed by me above 1,600 m., or 5,249 ft.) is of minor 

""Standley and Calder6n (1925, p. 215) give "chinta" as the Sal- 
vadorean word. The fact that in Costa Rica, according to Standley 
(1938, p. 1404), the root is called only rats (root), indicates (1) probable 
late arrival there, and (2) large non-Indian population with Spanish 
words more frequently employed than in such Indian regions as Guate- 

'^ Often they appear in Lowland markets, brought from the High- 
lands, as from Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan to Mazatenango. 

"s Standley, 1930, p. 436; 1931, p. 381; "cultivated occasionally" 
both in Yucatan and British Honduras. 

»* This is probably the Frantsia pitticri (.Cyclanthera pittieri) de- 
scribed by Standley (1938, pp. 1396-1397) and given the names tacaco, 
chayotilto, and taca. 

"'° Standley makes no such statement (1938, p. 1404), and it is pos- 
sible that such an impression may derive because there are so few In- 
dians in Costa Rica. 

=" "Caifa" is also given by Standley, 1938, p. 1392. 



significance, but, being American, deserves inclusion bere. I 
found two varieties at Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, a 
"black" and a "red" ( fruit color) .'^ Standley and Calderon 
considered it as being Brazilian."" Zbitenev also states that 
its homeland is Brazil, where it is called sicana (Bukasov, 
1930). Uses for dulces as observed by me are also stated by 
the two sources mentioned. 


Lagenaria spp. — The vine gourds, including bottle gourds, 
usually called in Guatemala iecomate'" (Langenaria sicc- 
raria), serve a great variety of useful purposes in Central 
America. Bowls, cups, ladles, and spoons are fashioned of 
them, and in areas of irrigation agriculture, as around Lake 
Atitlan, they serve (where not replaced by tin bowls) as 
vessels for tossing water over crops, from Lake and irrigation 
ditches. It is a common sight to see traders on the trail 
with a bottle gourd for water, stoppered with a corncob, 
and securely tied by a maguey cord around the natural con- 
striction in the side of the "bottle".™ 

Authorities seem to agree that it is of Old World origin, 
thougli Standley, who elsewhere (1931, p. 379) calls it a 
"native of tropical Asia and Africa," writes of L. siceraria 
in British Honduras that it is "perhaps native in America" 
(Standley, 1936, p. 392). He had in "Flora of Yucatan" 
(1930, p. 435) earlier called it "native of Africa," and later 
he said it was "probably native in the tropics of the Old 
World" (Standley, 1938, p. 1399). Such doubt is readily 
understandable in the light of the great wealth of native 
American Indian names for the plant, and the ancientness 
of its use. Much pre-Columbian ceramic ware, especially 
Peruvian and Mexican, seems to have been designed from 
Ucovwtes, which, themselves, have been found in early 

Standley (1938, p. 1399), after Pittier, hsts three forms: 
(1) "large and globose" ("nambiro" in Nicoya), (2) "elon- 
gate and sausage-shaped" ("calabaza dulce"), and (3) "the 
most common, bottle-shaped." The second form is, as he 
points out, the one used for marimbas, where wooden sound- 
boards'" have not supplanted the more primitive form (pi. 
17, d, ^).™ 

212 Zhitenev gives the colors as yellow red, red, and dark green (prob- 
ably the "black"). The name "melocoton" ("peach"), as well .ns olor 
and others, he attributes to the peculiar peachlike odor. 5. odorifcra is 
planted at Santo Domingo S., usually at the foot of a tree, so that it 
climbs the trunk. It is common in the Lowlands to see trees with these 
large, cylindrical, melonlike fruits dangling from the limbs. 

=is Standley, 1930, p. 437; Standley and Calderon, 1925, p. 215. 
Standley lists the plant only among tlie flora of Yucatan and Salvador. 

^' At Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, I was given only the name tol 
for the gourd. Standley records both names, among others, for the 
same plant (L. Imcantha or L. vulgaris') in Salvador (Standley and 
Calderon, 1925, p. 215). 

"'^ Many Indians said they did not carry water while on the trail, 
for they crossed many streams, but used the bottle gourd for getting 
water when needed. While working in their cornfields, however, often 
away from streams, they usually keep water in the gourds, and carry 
them to the milpa I'llled. 

=i» Zhitenev cites Uhle, 1889, in this regard (Bukasov, 1930). 

^^ This is by far the commoner type today in Guatemala, the gourd 
marimba being something of a rarity. 

=^s Zhitenev disagrees with Spinden and Sapper, thinking tliat the 
marimba may not be, as they say, "a recent instrimient of African 
origin" (Bukasov, 1930). The word "recent" here seems poorly 
chosen; possibly the fault of the translator. 

Of tlie first type of gourd listed above, I saw one 18 inches 
in diameter being used by a native Tzununa for watering 
toiTiatoes."'" The common bottle gourd was grown in this 
same community (Tzununa) in the milpa, and reached 10 to 
12 inches in length. 

Luffa aegyptiaca. — "Paxte" {Ltiffa aegyfHaca) is an- 
other Old World cucurbit which "was possibly in ancient 
times raised by the natives" (of America), as "Hernandez 
describes 'tponayotW — ^'hairy gourd' with the fibrous, inedible 
flesh," eicr° In Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, where I 
collected the seed, only the inner "sponge" is used, the rest 
being discarded ; young fruits were said to be eaten occa- 
sionally. Standley's report for Costa Rica (1938, p. 1400) 
cites the same uses there. He states that the plant is "native 
of the Old World, but widely naturalized in America." It is 
used as a sponge, especially in washing dishes and bathing. 

CHILES (capsicum SPP.) 

Far more prominent in the markets than the cucurbits are 
the chiles (pi. 38, b), especially abundant in some plazas 
(sucli as San Francisco el Alto) and at fiestas, almost rank- 
ing in quantity with maize and beans. There are many varied 
uses of chiles in native dishes. The area of greatest variety 
and productiveness of Capsicum is in the Lowlands generally, 
below about 1,000 to 1,500 m., (3,280^,921 ft.), and in drier 
climates particularly (e.g., Asuncion Mita, Jutiapa), though 
varietal diversity is probably less here than on the Pacific 
side. Large chiles (guaque and siete caldos) are grovm in 
the Lake Atitlan region, notably at San Antonio Palopo 
(1,600 m.). Great variety and considerable abundance are 
to be found along the Pacific piedmont and Coastal Plain. 
At Santo Domingo Suchitepequez alone, I recorded the 13 
kinds of chiles™ described in table 7. 

I did not see the C. piibescens recorded by Bukasov (1930). 
He found the greatest variety of forms of chiles in Mexico. 
This country and Brazil he cites (1930, p. 527) as the two 
centers of diversity of C. annuum, which has a wider range 
of distribution than the peremiial C. frutescens, since the lat- 
ter, though disseminated throughout the Tropics (var. bac- 
catum most common) requires higher temperatures than the 
former. Bukasov records many varieties of baccatum in the 
wild state, whereas "there are no indications of C. anmmm 
growing in the wild state." Standley says of C. annuum 
that it "is really only a cultivated form which doubtless has 
been derived from the wild Capsicum frutescens through long 
centuries of cultivation." "^ 

The large-fruited varieties {longmn and grossum) were 

^"1 He had bought it in Soldi a year before, from a Totonicapin mer- 
chant who had brought it from Guatemala City. 

■-" Zhitenev (Bukasov, 1930) recorded the name "payste" in Guate- 
mala; Standley gives "paste" and "estopa" in Costa Rica (1938, 
p. 1400). 

221 Since my observations and collections were made during the late 
dry season, dependence for identifications rests entirely in seeds and 
dried fruits. These seeds were never planted, so there is still no plant 
material upon which to base any identifications. I therefore rely upon 
the nomenclature as reported by the Russian botanists (Bukasov, 1930, 
ch. 18, p. 526 ff.). 

222 Standley, 1931, p. 341. Regarding the use of chile, he says that 
"it is used currently for flavoring food in Honduras, but not nearly so 
frequently as in Mexico. Except in Guatemala, chile is not used to 
excess in Central America, and in some regions is seldom employed in 
the kitchen." 



Table 7. — Guatcnmla chiles collected at Santo Domingo Siichitepcquez 

Common name 


Dienle de perro 

Pasa (ancbo) (said to be Mexican) .... 




Costeiio (chocolate) 

Santo Domingo- (chocolate) 

Siete caldos 



Cohan (same as Mexican "cascabel" ?) . . 

Probable scientific name 

Capsicum frutescens var. baccaturn 

C. frutescens 

C. anmtu-m var. grossum 

C annuum (var, grossum ?) 

C7. annuum var, abbreviatum 

C. annuum longum 

C. (innuum longum 

C. annuum accuminatum 

C. annuum var, accuniinalum 

C. annuum var. cerasiforme 

Size (length in cm.) and description of 
ripe fruit 

l^^cm., oblong, red, very "hot" 

2J/2-3 cm. (?) like chiltepe 

12-14 cm. ( ?) dark purple, mild, broad. . 
S cm. (?), red, broad 

4-,T cm., thick purplish 

11 cm., red 

7-11 cm., red, "hot" 

5-6 cm., red 

3-5 cm., bright red, "hot" (sold green and 

red, not dried). 
10-14 cm. ( ?), yellow 

Yellow, "hot" 

12-14 cm. (?), yellow 

Small, J-3 cm., round, 2 varieties, bright 
red, dark red. 

Special uses cited 

For stuffing (green) with 

Dipped in soup for flavor- 
ing (said to be good for 
"7 soups"). 

1 Identification fairly certain. 

2 This chile, given tbe name Santo Domingo because of its abundance and presumable nativity there, is widely sold, fresh, green and red, all along 
the piedmont. This seems to be the "chile chocolate" (a name I also found sometimes given) described by the Russians, who said it was "dissemi- 
nated only in Guatemala, very widely." They collected it in Guatemala City, Esquintla, and San Felipe (Bukasov, 1930). 

found by the Russians to have their greatest center in Cen- 
tral America. 

The common name used by the colonial Spanish writers 
(ffl/i) survives today mainly in South America (as does the 
old frisoles for beans). Standley and Calderon (1925, p. 
191) give the name in Central America only as an alternative 
one for chiltepe Xbaccatum) in Salvador. 

The distribution of chiles as outlined above indicates two 
major centers of domestication of Capsicum, namely, Mexico 
and Brazil, with Central America, particularly Guatemala, 
between the two, as an important secondary center. At least 
one variety, "Santo Domingo," seems to have arisen in the 
central piedmont area of Pacific Guatemala. 

Oviedo, writing of the many varieties and the merits of 
"axi," especially emphasized its great "healthfulness," and 
told of its early popularity with the Spaniards, and its im- 
mediate introduction into Spain, Italy, and other parts of the 
Old World (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 275). 


Manioc (Yuca,"* Manihot spp.). — Known only as ">^ca" 
in Southwest Guatemala, manioc, or cassava, is grown widely, 
though in no great quantity,"' up to about 1,600 m. elevation 
(shores of Lake Atitlan) . Mainly the common "sweet," non- 
poisonous species {Manihot dulcis) is grown in that area. 
Standley and Calderon (1925, p. 134) report it also as es- 
caped in Salvador. Its root attains great size, and is eaten, 
usually boiled, as a vegetable. Starch balls, about 1^-2 cm. 
in diameter are prepared from it in the Lowlands, and these 
appear in large sackloads in Highland markets, brought by 
itinerant merchants. The "bitter" species {M. utilissima). 

2=3 This name is of West Indian origin, and was picked up by the 
Spanish when thev found the plant growing there, and probably intro- 
duced it into Central America. Bukasov (1930, p. 241) states that 
"yuca" is a word of the Taino dialect of Santo Domingo, but that the 
plant is of South American origin, all 42 wild species being native to 
South America. 

=* Bukasov (1930, p. 241) reported manioc in "limited quantity m 
Mexico and Central America in the torrid zone." My Guatemala ob- 
servations verify this. Apparently, larger quantities are grown m 
Salvador (Standley and Calder6n, 1925, p. 134). 

well known for its prussic acid poison, and for its value as 
a fine starch, tapioca, seems to be grown on a smaller scale 
in Central America as a whole. Oviedo wrote of the im- 
portance of cagabi bread in the West Indies, where mainly 
the bitter cassava was grown, in six varieties. Central Amer- 
ican introduction of the technique of breadmaking with 
sweet cassava was said to have been effected by Spanish sol- 
diers.=" According to Medel (Ms. 1550-60 p. 143, f. 191), 
the use of manioc was limited to the West Indies and "some 
coasts" of the mainland, 

Sweetpotato (camote). — Bukasov (1930) asserts that, 
though the sweetpotato is definitely American, "the center of 
culture origin ... is not known." Its widespread pre-Colum- 
bian cultivation (from Mexico through Brazil), and the use 
of the Aztec word "camotli," distorted to "camote" through- 
out Mexico and Central America, are also pointed out. 
Bukasov suggests "its initial rise in Brazil and the Antilles." 
Oviedo (1851-55, vol. 1, pp. 272-274) described it in the 
West Indies under the local names "aje" and the superior 
"batatas" (five varieties). 

As in Mexico, sweetpotatoes are raised in small plots, and 
in limited quantities, by Indians in Guatemala. The highest 
point where I have seen sweetpotatoes growing is San Bar- 
tolome Aguascalientes (2,000 m., or 6,562 ft.), in 30-foot- 
square cornstalk enclosures within the milpa. This is the 
upper limit as given by Bukasov. The purple-skimied 
variety appears in particular abundance in markets of western 

"Irish" potato (papa, Solarium tuberosum). — Bukasov 
points out that, unlike such "basic American cultivated plants 
as maize, beans, peppers, and curcurbitae," the "native culti- 
vated potato" is much less extensively cultivated than the 
"wild potatoes," which are found from Brazil to as far north 
as Arizona, and include about 100 species. 

"The ancestor of all our selected species {S. ttd>erosHm) 
started," according to Bukasov, in "the Chilean littoral. . . . 
A great number of wild potatoes are found in Mexico and 
Guatemala, about 30 species, which is double those of Peru 
or Chile." 

-•> Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 270; a sort of bread is made today in 
Colombia from manioc (Bukasov, 1930, p. 244, figs. 136, 137). 



In Southwest Guatemala, I found potato cultivation 
confined almost entirely to large "American" varieties, (S. 
tuberosum), red and especially white, probably imported 
within relatively recent years. In competition with this is a 
small, round red potato {S. andigcmim f. guatemalcnsc) , 
probably a pre-Columbian introduction here, little developed 
beyond the wild state. It is raised in small quantity in the 
southwest, but on a large scale to the north, in the Cuchu- 
matanes Mountains, and is brought into the Quezaltenango- 
Totonicapan region by Todos Santos men for sale in the 
markets, where the demand for them is extraordinary."* 

The more important, large "Irish" potato began, accord- 
ing to the Russians, in Chile; then it was taken to Europe 
where it was cultivated and improved, especially in east 
Prussia in the 18th century, through the instigation and edict 
of Frederick the Great. Its importance in the British Isles 
gave it the usual name "Irish." After finding its way back, 
then, to North America, where it was further improved and 
perfected, this potato was reintroduced into Latin America, 
Pre-Columbian ceramic representations which I have seen 
in Peru (e.g., Mochica and Nasca vessels) indicate also, 
however, a large, well-developed potato similar to the "Irish" 
potato of modern agriculture. 

Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus). — This minor food plant 
has a white turniplike root, which Standley and Calderon 
describe in Salvador as attaining the size of a man's head. 
I have seen very large ones of this description near Pueblo 
Nuevo, Retalhuleu. They occasionally appear in the mar- 
kets, mainly in the Lowlands. Bukasov (1930) calls it a 
"very old cultivated plant of Mexico and Central America." 
Evidence seems to point to its nativity here. Standley (1931, 
p. 228) considers it a native of Mexico. His statement that 
they are eaten raw in Honduras is also true in the Guate- 
mala Lowlands. 

Quequexque (Xantho.soma spp.). — This is another genus, 
"akin to the Colacasia {taro) of the Old World" (Bukasov, 
1930), that supplies a large edible root, there being a number 
of species, of which Bukasov cites X. sagittifolium as the 
"most extensively cultivated." Standley and Calderon (1925, 
p. 45) list X. vilaceum, the common Antillean species, as an 
edible Salvadoranean plant abundant along stream banks. 
Among the many native American names given is "Yautia" 
(Yucatan, Vera Cruz), indicating that it may be the same 
"yahutia" that was listed by Oviedo as "one of the poorest of 
the cultivated plants of the Indians." The natives, however, 
appeared to be very fond of it, and raised it in quantity, 
whereas the Spaniards regarded it only as "emergency 
rations" (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, pp. 274-275). Bukasov 
calls it a "very old cultivated plant of Brazil, largely on the 
basis of the numerous native names, the Antilles, and the 
Atlantic coast of Central America and Mexico." 

2^ My field notes in this connection, taken at San Cristobal Totoni- 
capan, March 29, 1936, are as follows: "Two men from Todos Santos 
were being stormed by local women to buy their small, red potatoes. 
Police keeping people back, calling for order, and trying to prevent 
tliieving. This appeared to be high point of activity in entire market." 
The same performance was repeated on the next Sunday, April 5, when 
there were four Todos Santos vendors instead of two, and on April 19, 
when tbere were si.x. The explanation of this demand seemed to be 
that their potatoes sold at 2 pounds for 1 ^^ cents, or half the price of 
the large "American" ones from Concepci6n Chiquirichapa. Competi- 
tors from there said Todos Santos potatoes were "niuy gusano" (very 
wormy). Many natives seemed to prefer them, however, for their flavor. 


Tomato (tomate, Lycopersicon spp.). — Of the several 
cultivated species of tomato, the Russians found the follow- 
ing two "most richly represented" in Central America : L. 
cerasiforme and L. esculetitum^^ the latter in particular being 
the "richest species, containing at present more than 200 
varieties. The deeply lobed L. esciilentum var. cohimbianum 
was collected by the Russians in several parts of Guatemala 
(Guatemala City, Amatitlan, Quezaltenango). From the 
description and illustration (Bukasov, 1930, p. 285, and fig. 
181), it is apparent that this is the common tomato of Indian 
cultivation in Southwest Guatemala, particularly around 
Lake Atitlan (pi. 4, e) . It is probably the tomato del pais, or 
criollo, for tlie fruits range in size from about 2 to 5 cm. 
There is a very small, round one (usually 1 to 2 cm.) called 
tomate de culebra (tomatillo, Standley, 1938, p. 1064), grown 
in many of the Lake villages, especially at San Antonio and 
Santiago, and appearing not infrequently in the markets. In 
all probability it is a wild or retrograde escaped form of 
L. esculentum var. cerasiforme?^ The fact that this \ariety 
was most frequently seen by the Russians indicates the wide- 
spread occurrence of small, globular forms throughout Cen- 
tral America. In certain of the Lake villages, especially 
San Pedro, where gardening is practiced, large tomate man- 
sano (literally, "apple-tomatoes") from imported American 
seeds are grown with irrigation. 

The history of tomato cultivation in Guatemala roughly 
parallels that of the potato. Both American, domesticated 
from poisonous nightshades, they apparently were little de- 
veloped, half wild, before the invading white man took them 
over, introduced them with some difficulty into his own lands, 
improved them through selective breeding, and then brought 
them back as "exotics" to the place of their origin. This 
appears to bear out the statement of Bukasov (1930) that 
"there is ground for the assumption that the tomato as an 
aborigene of America might not be the cultivated plant, but 
only the [utilized] wild and often rudimentary plant." The 
fact that Hernandez and other early writers, including 
Oviedo y Valdes, make no mention of the tomato among the 
cultivated plants of Mexico, may be regarded as further 
evidence "that the cultivation of the tomato was not known 
among the Aztecs." 

Groundcherry (miltomate, Physalis spp.). — This low- 
growing plant, seldom over 1 m. high, occurs in many parts 
of Central America as a weed, but it is frequently cultivated. 
The widespread use of the small (usually under 2 cm.) yel- 
lowish-green fruit in sauces, soups, and preserves extends, 
according to Bukasov, through Central America, from the 
United States-Mexican border. P. angulata and P. aequata, 
the latter having been almost the only one collected 
in Mexico by Bukasov, are the two species listed. The husk 
of the "groundclicrry" facilitates transportation, according 
to the same author, who characterizes it as "very non-exact- 
ing," it having succeeded in Russia as far north as Leningrad 
(Bukasov, 1930, ch. 18). 

'^ According to V. I. Mazkevicz (Bukasov, 1930) L. cerasiforme is 
usually given as a variety of L. esculentum (Standley, 1938, p. 1064). 

=^ The Russians reported this "wild growing" tomato in Guatemala 
only "in Antigua" (Bukasov, 1930, p. 275). 



Miltomates are much in demand in Soutliwest Guatemala, 
and are generally to be found in the markets. 

Melon pear (pepino, Solanum muricatum, S. guatema- 
lense hort.). — Standley and Calderon (1925, p. 195) state 
that the pepino is a native of South America. 

It had probably a fairly late introduction into Guatemala, 
despite its common varietal name, if we may judge from 
the absence of references to it in early literature. 

Today, it is grown, to my knowledge, in Southwest Guate- 
mala only at Panajachel, (1,600 m., or 5,249 ft.), where it is 
a major garden product,"™ abundant in the local market from 
late March well into June, following a vegetative period of 
about 8 months. The usual varietj' is light yellowish with 
purple stripes, exactly like the ones which appear on the 
fruit stands in California. They will stand frost, according 
to Bukasov (1930, ch. 18), who records their growth as far 
north as New Jersey, Paris, and Russia, where it was intro- 
duced in 1887. Climatic limitations, then, will not explain 
the restricted distribution in Guatemala. Tax says that, rela- 
tive to the cash return (Tax, Ms., 1936), they are difficult 
and expensive to cultivate at Panajachel. As a rule, how- 
ever, according to Bukasov, "the melon pear is of interest 
for its tasty qualities and its ease of cultivation," though he 
did say that the plant proved "very exacting" in Russia. 

Peanut (mam, Arachis hypogaea). — Tliis plant usually 
is called by its Antillean name ("mani") in Guatemala 
though Standley and Calderon (1925, p. 107) report also 
"cacao de la ticrra" in use in El Salvador, where the peanut 
is said to be rarely cultivated. That is a hispanicized form 
of the Aztec "tlalcachuatl" (modern Mex. cacahtiate). The 
naming of the peanut after cacao, obviously because of the 
resemblance of the "nut" to the Theohrama "bean," may be 
regarded as evidence of greater antiquity for the latter, and 
relatively recent introduction for the former. Furthermore, 
Bukasov (1930) points out that, whereas Hernandez makes 
no mention of the peanut, Sahagun later does so. 

Peanut cultivation appears to be quite recent in South- 
west Guatemala, at least in the Lake Atitlan region. There, 
at San Pedro, it was said that the planting of this crop 
began about 1925. The greatest sources still are in the north- 
ern and western peripheries, in the Department of Huehue- 
tenango (Chiantla) and San Marcos (Comitancillo). 

The peanut is a luxurj', generally expensive (8 cents a 
pound), according to native standards. Roasted peanuts are 
sold in markets, particularly during fiestas, along with sweet 
buns and candies. The chief peanut merchants of the South- 
west are itinerant Maxenos and Quezaltecas. 

Pineapple (pifia, Ananas comosus).— Though pineapples 
are of considerable significance in parts of the Lowlands, 
the upper limit is not above 1,300 m. (4,265 ft.), with the 
plant infrequent even above 1,000 m. (3,280 ft.). The 1931 
Guatemala Anuario del Service Tecnico (p. 57) puts the 
limit at 5,000 ft. (1,524 m.). Bukasov, as in other instances 
(e.g., papaya, 1,700 m. or 5.577 ft.) places it too high 
(1,700 m.).' 

At least two kinds of pineapple, besides the semiwild 
pinitela or pinguin {BromcUa pingidn, the fruit of which 
appears occasionally in markets) are grown along the pied- 

"»It is planted in large mounds (pi. 20, d), just as tomatoes are in 
certain localities (e.g., at San Pedro). Each mound in December is 
covered with purple flowers. 

mont — a spiny-leafed yellow (azticar, called by some "Ha- 
waiian," which may be native, however) and a smooth-leafed 
white (cuco) presumably criollo, or native. The yellow is 
preferred, though the white seems commoner. The Anuario 
mentions, besides azucar and another unnamed, also a 
variety "Cayaia Lisc^' as the finest grown on the Pacific 

That the pineapple is native American is not disputed, 
though its specific provenience is somewhat open to question. 
Oviedo described the plant at great length, giving three 
varieties in the West Indies ( Yayaytia, white, sour ; Boniama, 
white, sweet, fibrous; and Yayagtia, yellow, sweeter, tender.) 
He was lavish in his praise of the delicate flavor of the fruit 
which defies description, telling also of a "multitude of wild 
pineapple," and the making by the Indians of an inferior 
pineapple wine, poorer than low-grade Spanish wines 
(Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, pp. 280-283). The latter apparently 
carries through to the present, judging from Bukasov's refer- 
ence to garapiiia in the West Indies today. 

Standley suggests that the pineapple "is probably a native 
of Brazil, although it has been under cultivation in Mexico 
and Central America for a long time, perhaps before the 
Conquest." He reported "pineapples naturalized in woods or 
thickets in a few places about Tela" (Honduras)."^" 

On tlie basis of the evidence considered, some authorities 
have been led to assume for the pineapple a parallel route 
with manioc: that perhaps from Brazil it went to the An- 
tilles by Arawak introduction, and was there improved by 
long cultivation, and probably taken to the mainland during 
late pre-Conquest time. The Aztec word for it is given by 
Bukasov (1930) as "matzalli." This, coupled with west- 
coast Central American varietal diversity and good climatic 
adaptation (wet savanna), occasional naturalization, and the 
presence of a wild relative, supports the possibility of Centra! 
American or Mexican origin. 

Passion fruit, or "maypop" (granadilla, Passiflora 
ligularis).— This species of native American Passiflora fur- 
nishes a juicy, refreshing fruit, with sweet fleshy, gelatinous 
pulp surrounding a mass of brittle seeds in a pod of egg size 
or larger and orange color, which is commonly sold in the 
markets. The natives eat them raw, seeds and all, in great 
quantities in Southwest Guatemala. They are sometimes 
cultivated. This is the species mentioned by Standley and 
Calderon (1925, p. 155), cultivated in Salvador on the high 
volcanic slopes, and "imported in large quantity from Hon- 
duras." It has a wide altitude range, probably reaching 
2,600 m. 

Night-blooming cereus (pitahaya, Hylocereus un- 
datus) ; not the common North American night-blooming 
cereus, which is Selenicerens grandifloriis. — This slender- 
stemmed, climbing cactus is common along the rocky shores 
of Lake Atitlan, and the bright scarlet, black-seeded fruit 
is eaten, though it seldom appears in the markets. 

Tobacco (tabaco, Nicotiana tabacum). — It is doubtful 
whether much tobacco {Tabaco. Nicotiana tabacum) was 
ever raised in Southwest Guatemala, judging from early 

!»> Standley, 1930, pp. 220-221; 1931, f. 127. I have also seen pine- 
apples naturalized in an uninhabited portion of Chiapas (Santo D> 
mingo-Jatate River junction, 1928), where no human settlement had 
existed for many years. The pineapples were small (about 8 cm.), but 
of good flavor. 



accounts. In any event, this crop, as in the case of any 
alcohoHc beverages that may have once been made, has been 
strongly checked by Government regulations controlling to- 
bacco and liquor production. When I occasionally saw 
a tobacco plant growing near an Indian's house, he would 
never admit its identity. The plant does not grow in any 
quantity in the area today. Termer (1929, p. 29) described 
the cultivation of tobacco in the Copan valley as a fairly 
large-scale industry, favored by climate, especially the fine 
rains {"graiio de oro") of the transplanting season (October- 
November), heavy rains at that time being injurious and 
limiting tobacco growing in parts of the Atlantic seaboard 
(Termer, 1929, p. 29). This may also be a limiting factor 
along the Pacific coast. 

Greens and herbs. — Many leafy parts of plants, both 
cultivated and wild, fill an important element of the Indians' 
diet, which is so predominantly starchy. ChipUin (Crotalaria 
longirostrata) and bledo {Amarantlius sp.), both sometimes 
cultivated, are for the most part gathered in the woods and 
fields (p. 147). The frequent use of greens of various of 
the cucurbits, notably guisquit (Sechium edide), has already 
been mentioned. Many herbs are employed as medicines. 



The century plant is a widely utilized plant in Southwest 
Guatemala, particularly above about 1,500 m. (4,921 ft.), 
in the drier Highlands, where it attains its maximum size 
and abundance. It is used in the Lake Atitlan villages in 
the making of ropes, cordage, nets, bags, and the like, a 
major industry of San Pablo, San Pedro, and San Juan, 
though in other villages (Atitlan, San Marcos, Santa Cruz, 
Santa Catarina) small-scale noncommercial cordmaking is 
practiced. Buds and leaf bases of the mescal agave are 
cooked and eaten, being somewhat sweet when roasted or 
baked."" The huge fiower stalks (diameter at base about 
8 in.) are made into ladders (e.g., Santa Catarina, San 
Pedro) by cutting notches about IJ^ feet apart along one 
side ; they serve as aqueducts split and laid end to end 
(San Marcos la Laguna) ; as guisquit enclosures; as fences 
of close-bound, upright stalks (San Pedro la Laguna) ; and 
even rafters and chicken coops (San Pedro la Laguna) ; 
corncrib ridge poles (Santa Catarina Palopo) ; and have 
other minor uses. Abundant growth of maguey around the 
Lake is to be noted, however, only at the western end, where 
it is cultivated for ropes (see p. 103). A very large variety 
thrives at San Pedro (pis. 22, c; 26, d). Paul C. Standley. 
on the basis of photographs and descriptions, thought it 
might be in the genus Furcraea, as many of the fiber magueys 
are. The San Pedro maguey is called maguey de lasso or 
de pita in contradistinction to the mescal (probably species of 
Agave) of the other areas around the Lake. It is the latter 
which supplies an edible bud. Various species of maguey 
appear in great profusion through the sides and floor (often 
along roads and trails) of the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan 
Valley, especially a broad-leaved variety, probably A. tecta 
(pis. 29, c; 38, o; 41, d). Here however, there is little 

231 This was one of the few pre-Columbian sources of sugar, not so 
sweet as honey, but much more abundant. 

utilization of it, possibly because the leaves, from which the 
fibers are derived, are not so long as those of magueys else- 
where. Other industries, notably pottery and weaving, oc- 
cupy the inhabitants. Their rope work comes mainly from 
Coban and San Pablo la Laguna. 

In all probability the more useful species of Agave were 
introduced from Mexico. Standley and Calderon (1925, pp. 
50-51) suggest this with regard to three species in El Sal- 
vador, out of a total of eight listed by them. Of the two 
major ones for henequen extraction, A. letonac (said to be 
superior to sisal) is regarded as native to eastern Salvador; 
A. sisalana i. armaia is said to be "possibly introduced from 
Mexico" (Standley and Calderon, 1925, pp. 50-51). 

Historical evidence of Mexican introduction of certain 
agaves at the Conquest of Guatemala may be found in an 
obscure passage in the journal of Alonso Ponce's travels 
through Guatemala. Describing the vicinity of Ciudad Vieja 
in 1586, the anonymous chronicler writes of "some Mexican 
varieties of magueys planted by the Mexicans who accom- 
panied the Spaniards in their Conquest" (Ponce, 1873, vol. 
1, p. 421). 

Diversity of Mexican agaves is extraordinary. Standley 
(1920-26, pp. 107-142) lists 170 species. Of those A. tequi- 
lana, famous for the distilled liquor "mescal de Tequila," 
and A. atrovircns, for the great Mexican pulque industry of 
the central valley, serve uses in Mexico that are unknown in 
Guatemala. It is a type like the sisal, or henequen agave {A. 
fourcroydcs) of Yucatan, the significance of which has been 
approached by certain Guatemala pita agaves. 


The fruits (berries) of the various cacti that are called 
tuna are eaten and much liked by the Indians, though the 
many seeds are hard and there are spines to be avoided. 
These remarks concern the usual variety grown and eaten 
in the Lake Atitlan region, and often sold in markets. It 
has a whitish-green fruit, 6 to 8 cm. long. The smaller (3—4 
cm.), red fruit of another tuna was apparently not eaten. 

Tuna as a fruit is of minor significance. Its great ancient 
role (especially Nopalea cochcnillifcra) was as a host plant 
of the famous insect cochineal, which was "planted" and 
propagated upon its fleshy leaves by the Aztecs to obtain 
from it the beautiful red dye. This gave rise to a colonial 
trade of immense proportions. Aniline dyes have almost 
entirely replaced cochineal, until today the use of it is rare; 
in Guatemala, mixed with aniline reds, some is still employed, 
especially at Momostenango, in dyeing wool yarn woven into 
blankets. Until about 1860, when European aniline dyes 
began to compete in the world market, cochineal cultivation 
was still very important in Guatemala, and centered around 
Antigua and Amatitlan. Reaching a peak in 1854 (Guate- 
mala production 8,786,500 francs), a decline was under way 
in the 1860's with coffee providing strong competition, 
promising a "new era of prosperity." Dollfus and Mont- 
Serrat (1868, p. 38) dated the introduction of cochineal 
culture into Guatemala from Oaxaca as 1818, saying that 
General Bustamente effected it. He may have given an 
impetus to the cochineal industry, but that he did not actually 
introduce evidenced by the following passage from the 



Capotitlaii report of 1579, to the effect that President Villa- 
lobos of Guatemala had ordered the nopal introduced, and 
that it was there in abundance (Zapotitlan) with cochineal, 
but no one had attempted to exploit it (Anon., Ms. 1579, 
p. 18.) Medel also wrote of tunas in both Mexico and 
Guatemala in the middle 16th century. A fine white one is 
mentioned in particular as good to eat, though "wild" red- 
fruited ones were common "in all parts of the Indies" and 
they were usually called "figs." This apparently accounts 
for the common early appearance of the word "fig" (here 
applied to tuna) in colonial literature. 

From this there appears little doubt that certain species of 
Nopalea or Opuntia, or both, were introduced from Mexico 
for cochineal culture. In all likelihood it was mainly N. 
cochenillifera, probably native to Mexico. 


Blue is the only color in dye-stuffs locally produced in 
Central America that is used in any quantity today in the 
Guatemala cotton-textile industry. There are two plants 
commonly employed in its application. These are anil or 
jiquilite (indigo, Indigofera suffruticosa and /. gimiemal- 
ensis) (Standley and Calderon, 1925, pp. 112-113) and 
sacatmta OT tinta {Jacobinia spicigcra) . 

Indigo is a Lowland plant, having an upper limit which 
probably does not exceed 750 m. in Central America. Guate- 
mala has never been a large-scale producer of the plant. 
In the literature, from the 16th century to the present, there 
are few references to indigo in connection with the modern 
area of western Guatemala. Dollfus and Mont-Serrat (1868, 
(p. 113) give as the upper limit 500 m. (1,640 ft.), but cite no 
production figures or any cultivation methods. Ponce's com- 
panion mentions "native indigo" only in the Province of 
San Salvador (Ponce, 1873, p. 399). Apparently, judging 
from 16th-century literature, in the great cacao areas, from 
western Salvador into Soconusco, there was no indigo. Since 
their environmental requirements are much the same, indigo 
probably could not stand the competition, for cacao was 
money, in the literal sense of the word. Juarros, early in 
the 19th century, writes of Salvador, a country whose Indians 
were then "highly civilized and all speak the Spanish lan- 
guage;" that it produced "chiefly indigo, now [ 1800-1810. '] 
almost exclusively ... in this province," though some was 
formerly grown outside of it (Juarros, 1823, p. 30). Sapper's 
economic map of 1895 showed two indigo areas, one in cen- 
tral Chiapas, the other in central and eastern El Salvador 
(Sapper, 1897, map 4). Janes (1940, pp. 198-202) refers 
to the importance of indigo in Guatemala, but this was the 
Captaincy-General, which included Salvador. The only 
present-day Guatemala place names mentioned in connection 
with indigo are Guazacapan, Jalpatagua, and Escuintla 
(Milla, 1879-82, vol. 2, pp. 285-286), all in the eastern 
Pacific lowlands, adjacent to the Salvador producing area. 
Standley (1920-26, p. 441) states that indigo was used by the 
pre-Columbian inhabitants of Mexico. This was probably 
the source of the "black" used in dyeing the black cloth (the 
dark indigo blue in Guatemala today is sometimes called 
"black") demanded from certain towns as tribute by Mocte- 
zuma (Cortes, 1770, pi. 27, foil. p. 176). The origin of 
American indigo is probably Mexican. An Old World 
species was later introduced (Indigofera tinctoria) and much 

used (Standley, 1920-26, p. 440). Standley (1931, p. 222) 
points out one cause for the decline of indigo, in the danger 
to those engaged in extracting it. Chemical dyes produced 
in Europe, especially Germany, began to offer serious com- 
petition to natural dyes between 1860 and 1870. 

Today the indigo used in quantity in Southwest Guate- 
mala for dyeing threads, employed mainly in skirt weaving, 
is all imported from Salvador, put up in cakes. It was 
similarly prepared at the time of Ponce's visit (Ponce, 1873, 
p. 399). 

Mixed with indigo in dyeing thread are aniline dye (mainly 
German in 1936) and an infusion of fresh leaves of the saco- 
tinta, cuajatinta, or- tinla (Jacobinia spicigcra). It grows in 
abundance along the Pacific versant, having an upper limit 
of probably 2,000 m. (6,562 ft.), for it is apparently absent 
from the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan Valley. There in the 
markets, especially of the dyeing center, Salcaja, the green 
leaves are sold in large bunches. For the country as a whole, 
the greatest consumption of sacatiiita comes in washing, for 
it is the chief "bluing" plant of the Indian women, who wash 
their white clothes with it to get a bluish cast. This is 
reported as widespread also in Mexico, Salvador, Honduras, 
and other parts of Central America, various species of 
Jacobinia being employed. Standley suggests that the use of 
the infusion (which turns acid red, like litmus) in whitening 
clothes is pre-Columbian, and that the plants are therefore 
American, probably native to Mexico."^ 


Cotton (algodon, Gossypium spp.) cultivation seems to 
have declined in the Pacific Lowland?, though not so much 
so as some of the crops already mentioned. Sixteenth cen- 
tury accounts (manuscripts herein cited) list cotton among 
the major crops, from Guazacapan to Suchitepequez, mainly 
along the piedmont. Today in the Southwest it is found only 
in small patches,^' mostly from around Mazatenango, and 
westward into Chiapas. Mazatenango is the main market, 
and it is sold there in some quantity, to itinerant merchants 
(Maxefios in particular) and to Indians, who come from as 
far as Huehuetenango (Todos Santos) to buy it, apparently 
for home consumption. 

White cotton (G. hirsutum) and red-brown {ixcdco, G. 
mexicaiium) are both grown, the former in larger amounts. 
The highest elevation at which I have seen cotton (white) 
is 1,600 m. (5,249 ft., San Pedro la Laguna).^' Both are 
probably natives of Mexico. G. hirsutum appears commonly 
to have escaped from f ultivation, a point also brought out by 
Bukasov (1930) and Standley (1920-26, p. 785). 

Brown cotton was given the Aztec name "Ichcaxihuitl" 
("wool-plant"). It is probable that this was the origin of 

»2 Jacobinia as used in washing clothes is described on the following 
pages: .St.nndley, 1930-26, p. 1346; 19.i0, p. 423; 1931, p. 360; 1936, 
p. 369; 1938, p. 1225; Standley and Calder6n, 1925, p. 204. 

233 Bulcasov also mentions the limited quantities of cotton grown in 
small plots in Chiapas and Central America (op. cit., p. 1S2). 

23* Here the tall, yellow-flowered plants attain a height of 12 feet, 
though 8 feet is more common. It is often planted among fields of corn, 
manioc, maguey, etc., is said to bear 3 years; is trimmed back every 
May at maize planting, and grows out again witli maize. Cotton is 
annually planted by Indians of Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, wliere a 
Ladino farmer said that better results obtain from cutting bacl<, and 
that plants would bear for 2 or 3 years. 



the word i^rcdco, used in Southwest Guatemala today. 
Bukasov reported brown cotton only in Chiapas, though 
Donde is cited as mentioning it in Yucatan (cancacu) and 
Pittier, in Costa Rica (tecolote). 

Cotton is imported for manufacture in Guatemala,"' mainly 
from Nicaragua and the United States. 


A number of fruit trees are mentioned and described 
among the useful plants of the Lowlands (Appendix 3). 
It is there that many of these plants are best developed and 
most abundant, as, for example, papaya, matasano, and 
injerto which are found below elevations about equal to that 
of Lake Atitlan (1,550 m.). Certain native fruits attain their 
best development between about 1,500 and 2,200 m. Out- 
standing among these are the avocado and jocole ("Spanish 
plum," Spondias f^urpiirca). 

Avocado (aguacate, Persea americana). — The so-called 
"Guatemala" variety of avocado with rough, thick, brittle 
skin, is the only one grown,''' the trees being abundant among 
all the Lake communities. Cultivation is desultory, however, 
and plants spring from castaway seeds. There is room for 
tremendous improvement by grafting, which is not practiced. 
Avocados generally reach the markets in quantity, almost 
all the year round perhaps (least abundant during the late 
rainy season). They are eaten by man and beast (especially 
dogs) and they go in great niunbers to piedmont plazas. 

Avocados probably provided the main source of fat to 
the Indians of pre-Columbian Mexico and Central America, 
playing the role of the olive in the Old World. Aguacate 
is from tlic Nahuatl, aguacatl ("testicle"). "Avocado" may 

^5 The large electric mill at Cantel imports about one-half the cotton 
used, 35 percent from Nicaragua and 15 percent from the United States 
(approximate figures for 1936). (See p. 66.) 

*^ The "Antillean," smooth-skinned variety is confined to the Coastal 
Plain below 1,000 m. (3,280 ft.), and the "Mexican" variety is grown 
only in the Departamentos of Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango, accord- 
ing to the Anuario del Servicio Technico, 1931, p. 84. The rough- 
skinned avocado is probably the one from which the name "alligator 
pear," commonly applied in the southeastern United States, was derived, 
from its resemblence to the hide of an alligator. 

be a corruption of aguacate, but it probably derives from 
bocado (Spanish, "appetizer"), for it is widely used today 
as a spread {" guacamole") like butter, mashed with onions 
and served on crackers as hors d'oeuvres. 

"Spanish plum" or ciruela (jocote, Spondias spp.). — 
Since the jocotes (Mexico, "ciruelas") are little known north 
of the Rio Grande, and since the varieties have not been 
described in detail in botanical literature, more space will be 
devoted here to this fruit than to the more familiar avocado. 
Though sometimes called "Spanish plum," the jocote is 
neither Spanish nor a plum. 

Jocotes, generally quite acid (Nahuatl, /oco//="sour 
fruit"), are much liked by the Indians. The newcomer to 
Guatemala during the early dry season is impressed with the 
great baskets of plumlike yellow and red fruits (pi. 19, c) 
that fill the markets, and the large, unfamiliar seeds, yel- 
lowish and fibrous, that cover the ground of the plaza ; for 
the Indians eat them by the hundred in the market (pi. 
21, a). 

The tree is low, spreading and much-branched, often 
gnarled and twisted, having small, oval leaves somewhat like 
those of a locust, and distinctly deciduous habit 

At Panajachel and neighboring centers, I noted the varie- 
ties of jocotes, in 1936, described in table 8. 

Except for mico, these grow in most of the Lake villages, 
especially on the north side. Distribution and relative abund- 
ance of varieties in the Lake region, have been discussed 
briefly in an earlier section. 

At Pueblo Nuevo, in the boca costa of Retalhuleu, it was 
said that the principal jocotes were corona, agosto (costeiio), 
martenica, and pascua, all red varieties, with yellow types 
lacking. Here I was told that the Indians did not show so 
much interest in them as they do in the Highlands. Ladinos 
said they made jelly of jocotes. 

Both Spoiidias and Persea (Guatemala variety) are prob- 
ably native to Central America, perhaps Guatemala. They 
were described by Oviedo in the West Indies, in the early 
16th century. Nicaragua was cited as a region where special 
care was taken in the cultivation of avocados, as in the case 
of beans (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 353). 


S. — J'aricties of jocotes observed in Guatemala in 1^36 ( HI nst rated in 

pi 19. c) 


Description o£ tree 

Length and description of fruit 

Season of 

How consumed 

1. Petapa (amarillo) 

Trunk tortuous, much-branched.. 
Trunk tortuous, much-branched. . 
Trunk tortuous, much-branched.. 

Trunk tortuous, much-branched.. 

Fairly tall, straight trunk 

Lower than No, 5; straighter 
than 1-4. 

114 in.; slightly oblong; yellow to orange; shiny, 

.';mooth, little spotted; rather acid taste. 
l-}4 in.; oblong; red-orange to red; 5-7 "warts" 

on end; sweetest variety, only slightly acid. 
1^4 in.; oblong; yellow-orange; thick skin, 
rough, spotted; very acid. 

in in.; oblong; red (lighter than No. 2) 

sliglitly warty; sweet, but more acid than 

No. 2. 
I in.; oblong; yellow; acid, flavor, between Nos. 

1 and 3. 
II2 in.; oblong; yellow; sweetest of yellow 


1 in.; slightly oblong; red, rather acid 

1 in.; narrow; oblong; yellow, very acid 

1 in.; narrow; oblonq;: red, rather acid 






Aug;. -Nov. 

Raw, boiled, dried. 

3. Chicha 

riety for eating). 

Raw, dried, fer- 
mented to make 
chicha beer. 


5. Tamalito 

6. Rio Grande 

Mostly cooked, also 

raw and dried. 
Raw, cooked, dried. 

Raw, often rather 

8. Mico amarillo 

green (much 
Little eaten, mainly 

9. Mico^ (agosto, costeno) . . . 

used for chicha 
(a fermented 
Raw {little eaten, 

1 This may he }obo {Spondias Itttea or mombin) which does not occur in the Lake Atitlan region, as 1.200 m. (3,937 ft.) is about its upper 
limit. It is common in the Lowlands, however. 







The uses to which the tall and stately cohune'"' (pi. 2, o) 
palm (Orbignya cohunc) is put are manifold. Particularly 
valued are the extraordinarily large, pinnate leaves, com- 
monly 30 feet long and 6 feet wide, which are much em- 
ployed for roofing throughout the Lowlands (see map 14). 
Leaf segments entire serve for making sopladores (fire fans) 
in various coast towns, particularly San Sebastian Retalhuleu. 
The chief industry of that town, however, one of the few 
craft centers in the Lowlands, is the making of suyacales 
(rectangular raincapes) of de-veined leaf segments (see 
p. 67, pi. 2, h, c, map 17), in quantities sui^cient to supply 
the needs of all of Southwest Guatemala. Bunches of 
leaf-segment veins are fashioned into stiff brooms. The 
young bud, or heart (palniilo'), called also the "cabbage," is 
eaten, raw, roasted, or boiled, and it is reported that a strong 
intoxicant is surreptitiously allowed to ferment in the cavity 
from which the bud has been cut, and into which panela, 
or brown sugar, is put. Fermentation is said to occur thus 
within 5 days, but the only first-hand information I obtained 
on this was with reference to Me.xico. The coyol palm is 
more significant for this purpose, and it may be that the two 
were confused by the informant; the common nomenclature 
itself is sometimes misleading (see Standley, 1920-26, p. 83). 

The yellow, branched, musty-smelling and funguslike 
staminate inflorescence in its long (up to 6 feet), ribbed, 
spindle-shaped spathe"* is a major trade item marketed in 
the Highlands, especially at Quezaltenango, on a large scale 
for Palm Sunday to decorate churches for fiestas (pi. 39, /). 
The husk and flesh of the fruit are important cattle food, 
animals often being fed the fruit so as to clean off the seed. 
The flesh is eaten, being fibrous like a mango, and rather 
acid, with a black walnut flavor. The seed kernel is rich in 
fat (as high as 50 percent), and Ladinos in the Lowlands, as 
at Mazatenango, use it for making oils, soaps, and confec- 
tions. The thick, hard, cocolike shell of the seed (2-3 inches 
long) is cracked only with difficulty, however, and this has 
hampered attempts to produce oil on a commercial scale for 
export. The tough shells are said to make excellent buttons, 
and the Indians make small tobacco pipes by cutting an end 
off of the seeds and using them as bowls. The woody trunk 

^^ Its various names are, besides cohune, corozo and manaco (in 
places along the Pacific Lowlands as at Santo Domingo Suchitepequez; 
said usually to apply only to the leaves). Brigham recorded manaco 
for the young, trunkless stage, corozo for the mature tree (Brigham, 
1887, p. 329). 

"^ Oviedo described the use of corozo spathes as half-bushel (or half 
hundredweight, "media hanega") measures for corn in the West Indies. 
He said that several inhabitants of Salvatierra de la Savana had them. 
Sometimes they were so large that they had to be "diminished" in order 
to measure a half "hanega" (fanega) according to Royal standards. 
Such corozo spathe measures were called manaluiecas. These lasted, 
according to Oviedo, for 2 or 3 years, were very tough, and would not 
break, even when dropped from a high place (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, 
p. 333). 

654162—47 U 

is put to various uses, as for firewood and construction pur- 
poses. Standley (1920-26, p. 83) mentions a corresponding 
usefulness of the cohime in Mexico, where he characterizes 
it as "one of the most important palms economically." A 
further use, in Costa Rica, is the making of hats from the 
leaves. Standley (1930, p. 217) quotes Gann to the effect 
that Indians of British Honduras make oil for lighting and 
cooking, also "wine from the trunks".'™ 

Because of the widespread utility of the trees, they bring 
a good price, and consequently they have been heavily cut 
out in many sections. In Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, I 
found that natives purchase leaves from the landowners, cut- 
ting them themselves, for 1 cent each. At San Sebastian 
Retalhuleu, where the demand is greater because of their 
needs in making raincapes, Indians pay SO cents for a cargo 
of about 100 pounds (average 25 leaves ?), and for a good 
supply they must go as far as Las Cruces (12 miles) and 
Caballo Blanco (17 miles). Though the palm occurs, in re- 
duced size, as high in elevation as 850 m. (2,789 ft.. Palmar), 
it grows best below 650 m. (2,132 ft.), and because of the 
cutting out of it in the more populous upper portions of 
this zone, the most luxuriant stands today are apparently 
confined to the outer Lowlands, below about 100 to 150 m, 
elevation (328 and 492 ft. ; see pi. 2, a) . I found no evidence 
of the cohunc ever being planted by man. 


The coco {Cocos nucifera, upper limit about 875 m.) is of 
economic significance for food, driiJt, and fiber, the latter 
having given rise to a budding Ladino industry in the fashion- 
ing of bright-colored mats and other souvenirs at San 
Sebastian Retalhuleu. 


Coyol palms (Acrocomia mexicana) bear well to 1,700 m. 
(5,577 ft.) elevation. The numerous fruits are eaten, raw or 
cooked, and the flowers are used for decorating at religious 

The former species name vinifera derives from the im- 
portance of the tree in making a mild fermented drink from 
the trunk sap, a practice which dates apparently from pre- 
Columbian time (see Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 334), but 
which is carried on less extensively today. This is probably 
due to governmental monopoly and restrictions on all alco- 
holic beverages. Standley calls it "Mexican wine palm," 

Henry Bruman, who has made a survey of native intoxi- 
cants in Mexico and Central America,'" has found reference 
to the coyol palm, as follows : 

*™ Several uses of corozo are described by Oviedo, who calls it 
manaca. These include food (flesh of the fruit), both "Indians and 
even Christians" (it was supposed to turn them yellow as in the flesh 
of pigs), feed for pigs, and thatch (Oviedo, 1851-55, vol. 1, p. 333). 

""Bruman's Ph. D. thesis (Ms. 1940), as yet unpublished, is in the 
University of California Library. 



The Relacion of Chalcaltianguiz (on the lower Papaloapan 
River in Mexico), dated 1777, refers to palm wine made by 
cutting a hole in a standing coyol palm, after the heart is 
removed, so that the juices of the plant would fill the hole 
and form wine through natural fermentation. Modern Indians 
of Chiapas told Bruman of the process known to them of 
felling the palm and carving a hole of 1 to 2 cu. m. capacity 
near the top of the reclining trunk, then allowing the sap 
to ferment. Lacandones, according to his Ocosingo in- 
formant, similarly prepare a hole in a 4-foot stump. 

Fuentes y Guzman (1932-33, vol. 2, p. 64) describes the 
making of wine in a similar manner on the south coast of 
Guatemala. According to this source, a hole is cut in a 
fallen coyol trunk, near the middle. Josef de Cistire men- 
tions coyol palm wine on the south coast of Guatemala, Low- 
land Salvador, Nicaragua, and in the Nicoya region of Costa 


Another palm of economic value is the pacaya (Chamae- 
dorea sp.) which Uirives to elevations around 1,500 m. 
(4,921 ft.). The edible flower of this tree is well described 
by Standley (1930, pp. 217-218), who says "the unopened 
inflorescence resemble small ears of corn with husk" and are 
"much used as a vegetable in many parts of Mexico and 
Central America." This is certainly true for the Pacific 
coastal region of Guatemala. The small, green pacaya spathes 
(staminate) are commonly seen in Highland Indian markets, 
for sale by those merchants who deal in tropical fruits, 
such as the Atitecos (of Santiago Atitlan; see p. 99). These 
bitterish palm flowers are very palatable, usually eaten in an 
omelet, and are much liked by both Ladinos and Indians. 
Branches of bright-colored fruit of various palms are sold 
in markets of the Altos during Holy Week for decorations. 
I noted them particularly at Quezaltenango (1936). 


Useful plants other than palms are far too numerous to 
list in this report, so that only the principal ones have been 
selected. Considering first the fruit trees, it should be pointed 
out that, though these are sometimes planted, their cultiva- 
tion by the Indians is so desultory as to merit placing them 
among the trees of the forest, and calling the "harvest" 
simple gathering. There are virtually no orchards, the trees 
most nearly "cultivated" growing more or less close by habi- 
tations, in no order whatever. In most cases their growth 
is fortuitous, though a seed m-iy be planted (usually an 
accident), or a seedling taken up by an Indian and planted 
closer home. 

Sapotaceae. — Zapote mainey. — Large native American 
sapotaceous trees are well represented in Lowland forests. 
Perhaps the largest and most abundant, as to tree and to 
fruit, is the zapote mamey (fr. Nahuatl, tsapotl^^ sweet 
fruit; Calocarpiim mammosum, mainly below 1,200 m. eleva- 
tion), its brown, egg-shaped, sandy-skinned fruit, with 
smooth, sweet, sepia-red flesh, reaching 8 inches or more in 
length. From the ::apote is derived the name Zapotitlan, col- 
onial province and modern town (San Francisco Zapotitlan). 
The large, black seed, sapuyul, is widely used to prepare a 
beverage (ground and mixed with atol or corn gruel) and 

soap, and is abundant in many Highland markets, particularly 
Quezaltenango and San Juan Ostunalco, brought mainly by 
Zunil and Almolonga traders. San Antonio Suchitepequez, 
Mazatenango, and Palmar are major sources of supply, along 
with other centers between 400 and 1,000 m. (1,312 and 3,280 
ft.) elevation. It was reported in Chicacao that the fat was 
used for soap, and the ground, roasted kernel mixed and 
drunk with chocolate."'" 

Ingerto {Calocarptmi viride, elevation limits 1,000-1,800 
m., or 3,280-5,905 ft.) has a smaller, softer skinned fruit, 
but is otherwise quite similar, even to the use of the seed, 
also called sapuyul. It is especially ingerto sapuyul which 
is sold, as well as the fruit, in large quantities in the Pana- 
jachel market. 

Chicozapotc or n'tspcro (naseberry or sapodilla, Achras 
sapota, grows to about 1,200 m., or 3,937 ft. elevation) is 
the famous chicle, or chewing-gum tree. The smaller fruits 
(globose, average 3 in. in diameter) thinner skinned than 
the mamey, with buff-colored flesh, are regarded as a spe- 
cial delicacy. The "chico" (Sp., "small") in the name does 
not refer, as it might appear, to the size, but is a Nahuatl 
derivative (tsico := gum) . 

Caimito (star-apple, Chrysophyllum cainito, grows well to 
1,000 m. elevation) is smallest as to tree, and perhaps least 
abundant of the 4 zapotes. The sweet, purple-fleshed, green- 
er purple-skinned fruit is about the size of the chicocapote, 
both appearing in small quantities in Highland markets. All 
of these Sapotaceae. except the latter, are reported by Stand- 
ley (1920-26, pp. 1114, 1119-1120; Standley and Calderon, 
1925, p. 169; Standley, 1930, pp. 378-380) as cultivated, or 
probably cultivated, in various parts of Central America. 
That seems to be true in some measure for the Pacific coast. 
They appear in abundance in Lowland markets, but they are 
mostly gathered from the monte, or uncultivated forest. 
Standley suggests Central American origin for sapote 
mamey and chicocapote. Possibly ingerto is also indigenous. 

Matasano or zapote bianco (white "zapote," Casimiroa 
edulis, elevation limits, 600-2,000 m. or 1,968-6,562 ft.) is 
similar to ingerto except that the fruit pulp is cream-colored 
and it has usually five seeds instead of one. The Cakchiquel 
name ajachel explains the etymology of the town Panajachel 
(literally, "place of the matasano") . Xankatales bring them 
in quantity to the market at Santo Tomas la Union, from 
the lands of Nahuala and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan. 
Ingertos and matasanos are abundant along the shores of 
Lake Atitlan. 

Nance (Byrsonima crassifolia, small OA inch), bright 
yellow fruit (elevation limit about 1,400 m. or 4,593 ft.) is 
common in Highland markets, particularly around Lake 
Atitlan, to which Atitecos bring up at least one cargo a 
week from Lowland Chicacao. Nance is valued also for 

Anona (custard-apple, mainly Aiinona cherimolia and A. 
reticulata, to 1,000 m. elevation), papaya (tree-melon, Carica 
papaya, mainly below 1,400 m.), jocote maraiion (cashew 

=^ That the widespread use and importance of C. mammosum is an 
ancient one is seen not only by implication in the numerous place names 
derived therefrom; many references are made to it in early literature, 
perhaps most significant of which is that of Oviedo, who classes it along 
with the staple foods, and states that the fruit occurs "in such quan- 
tity that they are a very important food for tlie Indians" (Oviedo, 1851- 
55, vol. 3, p. 219). 



fruit, Anacardium occidentale, to 1,000 m. elevation), and 
several species of guavas, all are Lowland fruits of some 
importance, though none except papayas are cultivated with 
any pains, if at all. Only the first two get up into markets 
of the Altos. They are all native to the Americas. 


Exotic fruits include the mango (Mangifera indica, im- 
portant fruit to 1,600 m., or 5,249 ft. elevation) and tamarind 
(Tamarindus indica), presumably from India; Polynesian 
breadfruit, two varieties, seldom eaten except when mixed 
with corn,*" in times of need, and apparently as much dis- 
liked here as in the West Indies plantations; and numerous 
citrus fruits. Among these are sweet and sour orange, sweet 
lime {lima, Citrus limetta, rather insipid and bitterish than 
sweet; pi. 27, /), lime (bears to 1.000 m. elevation, usually 
1,600 m. at Lake Atitlan), grapefruit, and cidra (citron, 
Citrus medica), grown mainly for confections. The first 
three of these (oranges, limas, and limes) are the only citrus 
fruits commonly appearing in the markets of Southwest 
Guatemala, their abundance being about in the order given ; 
citron is seen occasionally in the plaza of Totonicapan. 
Grapefruit is rare in western Guatemala, though an e.xcellent 
variety is produced in some abundance in the dry regions of 
eastern Guatemala, as around Zacapa. Lime is called limon : 
I have never seen a true lemon growing in Guatemala ; they 
are unknown in most parts of Central America. Several 
Lake Atitlan towns are noted for citrus fruits, particularly 
Santa Cruz and its aldea, Tzununa ; the fruits are said to be 
best in the dry season, November to March. Oranges (bear- 
ing to 1,800 m., or 5,905 ft.) and limas (reaching about 
1,600 m., or 5,249 ft.) from here and from Santiago Atitlan 
are even sold in quantity in the Lowland markets, chiefly 
Chicacao. Nahuala is the main source of supply for San 
Antonio Suchitepequez, Santo Tomas la Union, and Mazate- 
nango, as well as all Highland markets between Quezalten- 
ango and Solola. 

There are several reasons for this preferred higher-eleva- 
tion producing area. First, all crops seem to have best 
quality near the cold margin (high elevation in the Tropics 
corresponding with high latitude on the globe), owing pos- 
sibly to slow maturing ; second, a cooler climate more closely 
approximates the native, extratropical habitat of the citrus 
trees ; third, diseases and pests are at a minimum where tem- 
peratures are lower. The fruitfly {Anastrepha ludens, pri- 
marily), which ravaged Lowland orange crops in some sec- 
tions, has been practically unknown on Lake Atitlan."" 

Factors that favor the western lake towns in citrus fruit 
production are fertile volcanic soils, fairly high in potassium, 
and apparent immunity from the fruitfly and other pests, as 
a result probably of mountain and water barriers, swept 
nightly by a strong northeast wind, with cooler temperatures 
than those prevailing in the Lowlands. 

There are other Lowland fruit-producing plants, probably 
indigenous, but they are of little significance in the native 

=« Breadfruit is fairly important for fattening pigs at Santo Domingo 

=«Anuario Servicio Tecnico, Guatemala, 1932, p. 100, states that 
this fly infests fruits of many sorts in the Pacific Lowlands (to 5,000 
ft. or 1,524 m.) and also in the valley around Zacapa. 

enonomy, for example: The icaco {Chrysabalanus icaco), 
the fruit of which, according to the Guatemala Anuario Ser- 
vicio Tecnico for 1931 (pp. 67-68), are shipped to the capital 
from Mazatenango; the inferior Antillean avocado (Persea 
americatia) of the Lowlands, no competitor of the native 
brittle-skinned Guatemala variety of the Highlands, arriving 
in quantity from San Pedro, San Juan, and Santiago Atitlan 
to Chicacao, San Antonio Suchitepequez, Mazatenango, and 
other coastal markets ; jocote inico, jocote agosto, or jocote 
costeiio (small, red, acid variety of Spoitdias purpurea or 
possibly S. lutea), and jobo or "hog-pium" {Spondias lutea), 
both producing inferior fruit (see table 8, p. 144). The Lake 
Atitlan villages are the chief jocote producers of Southwest 
Guatemala, though the Amatitlan region is also important 
(see pp. 97-126). 



There are great numbers of uncultivated herbs which have 
food or "medicinal" value. Particularly prominent among 
the former is a small legume, chipilin (Crotalaria longiro- 
strala), widely gathered and eaten as greens in many parts 
of Guatemala. It is sometimes cultivated, as at Santa Cata- 
rina Palopo, where there are small gardens of it. La Farge 
and Byers (1931, p. 74) mention it by its common name 
around Jacaltenango (Dept. of Huehuetenango) , and Stand- 
ley (1920-26, p. 437; Standley and Calderon, 1925, p. 109) 
cites its importance as a food plant in both Guatemala and 
Salvador. Bledo {Amaranthus sp.), also sometimes culti- 
vated, is another important herb of which the leaves are 
eaten (p. 142). 


The origin of the swordbean Urijol liaba, Canavalia 
ensiformis) has been subject to much disagreement, and the 
question has not yet been clarified. Standley and Calderon 
(1925, p. 108) called it native to the Old World Tropics. 
Bukasov (1930) reported C. ensiformis (as "haba criolla") 
in Venezuela, where it is known to occur wild. Ditmer's 
interpretation of a gold object from a pre-historic Colombian 
burial (depicted by Uhle) as C. ettsiformis is cited by 
Bukasov, with an illustration (fig. 87) of the pod. Archeo- 
logical evidences which I have seen in Peru seem to indi- 
cate that Canavalia ensiformis was the commonest bean of 
that region in pre-Columbian time, having appeared in pre- 
ceramic cultures and probably antedating the lima bean. 

The Russians found C. aisiformis only once "on the whole 
of our itinerary." That was at Santa Isabel, Chiapas, where 
it was grown by a native for food. I found it in small quan- 
tities in a number of localities in Oaxaca (ayecoie), Chiapas 
("antirdbico"), and Guatemala, in the Pacific Coastal Low- 
lands, where it is called "frijol haba" because of its large 
size, like the liaba. As the Chiapas name implies, the bean 
there, large and white, is thought to have curative proper- 
ties against rabies, but exhaustive tests conducted by Mrs. 
Ruth Chesbro, University of California Department of Bac- 
teriology, failed to substantiate these claims. The plant is 
grown on a small scale in Chiapas, Guatemala, and otlier 
parts of Central America, for the edible seed. 



According to Bukasov (1930), "the majority of the species 
Canavalia," namely 24, are American and only 13 from the 
Old World. 

I collected specimens of small, wild forms of Canavalia 
along the north shore of Lake Atitldn in Guatemala, and in 
many parts of the mountains of Chiapas (1941). 


Annatto {achiote, Bi.ra orellana, probable upper limit of 
good production, 600 m., or 1,968 ft.), which grows in abun- 
dance in the Lowlands, is a common ingredient of native 
beverages. There are two varieties of this small tree, one 
with a smooth pod and one spiny, the capsules being about 2 
inches long and containing numerous seeds the size of BB 
shot, coated with soft, claylike, brick-red pigment. This is 
much in demand throughout Guatemala as a coloring sub- 
stance for foods, especially rice, and drinks."' Chichicaste- 
nango merchants buy it in Lowland markets, chiefly Maza- 
tenango, and sell it in many Highland plazas. 


Pataxtc (Theobroma bicolor, upper elevation limit, 600 m., 
or 1,968 ft.) is commonly planted as a shade tree, along 
with cu-rin (Iiiga punctata, more important for coffee shade, 
q. v.. p. 34) for Thcobroma cacao (discussed under agri- 
culture, p. 33), and it also serves rather widely as a 
substitute for it."° Pataxtc pods (smaller than those of 
cacao, which is ordinarily sold in beans or as chocolate) are 
generally sold entire, in small quantity by the weekly Atiteco 
fruit vendors in Solola, Patziim, Panajachel, and other 
Highland markets. I saw one of the heavy, woody pods, 
cut in half transversely, used as a cup at Santa Catarina 
Palopo. At San Pedro Cutzan the pinol (ground toasted- 
corn and spice drink) as prepared in the Lowlands was 
described to me as containing falaxte, cacao, aniseed, sugar, 
and sometimes ginger or cinnamon, in addition to toasted 
corn. There are many regional variations in this drink, 
which is almost universal with Indians and Ladinos alike. 
In the Lake Atitlan region, for example, the partial substi- 
tution of pataxtc for cacao seemed to occur less frequently 
than on the coast, where it is more readily available. Also, 
around the Lake, Chiapas pepper (pimicnta de Chiapas) 
is added and barley, but no sugar ; at Guatemala City, sugar 
is used as on the coast. 


The native calabash or gourd tree, jicaro {Crcsccntia 
cujete), is abundant through the inner Coastal Plain, supply- 
ing useful gourds for receptacles (jicaras or guacales), 
generally oblong, up to S or 10 inches in length. The round- 
fruit species (C. alata), generally called morro, is much the 

2** '*. . . enters in the mixture of the drink cacao" {Anon. Ms. 
1579, p. 17 f. 113). Annatto is used for body paint in Amazonia and 
other tropical regions, and is made into dyes in some sections, as well 
as being exported in considerable quantity for coloring butter and 
cheese (Standley, 1920-26, p. 835). 

-^^ The value of pataxtc in early colonial time was about one-half 
that of cacao (Anon., Ms. 1579, p. 17, f. 113). 

commoner in Guatemala. These go in quantity to Highland 
markets, but not in quantities comparable with those of 
Rabinal (see p. 57). Both habitats are characterized by 
hot, dry climates, to which the tree seems best suited. 


The universal hedge plant, chichicaste, or nettle-tree 
(Urcra baccifera), from which the town of Santo Tomas 
Chichicastenango derives its name, is somewhat less in evi- 
dence in the Lowlands than in the Highlands, where there 
are infinitely more small land-holdings of independent In- 
dians to be fenced in. Pifiuela {Bromelia pingidn), looking 
like a large pineapple plant, but with small, inferior, acid 
fruit, is also commonly planted as a hedge. Both native to 
tropical America, neither one could well be called "culti- 

Yucca (hizote, Yucca elephantipes). — Grown mainly as 
a hedge plant, especially in the Highlands (pis. 16; 23, d), 
the hizote bears a large white flower (panicle) which is 
gathered for food, and frequently appears in Highland 
markets. Having a mildly bitter taste, it is regarded as a 
delicacy, and justly so, prepared in an omelet. Standley sug- 
gests that the plant w-as in ancient times imported originally 
from Mexico, where it is "probably native to Veracruz" 
(Standley, 1930, p. 228; 1920-26, p. 92; Standley and Cal- 
deron, 1925, p. 50). Bukasov (1930) describes it as a "half 
cultivated textile plant of the Costa Rica Indians (and 
Guatemala?)." The usual uses of yucca in Guatemala are 
as hedge and minor food. Standley (see reference above) 
cites and lists additional uses in Costa Rica as follows : Soap 
(roots), thatch and fiber (leaves); stockades and posts 
(trunks) ; these also in Salvador and Mexico. In the 
Mexican plateau, I have seen the leaves used extensively 
for thatch, but this is extremely rare in Guatemala. 

The coral tree {flor de pito, Erythrina sp.), is a common 
fence plant, especially around Lake Atitlan. The flowers, 
like small red machetes, are eaten (boiled), and the red seeds 
are used as beads, often in the rituals of medicine men. 


In addition to the rubbery bcjucos already mentioned, fine 
and flexible plant material is provided by the miinbre or osier 
of the "sauce," or willow {Salix chilensis), used in the Low- 
lands for making such articles as wicker furniture, baskets, 
and hats. Like the bejitcos, mimbre is to be found to some 
extent throughout the southwestern Lowlands, but is partic- 
ularly abundant in the boca casta. From Nahuala-Santa 
Catarina Ixtahuacan come great quantities of it, regularly 
brought by the natives of those municipios to furniture shops 
of Mazatenango. The Indians of Nahuala and Santa Cata- 
rina make baskets and hats, which look as if they were de- 
signed after British cork helmets, of osier, and sell the for- 
mer, for the most part, in the Mazatenango market. 

Another genus of considerable economic significance, 
which should be mentioned in connection with the boca casta, 
is that of Calathea, including the so-called hoja m-axdn or 



hoia de bijao (C. macrosepala) and hoia de saP" (C. lutea). 
Both have the broad leaf characteristic of so many of the 
Marantaceae, the former {vi-axdn) being somewhat smaller, 
2 or 3 feet long instead of 4 or 5. The leaf is green on both 
sides, whereas hoja de sal has a chalky underleaf. Both ap- 
parently grow to elevations of about 1,000 m., the latter not 
so well adapted to a shady habitat as hoja maxdn. (This 
point is mentioned by Standley and Calderon, 1925, p. 56, 
and by Standley, 1931, p. 143, and pi. 25.) In the Guatemala 
Lowlands I have heard them referred to as the "one growing 
in the shade" and the "one growing in the sun." It is prob- 
ably for this reason that hoja maxdn grows more abundantly 
in the forested boca casta, and hoja de sal more in the open 
park-savanna of the Lowlands, especially in marshy habitats. 
The chief source of supply of hoja maxdn to Highland mar- 
kets is Pueblo Nuevo, where it is a major product, ranking 
perhaps next to coffee. Almolonga and Zunil merchants, on 
their return trips from Lowland markets, chief of which is 
Mazatenango, where they go to sell mostly garden vegetables, 
load up with these broad leaves for resale in the Highlands, 
especially at Quezaltenango. They are used for wrapping 
bulk foods bought in the plaza^' such as meat, lard, flour, 
salt, and sugar, and constitute an important addition to tha 
Lowland cargo. The latter consists usually of salt, coffee, 
rice, tropical fruit, and panela, which are loaded into rented 
trucks, about 8 of them a week ordinarily, and 15 for fiestas. 
Palmar is also an important center of production of hoja 
maxdn, for sale in quantity at Quezaltenango and San Felipe. 
At Palmar, Pueblo Nuevo, San Pablo Jocopilas, and other 
towns, I was told that both hoja de sal and maxdn are fre- 
quently planted, sometimes as a major "crop," being much in 
demand, but this could not be verified; they grow wild in 
considerable profusion. 

='*« Standley (1931, p. 143) reports that Calathea macrosepala is called 
hoja de sal in Guatemala, but in the coastal sections visited by me that 
term was applied only to C. lutea. The terminology is comple.x, how- 
ever, for in the outer Lowlands (below 500 m. ; San Bernardino, e.g.) 
C. lutea is called licja maxdn as well as hoja de sal; perhaps since it 
so greatly predominates here in the park-savanna. Higher up, they are 
distinguished. Since salt and foodstuffs are more often wrapped in 
C. macrosepala than in C. lutea, it is more reasonable tliat the former 
be called hoja de sal, but such seems not to be the case in Southwest 

"' Hoja de sal is sometimes used also for wrappings, especially salt; 
it is from that use that its common name is said to be derived. For 
wrapping food, ma.xan is preferred, as it seems to be tougher, and 
does not get the bad odor of Iwja de sal when old, according to reports. 
Both are used for roof thatch, but hoja de sal somewhat more, appar. 
ently, and at lower elevations (see map 14 and pi. 3, a, 6, c). Standley 
states (1931, p. 143) that C. lutea (called hoja de sal in Salvador) is 
used for wrapping food and for "temporary thatching." 

The many early uses of "bihao," which may have been Calathea, are 
listed in elaborate detail by Oviedo (1831, vol. 1, pp. 276-277); they 
include food, thatch, raincapes, fine, beautifully woven, rainproof bas- 
kets, including one made especially for clothing, and one for salt. 


Cojoii (Stemmadenia sp.) provides a latex of which a gum 
{kach) is said to be prepared, and bought on a large scale by 
Chichicastenango merchants passing through San Pablo 

Old World rosa de Jamaica, or simply Jamaica (Jamaica 
sorrel or roselle, Hibiscics sabdariffa), is noted for its red 
caly.xes, which are sold in Highland markets during and after 
fiestas. The acid febrifuge prepared from them is prized, 
I was told in Solola, as a remedy for the after-effects of al- 
cohol. Standley (1920-26, p. 779) and Bukasov (1930, p. 351, 
English summary, p. 534) mention the drink as used in Mex- 
ico, with no reference, however, to the "hangover" remedy. 

Conspicuous throughout the Lowlands is the giant ceiba, 
or silk-cotton tree (Ceiba pentadra, which grows to 1,500 m. 
elevation), important as a preferred market shade tree since 
ancient times'" (pi. 5, a). One in the plaza at Palin is 
especially famous. The "almendro" {Terminalia catappa) 
is sometimes planted for market shade, as at Chicacao; it is 
low-growing and flat-topped, having the appearance of a 
large parasol. White-trunked, slender guarumo trees {Ce- 
cropia mexicana) are widely used for house walls, 
the hollow trunk being split (see map 14 and pi. 2, 
b, g). The prized jaboncillo, or soapberry tree (Sapindtis 
saponaria) produces berries which are much employed for 
washing clothes, but only by the poorer people, I was told.'" 

A widely used fiber, finer and perhaps more durable than 
agave, is derived throughout the piedmont from the pita floja 
("silk-grass," Aechmea magdalenae) "''° In San Sebastian 
Retalhuleu, strips of corozo palm tree leaves used in 
stiyacales are sewn together with thread made of pita floja 
fiber. In certain sections, as Santo Domingo Suchitepequez, 
the thread is fashioned into fish nets and cordage of various 

Pokeweed {Phytolacca rugosa) called .yacoc'/uan (San Juan 
Ostuncalco) and tzichipak, literally "dog soap" (Momos- 
tenango), is widely sold (entire clusters of purplish berries) 
in Highland markets as soap. It is considered especially 
good for washing blue skirts, to keep the color strong. It 
grows both in Lowlands and Highlands. 

Escobilla (Sida rhombifolia) is used in the Lowlands for 
making fish nets of the fine bark fiber. 

-^* Mentioned as a market shade tree by Oviedo, 1S51-S5, vol. 1, p. 

=*» This tree is probably the one mentioned by Bukasov tinder the 
name amolillo, which he said was an "unknown plant," the seeds of 
wliicli "are used as may be gathered from its Spanish name, as a sub- 
stitute for soap" (Bukasov, 1930, p. 4S5). 

-"Called by Standley "one of the best fibers known" (1936, p. 90; 
cf. also Standley, 1930, p. 220; 1931, p. 126). 




Achiote, see Annatto. 

Adobe, sun-dried construction block or "brick" of clayey 
earth, generally dark ; also, the earth, which may be 
daubed on walls. 

Aguacate, avocado, or "alligator pear" {Persca amcricana) . 

Aguardiente (lit., "fire water"), strong rum made from 
brown cane sugar {pmiela). 

Alcalde, in Guatemala, the political chief of a municipio 
before 1935, since which time the ranking ofticial has 
been an intendente. 

Alcantarilla, aqueduct, generally of unglazed tiles. 

Aldea, small settlement or hamlet, generally larger and 
more important than a caserio, but smaller than a pueblo. 

Alfenique, a kind of candy ring made at Sacapulas, of 
squash seeds and sugarcane juice. 

Alguacil, minor sheriff's deputy and municipal servant who 
fierforms menial duties. 

Aliso, alder (Alntts spp.), from the bark of which a deep 
reddish-brown dye for wool yarn is derived. 

Almendro, a Lowland shade tree (Temiinalia catappa) dis- 
tinctive for its whorled branches. 

Almud, a volume measure (ordinarily a shallow, square 
wooden box) used for grain, especially maize, of which 
it contains about 12^2 pounds avoirdupois. 

Afiil, or jiquilite, indigo (dark-blue) dyestuflf, and the 
plant (especially Indigofcra suffruticosa, also /. guate- 
inaleiisis) from which it is derived. 

Annatto, anatto, or arnotto, small tree (.Bi.ra orellana) 
and the yellowish red, fugitive dyestuflf (mainly for 
food coloring) derived from it. 

Anona, one of various trees (Annona spp.), called also 
anon, with large sweet, edible fruits; chirimoya, sweet- 
sop, custard apple (esp. A. retictdala). etc. 

Arriero, muleteer. 

Arroyo, deep gorge or ravine through which a small stream 
flows ; also, the stream. 

Atol, or atole, thick corn gruel served hot and variously 

Auxiliar, lowest order of public servants, who assist the 
rcgidorcs, or aldermen, in carrying out public works 
projects ; they are generally recruited from the Indian 
element of the population in this region. 

Axin, or axi, a scale insect (Llaveia axin) from which a 
wax (lac) is derived by cooking, used to coat tree 
calabashes at Rabina! ; the insect somewhat resembles 
chile, formerly called aji in Guatemala, still so called 
in South America. 

Ayote, see calabaza (squash or pumpkin). 

Bajareque, house wall made of interlaced poles or canes 
(vertical and horizontal) daubed with adobe and some- 
times reinforced with rubble, as at Panajachel. 

Barranca, deep gully, ravine, or gorge. 

Barrio, section, or ward, of a village or town. 

Bejuco, small, usually rubbery, tough vine common in the 
Lowlands, much used for binding, especially in house 

Bledo, amaranth {Amaranihus sp.). 

Boca costa, inner edge of the Coastal Plain and base of the 
mountains (lit., "mouth of the coast"). 

Boceles, a confection of popcorn coated with sirup made 
from brown sugar. 

Brasil {palo de) {Haematoxylum brasiletto), dyewood used 
to dj^e wool yarn various shades of reds and purples. 

Brujo, Indian shaman or medicine man, ministering only to 

Cabecera, capital of a department or municipio ; of the 
latter it ordinarily carries the name, and it usually, but 
not always, carries the department name. 

Cacao, Theohroma cacao tree, or its seeds (cacao "beans") 
from which cocoa and chocolate are prepared. 

Cacaste, wooden carrying frame, usually with four legs 
and one or two shelves, used only by the Indian men 
and boys for goods transported on their backs with the 
mecapal or tumpline (g. v.). 

Cafe en oro, unroasted coffee "bean," or seed, with the thin 
husk (pcrgamiuo) removed, ready for roasting (dis- 
tinguished from cafe en pergamino, pulped, but un- 
shelled, coffee). 

Caiba, cucurbitaceous vegetable (Cyclanlhera pedata) ; fruit 
(usually stuffed) and leaves eaten. 

Caimito, sapotaceous tree (star-apple, Chrysophyllum 
cainilo) with sweet, purple-fleshed fruit. 

Calabaza, squash (Cucurbita moschata) or pumpkin (C. 

Caldera, large crater or depression caused by crustal col- 
lapse of volcanoes or volcanic areas undermined by long- 
continued volcanic eruptions; sometimes due in part 
also to eruptive explosions. 

Camote, sweetpotato. 

Campeche, see Palo de campeche. 

Canasta, deep, handled basket, carried by Ladinas. 

Canasto, shallow, open basket without handles, for use in 
displaying goods in the market ; Indian women carry 
them on their heads. 

Canicula (lit.. Dog Star), or Veranillo de San Juan, short, 
relatively dry period of varying duration and irregular 
occurrence, sometime during July-August, between the 
two periods of maximum rainfall (June and September). 

Capixai, long, natural-black wool robe worn by the Indian 
men in various municipios. 

Carga de cacao, 24,000 "beans" or seeds of cacao, by ancient 
Aztec measure, adopted also by early colonial Spanish. 
A carga, or manload, consisted of three xiquipUes (20 
contles of 400) . 

Caserio, small hamlet, or rural community, generally of an 
order of size and importance next below that of an 

Cassava, see Manioc. 

Ceiba, silk cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra) ; plate 5, a. 

Chalum, important cofifee shade tree {Inga sp.). 

Chamborote, large butter bean {Phaseolus coccineus) or, 
sometimes, giant kidney bean (P. vulgaris) in the 
Cuchumatanes region. 



Chicha, fermented drink made from maize (especially "black 
maize"), and sometimes from certain fruits. 

Chicharron, cracklings (of pig fat). 

Chichipate, Sweclia f'anaineiisis; tree producing fine con- 
struction wood. 

Chicozapote, see Nispero. 

Chilacayote, Cuciirbila ficifolia; whitish watermelonlike 

Chile, red or green pepper {Capsicum spp.). 

Chinche negrita (lit., "little black bug"), or cinco negriios; 
a small shrub (Lantana camara) used as an ingredient 
with cochineal in the dyeing of wool yarn at Monioste- 

Chipilin, Crotalaria longirostrata, a small leguminous plant 
with yellow flowers ; widely eaten as greens. 

Chirimia, crude reed instrument like an oboe, generally 
played at fiestas with drum accompaniment (pi. 17, d). 

Chupete, a kind of cone-shaped candy on a stick, sold 
especially at carnivals and fiestas. 

Cidra, citron {Citrus mcdica) . 

Cinco negritos, see Chinche negrita. 

Ciudad, town, characterized ordinarily by a rectangular 
street pattern, small stores and artisans' shops, a repre- 
sentative professional class, some facilities for overnight 
travelers, and, usually. Government offices (mostly 
ciudades are department cabeceras). Guatemala City 
is the only ciudad in Guatemala w-hich approaches our 
concept of a city. Next in rank below a citidad is a 

Cochineal, or grana, dyestuft' made up of dried bodies of 
a female scale insect {Coccus cacti) ; also the insect, 
cultivated on various species of tuna {q. v.). 

Coco, the coco palm {Cocos nucifcra), also its fruit (coco- 

Cofradia, Indian religious society, membership in which is 
confined to small localitiec throughout the region. 

Colono, see Ranchero. 

Comal, saucer-shaped griddle of fired clay, usually un- 
glazed, on which tortillas are baked. 

Copal, tree {Idea copal; also Elaphrium or Bursera spp.) 
and its resin, widely used as incense. 

Corozo, or manaco, the cohune palm {Orbignya cohune) ; 
the largest palm and one of the most useful plants of 
the Lowlands (optimum growth in Pacific Lowlands 
below about 650 ni., or 2,132 ft.). 

Corregimiento, colonial district served by a corregidor, or 
Spanish magistrate. 

Corte, a certain length (lit., "cut") of goods for clothing, 
especially a length of cloth for a woman's wrap skirt. 

Costa Cuca, narrow northwestern Pacific Coastal Lowlands, 
mainly beyond Retalhuleu (town). 

Costa de Guazacapan, narrow southeastern Pacific Low- 
lands, mainly beyond Escuintla (town). 

Costa Grande, main section of Pacific Lowlands, at its 
widest, essentially between Escuintla and Retalhuleu. 

Coyol, a useful palm {Acrocomia mexicana) . 

Criollo (-a), adj., native, indigenous. 

Cuadrillero, a temporadista {q. v.), or day laborer; one 
who clears cuadrillos (lit., small square areas) of coffee 
plantation land; a cuerda 28 varas (of 33 in.) square 
is the standard tarea, or day's work. 

Cuajatinta, see Sacatinta. 

Cuarenteiio, (lit., 40-day) applied to short (2 mo.) growing 
season maize. 

Cuerda, a measure of land, usually 22 varas (of 33 in.) 
square, which is 7,744 square feet, or between one-fifth 
and one-sixth of an acre (43,560 sq. ft.). On coffee 
plantations a cuerda of 28 varas square is sometimes 
used as a basis of land measurement. 

Cuilco incense, finest grade copal, put up in small, circular 
loaves, formerly brought only from Cuilco, more 
recently produced in Santa Maria Chiquimula. 

Cuxin, important coffee shade tree {Inga sp.). 

Departamento, department, largest political division within 
the Republic. 

Echintal, starchy edible root of the vegetable pear or 
chayote {giiisquil, Sechium edule) . 

Ejote, green bean or string bean ; immature Pliaseolus vid^ 
garis as a vegetable. 

Elote, immature ear of maize. 

Encomienda, colonial practice of entrusting natives in 
America to the "protection" of the Spanish conquerors, 
theoretically for conversion of the charges to Roman 
Catholicism and other presumed benefits of Old World 
civilization ; actually, enforced labor amounting to 

Escobilla, small Lowland shrub {Sida rhombifolia) pro- 
ducing fine fiber (in bark) much used in making fish 

Estancia, large farm, usually a cattle ranch. 

Estoraque, copal resin {q. v.) in granular form. 

Feria, annual fair, specifically the animal market which in 
many villages is important only at one fiesta a year ; 
hence, an animal market. 

Fiesta titular, festival held in celebration of the patron 
saint of a community, always on the saint's day, a fixed 
day of the year. 

Finca, plantation, generally one where coffee is the major 

Finquero, owner of a finca, or plantation. 

Flor de pito, coral tree {Erylhrina corallodendron), com- 
mon hedge plant, with edible flower and ornamental red 

Foot loom or treadle loom, European loom with a large 
wooden frame and treadles by which the heddles are 
raised and lowered, forming the shed ; the shuttle is 
shot back and forth by hand. This loom is operated 
only by men, Ladinos and Indians. Small belt and head- 
band looms of this type are oiJerated by both men and 

Frijol, bean, generally the small common kidney bean 
{Pliaseolus vulgaris). The Cakchiquel word "quindc" 
means literally "kidney seed." 

Frijol de suelo, bush bean, kidney {Phaseolus vulgaris). 

Frijol haba, swordbean {Canavalia ensiformis), called 

ayecote in Mexico. 
Gaban, short jacket of natural black wool, worn by men; 
inner sleeves and sides are split for freedom of arm 
Gallery forest, growth of trees along the banks of a river 
in a region where forest is not the dominant vegetation. 
Garavito, or escarda; weedhook. 



Garbanzo, chickpea {Cicer ariel'mum) . 

Garlito, fish trap, those on Lake Atitlan consisting of a 
split-cane funnel with a cane pole attached to the apex ; 
placed with the baited funnel opening toward the bank, 
on which the pole rests. 

Grana, see Cochineal. 

Granadilla, edible fruit of a passion flower, or the vine 
(especially Passi flora ligularis). 

Gravilea, silk oak (Grmillea robusta), ornamental tree 
sometimes used for coffee shade at middle altitudes, but 
too brittle for good wind resistance. 

Guachipilin, small leguminous tree {Diphysa roUnioides) , 
having very hard wood much used in house construc- 
tion (for mainposts, especially) and for railroad ties. 

Guarumo, slender tree (Cecropia spp.) having a soft, hollow 
trunk much used in the Lowlands for house walls. 

Giiicoy, a small, warty deeply lobed squash (Cuctirbita 
pepo ?) grown generally in high altitudes (above about 
1,600 m.). 

Guineo, banana {Musa sapientum). 

Giiisquil, vegetable pear or chayote (Sechium edulc), hav- 
ing edible fruit, leaves, and root (echintal). 

Haba, broadbean (Vicia faba) . 

Henequen, see sisal. 

Hizote, jTicca (Yucca clephantipes), common hedge plant. 

Hoja de sal, leaf of Calathea lutea, marantaceous plant 
having large, bananalike leaves with whitish under- 
sides; much used locally in Pacific Lowlands for roof 

Hoja maxan, or bijao, leaf of Calathea macrosepala, broad- 
leafed marantaceous plant of the Pacific Coastal Low- 
lands, sold in quantity throughout the region for food 

Huipil, Indian woman's tuniclike upper garment, having no 
true sleeves, but openings left in partially stitched sides. 

Iguana, large (up to 6 feet) edible lizard (Iguana iguana), 
of arboreal habit and largely herbivorous, much prized 
for food, as are the eggs (igua.xte). 

Iguaxte, iguana eggs. 

Ingerto (lit., a horticultural graft), Calocarpum 'Aride, 
sapotaceous tree with fruit similar to the mamey, but 
smaller and smoother skinned. 

Intendente municipal, political chief of a municipio ; term 
in use since 1935, replacing alcalde. In municipios having 
large Ladino populations the intendente is always a 
Ladino, though the Indians have their officials in the 
vmnicipalidad indigena. In municipios with almost no 
Ladino population the intendente is an Indian; the secre- 
tary is usually a Ladino, but may be an Indian who can 
read and write Spanish. 
Invierno, rainy season, "winter," lasting from May through 

October in most of the region; actually, summer. 
Irsix, large yellow butter bean (Phaseolus coccineus) eaten 
in the pod, even after drying, by Indians of San Juan 
Isohyps, imaginary line of equal elevation above mean sea 

Ixcaco, or algodon ixeaco; cotton (Gossypium mexicanum) 
with a reddish brown fiber; also, sometimes, the color. 
Ixcumita, tepary bean (Phaseolus acutif alius), grown in the 
Pacific Coastal Lowlands. 

Ixpanque, lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) varieties in the 
Pacific Lowlands ; generally red or red and black striped 
and mottled, large or small, and flat. Other local terms 
for lima beans are patashete, in Cuchumatanes region, 
and furuna, in eastern Guatemala. 

Ixtapacal, lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) ; Pacific Lowland 
varieties, generally small, black (may be red or red 
splotched on black), roundish or slightly flattened. Maya 
glyph outlines apparently represent this bean, as in 
Mochica and Nasca ceramic decorations in Peru. 

Ixtle, fiber of certain magueys (q. v.). 

Jaboncillo, soapberry tree (Sapindus saponaria), and its 
berries, much used for soap. 

Jaspe, tie-dyed yarn, or ikat. 

Jefatura, official headquarters of the jefe politico, or gov- 
ernor of a department. 

Jefe politico, chief civil officer of a department, largest 
political division in Guatemala. 

Jicara, tree calabash of oblong shape, much used for drink- 
ing vessels. 

Jicaro, calabash tree (Crescentia cujete and C. alata). 

Jiquilite, see Ariil. 

Jobo. hog plum, small tree (Spondias lutea) ; also its in- 
ferior, acid fruit. 

Jocote, (lit. sour fruit, Aztec) acid, plumlike fruit, yellow 
or red; ciruela (tree), ciruelo (fruit) (Mex., Peru); 
"Spanish plum" or mombin; also, the tree (Spondias 

Jornalero, see Temporadista. 

Labor, small agricultural settlement. 

Ladinize, to assume or to imbue with a predominance of 
Ladino traits; used only with reference to Indians. 

Ladino, middle or lower class man having a predominance 
of European (Spanish) culture traits; distinguished 
from the Guatemalan aristocracy (except in the census) 
and from the Indian, who has distinctive culture traits, 
as in language, food, houses, and dress, some elements 
of which may be Spanish colonial. 

Lagarto ("alligator"), cayman (probably Caiman sclerops, 
the spectacled cayman, which is most common), croco- 
dilian reptile most closely related to the American 

Laurel, tree (Cordia alliodora) having fine wood for con- 
struction and cabinet work. 
Lima, sweet lime (Citrus Umctta) ; an insipid citrus fruit 
which looks like a large, round lemon, and has a thick, 
loose skin and easily separable segments. 

Limon, sour lime (Citrus aurantifolia) ; the tree or its 

roundish, yellowish green, thin-skinned, acid fruit. 
Macana, planting stick about 2 m. long, pointed at the lower 
end, held vertically in both hands ; used mainly in Low- 
land agriculture. 
Machete, large heavy, curved knife, usually with blade 
20 to 25 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide, with 
convex cutting edge; used for clearing, harvesting, cut- 
ting wood, etc. Nearly all are American-made (Collins). 
Madre de cacao. Lowland tree (Gliricidia sepium), used for 

coflee shade and for construction wood. 
Maguey, century plant; any of a number of species of 
Agave and some species of Furcraea, serving mainly 
for coarse fiber. 



Maguey de laso or de pita, any species of Agmie which 
yields fiber usable in making cords and ropes. 

Maiz, maize (Zea mays) ; this name was brought in by the 
Spaniards from the West Indies. Ixim is the word 
for maize in almost all of the 22 or more Maya dialects. 

Malacate, small wooden spindle; for cotton, about 12 inches 
long, with spherical clay or wooden whorl near one end 
(bottom when spinning) ; for wool, about 18 inches long, 
with wooden disk whorl, generally used by men (pi 
19, d). 

Manaco, see Corozo. 

Mani, or (Mex.) cacahuate; peanut. 

Manioc, or cassava, plants of the genus Manihot having 
edible roots that are high in starch, especially the bitter 
species (M. ulilissima, main source of tapioca) ; sweet 
manioc (M. didcis) is the one commonly grown in this 
region, and eaten as a boiled vegetable. 

Mano, slightly fusiform cylindrical stone grinder, held in 
two hands like a rolling pin and scraped over metate, 
or basal stone. 

Masa, ground nixtamal; corn mash. 

Mata, cluster of plants of the same kind, as a hill of maize. 

Matasano, or zapote bianco, tree (Casimiroa edutis), or its 
edible fruit. 

Matate, a kind of small carrying bag, with two short 
handles, generally made of rush pith (si7'dc). 

Matz, a wild kidney bean (Phascolus vulgaris) which grows 
in abundance at San Antonio Huista ; reported also near 
Guatemala City. 

Maxeno (-a), Indian man or woman of Santo Tomas 

Mecapal, tumpline; broad forehead strap with ropes at- 

Mecate, maguey (agave) cord. 

Melocoton, peach ; also, a Lowland cucurbit {Cicana 

Mescal agave, any of the various agaves yielding edible 
buds and leaf bases, which are sweet when roasted. 

Mesothermal winter-dry climate (Cw, Koppen), inter- 
mediate temperatures (monthly means are between 
and 18° C.) ; rains are fairly heavy in summer (May 
through October), with the winter half year almost 
completely dry. 

Milpa, cornfield, which may contain other crops inter- 
planted; sometimes (esp. as "milpitas") may refer also 
to individual plants. 

Miltomate, husk-cherry or groundcherry (Physalis spp.) ; 
low-growing plant with small, greenish, tomatolike 
edible berry. 

Mimbre, osier, or willow (Salix spp.) tree, or its flexible 
twigs used for baskets, chairs, etc. 

Molinillo, small wooden hand mill, usually four-bladed, held 
vertically between the flat palms of the hands in stirring 
chocolate to froth. 

Molote, fusiform ball of wool yarn on a canon (cane spool) 
as it comes from the spinning wheel, and as it often 
appears in the market. 

Morral, a bag generally made of agave fiber, of moderate 
size and with long string handles for hanging^ the bag 
from a saddle. 

Morro, large globular or ovoid tree calabash (Crescmtia 

Mozo, day laborer or servant. 
Mulatto, distinct racial cross involving principally white and 

Negro blood. 
Munlcipalidad, municipal offices encharged with the affairs 

of tlie municipio. 
Munlcipalidad indigena, governing body of Indian oflicials 

who look after Indian interests where this population 

element is large in a municipio. 
Municipio, smallest political unit, containing usually a 

cahcccra, or chief village or town of the same name, 

one or more aldeas, or rural settlements, and the scat- 
tered houses and fields of individual planters (or plan- 
tations in certain sections). 
Nance, tree (Byrsonima crassifolia) important for small. 

yellow, edible fruit and tanbark. 
Nispero, or Chicozapote, naseberry, or sapodilla tree 

(Achras ca[>ota), source of chicle, or chewing gum. 
Nixtamal, grains of corn spftefled by boiling in lime water. 
Nopal, prickly pear, or, tuna; cochineal "fig" or cactus 

(Noj^alea cochenillifcra) or other species of Nopalea or 

Ocote, pitch pine splints, used for torches and for starting 

fires ; also, the tree, various species of Pinus, especially 

t CO cote. 
Olote, corn cob. 
Pacaya, small palm (Chamaedorca spp.) with an edible 

flower of economic importance. 
Pajizo, adj., grass-thatched. 
Pajon, large sedgelike grass, especially the bunchgrass 

{Muhlenbcrgia sp.) of high altitudes, often dominant 

above 2,500 tn. 
Palma del mar, fan palm (Inodes sp.) growing near the 

Pacific shore and there much used for roof thatch. 
Palo amarillo, tree (Chlorophora tinctoria) with yellowish 

wood from which a yellow dye is derived. 
Palo de campeche, or palo de tinte, dark-blue ("black") 

dyewood (logwood, Haematoxyhtm campecbianitm), 

important in dyeing wool yarn ; the wood, which looks 

dark red after exposure to the air, is sold by the pound. 
Pan duke, small bun made with white flour and egg, and 

slightly sweetened. 
Panela, brown block sugar made by pouring heated cane 

juice into a tnold. 
Pan frances, small, crusty loaf of wliitc wheat bread. 
Papa, Irish potato. 
Papaya, the tree-melon, or pawpaw, fruit of the papayo tree 

{Carica papaya) ; the name is a Carib derivative, there 

being no Nahua and almost no Maya names known. 
Park-savanna, landscape characterized by grasses with 

scattered spreading trees and deciduous woodlands. 
Pataxte, tree {Thcohroma bicolor) closely related to cacao, 

with a similar fruit, .sometimes used as an ingredient 

in beverages, even as an inferior cacao substitute, and as 

a cacao shade tree. 
Paxte, sponge, or "dishcloth," gourd, luffa (Luffa aegyp- 

Penga or penca, fleshy, thorny leaf of a cactus, agave, or 

similar plant. 



Pepino, melon pear, Solanwn muricaium, S. gimtemalense, 
shaped usually like a pointed egg, yellowish with purple 
stripes; smaller than the average South American 
pepino, which often tends to be globular, sometimes 
nearly all purple. 
Pepitoria, candy made with squash seeds. 
Percha, teasel, for raising nap on wool cloth ; 12 to IS teasel 
flowers tied in a rigid, cane-braced fan, the stems form- 
ing the handle. 
Peso, obsolete monetary unit worth 60 to the dollar at the 
time the quetzal was introduced, in 1924; the peso was 
worth 8 reah's, or 100 centavos bronce; was in circula- 
tion almost to the extent of quetzal units in some rural 
communities as late as 1933 ; the peso and real are still 
employed to some extent as "verbal" units of currency 
in Indian markets. 
Petate de palma, palm leaf mat. 
Petate tul, rush mat. 

Peyon, shaggy wool rug having a pile surface (as in terry 
cloth), made by pulling out 6-inch loops in the weft 
yarn and later cutting them io two, leaving 3-inch ends. 
Piedra de moler, metate, or tripod grinding stone made of 
lava, for grinding maize, cacao, coffee, and other 
comestibles ; potter's clay, dyestuffs, etc. 
Pila, a watering place, usually of concrete or stone. 
Piloy, lima bean (Phaseoliis lunatus) in the Lowlands; but- 
ter bean (Phaseolus coccvneus) or giant kidney bean 
{Phascolus vulgaris, var. macrocarpa) in the Highlands. 
Piiia, pineapple {Ananas comosus). 

Pinole, or pinol, drink made of ground toasted maize, vari- 
ously flavored and seasoned with cacao, pataxte, 
aniseed, panela or white sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and 
other condiments. Whole barley, prized for medicinal 
values, is sometimes added. (See p. 148.) 
Pinon, small tree, physic-nut (Jatropha curcas) important 
as the main host plant of the axin (scale insect, q. v.). 
hence a major hedge plant at Rabinal, where tlie axin is 
Pinuela, pinguin (Bromelia pingidn), a wild relative of the 

pineapple; hedge plant, source of an inferior fruit. 
Piso de plaza (lit., "market floor"), tax; from 3 to 20 
cents (average probably 5) imposed on market vendors 
who have no fixed, rented stall. 
PitaSoja, "silk-grass" (Acclnnca magdalenac) which pro- 
duces a fine, durable fiber much used locally in the 
Pacific Lowlands, as at San Sebastian for sewing 
suyacales, and elsewhere for nets and cordage. 
Platano, plantain, a banana (Mtisa paradisiaca) , having 

large fruit ordinarily eaten cooked. 
Plaza, market or market place; also a public square. 
Pom, small disk of copal incense (q. v.). 
Posole or posol, cold drink made of cold corn mash 
(ground boiled corn) stirred into water, variously 
"Pound" of raw wool, 80 ounces, or 5 pounds, avoirdupois. 
Pueblo, village, generally the cabccera, or seat of a muni- 
cipio of the same name; larger than an aldea in the 
same municipio, and less important than a villa. 
Quetzal, national bird of Guatemala; a trogon {Pharoma- 
criis mocinno), the male of which is noted for its 
beautiful long, green upper tail coverts, important in 

pre-Columbian commerce. Also, the modern monetary 
unit (1 quetzal = 1 dollar). 

Quintal, unit of weight ; as in Mexico, 46.025 kg., or 101.47 

Ranchero, or colono, laborer (generally Indian) who has 
taken up jermanent residence on a 'finca, or plantation. 

Ranchito, small, rustic hut. 

Reduccion, as applied in the years following the Conquest, 
the grouping of native populations into more compact 
communities, after evicting them from their scattered 
rural dwellings, for greater ease of religious conversion 
and government by the encomendcros, or conquerors to 
whom they were entrusted. 

Regidor, alderman ; member of the municipal council. 

Repartimiento, distribution of land among the conquerors 
of Spanish America after the Conquest ; also, the feudal 
estates which were thus apportioned. 

Riscos, crags; specifically applied to the pinnacled erosion 
forms at Momostenango. 

Rodillera, checkered black-and-white or blue-and-white wool 
wrap-skirts worn about to the knee (rodilla) by Indian 
men of some municipios ; also sometimes worn by young 

Rosquitos, small ring-shaped buns. 

Roza, process of clearing trees, bushes, and weeds from a 
field about to be planted ; usually involving cutting and 

Sacachian, or tzichipac, fruit (bunch of dark purple ber- 
ries) of a pokeweed {Phytolacca rugosa), used as soap,' 
especially for washing blue skirts. 

Sacatinta, cuajatinta, or tinta, bluing plant {Jacobinia 
spicigcra), fresh leaves of which are made into an 
infusion in water to which indigo and usually some 
aniline dye are added. When fermentation of the solu- 
tion has taken place, after 1 or 2 weeks, the dye is 
ready for use. 

Sal de sol, sun-evaporated salt, made at the Pacific shore 
during the dry season. 

Sapuyul, large, blackish, shiny seed of the zapote mamey 
or ingerio {q. v.), used in beverages and in making 

Sindico municipal, attorney and legal adviser to the political 
chiefs of a municipio. 

Sisal, or henequen, agave or the fiber, sometimes called 
hemp, obtained from various agaves, most important of 
which is Agave fotircroydes which supplies the greater 
part of the Yucatan sisal ; A. sisalana is the principal 
sisal source outside of Yucatan. 
Sivac, rush pith, used in making fire fans, deep, handled 

market bags, mats, etc. 
Soga, large agave rope, generally used as a halter. 
Sopilote (sometimes sopilote), American black vulture 
(Catharista atrata), or the turkey-buzzard {Cathartes 
aura), which is relatively rare and conspicuous for its 
red head; both valuable as scavengers, and protected 
by law. 
Stick (back-strap) loom, indigenous loom operated ordin- 
arily by Indian women, never by Ladinas ; it consists 
of sticks and strings and a broad strap (mecapal) which 
passes around the weaver's hips and against vv'hich she 
sits or squats so as to give tension to the warp. The 



end of the loom opposite the weaver is attached by rope 
to a tree or post. Small belt and head-band looms of this 
type are operated by both men and women. 

Surco, furrow in a plowed or hoed field. 

Siiyacal, rain cape made from leaf segments of the corozo 

Tablon, carefully squared and terraced garden plot, gener- 
ally well fertilized and irrigated for intensive cultivation. 

Tamale, or tamal, sliort, thick cake of corn which has 
been softened in lime water and ground on a metate or 
in a machine, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed 
in a deep jar; well-seasoned meat and certain vegetables 
serve as filling inside tamales. 

Tapaojo, a heavy leather blind placed over the eyes of a 
pack animal while he is being loaded, to keep him from 

Tarea, day's work of a laborer ; on a coffee plantation this 
means generally about 1 cuerda of 28 varas (33-in. 
units) square, cleared of weeds, second growth, and 

Tarro, giant bamboo, especially important for Lowland 
house walls. 

Tecoraate vine gourds (Lagmaria spp.), including the bottle 
gourd (L. siceraria). 

Temascal, sweat bath ; a low structure of poles and mud 
and, usually, stones, with foundation sometimes exca- 
vated, and one small side opening; for hot-water and 
steam bath. 

Temporadista jornalero or cuadrillero, temporary, migrant 
day laborer on a finca, or plantation ; generally Highland 
Indian going to the piedmont or Lowlands of the Pacific 

Teosinte, a grass (Enchlae)ia viexicana) native to Mexico 
and Guatemala, related to maize; formerly thought to 
be a maize progenitor, now known to be a natural maize- 
Tripsacitm hybrid. 

Tepeiscuinte, small animal (probably Cimkulus paca), 
highly esteemed as food, and a major pest in a cornfield. 

Tienda, small store, generally a home store. 

Tierra caliente (lit., "hot country"), region below about 
1,000 m. (3,280 ft.) elevation; mean annual temperature 
above about 22° C. (71.6° F.), with slight annual range. 

Tierra fria (lit., "cold country"), region above about 2,000 
m. (6,562 ft.) ; mean annual temperature below about 
16° C. (60.8° F.) with little annual range. 

Tierra templada (lit., "temperate country"), region between 
about 1,000 m. (3,280 ft.) and 2,000 m. (6,562 ft.) ; mean 
annual temperatures between about 22° C. (71.6° F.) 
and about 16° C. (60.8° F.), with slight annual range. 

Tinaja, water jar. 

Tinta, see Sacatinta. 

Tizate, small cone of chalk used for rubbing on the fingers 
by women spinning cotton. 

Tortilla, imsalted maize cake made by patting a ball of corn 
mash to paper-thin, circular form, and baked on a clay 

(or modern sheet-iron gasoline drum top) griddle. Large 
tortillas are occasionally made of wheat flour. 

Totoposte, tortilla toasted and sometimes salted. 

Transhumance, migration of groups of people, as herdsmen, 
often seasonal. 

Treefern, any of the family (Cyatheaceae) of aborescent 
ferns having woody trunks, sometimes attaining a height 
of SO to 60 feet, reaching tlieir ma.ximura luxuriance on 
certain rainy Pacific slopes of volcanoes at lower middle 
altitudes (pi. 5, b, c). 

Troje, corncrib. 

Tropical monsoon climate (Amw, Koppen), no winter 
temperatures (all monthly means are above 18° C.) ; 
very heavy summer rains with only short, relatively dry 
period in winter, so that the vegetation is heavy monsoon 
forest (like rain forest). 

Tropical savanna climate (Aw, Koppen), no winter tem- 
peratures (all monthly means are above 18° C.) ; rains 
concentrated in summer half year, with winter nearly 

Tul, rush, used especially for making mats. 

Tuna, prickly pear or nopal (q. v.). 

Vara (lit., "staff"), linear measure, 32 or 33 inches, as 
specified; originating from the early use of the staff of 
authority, carried by village officials in settling land 
disputes, as is sometimes still done in the region today. 

Vara de authoridad, staff of authority, ctften made of fine 
wood with engraved silver head, usually having a speci- 
fied length (for measuring in settling disputes, particu- 
larly over land), and always carried by officials of the 
municipalidad where it is kept and is handed down. 

Verano, dry season, "summer," lasting from November 
through April in most of the region ; actually winter, 
in terms of the sun. 

Villa, large village or small town, generally of greater size- 
and importance than a pueblo, but less than a ciudad. 

Visita (eccl.), visit of a priest to a church having no regular 
resident curate; also, the area included in such visits. 

Xaca, dark bread, said to be made of whole wheat, with 
pauela ( brown sugar) added. 

Xancatal, Indian of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan. 

Xiquipil, 8,000 by Aztec system of numbering: 20 contles 
(of 400). 

Yuca, see Manioc. 

Zambo, distinct racial cross, involving principally Indian 
and principally Negro blood. 

Zapote mamey, large tree, Calocarpum iiiammosum, or its 
large, sweet, juiceless fruit. 

Zute, general utility cloth of Indian women, who may fold 
them on the head against the sun, wrap them aroimd 
the shoulders, sit on them, wrap goods or a baby (often 
thus slung on the back) in them, or fold them on top 
of a basket of goods; Indian men may wear them, 
wrapped around tlie head, tied around the hat, or thrown 
across the shoulder for use as a handkerchief. 





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Plate 2 

a, The rear platform on this type of canoe, generally about 

20 inches square, has a hole in the middle through 
which a vertical pole is passed (foreground). The 
pole is thrust deep into the soft mud bottom, and 
anchors the canoe. Thus the bow is run up onto the 
beach instead of the stern. The same pole is used for 
propulsion, by a man standing on the platform facing 
forward (background). He may face backward in 
reversing the canoe. Such a boat is best adapted to 
use in calm, shallow water, such as that of lagoons 
(shown here) or rivers. (I have seen similar canoes 
on the Rio Huallaga, one of the headwaters of the 
Amazon, in central Peru.) View is to the southwest, 
with the thatched houses and coco palms of Tahuesco 
on the high sand beach in the background. The 
Pacific Ocean lies just beyond. Pliotograph taken 
March 1936. 

b, These large pits are generalh' 6 or 8 feet deep, and usually 

fenced, as in this case, to keep out cattle. The wells 
consist of wooden shafts about a foot or more square. 
The man in the foreground is drinking from a shallow 
tree-calabash {Morro, Crcscentia alala) saucer. 
Tahuesco lagoon, background. 

c, A Tahuesco canoe used as a washstand for clothes and 

dishes. The rear platform here serves as a wash- 
board. Water, brought from the well (unfenced; 
note another well, fenced, beyond) in S-gallon tins, 
is put in a tank, consisting of a 53-galIon gasoline 
drum. The shelter is made of mangrove poles and 
corozo palm leaves. Tahuesco and lagoon, back- 

d, Old Tahuesco canoes used in the "cooked"-salt industry. 

One canoe is supported directly above the other 
(pointing in opposite directions) on a pole rack. The 
top one (coladera) has a perforated bottom, covered 
with palm mats which retain a thick layer of sand. 
Salt-encrusted silt, scraped from the sun-baked t>laya 
during the dry season and stored, is put on top of 
the sand. Then water is poured in by a man who 
climbs a ladder with a brace of buckets (see top of 
picture). When the lower canoe (recibidora) has 
been filled, the brine is dumped by bucketfuls into 
the boiling sheet-iron vat (left foreground). The 
water is kept boiling all day, and large amounts of 
granular salt arc deposited (see p. 58). 

e, Salt is deposited when the sun during the dry season 

evaporates sea water diverted into shallow basins. 
The salt is shoveled onto platforms and wheeled 
away. Looking north-northeast, January 1941. In 
the background, appro.ximately 35 miles away, are 
volcanoes Agua (left, near Antigua Guatemala) and 
Pacaya (right, near Guatemala City). 

All the people in plate 1 are Ladinos. 

654162^7 12 

a, The salt-truck road shown here is passable only during 

the dry season (November to April; see p. 5 and 
Appendi.x 1, p. 131). (For discussion of the corozo 
palm, see Appendix 3.) 

b, The scanty costume and open-pole house wall are char- 

acteristic cultural adjustments to the warm, humid 
climate of this coastal region. (For suyacal making, 
see p. 67). 

c, These suyacales, generally transported into the Highlands 

by muleback, arc sold in Highland markets almost 
exclusively during the rainy months (May-October). 
Both fringed and hemmed (foreground) types (see 
p. 67) are shown in the picture. 

d, Women, especially older ones, still appear in public with 

no upper garment in a few piedmont villages, notably 
Samayac, San Bernardino, and San Sebastian 
Retalhuleu, shown in this picture. The bright-colored 
skirt (made in Quezaltenango) with jaspe patterns 
(see p. 52). is wrapped tightly around the waist. 
The upper corner of the inner end is gathered up 
during the wrapping process, and hangs in a bunch at 
the*side (note also in b.). Formerly this costume was 
worn all through the Pacific Lowlands, but now 
blouses, required by law when women appear in 
public, are dispensed with only at or near home. 
Sometimes, on the street they are merely draped over 
the shoulders, in technical compliance with the law. 

e, This is a view across Lake Atitlan, with San Pedro vol- 

cano in the foreground, taken December 12, 1935, at 
6 p. m. This storm, probably 30 miles away and 
having a basal diameter of about 10 miles, is an ex- 
ample of the disturbances which, during the dry 
season (November-April), move along the piedmont, 
bringing torrential rains, without affecting the High- 
lands. The top of the cumulonimbus columns move 
up thousands of meters into lower pressure levels, 
where they spread out, and may evaporate or become 
transformed through freezing into cirrus cloud types 
which move toward the northeast with the anti- 
trades ( south westlies). (See appendix 1, p. 131, and 
McBryde, 1942 b, pp. 403^04.) 

/, Valley of the Siete Vueltas, looking upstream (northwest) 
toward the center of the settlement. The highway 
along the piedmont here parallels the stream. The 
vegetation is parklike, with scattered spreading trees 
and an abundance of good grazing land, 

g, House walls are of vertical, split-cecropia trunks, locally 
available (see extreme right of photograph), as is 
the abundant savanna grass used as thatch. The 
pyramidal roof is capped with an inverted bowl from 
Totonicapan. Slopes are excavated to prepare level 
house sites above the flood level of the stream. 

=^ The followinf! picture! were repliotofrraphed in black and white 
from color tr.insparencies (Kod.ichrome) : Plates 1, e: 2, i; 5 a, c; 
9, c: 12, o, d; 1.3, c (inset); 17, b. c; 20, a, c, d\ 23, c, d: 24, e: 
26, a; 29, a; .lO, a, c; 31, b, f, g: 32, c; 33, a; 35, 6: 37, c; 39, c, g; 
42, a, b, e, /; 43, a, b, c, d, f; 44, a, b. d. 



Plate 3 

a. The green leaves are rolled up in bundles, each containing 
700. There are 12 bundles on the cart (see p. 45). 
The scene is just south of Mazatenango, on the road 
to Santo Domingo, March 1936. Oxcarts, common 
in the Pacific Lowlands and in parts of eastern 
Guatemala, are rare in the southwestern Highlands. 

h, The cartload of leaves (about 8,400) shown in a is suffi- 
cient for the roof of the average house, about 4 by 5 
yards. A dozen or more friends and neighbors help 
the owner, who provides food and rum during the 

c, Tlie walls of this house are of giant bamboo (tarro), 

unsplit, and the roof is of hoja de sal. 

d, The Indian man in the foreground wields a machete in 

his right hand, cutting high weeds and bushes which 
are flung aside by means of the garavito, curved stick 
held in the left hand (see p. 23). The square cloth 
shawl, of jaspe blue cotton, thrown over the man's 
shoulders, is similar to those used in ancient times 
(p. 48). Picture taken in March 1936. 

e, The Quezaltcnango itinerant merchant is carrying a load 

of about 30 large cane baskets, as his mule walks 
alongside carrying a cargo of Momostenango blankets. 
Both will return loaded with Lowland products. 
/, The high cone in the left central background is Santa 
Maria volcano. The cloudlike white coluinn just at 
the left base is from Santiaquito volcano, which erupts 
constantly (p. 6). The small cone behind the wooden 
telephone pole is Cerro Quemado. The other vol- 
canoes are Zunil and Santo Tomas, extreme right. 
March 1936. 

Pl..\TE 4 

a, The netmaker is Serapio Marmol. The netting needle 
used here, said to be made of quiscoyul wood (corozo 
palm(?), see p. 145), is of hard, dark wood, thin and 
flat, 12 inches long by Ya of an inch wide. Near the 
point is a wide slot, over an inch long, with a f^-inch 
prong pointing as the needle does. This serves to 
hold the string. The net is knitted on to another 
s4-inch flat stick, 8 inches long, held in the left hand. 
Netmaking is mostly men's work, though not ex- 
clusively so. 

h, The man standing in the stream is leaning over examining 
the contents of his net. The hoop, of ^-inch vine, 
20 inches in diameter, supports a fine net of cscobilla 
(sida rlwmbifoliaf). (For a discussion of Lov^land 
fishing, see p. 94.) 

c, The bearded Ladino who carries this load is a native of 

Samaj'ac. He buys the tinware in Mazatenango and 
makes the rounds of numerous markets, from Santo 
Domingo to Santo Tomas la Union and San Felipe; 
from Chicacao to Retalhuleu. 

d, The Atitlan vendor is at the left ; the four Nahuala buyers 

are on the right (see p. 37). 

e, The Atitlan vendors seated in the shade of the ahneiidro 

tree in the foreground are selling small tomatoes from 
their native Santiago. Many of fhe 500 or more 
vendors in the Chicacao market are Atitecos. 

Plate 5 

a, The giant shade tree, with orchids clinging to its trunk, 

is a ceiba (p. 149). This is near the Mexican border 
at the north, where the climate is much drier than 
in c. 

b, The foreground is framed by treeferns. Beyond the 

artificial lake is a heavy growth of monsoon forest, 
which extends up the volcanc^ slopes for about 500 m. 
This is at the soutliwestern base of Tajumulco volcano, 
near the Mexican border half mile south of El Rodeo 
(Depto. San Marcos, elevation about 900 m., or 2,950 

c, Most of the vegetation shown here is recent second growth, 

with treeferns and guarumo (Cecropia spp. ; slender 
trunks in right foreground) dominant. This vegeta- 
tion is typical of uncultivated slopes in the moist 
western coffee belt. 

d, Large cement platforms (foreground) are especially con- 

structed for drying coffee, which is spread out after 
the pulp has been removed from the bean. Drier coffee 
is indicated in the photograph by lighter tones. 

e, The cutter, standing in the foreground, is holding the 

cutting tool, a pole about 10 feet long with a 6-inch 
blade at the end. The cutting edge is perpendicular 
to the pole. The cutter selects a plant with fruit well 
filled but completely green and hard, then fells it 
with one deft thrust just below the leaf bases, so 
skillfully that the "stem" (bunch) of bananas is in 
position for the awaiting Indian carrier to take it on 
his shoulders (see photograph). The stem is severed 
with one macliete stroke, and the mozo walks off with 
the heavy load. It is taken to a nearby fruit car. 
/, The checker, standing at the left in the photograph, 
punches a counting machine as the stems are put 
aboard the car and packed with banana leaves. He 
is a Jamaica Negro, as are nearlj' all the men who 
do this work, brought in especiallj' for this purpose. 

Plate 6 

Costumes for the northwest and southeast shore villages are 
not shown. For the San Pablo men's dress (full-cut 
white knee-length trousers and shirt and red sash), 
see plate 21, d ; many Pablenos said they started wear- 
ing jaspe stripes about 1930; some have begun to 
dress in blue denim, as at Totonicapan. San Marcos 
men wear costumes similar to those of San Pablo. 
For Santa Cruz and Tzununa men's costumes, see plate 
27, e. The San Lucas men's dress resembles that of 
Santa Catarina, except that the trouser cloth usually 
has heavier red stripes and geometric figures (includ- 
ing conventionalized animals, as at Santa Catarina, and 
also all made on the stick loom), and the shirts (over 
which blue coats are worn more often than in Santa 
Catarina) are generally made of plain manufactured 
cloth. Before about 1915, they said, they were home- 
woven shirts matching the trousers. The San Lucas 
women's huipils (of two pieces, with no red central 
strip like those of Santa Catarina) are of the same 
cloth as the men's trousers, and skirts are of jaspe- 
pattern goods from the Quezaltenango region. The 
San Marcos huipil is white with vertical red stripes, 



single wide and single narrow ones alternating, and 
shirts are heavy dark blue with occasional fine light 
lines (made in Solola). The Santa Cruz women's 
huipil is mainly red, with two narrow vertical white 
lines spaced about 3 inches apart, and a fine ixcaco 
brown line on each side of the white pair. The collar 
is generally embroidered with alternating bands of 
yellow and lavender silk, and large triangles (prob- 
ably representing tassels) of the same color, pointing 
inward. .'V narrow head band is worn, with }-ellow and 
green bars, like that of Santiago. These were said 
to be made at San Jose Chacaya. Skirts are of 
heavy, solid blue, Solola cloth. San Pablo women, 
who do less weaving than is done in most Lake vil- 
lages, wear a plain white blouse similar to that of 
San Pedro (usually of manufactured goods, with 
separate, scalloped collar, and often embroidered with 
rows of small figures), and a solid, heavy, dark-blue 
skirt from Solola. For the San Pedro women's dress, 
see plate 9, d. The blue and variegated jaspe-pattern 
skirt is from Quezaltcnango. The Patzum huipil 
has very wide (about 2-inch) vertical alternating red 
and white (usually wider) stripes. Each white stripe 
has a narrow (about one-quarter inch) red (also 
yellow or green) one in the center. Fine green and 
yellow lines also border the red. There is a purple 
silk appliqued collar (ribbon sewn on), with small 
triangles of various solid colors (mainly green, yellow, 
and purple ; sometimes cerise and white) as at Santa 
Cruz Laguna. An extra huipil serves as a zute, as in 
many other Highland municipios. Skirts are blue, 
jaspe patterned. Men wear costumes similar to those 
of Tecpan (pi. 12, a. right). 
The crescentic shaded area in Lake Atitlan represents water 
deeper than 1,000 feet. For other map data, see map 
20. The miniature inset map in the lower left shows 
(in black) the location of the Lake region with respect 
to South Guatemala. 

Pl.\te 7 

a and h, Trousers and shirts are usually woven on stick 
looms by women, though Cantel-manufactured cloth 
in imitation of the pattern is being used to some extent 
as a substitute (p. 66). The cloth is of cotton, white 
with wide red stripes (or ixcaco brown with blue) 
and narrow green and yellow. In the shirts it is 
gathered to a thin red collar. Sleeves and sute (large 
square cotton cloth wrapped around hat) are com- 
monly red with yellow and green (sometimes also blue 
jaspe) stripes. Sometimes the stick-loom cloth is 
decorated with small brocaded figures of birds, dolls, 
and animals, especially near the bottoms of the 
trousers, put in on the loom. Knee skirts (rodilteras), 
one worn and one slung over the bag, and tailored 
coat are of natural black and white wool, woven at 
Nahuala and Chichifastenango. The coat is rolled up 
and tied diagonally around the body in a. The black 
and white banded bag is knitted at Solola, probably 
by the wearer. As in all the Lake region, palm hats 
come from Quiche; sandals and leather belts to hold 
knee skirts are from Totonicapan. 

c, The women's shirts are like the men's; are worn rolled 

up by women (pi. 13, b) and long by men. Zutes are 
also similar, cotton woven on stick looms, with bands 
of red and ixcaco brown and dark blue, especially 
wide in the center. Here, one is worn as a head cover, 
folded up, and a smaller one is thrown over the open 
market basket. The sash is also of home-woven 
cotton, mostly red, with some yellow, brown, and dark 
blue. As in the men's suit material, the women's 
huipil and ziite cloth is sometimes decorated with 
small loom-brocaded geometric figures. The skirt is 
of dark blue cotton, woven on foot looms by Solola 
Ladinos. Hair braids are tied up with bright-colored 
ribbon, usually pink. 

d, Trousers are long, of manufactured white cotton ; shirt is 

ready-made cotton, usually green alternating with blue 
jaspe lines; red cotton sash is usually home-woven on 
stick looms. Rodilleras are bluish, small checked 
wool, from Momostenango, as are the blue wool coats. 

e, The short pants (visible through a hole in the rodillera), 

shirt (usually not worn, as in tlie present picture), and 
the zute (worn on the hat) are of red-and-white 
striped cotton, woven on the stick loom. The black 
jacket and black-and-white, large-checked rodillera are 
from Nahuala, where they are woven of undyed wool 
on foot looms by Indian men. The agave string-bag 
is locally made, though some are bought from San 
Pedro la Laguna Indians ; leather belt and sandals are 
from Totonicapan. For the Panajachel women's cos- 
tume, see plate 9, a, h. 

f, Trousers are of cotton, stick-loom woven mostly red and 

white with some yellow. Usually there are red stripes, 
but sometimes the base is plain white, figured. Geo- 
metric figures and conventionalized animals (especially 
ducks) are woven on the loom. Shirts may be 
similarly striped, with figured red sleeves ; manufac- 
tured shirts replacing them since about 1910, they said. 
Hat, string-bag, rodillera, leather belt, and sandals are 
from the same sources as in e above. Blue wool coats 
(as in d) are usually worn ceremonially. The rodillera 
is never worn, but is carried over the shoulder or in 
a bag (pi. 22, c, d, e, g) . 

g, The huipil, of color and designs similar to the men's pants, 

and the red sash and red-and-white zntc, folded on 
the head, are all woven on the stick loom by the 
wearer. The huipil consists of three separate pieces, 
the center one basically red, as. at San Antonio. The 
dark-blue skirt is from Solola. The many strings of 
beads are bought from itinerant merchants in the 
Panajachel market. 

h, This huipil, woven on the stick loom, has horizontal yel- 
low, red, green, and blue stripes and rows of bars and 
chevrons, on white cotton. The pink skirt (sometimes 
blue jaspe), blue and white shawl, and variegated 
figured belt are all of cotton, made on foot looms in 
the Quezaltenango-Totonicapan region. The braids 
wound around the head are bound up with pink 
ribbon. The men's costume is plain white cotton, 
bluish rodillera, blue wool coat or black cape (pi. 12, 
a, right). 



i. Trousers are white with blue dashes produced by putting 
jaspe threads from Salcaja in the warp of tlie stick 
loom. This weaving is even done commercially by 
some San Pedro women, and children peddle trousers 
and shawls to tourists. Usually, trousers are em- 
broidered with rows of conventionalized dolls, birds, 
and other designs in bright wool, especially pink, 
green, and blue, and are of various lengths, below 
the knee (pi. 26, e). Before about 1910, they were 
reportedly plain white, of knee length, as at San 
Pablo. Jaspe was said to have started at San Pedro 
and spread to San Juan. The red sash is also locally 
woven on stick looms, with blue and white jaspe 
stripes. Shirts, of modern cut, also contain jaspe 
stripes, as a rule, and may be locally made or bought 
in the markets. Blue wool coats are bought ready- 
made in markets. The Momostenango cloth is usually 
tailored in Quezaltenango. For hat, leather belt, and 
sandals, see e, above. The San Juan men's costume is 
essentially the same as that of San Pedro. The 
women's costume is likewise similar, except that many 
San Juan huipils are red and white striped. 

;', The cloth is of white cotton, woven on the stick lootn. 
An occasional thin red stripe may appear in the 
trousers. The sash is red, also locally woven by 

t:, Huipils are of the same cloth as men's trousers. Shawls 
also woven by the wearer, are of cotton, dark blue 
and ixcaco brown. Coins and other small possessions 
are carried in the knotted end. The head band is 
narrow, variegated, mostly blue and brown, woven on 
foot looms at Totonicapan. The skirt is blue, from 
the Quezaltenango region. 

/, Trousers are locally woven on stick looms ; white cotton 
with purple and occasional orange vertical stripes, and 
scattered conventionalized animals and geometric de- 
signs made on the loom, as at Santa Catarina. Em- 
broidery in cotton or silk, heavy orange, purple, and 
green zigzags, cross the stripes horizontally. The red 
sash may be locally woven. Other costume elements 
have the same sources as at San Pedro. Shirts, sashes, 
and even trousers are made also in San Pedro and 
sold on a small scale at Santiago (see pp. 61, 1(M). 
Coats of Momostenango blue wool are often worn. 
Before about 1910, instead of these, black and white 
striped ones, likes those of Solola without the bat, were 
used. Municipal officials always carry a black capixai 
when they leave their headquarters; like the staff, it 
is a badge of office. 

m, The huipil cloth is like that in the man's trousers, ex- 
cept for the purple (and sometimes red and varie- 
gated) silk embroidery around the collar. The zigzag 
lines of embroidery are usually spaced so that one 
crosses the middle of the front, one the middle of the 
back, and one runs along the shoulders. The shawl, 
of wide dark blue and red stripes, is also locally 
woven on the stick loom. The variegated headband 
is from Totonicapan. It is about 25 feet long (p. S3) 
and is wrapped tightly upon a braided ring of hair, 
so that it forms a halo about U4 inches wide and 
V/2 inches thick. It has 4-inch bars of solid colors, 

mainly green and yellow, separated by narrow purple 
bars. The bright red skirt, with white and jaspe lines, 
is made in Quezaltenango (some also in Huehuete- 

n, The huipil, made on the stick loom, is of cotton, red with 
narrow ixcaco brown stripes, and is covered with the 
same small scattered figures as those of Santiago. 
Cerro de Oro women, now living within the Santiago 
municipio, have adopted this element of design from 
the east Lake villages and combined it with elements 
brought from the original home municipio of Patzicia, 
whence they moved about 1880 (p. 90). The blue and 
white ~ute and red sash are also locally woven by 
women. The blue skirt is from the Quezaltenango 

o, The shirt is white cotton with fine red lines crossing in a 
small screen pattern (with vertical stripes dominant), 
and short troupers (hidden by tlie rodillcra) are of the 
same material ; collar, sleeves, and sash are red with 
yellow and black lines. All other elements are from 
the same source as in c, above. Women of San 
Antonio, who weave their men's shirts on stick looms, 
wear huipils of similar material. The San Antonio 
huipil, like that of Santa Catarina, has a very wide 
central red element (the same as the men's sleeves, 
but commonly with small, brocaded, geometric figures 
woven in) with white (forming the loose "sleeve") 
on either side. The white has red cross-lines match- 
ing the central part of the men's shirts. Red sashes 
and sules are hand-woven at home. Skirts are of 
heavy dark blue cotton, made in Solola. 

Plate 8 

(7, The huipil is of white cotton with fine red lines along 
the edges, seams, and shoulders. Conventionalized 
animals in red may be woven also on the stick loom. 
Zutes are home-woven, dominantly olive green and 
indigo blue with fine yellow lines and animals 
(especially horses) embroidered usually in purple silk. 
The solid blue skirt is from Solola. (For Nahuala 
men's dress see pi. 4, d; men's shirts are like the 
women's except that the collar and lower sleeves are 
usually decorated with an elaborate pattern of 
geometric figures, especially animals, in red, yellow, 
and other colors, made on the stick loom. The cloth 
of the trousers, hidden by the todillera when in the 
Highlands, is like the shirt, with the hem decorated as 
the collar is, and with scattered woven animals. 
Some shirts and trousers are ixcaco brown and red 
striped, or dark blue and yellow ; or there may be 
wide bands of ixcaco brown. The black wool jacket 
and heavy-checked rodillera are woven locally on 
foot-looms by men (see p. 49). 

h. The black wool suit, woven and tailored locally, is home- 
embroided with bright-colored silk. The red sash and 
red and yellow ::ute are woven on stick looms and 
decorated with silk brocade, purple being perhaps the 
commonest color, conventionalized animals and birds 
the commonest rnotif. Sometimes these figures are 
woven on the loom. Shirts, which may be home-made, 
are usually bought ready-made (see p. 50). Leather 



belt and sandals here and in Nahuala, are bought from 
Totonicapan (especially Argueta), leather workers. A 
small, fringed, natural black wool blanket, with termi- 
nal bars of red, white, and blue squares and other 
geometric patterns, is often carried, as is a large, 
whitish string bag. 

c, The huipil is of white (ixcaco brown also commonly 

used) cotton, heavily brocaded by women (as are 
zutes) in red (on white) or purple (on brown) silk 
or cotton. Wide bands of embroidery extend down 
the center of the front and back and along the should- 
ers (for color illustrations, see Osborne, 1935, pi. 2 
foil. p. 58; Lemos, 1941, p. 25). At the top, front and 
back, and at each shoulder, a black silk disk is 
gathered to a central coin or small button or coil of 
silk chain-stitching (p. 52^. This is sometimes done 
by men, who more often do the needlework on their 
own clothes. The black-and-white striped wool belt 
(about 8 feet long and tightly woven) is completely 
covered with brocade at one end (about 30 in.) in 
dark purple silk. The blue, white-striped cotton 
skirts are locally woven on foot looms, generally by 
Ladinos. Chichicastenango women wear many strings 
of glass beads, generally silver, which form a very 
thick mass around the neck. 

d, The long, draped huipil is of ixcaco brown cotton with 

wide red stripes and geometric designs of various 
bright colors woven in on the stick loom by the 
wearer. The skirt is of blue cotton, with large white 
checks ; some have jaspe patterns. Coin necklaces 
(chacliales) are usually worn (see e). The men's 
costume is similar to that of San Andres (see under 
pi. 7, h ; also pi. 12, a, right). 

e, The Comalapa huipil is essentially deep wine red (across 

the shoulders) and white or ixcaco brown, basically 
cotton with many fine bars and bands of different 
colors, often of wool, and rows of bright-colored 
figures (animals or geometric designs) brocaded in 
silk, which fades to beautiful pastel shades. The sash 
is red; skirt is blue cotton. The ~ute on the basket 
and the one coiled under it are usually woven on 
stick looms and may be as elaborate as the huipils. 
Just behind the Comalapena is a Tecpan woman 
(see d). The child at the right edge of the picture is 
wearing a hand-woven cap which is made deep enough 
to pull over the head as a hood to protect the wearer, 
according to some, from the "evil-eye" of strangers. 
Frequently these caps exhibit some of the finest stick- 
loom weaving. 

Plate 9 

a, For a list of the essential parts of the loom, see page 61. 
The Panajachel women's costume (a and b) consists 
of a huipil that is mostly ixcaco brown with vertical 
red stripes and a mass of red or purple brocade pat- 
tern in the center of the front and back. The belt 
is mostly red with fine yellow stripes. Zules are 
mostly red, with narrow, white stripes. All these 
elements are woven on stick looms, but the blue skirt 
is made in Solola by Ladinos using foot looms. Many 
strings of beads are worn, and the braids of the hair 
are tied with pink ribbon. 

b, Spinning of cotton, here being done by a girl about 

11 years old using the common spindle (inalacate), is 
accomplished by twirling the small end of the stick 
with the whorl end usually resting in a bowl or gourd 
which acts as a guiding surface causing little friction. 
In front of the spindle is a ball of chalk (tizate) for 
keeping the spinning fingers dry. The raw cotton, 
held in her left hand, is pulled away from the whirl- 
ing spindle on which the thread is spun. In her lap 
is another bunch of raw cotton. Homespun thread 
is sometimes twisted on the spindle with bought yarn. 
Once loaded with thread, the spindle is sometimes 
used as a bobbin, as the San Antonio woman in c is 
doing, without troubling to transfer it to the regular 
bobbin stick. Spinning is often done by women seated 
in the market (pi. 25, <?). This picture illustrates 
the San Pedro woman's costume, with plain short- 
sleeve, white blouse, some of which even have but- 
tons (collar and sleeves may be trimmed with lace 
and sometimes the collar is embroidered in red) ; 
narrow figured belt from Totonicapan, and jaspe 
cotton skirt from Salcaja, mostly blue, greenish or 
pink. A shawl is generally carried, blue with jaspe 
patterns and fringed at the ends. 

Plate 10 

a, In the background, about 600 m. (1,800 ft.) below, is 
Lake Atitlan, with volcanoes Tollman and Atitlan 
lined up in the distance (see maps 20 and 21). Photo- 
graph taken in March 1932. 

h, The old woman seated in front of the house is weaving 
with a stick loom, the end of which is attached to the 
post in the foreground. The administrative center of 
Solola is directly in the background. 

c, Even more than most north-Lake arroyos, this valley, here 

viewed from the precipitous southern edge of SololS, 
is subject to disastrous flooding, especially during 
September (p. 61). 

d, This is Calle de la Torre (right foreground in b). The 

tower at the right is a small reservoir from which 
water, brought from mountain streams through tile 
aqueducts (alcantarillas) , is distributed through iron 
pipes ; another may be seen 100 m. down the street 
The contiguous whitewashed, tinted adobe houses pre- 
sent a solid wall which is characteristic of Guatemala 
towns, as elsewhere in Latin America. 

e, The field in the foreground has been freshly furrowed 

with broad hoes and is ready for planting. The old 
inilpa in the background" consists of rows of hills over 
a foot high, which were built up around each group 
of corn plants as they grew larger, as support against 
high winds. A tuft of giant bunchgrass may be seen 
at the left end of the new field. Government officials 
are inspecting the site, during March 1932 preparatory 
to converting it into an emergency landing field. The 
cone of San Pedro volcano appears in the right back- 
ground. This scene is near the edge of the upper 
terrace shown in plate 46, a and b. 

f, They are carrying a load of earth from the bank behind 

them, to be molded in the wooden frame just in front 
of them. Water is added from the 5-gallon gasoline 



tin. The darker bricks are still wet, while the lighter 
ones are dry. The blocks are to be used for the wall 
in the background (see p. 43). 
g, The Indian dwellings in the foreground are surrounded 
by freshly hoed milpas, the furrows of which roughly 
follow the contours of the valley. Many trees are 
left standing, far enough apart so as not to shade the 
corn excessively. The cliffs in the distant background 
are those of Panka at a confluence of Quixcap tribu- 
taries (see map 20), and consist of unconsolidated 
volcanic ash and pumiceous conglomerates, subject to 
serious landslides with undercutting. 

Plate , 1 1 

This trail has been depressed nearly 15 feet in places, largely 
through centuries of walking by Indians and their 
animals. The Indians in the foreground are from 
Concepcion and the environs of Solola, while the three 
men in the ■ background are Maxchos (from Santo 
Tomas Chichicastenango). Photograph taken Febru- 
ary 1932. 

Plate 12 

a, This cargo weighs about ISO pounds, slightly more than 
the heaviest load ordinarily carried by a man. The 
Solola man on the left is wearing an old-style large- 
checked rodillcra (black and white wool) ; the 
Tecpan man on the right wears a new style one, with 
small, bluish checks, folded in front instead of 

h, The vendor is a Quezalteca who lives in Solola. Gasoline 
tins (see foreground) were used exclusively for ship- 
ping the honey in trucks. Solola men are standing in 
the background. 

c, These cacastes, made in Totonicapan, usually measure 
about 2^4 by 2 feet, and 10 inches deep, with legs 
about 10 inches high to make it easier to lift them 
from the ground from a stooping position (see p. 9). 
Young boys carry smaller cacastes, in proportion to 
their size. They may be lined with palm mats or 
covered with maguey cargo nets, as here shown. The 
man on the left has plantains, pineapples, and other 
tropical fruits inside, and a sea turtle tied on the 
outside. The Indian facing the camera has on top 
of his cacaste a bunch of pacaya palm leaves, to be 
used for decoration. Men on tlie trail generally 
carry a blanket and a palm mat (petale) for a bed, 
palm rain cape (suyacal) during the rainy season (or 
all year in the piedmont), cup, coffee pot, small kero- 
sene lamp, a bottle of kerosene, and a bottle gourd for 
water. Pitch pine torches are often used instead of 
lamps on the trail after dark. Gasoline boxes 
(crates for two cans of 5 gallons each) serve the 
purpose of cacaste for carrying fruits, vegetables, 
and many other comestibles, and cloth goods and 
the like. Nets are also much used especially for 
corn ears. Cloth merchants in the Quezaltenango- 
Totonicapan-Momostenango region roll up their goods 
in carrying cloths, the ends of which are tied and 
passed around their heads or shoulders, not requiring 
the mecapa!. Women, though they sometimes use the 

mecapal, especially with netloads of pottery, never 
carry a cacaste. 

d, In the background is Lake Atitlan and volcanoes Tollman 
and Atitlan. Pine trees are often trimmed as in 
this picture, for the branches are used for decoration 
and for flooring, especially during fiestas. Some- 
times only a few terminal tufts are left on a tree. 

c. For notes on iguanas, see p. 39. 

Plate 13 

(7, The iguanas are tied on so that their tails hang dovm 
on either side of the net-covered cacaste; the green 
parrot is sitting on top of the load just back of the 
iguanas. Note the rolled-up suyacal on tlie left, 
the blackened coffee pot on the lower right side 
of the frame, and the staff. Lake Atitlan and San 
Pedro volcano are in the background. 

b, Solola women vendors are seated at the left. Their shirt 

sleeves are always rolled up to about the point of 
the huipi! "sleeves." The woman buying the chickens 
is from Argueta (Totonicapan). Light brownish 
turkeys like the one shown are common in this region. 
The older types of Solola men's rodilieras may be 
seen at the extreme left and extreme right. (Line 
3, map 22, looking east.) 

c, These pigs are brought from the markets of Chiche and 

Chichicastenango and are sold in Solola, Atitlan, and 
Lowland markets. The Maxeiio in the right fore- 
ground is wearing the usual costume for trade 
journeys (especially to the Lowlands), consisting of 
white cotton manufactured shirt and pants with red 
home-woven sash. The vendor to the left of the 
center is wearing the regular Chichicastenango men's 
costume, of black wool (pi. 8, b). Grouped around 
him are (left to right) an Argueta woman, San 
Antonio man, and Solola man. Totonicapan cobblers 
occupy the booths in the background, against the 
Municipal Theater. (North end, line 7, map 22.) 
The men in the inset picture are San Francisco 
la Union men at San Francisco el Alto, setting out 
for distant Lowland markets. The strings from the 
pigs, one attached to each, are twisted so as to keep 
them in a compact bunch (see pp. H, 39, 78). 

Plate 14 

a, Seven cacastes, of various sizes and variously loaded with 

sinall glazed and large semiglazed pottery are visible 
in the picture. These men will return to the Altos 
from Guatemala City with Chinautla iinajas, (see 
pp. 54, 80). 

b, Miscellaneous small items sold by these merchants include 

everj'thing from cigars, spices, medicinal herbs, soap, 
and trinkets (left) to ropes, needles and threads, 
incense, and shallow tin pans (right) for irrigating 
onions. Three gasoline boxes used for carrying these 
appear in the background (see p. 77, and line 48 
(middle), map 22, view to southwest). 

c, This picture illustrates the use of the common balance, 

with baskets (many have tin bowls instead). The 
woman is holding open a sute to receive the maize. 
(Line 3, map 22.) 



d, Stacks of Solola onions are almost the only goods visible 

in the background. (Line 20, map 22, looking west.) 

e. The lime is brought from Tecpan. Note the tin balance 

at the feet of the man on the left; basket scales in 
front of the other men. Lime, here spread out on 
heavy wool cloth in which it is wrapped, is often 
carried in goatskin for greater protection against 
possible rains (p. 7i). The rest of the load of lime 
of the man on the left is kept in the burlap sack, re- 
tained by a heavy cargo net (left). (Line 3 (middle), 
map 22, looking east.) 

/, Note the cloth {zutcs) folded upon the women's heads in 
lieu of a hat. One woman is selling flowers, especially 
calla lilies. The women buyers kneeling at the left 
are natives of Santa Lucia Utatlan. Except for the 
Maxeno (in white at left; see also pi. 13, c) all of 
the men in the picture are Sololatecos. (Line 16, 
map 22, looking southwest.) 

a. Coffee, soup, stew, beans, tortillas, tamales, hot gruel 
{atole) and spiced drinks {pinole), rice in milk, and 
many other foods and drinks are served at such 
stands. Indians drink boiled coffee rather than the 
concentrated "essence" and hot water used in most of 
Latin America. The two men lunching at the 
right are itinerant merchants from Chichicastenango 
(Maxeiios) ; at the left is a Nahualefio. (Map 22, 
looking north toward line 47.) 

Pl.-\te is 

Ladinos carry the richly clad image on a litterlike scaffold 
upon their shoulders, from the church of the Calvario 
(background) to the principal church, just in front of 
the lead woman. They walk slowly, in cadence, so 
that their heavy burden sways rhythmically to and 
fro, to the accompaniment of a dirge intoned by a 
small brass-wind band. Behind them are women 
(Ladinas) carrying images of the Virgin Mary and 
other saints. Both Ladinos (background) and In- 
dians (foreground) participate in this service. The 
latter, members of a Solola cofradia, or religious 
society, may be seen carrying large, lighted candles. 
Note also the numerous sutes folded upon the heads, 
arms, and shoulders. On other days, especially Fridays 
during Lent, Indians carry images of saints, including 
small ones of "Santiago on horseback, from one church 
to the other. The market is suspended for 3 days 
before Easter; Judas in effigy is flogged and torn to 
pieces on Saturday. The steep slope north of Solola 
is visible in the extreme background, giving the dark 
tone beyond the rooftops. 

Plate 16 

Besides the velvet-robed saints, elaborate silver crosses and 
ornaments are carried. The San Jorge Indian man 
at the extreme left is playing a chirimia (a reed in- 
strument like an oboe), which has a high-pitched 
whining note, to the accompaniment of drums and 
rockets. In the background are yucca trees, one of 
which, just beyond the image of the principal saint, 
has a large white panicle of edible flowers. 

Plate 17 

a, The altar is covered with corn, silver medallions, flowers, 
lighted candles, and images of saints, including San- 
tiago on his horse. General Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes 
told of Indians in San Marcos Department insisting 
on using a Santiago mounted on a white mule. These 
are depended upon to give ample rains and a good 
harvest (see McBryde, 1933, p. 77). Note the Solola 
coats with the bat designs, and the ceremonial black 
outer pantaloon worn by tlie kneeling Indian cof radii 

h, The ears are of yellow maize with occasional black grains 
serving as eyes and mouth; "hair" is of corn silk. 
"El Santo Maic" is dressed in rich silk robes, with 
beads and crucifi.x. Decorations include bright-colored 
silk ribbons and flowers, especially of bromeliaceous 
epiphytes and orchids. This altar and the saints were 
made for the Guatemala National Fair of November 
1940, by the Indians of San Pedro Sacatepequez 
(Depto. San Marcos), exactly as they prepare them 
for their local planting ceremonies. 

d, This is a small instrument, played by a father (left) and 
his two sons. Some marimbas are as much as 10 
feet long, and may be played by a half dozen men. 

/, Note the bull mask, of wood with natural cow's horns, on 
the net-load of regalia in the foreground. This is 
part of the accoutrement for the dramatic dance of 
Los Toros, which features a bullfight. These cos- 
tumes are rented rather than sold by the owner, a 
San Cristobal Totonicapan Indian. They are expen- 
sive to make and are needed only for festivals (see 
p. 68). The man at the left is a Santa Cruz la 
Laguna Indian ; at the right is a young girl of Solola 
with a hooded baby on her back (see pi. 8, e). 

g, In this ceremony the Indians reenact their conquest by the 
Spaniards, some of them dressing as Alvarado and his 
lieutenants. Dramatic dances such as this are held 
throughout Indian Guatemala to celebrate festivals of 
various sorts. 

Plate 18 

a, This photograph was taken from the top of the high ridge 
above Jaibal (see map 20), looking east, in August 
1936. Hotel Tzanjuyii is in the center foreground, 
and leading off to the left are the roads to Solola 
(upper) and San Buenaventura (lower). Just to the 
right of Tzanjuyii the flooded former mouth of the 
Panajachel River (c) is visible. Note the muddy 
discharge from the swollen river (the present course 
a straight white channel in the center of the delta) 
(shown in pi. 19, a) as it empties into the Lake and 
turns right (toward the camera) under the influence 
of the prevailing wind. The large gully shown in 
plate 19, e, may be seen in the left background beyond 
the delta. 

h. This daily launch transported passengers from Tzanjuyu 
to Santiago. The heaviest traffic going south was on 
Saturday, when many itinerant merchants from the 
Solola Friday market crossed the Lake to go to 
Sunday Lowland markets. The photograph shows a 
Saturday morning crowd, with pottery and other large 



cacaste loads going aboard (see pp. 68, 101). (The 
smallest boat, with outboard motor, is the one in which 
I mapped the Lake in 1936.) The Lake level in 1932, 
when the photograph was taken, was about 5,065 feet, 
little above the minimum (5,062 ft.) which had been 
reached about 1920, after a steady drop of nearly 40 
feet since 1900 (5,099 ft.). This former level is 
still recalled by old residents of Lake villages, and is 
evident from recent reentrenchmcnts of streams. The 
old Lakeshore trail is always just above this level 
at its lowest points. 

c, This is a close-up of the flooded channels seen in the 

foreground in a. They are viewed from the boathouse 
by Tzanjuyu. The water level was probably 30 feet 
lower than shown in the photograph (5,080 ft., August 
1936) when these former river channels were formed. 
The outline of Toliman-Atitlan volcanoes is faintly 
visible through the haze. 

d, The Lake level here is about IS feet higher than it was 

just 4 years previously. This would submerge ever>'- 
thing shown in b (foreground), even the largest boat, 
leaving only the tops of the willow trees out of the 
water. The tip of the tree shown in b is barely visible 
beyond the pier in this picture (see also Termer, 1936, 
pi. 29). Long-term periodic fluctuations of the water 
level are due apparently to shiftings in the lava rocks 
along the south shore of the Lake, opening and closing 
the subterranean outlets through which the Lake has 
its only drainage (see Appendix 1). 

Pl.^te 19 

a, This picture is made up of five overlapping photographs. 

The main part of the village is in the center of the 
picture, though dwellings are scattered widely over 
the delta. The ruins of the old Franciscan church are 
in the center ; central square, left ; market beyond. 
Vegetable gardens (tahlonex) are visible in the fore- 
ground and to the right ; shaded coffee groves to the 
left of and beyond the village center. The rocky, 
braided stream course appears at the left. Tzanjuyu 
and the former river mouth (pi. 18, a and c) may be . 
seen at the extreme right of the shore. In the back- 
ground, across the Lake, are volcanoes Atitlan and 
Tollman (left) and San Pedro (right). (See maps 
20 and 23.) 

b, Banana plants, which grow so rapidly that they can afford 

effective shade within a few months, are used at first, 
until more permanent shade trees (here the gravilea 
or "silver oak," behind the Indian) can become es- 
tablished. The coffee bush beside which the Indian is 
standing is about 4 feet high, and is covered with 
fragrant white flowers (April 1932). 

c, The jocote varieties, reading from right to left, are as 

follows: 1, Petapa (yellow to orange) ; 2, corona (red 
orange to red) ; 3, chicha (yellow orange) ; 4, 
pascua (red, lighter than corona) ; 5, tamaliio (yel- 
low) ; 6, Rio Grande '(yellow). The ruler besides the 
iocntcs measures 14 inches. (See Appendix 2, table 
8. for fuller descriptions.) 

d, Wool is usually spun on a wheel (pis. 33 and 37) but 

sometimes is twisted with two hands as shown here. 

with the spindle stick dangling below, often serving 
little purpose other than to retain the thread. 

e, September 1933 was probably the rainiest month in the 

history of Guatemala. Water above this point ponded 
naturally in a depression, and when the ground hold- 
ing it gave way, the water tumbled down with de- 
structive force. Such gullies have occurred at vari- 
ous points along the north side of the Lake, notably 
at Tzununa, where a gully deposit blocked and 
diverted the main stream of the arroyo. The flood 
which destroyed Ciudad Vieja, first capital of Guate- 
mala, in 1541, was probably of this character. The 
story of the Lake in the crater of Agua volcano (hence, 
its name) is a myth (pi. 44, d). 

f. Foot of the gully shown in e. Scale is indicated by the 

man at the base. At left is a small species of ceiba 

Plate 20 

a, Tablones are often built up 20 inches or more above the 

base, of carefully worked, fertilized soil. Water is 
diverted through ditches surrounding the straight earth 
sides of the plots, and is tossed over the growing 
plants with shallow pans or gourds, as in c. Coffee 
bushes may be seen growing in the background, be- 
yond the cane fence. 

b, It may be seen from this picture that almost one-fifth of 

the garden area shown is planted to corn (see map 
23). Most tablones are over 3 varas (nearly 9 ft.) 
wide, and vary in length. 

c. The tablones shown here are all planted to onions, with 

cabbage scattered at wide intervals along tlie edges 
of the plots. 

d. These special hills for pepinos resemble the ones made 

for tomatoes at San Pedro la Laguna (see p. 141). 
For discussion of tablSn culture at Panajachel, see 
pages 30-31. 

Plate 21 

a, locates, especially petapa, corona, and chicha varieties 
(pi. 19, c), are very prominent in this market during 
the height of their fruiting season, from September 
to January. The two large baskets just to the left 
of the center are filled with jocotes {mico). The 
duller looking ones in the nearer basket are boiled. 
The small center basket contains unroasted coffee 
('Vu oro"), while those to the right are filled with 
jocotes {petapa), tomatoes, and local mancana bananas 
(see table 2). Garlic in bunches braided together 
and small green onions occupy the right foreground. 
Solola women in left foreground, center background; 
Panimache lime vendors, right rear. 

c. For a discussion of this tinaja trade, see page 80. A 

suyacal, or rain cape, is leaning against the pottery 
in the foregroimd. In the extreme right foregroimd 
is a San Pedro woman ; Solola woman next to her ; 
Argueta woman with child, standing in the back- 
ground. Bej'ond her is a cargo of pine chairs from 
Argueta, en route to Guatemala City. 

d. The three men in this picture are San Pablo Indians 

with loads of large ropes (sogas), going to the 
Patzum market. Note the bajarcqne (watlle-and- 
daiib) house at the right (see p. 43). 



Plate 22 

a aiid i, show the steep, rugged slopes surrounding tlie 
Hniited favorable terrain upon which the village is 
built. Alost of the many trees are jocotes, especially 
petapa and chicha. The church (lower edge of a. 
near center in b) is at the lowest level of any on 
the Lake, at the water's edge, according to old resi- 
dents, at the end of the 19lh century, when the level 
was about 5,100 feet (it was about 5,080 ft. in 
August 1936, when these pictures were taken). The 
rapid rise of the Lake in 1933 inundated most of 
the rushes, used in the once-important mat craft, 
and about 100 yards of good shore land. Attempts 
are being made to plant rushes for mats, but most 
of them are still bought from other municipios. 

c, There are only about a dozen gardens like this at Santa 

Catarina (1936), having a small fraction of the area 
of those of Panajachel; and 7 of these are worked 
by a man from Panajachel, who rents them for 
onions. The light soil, thougli good for onions, is 
not favorable for garlic. Beyond the garden in this 
picture are wild cane, left; agave (and flower), 
center; avocado, right. Atitlan and Tomilan vol- 
canoes appear in the left background. 

d, The large split-cane trap on the left is for use at hot 

springs, the nearest of which, in the municipio, was 
inundated too deep to reach after the Lake rose in 
1933 (pL 18). The small garlitos are baited and 
placed along the shore with . the apex of the split- 
cane funnels pointed outward, and the long cane 
resting on the bank (p. 124). These are used on 
a small scale in all the Lake villages, but especially 
Santa Catarina. Besides a fish trap, the man on the 
right is holding a canoe paddle. In the right back- 
ground is a well-developed giiisquil vine. 

e, These fish are not over 2 inches long, and five are strung 

on each stem (two stems for 1 cent when this pic- 
ture was taken, February 1932). The fish are 
smoked after they are impaled on the stems. This 
is an ancient practice (p. 124). The Solola woman 
at the right is stooping to pick up her basket ; the 
coiled cloth to steady it is already on top of her head. 

/,'Lake Atitlan crabs caught and sold at about 1 cent each 
by Santa Catarina men. They are tied up with j'ucca 
leaves in bunches of five ; top view, left ; rear view, 
right. The section of tape measures 12 inches. 

g, Note cactuses in background: pitahaya (below) and 
tuna. The cane pole held in his right hand is used 
for catching crabs at night. Bait, consisting of a 
piece of meat, small fish, or (best) a live frog, is 
tied on the end with the heavy string attached for 
the purpose. This crabbing is done in dugouts, by 
pitchpine torchlight ; hence, it can be done success- 
fully only on fairly calm nights. At his feet Gonzales 
has a small-mouthed crab basket. In his left hand he 
holds a coiled crab line made of three bejucos (fine, 
rubbery vines) having a total length of 16 varas, 
or about 45 feet. This is stored 'in the smoke above 
the fire so that the soot will preserve it. Maguey 
cord is not used because it rots rapidly. Bait is tied 
on at intervals and the line is weighted with rocks 

in fairly deep water, preferably where there is a 
good growth of Lake weeds on the bottom. This is 
done in the early morning, without the aid of nets. 
Crabs are caught in this manner also in San Marcos. 
A San Pedro man and his three sons catch crabs 
in underwater stone enclosures which they build 
about 2 feet square, with a small opening in one 
side (away from the shore). They fill the enclosure 
with Lake weeds ; weekly they close the openings and 
trap 1 to 2 dozen crabs in each. 

Plate 23 

a, Most of the houses of San Antonio are constructed on 

terraces, for the slope of the site is quite steep. The 
trail to Santa Catarina may be seen skirting the 
promontory in the background (p. 102). 

b, The adobe house in the foreground has a common type 

of roof crest (poles laid along either side) (p. 47). 
The church is in the center of the picture. In the 
background are volcanoes Atitlan, left, and Tollman, 
right. A spearhead of clouds from the Lowlands 
is just beginning to move up through the gap of 
San Lucas. This is likely to occur during the latter 
part of the morning, any season, when the south 
wind sets in (see Appendix 1, p. 131). 

c, Horses are driven in a circle, often in an enclosed corral. 

There is always a wind to blow the chaff (p. 28). 

d, These men cross the Lake from Santiago (just off of 

left background) in dugouts, which they beach at 
San Antonio. They then climb the steep trail, 500 m. 
to the summit shown here. Note the agave and 
yucca in the right foreground. It is still a long 
journey to Tecpan, where they sell their Lowland 
products and buy quicklime as a return cargo (see 
p. 73). For this hard climb they have discarded 
their shirts, which are draped over their shoulders. 

Plate 24 

a, Often, as in this case, all of the men paddle, standing 
and facing forward. The stern handles used for 
lifting and beaching canoes may be seen, especially 
in the foreground. Note also how gunwales and 
prow are built up with wide boards (for a description 
of these canoes, see page 99). In the right back- 
ground is the base of San Pedro volcano, with 
Tollman beyond and Cerro de Oro at the extreme 
left. Submerged treetops appear beyond the canoe. 

/', These are the so-called "Pescadores," or mail carriers, 
who are also traders. There are four well-filled 
cacastes in the canoe, containing tomatoes to be taken 
to Solola (see also pi. 12, c). 

e, The canoe is being paddled stern-first towards the beach 

for a landing. There are 10 San Pedro paddlers 
and 15 passengers, mostly women. Some are from 
Santa Clara, with four large loads of shallow baskets 
{caiiastos), packed in the prow of the boat. The 
pyramidal roofs of Atitlan houses are visible beyond. 
In the background are Tollman volcano (left, with 
two summits) and Atitlan (right). 



d, These are mostly merchants with Highland products for 

Lowland markets. Cargoes of Totonicapan pottery 
are especially in evidence, as in / (p. 80). 

e. From the stern of this small canoe 4 Atitlan paddlers and 

5 passengers with cargoes are stepping ashore. They 
will go to the Friday market at Solola. The water 
is calm at this time (about 7 a. m.), as the hea\-y 
waves do not come until the south wind sets in, about 
9 a. m. The 9-mile crossing from Santiago to Pana- 
jachel is made in about 4 hours (p. 99). Handles for 
lifting are visible on both stern and prow of the canoe. 

Pl.\te 25 

a, The thatching material is pajSn (high-altitude giant 
bunchgrass). About 20 relatives and friends of the 
builder are helping him roof his house, for which he, 
in turn, provides food and drink (see p. 44). This 
new house is of the short-ridgepole type; the one at 
the extreme right in the picture is pyramidal, with an 
inverted bowl on top (p. 44). The houses of Santiago 
are of both types, fairly evenly divided (&; see also 
map 14). Rocks for walls are abundant, as the vil- 
lage is built upon a lava terrace. Not only alleys 
are walled (foreground) but most yards are enclosed 
by stone walls, and house w-alls are of stone (lower 
half), usually whitewashed, and vertical cane (upper 
half). The lava is basaltic andesite, porphyritic, with 
phenocrysts of olivine and pyroxene. San Pedro lava 
is similar; samples were lighter colored, more com- 
pact, and less prominently porphyritic (plagioclase 
phenocrysts). My samples were analyzed by Dr. 
Charles M. Gilbert, University of California. 

■b, The houses'are grouped in stone-fenced enclosures, usually 
according to families, brothers or other relatives 
occupying groups Qf houses close together. View 
from a high lava terrace just east of the village; Lake 
Atitlan in the background. 

■c. This picture includes part of the area shown in b, from 
a greater distance. Two sopilotes (buzzards) are seen 
soaring, against the white background of the Lake. 

d, This overlaps c about one quarter inch, the point of the 
peninsula in the upper left appearing in both pictures. 
The municipal buildings and market place are in the 
extreme right. The principal "street" leads from 
there across the peninsula, and may be traced in 
c and d by the line of larger, whitewashed adobe 
houses, most of which are owned by the few Ladinos 
of the village. The narrow strait of Santiago Bay, 
with the base of San Pedro volcano beyond, is in the 

■e, An Atitlan woman seated in the foreground is spinning 
white cotton thread. Tlie tizate (chalk for her 
fingers) is at her right. In the background is San 
Pedro volcano, across Santiago Bay. 

/, All the water used at Santiago is brought from the Lake 
in this manner, so that the village is an especially good 
market for tinajas (pi. 42, h). 

Plate 26 

<3, The column of smoke, horizontal in the stable, early morn- 
ing air, is from the roza, burning and clearing for 

corn planting (this was March 4, 1941). The line 
of smoke, at about 8,000 feet, marks approximately 
the upper limit of cornfields here. They cover most 
of the lower slopes despite their steepness and the 
seriousness of soil erosion where there is no vegeta- 
tion binder. The summit of San Pedro volcano is 
rounded and wooded, and slopes are deeply cut by 
gullies. It is the oldest of the major cones by the Lake. 
Toliman, somewhat less old, is less rounded and 
eroded, while Atitlan, the most recent (there are still 
a few fumaroles at its summit) is bare, sharply 
conical, and the lower slopes are little etched by 
erosion. The edge of the Atitlan cone appears faintly 
in the picture just above the end of the visible line 
of smoke. 

b, The man in tlie foreground is taking agave (maguey) 

fibers handed to him by the woman seated in the shadow 
at the right. He separates, straightens, and holds 
them as the woman (left of the center, in line with 
church in the background) about 80 feet away, whirls 
a spinner to which the end of the cord is attached; 
(see p. 69), Another woman (extreme left) is feed- 
ing out fibers for a strand being spun off to the left 
of the picture. Note the Y-post just to the left of 
the man; also potsherds on top of the low-eaved, 
grass-thatched dwellings. 

c, The two prongs of the Y-post serve to separate the three 

double strands of rope and maintain tension as they 
are spun by two men (c) while another spins the 
finished rope in the opposite direction (off right of 
pictures c and e; note rope at extreme right in c). 
In spinning the double strand (second step before final 
spinning), the single strands are also tied to this 
Y-post. The man to the right handles the finished 
rope at the Y-post. 
e. This picture shows an earlier stage than c, which was 
taken several minutes later. The man at the left 
handles one spinner, the center man two ; all are spun 
to the right, as is the finished rope, which is being 
spun at the same time (off picture to right). The 
man at the right keeps the rope going smoothly 
through the fork. 

d, Scraping a fresh-cut agave leaf (penga), about 4 or 5 feet 

long. Two such leaves provide fiber enough for a 
small-sized rope, one-half inch in diameter and 4 
to 5 varas (about 11 to 14 ft.) long. The fence (back- 
ground) is of split agave flower stalks. For fuller 
details of ropemaking see p. 69. 

Plate 27 

a, The whitewashed walls of the few central buildings may 

be seen at lower left center. The ridge is low, the 
village center being about 400 feet (125 m.) above the 
Lake level (see also pi. 45, e, and map 20). Rugged 
mountains rise as high as 3,600 feet above the Lake. 
Extensive areas along the steep lower slopes have 
been cleared for cornfields. 

b, The top of the church and part of the square may be 

seen (right of center, 50 m. below camera level) 
and a few dwellings at the right. Most of the houses 
are hidden behind trees {jocotes, and oranges; also 



avocadoes, Iwias, and limes). The east shore of Lake 
Atitkin may be seen in the distance, with San Antonio 
Palopo left of center. 

c, The two pieces of sacking (1 by 2 yd. each) are tied to 

two canes about 6 feet long and one diagonal about 
9 feet long, making a tapered trap. Placed in shallow 
water, the canes float, leaving the sacking hanging to 
the bottom. Small fish (not over 2 in. long) are 
driven into the opening (about 2 yd. wide). The 
tall stumps were formerly trees growing along fence 
lines when the water was lower (until the rise began, 
about 1930; see Appendix 1, p. 132). A strip of rich 
gently sloping alluvial land about 150 yards wide was 
flooded between 1930 and 1935 (December 25, date of 
this picture). 

d, Jhis seine, about 3}^ feet by 15 feet, is of very fine mesh, 

for catching only small (2-inch) fish. Only 2 seines 
were reported in Santa Cruz, and none of this type 
were observed elsewhere around the Lake. 

e, The younger men at each end, 30-35 years old, wear blue 

coats and black and white rodjllcras over hand-woven 
cotton knee-trousers, white with fine blue vertical 
lines one-half to three-quarters of an inch apart. 
Shirts are bought ready-made. The three other men, 
ranging in age from 40 to 65 (center), wear black 
wool capixais over hand-woven cotton shirts and knee- 
trousers, white with red stripes. The change in dress 
reportedly began about 1900. 
/, These insipid citrus fruits, which look like large round 
lemons with prominent navels, are among the chief 
products of Santa Cruz and especially, Tzununa; (see 
Appendix 3, p. 147). Oranges from here and San 
Marcos, also appear in quantity in the markets. The 
men in the picture are part of a group of 18, 5 with 
litnas, 3 with oranges (and some limas), 5 with 
tomatoes, 5 with greens and onions from Tzununa. 

Plate 28 

The animal market (feria) is in an enclosure off to the left. 
Small pigs especially are sold there (p. 79). In the 
right foreground is the section where most of the 
pottery is sold. In the background is tlie small Cal- 
vario church, with the cemetery beyond. Eucalyptus 
trees and Australian pine have been planted in the 
plaza. Most of the surrounding hills are covered with 
pines and oaks. Photograph taken from the top of 
the principal church (pi. 29. a), February 1932. 

Plate 29 

a, The pottery in the foreground comes mainly from San 

Cristobal Totonicapan. The merchants are Chichi- 
castenango men who will resell them in the Lowlands 
and elsewhere. Many local men may be seen standing 
and kneeling on the church steps, in the background, 
I swinging incense burners, smoke from which fills the 

b, A Chichicastenango woman is kissing one of the silver 

images extended to her. 

c, Sheep are grazed in many Highland regions, such, as this 

one, and since they crop the grass very close, little 
binder is left where they have overgrazed. Once 

started, gullying proceeds rapidly. Many roads and 
trails in the Highlands are, like this one, lined with 
maguey plants. These are unusually small ones, re- 
centlj- planted. The pots in the cargo shown are held 
on by ropes passed through the handles and attached 
to a wooden frame. A cargo net is passed around 
them ; here not reaching the upper ones. 

Plate 30 

a. Great areas in the high mountains (altitude here 2,500 

m., 8,202 ft.) are almost completely covered with this 
course, sedgelike grass. Clearing it with hoes (note 
man, lower left) is an arduous process. A large patch 
(center and lower right) has already been cleared. 

b. Men are thatching the larger house with bunchgrass (seen 

growing in immediate foreground, right). Maize in 
the fields is about 6 weeks old (date of photograph. 
May 4, 1936). The distant slopes beyond the fence 
line have been cultivated within recent years (old 
furrows are visible), but are being left to go back 
to bush. They will probably remain fallow for 10 
years. The small structure in the middle of _the milpa 
is a shelter for lookouts, to be occupied when the 
grain is ripe. 

c. This is 20 km. south of Sacapulas, elevation 1,800 m., or 

5,900 feet, February 8, 1941 ; planting here is in 
March ; harvest, October. These carefully made fur- 
rows, usually about 3 feet apart, may be as deep as 18 
inches. Furrows follow the contour of slopes. For 
a description of this process, see p. 20. 

d. Except for the ear on the left end, which is from near 

Guatemala City, all of these ears are from Santa 
Cruz. From left to right, they are as follows: (1) 
white flint, (2) yellow flint, (3) white flint, (4) 
"black" (dark purplish blue) flint, (5) white flint, 
(6) white flint, (7) white dent, (8) "black" (dark 
blue and purplish with scattered yellow grains) flint. 
The two on the end are 8 inches (about 20 cm.) long. 
I rarely found ears longer than 10 inches (25 cm.) in 
Guatemala; the largest was about 12 inches (30 cm.) 
long (San Pedro Pinula, 1,550 m., eastern Guatemala). 
Most maize ears from high altitudes (above 2,500 or 
8,202 ft.) are even smaller than (1), though otherwise 
resembling it, averaging about 4 inches. No. 6 has 
the largest grains of any I saw, some of them being 
nearly one-half inch (1 cm.) in width. Flour corn 
ears are usually the size and shape of No. 7, very 
light and chalky white, the grains soft and floury. 

e. At the ground surface (top of picture) may be seen in 

cross section old furrows of a milpa or of a wheat 
field. Lateral gullies are starting to form at the fur- 
rows. The top of a road culvert appears at the lower 
right ; the road in the extreme corner. 
/, These pinnacles, the larger ones as high as 60 feet, may 
have started as shown in e. Many of them are capped 
with well consolidated sand and they can retain sharp, 
symmetrical spires (right foreground). Though these 
riscos, which are tourist attractions on the edge of the 
town of Momostenango, arc not extensive, there are 
many badly eroded areas of less advanced stage in 
the region. This reduction of cultivable surface may 



have contributed to the development of weaving in 
Momostenango (p. 15). When the town was built at 
its present site (said to have been 1705), forests of 
huge white pine reportedly covered much of the area, 
as evidenced by the hewn boards nearly 1 m. (39 
inches) wide in the ceiling of Ernesto Lang's house, 
one of the first to be built. 

Plate 31 

a, The hand-woven trousers and shirt are red and white 

(women's huipils are of the same material, mostly like 
the one on the right; skirts are dark blue) ; jackets and 
outer pantaloons are of natural black wool. Newer 
European-style coats are blue, woven in Momoste- 
nango (p. 50). A red bandana tied on the head is 
generally worn under the low-crowned straw hat. 
The picture was taken in Pueblo Nuevo, and the 
Todos Santeros were going to Mazatenango to buj' 
ixcaco brown cotton, they said. 

b, Shirts and trousers are of hand-woven white cotton ; 

sleeves, collar, and zute (worn imder hat) are red- 
striped. Sandals have heels like shoes, as at Todos 
Santos. The long black wool capixais are comfortable 
in this cold region (p. SO). These men are loaded 
with ocote (pitch pine) which they cut in the high 
forest between San Juan Atitan and Todos Santos. 
Note machetes leaning beside the men at left and 

c, Plows are simple wooden shafts, generally having met&l- 

tipped shares (p. 20). 

d, These instruments, mostly made by Ladinos living on the 

outskirts of town, are elaborately inlaid, sometimes 
with as many as 13 concentric rings of different wood 
around the sound hole. This is the operation shown in 
the photograph. Tools consist of a peg, a slotted 
piece of hardwood that rotates like a compass, and 
a pocketknife. There is also a jack plane on the work 
bench (upper right in picture). These elaborate 
guitars sell for between $2.00 and $3.00. 

e, At the right is a portion of the market (Thursday', De- 

cember 26, 1940). 

/, The altitude here is about 2.400 m. (7,900 ft.) ; date De- 
cember 24th, 1940 (p. 20). 

g, At the right is a conical, stone and adobe sweat-bath 
structure (iem^iscal) , with square opening facing the 

Pl.\te 32 

a. Black humus at the surface, often as thick as 2 feet and 
underlain by clayey red-brown horizon is the typical 
soil profile here, apparent along either side of the 
road. This is the main highway between Guatemala 
Gity and Quezaltenango, now a part of the Pan 
American Highway. The law requiring 2 weeks' road 
work a year (or $2.00 tax) by each man has resulted 
in a good road net. Though short-grass meadows 
predominate on these highest summits, there are 
patches of woodland and forest, mainly coniferous 
(pines, cypresses, and junipers; p. 6). The pines 
here, as in the Guchumatanes, have been killed in 

great numbers, reportedly by a boring beetle and by 

b, Blue and yellow meadow flowers dot the stnootli slope 

in the foreground. In this area about 95 percent 
of the sheep are black, for the dark brown wool is 
widely used in weaving (p. 64). 

c, The size of the bunchgrass may be estimated by com- 

parison with the sheep. Here in the Guchumatanes 
Mountains, black and white sheep are more evenly 
divided in the flocks, for there is more demand for , 
white wool than farther south, where black sheep 
predominate. The woman at the extreme left, with 
a baby slung on her back, is herding the animals. 

d, The pen, with sheep inside, just to the right of the center, 

has been moved from its previous position as indi- 
cated by the smooth squares extending to the corn- 
field at the left edge of the picture. The vertical 
stakes in the corral are lifted on all sides but one, so 
the new position is contiguous with the previous one 
(see p. 20). Note the lookout shelter at the left 
of the pen, and the furrows of an old field, right. 

e, The pen occupies almost the same relative position in 

this picture as in d. The three squares immediately 
to the left of the corral are darker than the others, 
which are older and more bleached. Often, increas- 
ingly dark tones clearly indicate the course of the 
shifting pen. A lean-to lookout shelter appears near 
the pen. Note also the bunchgrass (foreground, by 
the Gantel road), dwellings, beyond the pen and the 
characteristic open, level terrain of the upper Samala 
Valley in the background. 

Plate 33 

a, The Indian weaver, Jose Barrera, holds a bunch of raw 
wool in his upraised left hand, which he draws slowly 
away from the spindle as he turns the wheel with 
his right hand. The yarn may be seen passing in 
front of his cap. This picture was taken during 
February 1941 ; the others on this plate in May 

h, Garded white wool' is lying on the table at the right. 
The wheel is operated as in a. The boy seated at 
the left is carding the raw white wool in the basket. 
The cards have long, heavy wire bristles; are made 
mostly in Chiantla, and marketed in San Francisco 
and Momostenango. The boys card and spin, and 
tread blankets (pi. 34, c) but do not weave. Spinners 
are sometimes hired. 

c, In this manner a skein of yarn is rolled from the free- 

spinning, rhomboidal reel onto the spindle made of 
a section of cane {canon) for use in the creel (see 
d). Thread on a canon is called moldte. It is sold 
in the market in this form or in a ball (bo!a). The 
dye pot in the foreground is from San Bartolome. 
Note the rawhide pulley from the wheel to the spindle 

d, The son of Jose Barrera, at left, turns the freely rotating 

warping frame (urdidor) so that the warp threads 
are spooled in the desired arrangement for the blanket 
pattern. Note that the rotating spindles on the creel 
(right) are placed with six white at the left and 



six black at the right. This is sometimes done also 
by cotton weavers at Salcaja. The spindles all turn 
together as they feed the warping frame simultane- 
ously. From the frame the threads are transferred 
to the yarn beam. The elder Barrera in the back- 
ground continues spooling thread as in c. For other 
steps in wool weaving, see plates 34 and i7 ; pp. 63-65. 
The small chair in the foreground is characteristic 
of those used by Guatemala Highland Indians, adults 
as well as children (pi. 43, 6, c). Sitting on small 
chairs and low stools is the closest approach to 
squatting on the ground, as the Indians still do much 
of the time. Before the Conquest small hollowed 
log sections were probably used. These are frequently 
seen today, cut out of "pito," Erythritia sp. (e.g., at 
Chalchitan), with a little straight handle left at one 
end. The Indians have adopted but little of European 
e, This blanket has a unique feature in the row of bars 
and openings near each end (seen at the knees of 
each of the men). It is a large, hea%'y blanket, of 
good quality, worth $3.50 in 1936. Though mostly 
black and white, it has bars of purple and green 
in a large plaid. Scotch plaids, of red, blues, and 
greens are common. 

Plate 34 

a, The man in the center of the inset has his hands braced 

against a rock while he treads a blanket with his feet 
against another rock as the men are doing in e. The 
man at the right in the inset is swinging a blanket 
down with force against a rock. Both blankets have 
been soaked in the hot springs. 

b, The woman in the center cards the white wool from 

the basket beside her, while the woman at the right 
behind her spins white yam. The loom, behind the 
seated woman, is operated by her husband. The yam 
beam, with wide black and white bands, appears 
just above the head. They are working in a special 
shed behind their dwelling ; in some cases the loom 
is under the same roof in a separate room. 

c, Two women are selling palo amarillo (bright yellow 

wood, foreground), brasU, reddish wood (woman at 
left seated on it), and campeche, purplish wood at 
right, from the vicinity of San Pedro Carcha (see 
p. 65). Momostecos are buying it rapidly. The 
woman in the center (from Coban) is weighing 
wood in a balance. Note filled cargo net, right fore- 
ground. The woman at the left is a Momosteca, 
with white huipil and white-checked blue skirt; the 
typical huipil is dark red cotton with fine black 
horizontal lines: local foot-loom work. A checked 
cloth is often tied on the head (pis. 33, c;34, b) as 
at San Francisco el Alto. 

d, The men are at the stream which flows by the village. 

They have soaked the blankets in water heated in 
the heavy San Cristobal vessel in the background 
(pi. 41, a.). 

e, The same men as in d at the scene shown in d. Special 

racks are built of poles to give the men support as 

they tread and knead and twist, manipulating their 
feet with remarkable agility. 

/, From this belfry the rolls of blue woollen goods for 
coats appear in an unbroken line on both sides of 
the street for a distance of over two city blocks. 
Most of the tailoring of the coats for the Southwest 
is done in Quezaltenango. The tower of the municipal 
building is at the right. Note the stripped pines 
in the right background. 

g, These are the largest, heaviest, and best felted blankets 
made in Guatemala. Colors of figures are generally 
browns, blues, reds, yellows, greens, and black. 
Dolls and animals are worked in with short weft 
threads, using cardboard cut-outs as guides. These 
blankets more than any are well teaseled before 
being washed (teasels grow in abundance in cantons 
Xecanaya and Jutaca, and are sold in the market). 
Then they are well worked afterward, as in d and 
e. They are made chiefly on the south side of 
the town, in the cantons of Los Cipreses and Tierra 
Colorado. Most of tlie blankets with jaspe patterns 
are also made here (see p. 64). 

Pl.\te 35 

a, The church faces upon this square, wliich was probably 

once the main, central plaza (p. 87). It is used now 
mainly for drying blankets, when there is no religious 
festival with dances and carnivals. Of about 85 
blankets visible here, nearly 80 have large plaid pat- 
terns, mostly black and white. Scale may be de- 
termined from the gray-looking blankets at the lower 
left (and three others at the lower right), which 
have fine bluish checks on white. Note from the 
shadows the directness of the noon sun (May 1, 1936). 

b. Since San Francisco is like a deserted village on Sunday 

and teems with life every Friday, which is market 
day, the big attendance at Mass is naturally on Friday 
(p. 127). The afternoon sunlight streams through 
narrow windows, making bluish beams in the smoky 
air. !Many candles are being burned by the wor- 
shippers, who are mostly Indians. The great altar 
in the background, almost completely covered with 
gold leaf, had been painted over for centuries, until 
Padre Carlos Knittel discpvered its true nature, 
about 1934, and painstakingly directed its restoration. 
d, Here in the jeria (upper right in c) wool may be seen 
in all of its stages. Black and white sheep appear 
at the left; netloads of raw wool, black and white, 
in the center; and plaid blankets, of black and white 
wool, drying in the foreground. Blankets are usually 
brought to market wet, fresh from felting. In the 
middle distance is the white roof of the church, from 
the right end of which plates 35, c, and 36 were 
taken. The upper Samala Valley lies beyond, with 
Cerra Quemado and Santa Maria volcanos on the 

Plate 36 

In the right foreground are Quiche hats and Coban ropes. 
Large sacks of dried chile from Asuncion Mita, 
in eastern Guatemala, are sold just beyond the open- 



ing between the tents. Plain white Cantel cotton 
goods are sold along the edge of the square to the 
right, and lengths of indigo-blue cotton skirts may 
be seen hanging in the shade in front of the building 
across the square. Blankets and woollen goods are 
also sold there, out in the sun. Wool textiles spread 
out to dry may monopolize the street on the far 
left-hand side for several blocks. The two streets 
parallel to the camera and behind it are also crowded 
with vendors, especially of pottery (right) and corn, 
some in trucks (left). Not over two-thirds of the 
total market is visible in this picture. San Francisco 
is primarily a wholesale market and redistribution 
center (p. 127). Note how the distant hills have been 
cleared of woody growth, except along fence lines. 

Plate 37 

a, An outside loom may be seen on each side of the house 
to the left. The one nearer the center is pictured 
in b, d, and e. Note black and white sheep and 
bunchgrass in the foreground ; fog in the background. 
Black wool jackets with split sleeves are worn by 
men here as in much of the Cuchumatanes region 
and in Chiapas. 

h, The man in the left background is spinning white yarn, 
the other, black. For closer views and explanations 
of the spinning wheels, see plate 33. 

c. These crosses and shrines are common along roads and 
trails, especially at summits and crossroads, in most 
of Catholic Latin America. Travelers, stopping a 
moment for prayer, leave flowers or light candles. 

e, The weaver has just thrown the shuttle through with his 
left hand and caught it in his right. For a descrip- 
tion of pcyon weaving, see page 65. 

Pl.ilTE 38 

a, The Samala River flows from right to left across the 
picture. The common agave of this area appears in 
the left foreground. There are few trees in this 
valley, so that the little patch by the Quezaltenango 
road is exceptional. Cerro Quemado (immediately 
behind Quezaltenango) and Santa Maria volcano are 
in tlie background. For a brief description of the 
valley, see pp. 4, 133. There is not the isolation in 
this valley that is seen in the Lake Atitlan Basin. 
On the contrary, there is free intercommunication. 
Consequently, individuality among municipios is less 
apparent. Men are indistinguishable as to provenience 
throughout the valley. Even women, who speak more 
Spanish than those of the Lake basin, are more 
alike. In many municipios women wear distinctive 
costumes, as at Quezaltenango (c). Olintepeque 
women wear two types of huipils: (1) red with 
wide-spaced horizontal white stripes and white sleeves 
with longitudinal red stripes; (2) dark blue with 
j4-inch cerise stripes, horizontal, about 4 inches 
apart : skirts are solid dark blue, belts 4-inch red 
cotton, with fine longitudinal white lines. In the 
line of villages near the western end of the valley, 
from San Martin to Cajola, all women wear the 
same blue checked skirts and wide black wool belt. 

with a few widely spaced thin white stripes (p. 89) ; 
huipils are basically red. At Cajola there is on this 
an occasional horizontal yellow-bordered J/2-inch 
black line; at San Juan, Concepcion, and San Martin 
intricate designs in over-all patterns, green, orange, 
purple, and red, are woven on the stick looms. An 
unusual twill technique, with double huddle, was 
found here by Dr. O'Neale. Ziites are decorated 
much like huipils (pi. 42, g). Almolonga huipils 
and Elites are heavily brocaded with beautiful over- 
all designs on the loom, on one side only: red, purple, 
cerisej green, j'ellow, cotton, and some silk. Skirts 
are blue as at Zunil. 

b. The Quezalteco is selling the following types of chile : 

foregroimd, left to right, Cobdn (2 sacks) ; sambo ; 
costeiio ; background at left, chile chocolate from 
Asuncion Mita (see table 7, Appendix 2). In the 
smaller, deeper sacks are Tahuesco salt and Tapachula 
salt shrimp. Behind the vendor, at the right, are 
ixile (slender agave) leaves, which are used, entire, 
like heavy twine ; this plant is especially abundant 
around Chichicastenango. 

c. This is a specialty of Pie de Volcan, and these women may 

always be seen here at the foot of the market steps 
(p. 74). They wear a regular Quezalteca costimie, 
with full, pleated skirts. There is great individual 
variation in the intricate designs of the huipils, made 
on foot looms. 

d. The Indians have a stone altar on .top of Santa Maria 

volcano, and conduct pagan rites {brujeria) there, 
as they often do on peaks and in caves. It was re- 
ported that, in 1916, after some Quezaltenango Ladino 
schoolboys had disturbed the altar, S young mountain 
climbers (2 Germans, 1 Ladino, 2 Indian guides) were 
massacred on the peak by vindictive Pie de Volcan 
Indians wielding machetes. The western Guatemala 
Indians are normally friendly and docile, rarely re- 
sorting to violence. Santa Maria volcano, obviously 
recent, as indicated by one of the sharpest cones in 
the world, yet covered with pines to its summit, was 
classified as extinct by French (Dollfus and Mont- 
Serrat, 1868, p. 475) and American (Intercontinental 
Railway Commission Report, 1898, p. 246) investi- 
gators, yet, October 24-26, 1902, Santa Maria erupted 
laterally from its southwest base, in one of the great- 
est volcanic outbreaks in Central American history 
(see McBryde, 1933, p. 67, ftn. 3). In 1922 a^ new 
volcano began to grow in the crater; in 25^2 years it 
was 66 m. high, and was christened "Santiaguito." 
Located about 4 km. (Zy2 miles) north of Palmar, it 
is now hundreds of meters high. 
f. As .in a. the church (front shown in e) is the prominent 
landmark of the village center, and there are great 
areas of tall maize extending almost uninterrupted up 
and down the valley. An agave flower appears in the 
left foreground. 

Plate 39 

a, For San- ./Kndres soap making, see page 70. 

b, The thatching material is giant bunchgrass. Though most 

of the men are wearing their black wool robes (c), 
about eight of them are not. This is April 30, 1936; 



most thatching and repairing are done thus, just be- 
fore the rains start. The house at the left has a 
corrugated iron roof ; all houses here have adobe 
walls. The towers of the church, in the center of the 
village, appear at the extreme left. The lower slopes 
in the background are largely cleared for maize and 
potatoes; the light color (see also c) is due to the fine 
pumice nodules, recent ejecta from Santa Maria vol- 
cano, which cover the surface everywhere in this area. 
This makes a good tilth for potatoes, which require 
a light soil ; here they are an important crop. 

:, The men on the left are wearing robe and trousers of 
red-lined white cotton, locally made on stick looms, 
with red and yellow sleeves elaborately embossed on 
the loom (for illustration, see Lemos, 1941, p. 24) and 
red and variegated sashes with beautifully woven 
decorations. A cute or a felt hat (sometimes both) 
may be worn. One man in the picture has his black 
wool capixa'i, worn over the white cotton clothes; like 
the head ztttc, it is a protection against the cold. The 
huipil of the women at the right matches the men's 
sleeves. She is wearing a jaspe apron of various 
colors over her dark blue skirt (from Quezaltenango ; 
p. 52). The black wool sash is very wide and has 
narrow white stripes about 2 inches apart. 

i, Since the abandonment in 1933 of the short-lived electric 
railway for which this dam was built, there has been a 
great excess of power from the plant. Quezaltenango 
and other western towns and villages, the Cantel 
cotton mills, and some of the coffe fiticas (many have 
their own turbines) do not offer a sufficient market 
for all the power produced. 

?, -This a monument to bad planning and unwise engineer- 
ing. (See Jones, 1940, p. 255.) A German company 
constructed the line, completing it all the way from 
San Felipe to Quezaltenango in March, 1930. In about 
28 miles, it climbs 5,400 feet in elevation, with grades 
as high as 9 percent. The nature and volume of traf- 
■ fie over the route were far insufficient to justify the 
expense even of operation (construction cost about 8^ 
million dollars, according to reports covering the en- 
tire project). The power plant generated more elec- 
tricity than needed, even with the line in operation. 
The floods and the wash-outs caused by the record 
rains of September 1933 brought about the final col- 
lapse. The right-of-way is returning to bush, and the 
cascasies move up a well-beaten path, as before. 

f, This is a characteristic scene in Quezaltenango before Palin 

Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) ; this picture was taken 
on Saturday (April 4, 1936). The yellowish, musty- 
smelling inflorescence of the corozo palm is much in 
demand, along with strips of palm leaves, for decorat- 
ing altars and churches. Christian and pagan. 

g. The women in many of the villages in the Cuchumatanes 

Mountains wear these long, heavily collared white 
cotton huipils, which fall loosely over the long red 
skirts, nearly covering them. The large, separate col- 
lars are ruffled at top and bottom, and are decorated 
with many lines of silk embroider}', colors here being 
chiefly purple, yellow, green, and black (chainlike 
design and outer margin especially). These details 

vary with different municipios. The usual headdress 
consists of a heavy black woo! cord with which the 
hair is braided and bunched into a frontal .knot (ex- 
treme right). Sometimes a bright-colored, tasseled 
silk Totonicapan head band is worn (left foreground), 
but this is exceptional. The machete lying besides 
the woman's right hand is used for cutting the hard 
blocks of panela. The heavy stick is used to hammer 
the machete blade. Weighing is done with the basket 

Plate 40 

a, (For further discussion of the arrangement of warp yarn, 
see p. 63). In the background are Cerro Quemado 
(left) and Santa Maria volcanoes. 

6, Flowers, birds, and animals are favorite motifs in this 
embroidery. Cardboard cut-outs are traced in pencil on 
the cloth, which is manufactured white cotton from 
Cantel (p. 52). Not all women here take the trouble 
to embroider their hufpils, either wearing them una- 
dorned or buying them already decorated (these are 
generally available in the San Cristobal market) . There 
is no stick-loom weaving here, or anywhere in the 
upper Samala valley, though some of the San Francisco 
women (about three in each of the six weaving can- 
tons) up on the high slopes adjacent, weave a charac- 
teristic zute of white having alternate brown and blue 
3/4-inti\\ stripes. These are worn by some local 
women and those of San Cristobal and Aguacatan. 

c, The warp ends are attached at the opposite side of the 

room off to the right. This a special loom room, 
apart from the dwelling. Most of this work is done 
by men, but many \s'omen also participate in it. The 
woman's huipil is of many colored bars and bird and 
animal patterns, made on the foot loom; the skirt is 
blue jaspe. Often, huipils here have names and dates 
woven between horizontal bars, on purple and jaspe 
huipils unlike the one pictured. The common Totoni- 
capan head band of the type being woven here con- 
sists of alternating bands and figures (especially 
higlily conventionalized birds and animals) in various 
colors, usually red, yellow, blue, purple, green ; black 
and white. The most elaborate ones are made of silk 
with a variegated pompon at each end, and silver 
cord loops attached, fringed with bright-colored tas- 
sels (pi. 39, g). A modem use of the cotton head 
bands is the making of women's high-heeled sandals, 
which sell in New York for $15.00 (head bands cost 
50 cents). One large New York firm has a shop for 
this purpose in Guatemala City. 

d, The yarn is being wound from the canones (8-inch cane- 

section spindles) onto a reel oft' to the right, a simple 
frame about 6 feet high and 3 feet wide. The yarns 
shown here are white and indigo blue. 

e, When these threads have been separated and spaced prop- 

erly (ti), they are wound on the yarn beam of the 
loom. This is one of the many families of, Ladino 
skirt weavers in Salcaja. The physical type is com- 
mon, more Spanish than Indian in blood. The man 
at the right has a large external goiter, a widespread 
affliction among Highland Indians and Ladinos alike. 
This dwelling has the usual adobe walls. 



Plate 41 

a, The vessels, some of them used also in the textile in- 

dustry (pis. 33, c] 34, b, d) are generally of greenish 
and brownish yellow, highly glazed inside and out- 
side (sometimes only upper half outside). For their 
manufacture, here and in Totonicapan, see page 54. 
No comales (tortilla griddles) are to be seen, for 
they are little used in the open valley. Few tortillas 
are eaten, since tliey require much more firewood 
tlian tamales (p. 10). The deep, wide-mouthed pots 
to the right of the San Cristobal women in the fore- 
ground are colanders (p. 55). 

b, Tlie solid wooden wheel (bottom of picture) is spun 

clockwise by kicking with the ball of the right foot, 
as it is brought backward. This rotates a vertical 
shaft at the top of which is an 8-inch disk. The 
clay is worked on the top disk, starting with a 15- 
inch-higli truncated cone (p. 54). 

c, In firing, the vessels are placed as close together as 

possible, the larger ones on the bottom, mouth up, 
smaller ones on top, mouth down. Clay in foreground. 

d, Of the three men descending the trail, the one in the 

rear has a load of small, blackened San Miguel 
Ixtahiiacan pitchers in and around his cacaste (10 
inside and 15 outside). From Santa Maria Chi- 
quimula iinajas (water jars) may be seen on top, 
along with his stiyucal (rain cape). The one in the 
center has a more evenly divided load of the two 
types. The front man has mostly black pitchers, 
with tinajas on top and stewing dishes from San 
Cristobal below. No cargo nets are used by these 
merchants. Some carry only tinajas, 18 or 20 neatly 
tied on with maguey cord. They are bought whole- 
sale at San Francisco for 4 cents each, and sell in 
Mazatenango market for 8 cents. Just beyond them 
are maguey plants, one with flower stalk. The ridge 
in the middle distance is covered with long-leaved 
pine. Directly beyond the ridge, over the men's 
heads, is San Cristobal on the winding Samala River. 
There is little tree growth in the valley, which is 
largely cultivated to corn and wheat or left in short- 
grass pasture. In the extreme upper right, volcanoes 
Cerro Quemado and Santa Maria may be seen 
through the haze. 

e, This is part of a group of 18 San Miguel men (2 sealed, 

2 standing, right) selling crude yellowish, unglazed 
pitchers, said to be made in their home mimicipio. 
Note the use of cargo nets around the load of 
pottery. The smaller ones, about 10 inches high, 
sell for 2 cents each at Quezaltenango, San Juan, 
and other markets in this region. They are much 
in demand, and go in quantity to Quezaltenango and 
the municipios around it, from Cantel to San Marcos, 
and into the Lowlands. Comitancillo men also bring 
pottery of this type, especially tinajas, reddish with 
a light glaze (g). With the group shown in the 
picture are three Comitancillo men selling these 
water jars. A San Martin Sacatepequez Indian and 
his wife are standing in the left of the picture, about 
to buy pottery. 

/, Bowls, with lids (foregfound) and without; pitchers, 
mugs, cups, miniature toy dishes, whistles (shaped 
like birds and fish), candlesticks, and sometimes 
incense burners. The larger pieces are yellowish 
and brownish, and the miniature pieces are usually 
green. All are highly glazed, but the glaze is thin 
and brittle, and wears off in a short time. 

g, Totonicapan pottery merchants, after stocking up witli 
a variety of goods at San Francisco on Friday, 
walk (d) to Mazatenango for the Sunday market. 
Many small bowls, saucers, and pitcliers, all glazed 
Totonicapan ware (/), may be seen in the photograph. 
The larger pitchers and jars, at left, are from San 
Miguel Ixtahuacan. The larger tmajas, at the right, 
are from Comitancillo. The vender is seated at the 
left. In the immediate foreground is his cacaste, 
which is covered with palm matting. The small 
ceramic ware is packed inside, while the larger jars 
and pitchers are tied on the outside. A suyacal is 
rolled up and tied on to the back of the cacaste, 
with heavy maguey twine spiraled around it. 

Plate 42 

a, These cargoes consist of about 25 pieces each. No 

cacaste is used in such homogeneous cargoes of large 
pottery. A net is passed around them from the 
bottom ; sometimes it will not reach, as in the forward 
load ; also plate 29, c. Note use of the rodillera over 
long white cotton trousers. 

b, Santiago is one of the best markets for these fine, un- 

glazed tinajas, for it is a large Indian village, all the 
women of which take water from the Lake in these 
jars. The village is built on a lava terrace, with 
no permanent streams to supply water to pilas. The 
kneeling woman holds a coin in her outstretched 
hand ; she carries money and goods tied up in the 
ends of the zute over her shoulder. 

c, Many of the women take their own tinajas to market, 

most of them going to Guatemala City. This pottery 
is made only by women, and Friday is the big firing 
day, for the market on Saturday (their chief day, 
though there is a big daily market in the capital). 
The Chinaulla Indian women are so occupied with 
pottery that they do not weave ; their costumes are 
very similar to those of Quezaltenango, whence many 
of their foot-loom-woven huipils come (some also 
from Totonicapan). They also wear the full, pleated 
blue jaspe skirts with draw-strings and 3-inch black- 
and- white belt. Though they carry heavy loads on 
their backs of as many as 10 tinajas, weighing about 
50 pounds, they are barefoot. In the western High- 
lands, women who use the tnecapal nearly always 
wear sandals. At the right in the picture is a Solola 
Indian merchant with Panajachel garlic. His stand, 
stacked with onions and garlic, is visible at the 
extreme left. Coban ropes may be seen in the back- 
ground. Tlie two Chinautia women at the right 
are unpacking their cargoes of tinajas. 

d, Leather thongs may be seen hanging from a rope above 

the pile of sandals. In Guatemala the making of 
sandals from tires is a specialty of Santa Cruz del 



Quiche Indian men, who also make heavy rubber 
bands from inner tubes. A sharp knife is used to 
cut out the sandals, which are outlined in pencil on the 
inside of the casing. Most of the cord is cut away, 
and the tread leveled down a bit with the knife. An 
ear-shaped extension on each side (larger on the out- 
side of the foot) near the back of the sandal, in line 
with the ankles, serves to liold the tapered leather 
thong, which is a meter (about 39 in.) long and one- 
fourth of an inch wide. Four round holes (less than 
one-fourth in.) are made through the sandal, one 
through each ear, and two in line near the toe, about 
three-fourths of an inch apart ; the same distance from 
the end and inside the great toe. The thong is passed 
through both holes, the big end, split and twisted, 
wedging in the front one, passing under the sandal 
and up through the rear hole. It is then passed 
through each ear, and tied in a bow over the instep. 
These sandals are very widely worn by the Indian 
men in the Highlands, where many prefer them to 
leather ones for comfort and wear. Six-ply truck 
tires, though heavy on the feet, are especially prized 
for long wear. In the warm Lowlands rubber sandals 
are worn less frequently, because of the greater Iieat- 
ing and perspiring of the feet on rubber. On various 
occasions in Highland Guatemala markets, I have 
been asked by Quiche sandalmakers if I wanted to 
sell my spare tire. 

e, Here the Rio Negro, flowing from west to east (right to 
left) is seen near the center of the picture, with light- 
colored salt playa left of center, and the rows of 
houses (about 25) for cooking salt just beyond. The 
village of Sacapulas (elevation about 1,200 m. or 
3,937 ft.) is near the river (upper center) and leading 
from it, across a bridge, is the road (extreme right) 
to Cunen, Cotzal, and Nebaj. This is a steep ascent 
up the high north face of the valley. Except for the 
salt playa, the clearings seen in the valley are corn- 
fields ; there is some sugarcane in the wet river bottom 
at the extreme right. The vegetation along the lower 
slopes is mostly thorn bush and cactus, with wooded 
areas of pine and oak higher up (above about 1,400 m. 
or 4,593 ft.). 

/, This is the last step in the making of Sacapulas cake salt, 
which appears in quantity in the local market and 
others in the vicinity ; sometimes in distant ones. Men 
carry the heavy baskets of dirt, but women partici- 
pate in other steps, such as pouring water from tinajas 
over the dirt to leach it, and pouring fluid salt into 
molds ; for this industry, see page 60. The huipil worn 
here is white, scalloped at the bottom, and worn out- 
side of the skirt, which is jaspe patterned, blue or 
variegated (mostly red). There may be red scallops 
embroidered on the collar. Zutes are large, with 
blue jaspe patterns, and fringed. A many-colored 
head band is wrapped around and bunched in front 
and at one side of the head. 

g, The Guatemala piece is of various colors, mostly black, 
red, green, and yellow, whereas the Italian textile is 
pale green on white. In both there may be seen con- 
ventionalized birds, the tree of life, and geometric 

designs. Undoubtedly all such motifs came in witli 
the Spaniards, and many of them may be traced to 
the eastern Mediterranean. 

Plate 43 

a, (For the various steps in this craft, see p. 57.) Stones 

are piled up, leaving only a shallow space at the top, 
where thick layers of soot are accumulated. Flames 
may be seen on the ends of sticks of pitch pine held 
by the man stooping at the right. The neighbor 
standing in the background is wearing trousers made 
of a flour sack having a prominent label across the 
front, not an uncommon siglit where white cotton 
trousers are worn. 

b, The pitcher at the left is filled with soot, which is poured 

as needed into the large clay pot where the man 
is working. Finished jicaras, polished and incised 
and ready for the market, are seen in the basket at the 
lower left. The man is seated on a chair so small 
that it is not noted in the photograph {b and c). 
f, Several of the gourdlike fruits may be seen on the upper 
branches of the tree; also, at the extreme upper 
left, epiphytic bromeliads, commonly used to decorate 
churches and altars (pi. 17, b) . 

Pl.\te 44 

a, In the background are large rolled-up rush mats from 

San Antonio Aguascalientes (c). Through the ruined 
arch is Agua volcano, the peak obscured by clouds. 
All the churches of Antigua were severely damaged by 
the earthquake (June 29, 1773), though local tradition 
holds that some were also blown up with gunpowder 
to break the power of the Church. 

b, This is a view to the southeast. Patches of pine woods, 

as in the foreground, cover only limited summits 
and steep-sided fcofranca.f, since most of the level 
land is cleared for maize and wheat. The volcanoes 
in the background are Agua (left center), and 
Pacaya, faintly visible to the left of it ; Acatenango 
and Fuego are at extreme right. 

c, The man's suit is of white cotton ; his capixai (here called 

codiarte) is of dark-blue wool. 

d, Antigua Guatemala, which appears prominently in the 

picture, at the lower left, was the capital of Guate- 
mala from 1543 until 1773, when it was destroyed 
by an earthquake (see a). (The present capital, 
built after the abandonment of Antigua, was also 
badly wrecked by an earthquake in December 1917.) 
In the distance at the left, beyond Antigua, may be 
seen Ciudad Vieja, formerly called Almolonga, capital 
of Guatemala from 1527 (after the move from 
Iximche) until 1541, when a September rainy period 
resulted in flooding which destroyed it (pi. 19, e). 
The patch of white off to the right of Antigua is 
another village, probably Jocotenango or San Felipe. 
Several zones of vegetation are visible in the picture. 
The plateau in the vicinity of the villages in exten- 
sively wooded, with fine coffee groves interspersed 
with milpas (cornfields) ; above that, slopes are 
cleared for corn as along the base of the volcanoes; 
pine and oak forests clothe much of the middle and 




upper slopes of the volcanoes; the summits of the 
cones are bare lava and ash (especially Fuego) or 
are covered with heavy bunchgrass and scattered 
pines. Fuego has been the most consistently active 
volcano in Guatemala, as its name implies. The 
large, gaping crater is plainly visible from the north- 
east. In the distant background, to the left and 
beyond the volcanoes, may be seen the Coastal Plain 
merging with the Pacific on the horizon. 

<■, This is a section of the Pan American Highway, January 
30, 1936. The vegetation here, about 3 miles north 
of San Cristobal, near Lake Giiija, is characteristic 
of that of most of Southeastern Guatemala: dry 
thickets, where mimosas, acacias, and many types 
of thorny trees and cactuses are common. The seared 
aspect of the vegetation is pronounced during the 
drj- season (November-May). Xerophytism reaches 
its extreme about 60 miles north of here, in the 
Motagua Valley around El Rancho and Zacapa, 
where organ cactuses and other desert forms are 
dominant. It is from the dry departments of south- 
eastern Guatemala that cattle, competing successfully 
with field crops, are raised in abundance for markets 
in Southwestern Guatemala. Ascuncion Mifa, in this 
type of countrj', at 500 m. just 12 miles north of 
here, is the greatest source of dried chile for South- 
western Guatemala. Oxcarts, rare in the Southwest, 
are among the most important means of transporta- 
tion in Southeastern Guatemala and El Salvador. 

f. The selection of maize ears for seed is done throughout 
Southeastern Guatemala. Often the husks of ears are 
peeled back and tied together, and the exposed ears 
are hung up under the roofs of dwellings, especially 
along the pole plates and purlins. The smoke from 
the fire, escaping through the roof, coats the grains 
with soot and protects them somewhat from insects, 
especially weevils and moth larvae. Nets and baskets 
of food and perishables of many sorts are hung up 
and fumigated in this manner. 

Plate 45 

See map 20 and pages 100, 122, 132. 

a, San Pedro is built upon a lava terrace, at the northern 

foot of San Pedro Volcano, just below the central 
point of the photograph. San Juan may be seen at 
the extreme western end of the Lake, beyond the 
fingerlike peninsula of San Pedro. In the distance, 
above it, at the top edge of the picture, is Zunil 
Volcano, with Santa Tomas in the extreme upper 
right. The straight horizontal line, half-way up be- 
tween San Juan and the volcanic peaks, is the top of 
the western wall of the caldera, here largely volcanic 
breccias, with Cerro Cristalino rising above it (ex- 
treme left in b) to a point about 600 m. (2,000 ft.) 
higher than the Lake (map 20). Santa Clara is just 
to the right of this peak, tlie lower half of which is 
granite, the upper half andesite. 

b, San Pablo is built on the top of a low, gently sloping 

ridge, just below the central point of the photograph. 
The deep valley of the Rio Nahualate lies beyond 
the high, rugged mountains back of San Pablo. Steep 

cliffs along the shore, skirted below by a narrow 
footpath, separate San Pablo and San Marcos (right 
foreground, between the two jutting headlands). 

c, The high ridge near the center of the picture, jutting 

out into the Lake, presents a barrier between the two 
settlements, and partly forms a small bay in front 
of each. San Marcos is divided into two sections, 
on high ground on each side of the valley. Tzununa 
is up on the slope to the left of the valley at the 
extreme right, as it is viewed from the Lake. All of 
these settlements are well above the adjacent valley 
bottoms, to avoid damage from flooding during the 
rainy season (p. 120). 

d, Cerro Chichimuch, whose summit is at the upper right 

edge of the photograph, is 1,100 m. (about 3,600 ft.) 
above the Lake surface, yet is only 1^ miles back 
from the shore. Jaibalito, a small group of houses 
in the arroyo mouth at the extreme right, now an 
aldca of Santa Cruz, was the former site of San 
Marcos, according to local records (p. 120). 

e, The village is situated on a low ridge, probably a fault 

block which slipped into the caldera '(see also pi. 27, 
a, b). Local history tells of a former location of 
Santa Cruz on the alluvial fan just to the right (east) 
of the present ridge site, and of the destruction of 
the valley settlement around 1830-40 (see p. 121). The 
church would indicate at least a nucleus of an old 
settlement on the ridge top. About a mile beyond the 
highest point above Santa Cruz is San Jose Chacaya, 
up on the plateau. Most of the trees around the 
settlement of Santa Cruz, Tzunima, and San Marcos 
are jocotes and citrus fruits. 
/, Two terraces are plainly in evidence in this picture. One 
is just at the lower edge of Solola, about 460 m. 
(1,509 ft.) above the Lake; the other is at about 900 
m. (2,952 ft.) above the Lake level (see also pi. 46, 
a and b), a fault escarpment which is probably the 
northern rim of the caldera. For flooding by the 
Rio Quixcap, see page 61. The valley at the extreme 
right, with Jaibal Finca visible at its base, is planted 
to coffee groves, almost up to San Jorge (elev. 1,770 
m. or 5,807 ft.) visible higher up and near the right 
margin of the picture. Coffee is also planted along 
the slopes to the left, below Solola. 

Plate 46 

See map 20 and pages 122, 125-126, 132. 

a, The escarpment of the north wall of the caldera may be 
traced horizontally near the top of the picture. Pana- 
jachel is seen as a cluster of white buildings at the 
extreme right, in the coffee groves back from the 
Lake, on the delta just to the left of the rocky river 
course. From it the road (alternate route of the Pan 
American Highway) leads to Tzanjuyu at the base 
of the sharp ridge meeting the corner of the delta. 
Thence the winding course of the road may be traced 
up through the well-wooded gorge above San Buena- 
ventura (alluvial fan in the center) and around the 
mountain to Solola, the white streets of which are 
visible at the upper left near the edge of the lower 
terrace. This distance by road is about 5 miles (8 



km.) ; see maps 20, 21, and 23. The Quixcap delta, 
more frequently and more severely flooded than the 
other two, is almost bare of trees. The flood of 1881 
wiped out the Finca Jaibal, then planted largely on 
the delta. The coffee groves are now only on the 
high ground, extending up almost to San Jorge (pi. 
45, /). Coffee bushes, shaded mainly by gavilea trees 
(pi. 19, b) cover much of the other deltas (center 
and right). There are many jocote trees also in 
Panajachel. Except for the wooded areas mentioned, 
the vegetation is mostly scrub on the steep shores of 
the Lake and open pak and pine higher up (above the 
lower terrace, elev. about 2,055 m. or 6,741 ft.). 
Bunchgrass and scattered pine and cypress dominate 
above the level of the upper terrace (about 2,455 m. 
or 8,054 ft.; see pi. 10, e). Thick layers of volcanic 
ash, tuffs, and breccias predominate in the geology of 
the north and east shores of the Lake. The commonest 
lava is pyroxene andesite, porphyritic, with pheno- 
crysts of plagioclase and often considerable amounts 
of hornblende (samples from Yz mile southwest of 
Santa Cruz). Olivine pyroxene basaltic andesite like 
that of Santiago occurs near Solola. 

b, The valley of the Rio Panajachel (maps 20 and 23) may 

be seen curving to the left upstream from the 
delta, just beyond the end of the terrace at the 
right. This terrace, upon which the village of San 
Andres Semetabaj is situated (above and midway 
between the two promontories) is about 580 m. 
(1,902 ft.) higher than the Lake level at the right 
edge of the picture, and thus is 120 m. higher than 
the terrace below Solola. The upper terrace shown 
in the picture is about 900 m. (2,953 ft.) above the 
Lake, as is the terrace level above Solola. At the 
extreme lower right 13 the village of Santa Catarina 
Palopo. Note the trees, mostly jocoies, in the moister 
coUuvial bottom below the open grassy and bushy 
slopes of the steep amphitheaterlike wall. 

c, Santa Catarina Palopo is immediately off the left edge 

of the picture, which is ahnost contiguous with b. 
The height of this eastern wall of the Lake basin 
is approximately the same as the upper terrace shown 
in a and b (900 m. or 2,953 ft. above the Lake; 
elevatioi? about 2,455 m. or 8,054 ft.) 

d, Through the gap south of San Lucas (lowest point on 

the rim of the Lake Basin) appears one of the small 
piedmont domes (^peiiones; map 5) at the base of 
Atitlan volcano. By the first peninsula to the right 
of San Lucas (map 20) the water moves slowly in 
under the lava flows to a subterranean outlet. Water 
gushes out in a large stream below San Lucas, and 
also feeds many other streams after passing through 
the lava at the bases of the volcanoes. Openings 
and closings of channels by volcanic and seismic 
disturbances have caused major fluctuations in the 
water level. There was probably once a surface 
outlet at tliis gap (see Appendix 1, p. 132). Extensive 
■ coffee groves may be seen along the slopes of Toll- 
man volcano ; the clearings are milpas. The road 
from Patulul to Godinez, following the eastern wall 

of tlie Lake, is visible on the steep ridge to the 
left of San Lucas. 
e and /, Clearings for cornfields in e (right) and / extend 
high up the slopes of Tollman and Atitlan, to eleva- 
tions above 3,000 m. (9,842 ft.). Irregular lava 
terraces and flow lines characterize this landscape. 
Cerro de Oro ("Gold Hill"), at left in / is so named 
because there was said to be an ancient Tzutuhil 
citadel on top, with gold and other treasures cached 
there. This small volcanic cone rises about 330 m. 
(1,100 ft.) above the Lake surface. The "scattered 
settlements at its base (map 20) takes its name. 
The Pacific Coastal Lowlands appear in the distance 
(left background). 

Plate 47 

The terraces and shore features in the left foreground are 
the result of lava flows from Tollman Volcano. The 
village of Santiago is compactly built on the largest 
lava peninsula (upper, or farthest south, on the left) ; 
see maps 20 and 25. The trees in the village are 
mostly jocotes, peaches, and oranges. The sloping 
plain (El Plan) at the upper left, beyond the village, 
i^ of fertile alhivial and colluvial material washed 
down from the slopes of Tollman and Atitlan Vol- 
canoes. The wooded ridge beyond the Bay is a part 
of the old caldera rim. The contact between the 
rim and the volcanic alluvium of El Plan is sharply 
emphasized by the vegetation, the plain being cleared 
for maize, the ridge covered with trees, the main 
source of firewood for Santiago. All cleared areas 
in the picture are planted to maize (niHpa). Inter- 
mediate tones of gray on the ridge indicate tem- 
porarily abandoned fields going back to bush. The 
trail from Santiago to San Lucas skirts the lava 
terrace in the left foregroimd; the trail leading into 
the Lowlands (Chicacao and fincas) crosses the 
plain in the left background. To the right of 
Santiago Bay are the lower slopes of San Pedro 
volcano. At the northernmost point (nearest the 
camera) on this west shore is Chuitinamit, a dome 
that rises 150 m. (about 500 ft.) above the Lake. 
In pre-Spanish times the royal residence of the 
Tzutuhils is said to have been on top of this hill, 
with the plebian population living across the bay. 
Local tradition holds that in ancient times people 
walked across, with the aid of a short bridge of 
logs. Soundings that I made in 1936 to check this, 
however, discounted it, for a channel between Chui- 
tinamit and the submerged island of Teachuc had 
a minimum depth of 165 feet. Though the pre-Con- 
quest level was probably 30 feet lower (Appendix 1) 
than in 1936, there still would have been a 400-meter 
strait to cross. The island in the center foreground 
is Tzanjayam or Isla del Gato. Faintly visible 
through the water beyond it is the small submerged 
island of Teachuc; the top branches of willow trees 
growing on it were almost touched by the bottom 
of the transport launch passing over it in 1936. 
Tzanjayam and Teacliuc were said to have been step- 
ping stones for the crossing of the strait in earlier 



days when the water was lower. This may have been 
true, but probably crossings were by boat rather than 
by bridge. Teachuc reappeared as an island, and 
Tzanjayam became a peninsula when the Lake level 
reached its low of about 5,062 feet (reportedly 1920) 
and they remained so until 1932. Though the water 
began to rise in 1930, it was a slow increase until 
1933; Lothrop's 1932 map (Lothrop, 1933, p. 17) 
shows Teachuc. About 1921, according to former 
officials of Santiago, an Atiteco started to plant corn 
on' the newly emerged island. When he was ques- 
tioned by the authorities, who considered this as com- 
munal land, he reportedly produced a title to the 
island, dated 1824, and was permitted to plant on it. 
(The 1866 map of Dollfus and Mont-Serrat shows 
high water again, 5,100 ft., by that time.) Local 
tradition also holds that the island was larger at the 
time of the Conquest, having then an area of 200 
cuerdas (40 acres). Lothrop's discovery (op. cit., 
p. 4) of ruins 3 feet below the low water of 1932 
indicates a receded Lake level in pre-Conquest time. 
The level at which the Lake surface has stood during 
most of historic time, according to many types of 
evidence, is 5,100 feet. Judging from shore features, 
maps proving it are as follows: in 1685 (?), Fuentes 
y Guzman, 1932-33, vol. 2, op. p. 60; in 1812, unpub- 
lished map made in San Pedro (dated January 18, 
1812, now in Santiago archives) ; in 1866, Dollfus and 
Mont-Serrat, 1868, pi. 16, fig. 2; in 1891, Intercon- 
tinental Railway Commission Survey, triangulation 
figure. Report of 1898, p. 81, and unpublished map of 
Lake j^titlan. Photographs showing the 5,100 feet 
level are as follows: Brigham, 1887, op. p. 156; in 
1904, Termer. 1936, pi 29, fig. I. Reports of the old 
residents all around the Lake, the growth of large 
trees (avocadoes especially) only above 5,100 ft., and 
the reentrenchment of streams below this level, all 
lend supporting evidence. Medel about 1550 described 
Santiago as an important village with some 3,000 
Indians, and mentioned subterranean outlets from the 

Lake, refusing to believe Indian tradition that it was 
bottomless and without any outlet. (Medel, Ms. 
1550-60?, p. 65, f. 152). Ponce in 1586 told of a great 
river near Patulul which sprang from the mountain, 
draining the Lake from the southeast shore (Ponce, 
1873, p. 444). Fray Diego de Ocafia, a Dominican 
priest, was probably the first to write (1662) regard- 
ing the origin of the Lake depression. He described 
it as a calderalike crater, resulting from the collapse 
of a giant volcano, and attributed Lake drainage to 
subterranean outlets which controlled the level ; he 
wrote that Atitlan volcano was also called "Patulul" 
at that time (Vazquez, 1937-38, pp. 168-169). (It was 
also known as "Suchitepequez" ; erupted in 1469, and 
a number of other times to 1856; McBryde, 1933; 
p. 67 and ftn. 4.) Dollfus and Mont-Serrat (1866) 
explained the Lake entirely through blocked drainage 
by volcanoes, as in the cJase of Lake Amatitlan, and 
cautioned against the crater notion. They were prob- 
ably the first to advance this idea (op. cit., p. 238). 
The United States Army engineers who made the 
Railway Survey in 1891-92, considered both hy- 
potheses, leaning slightly to the crater idea (Inter- 
continental Railway Commission Survey, Report of 
1898, p. 82). Tempest Anderson, an English volcanolo- 
gist, in 1908 reiterated independently the conclusions of 
the Americans (Anderson, 1908, p. 482). The German 
volcanologist, Karl Sapper, wrote in 1913 that the 
Lake, like Amatitlan, was due essentially to blocked 
drainage. Atwood in 1932 concluded that the basin 
was a caldera (Atwood, 1933, p. 664) ; while Termer 
in 1936 found "no geologic evidence of an old crater 
formation," and though the rivers Quixcap and Pana- 
jachel must have formerly joined the coastal streams 
southwest of the Lake before being blocked by ihe 
volcanoes (Termer, 1936, pp. 251-252). One of the 
most convincing arguments against a previous drain- 
age through Santiago Bay is seen in the older ridge 
which stands between the Bay and the Coastal Low- 
lands (background in pi. 47). 


Acatenango, volcano, viil, 6, 177. (PI. 44, b, d.) 

Agua, volcano, 161, 168, 177. (PI. 1, e; 44, a, h.) 

Aguacatan, v, 30-32, 64, 73, 76, 84, 127, 175. 

Agua Escondida, 125. 

Ahachel, 103. 

Almolonga, 27, 30-32, 77, 98, 126, 127, 146, 149. 

Almolonga (Ciiidad Vieja), 177. 

Alotenango, 101. 

Alta Vera Paz, 42, 45, 96. 

Amatitlan, 9, 2i, 120, 140, 142, 147, 180. 

Amatitlan Lake, 131, 180. 

Amazonia, 148. 

Antigua, v, viii, l.S, 54, 66, 68, 85, 87, 140, 142, 161, 177. (PI. 

44, a, c, d.) 
Antilles, 139, 140. 
Argueta, Totonicapan, v, vi, vn, 27, 28, 57, 68, 69, 74, 76, 

97, 100, 104-112, 115, 116, 119, 165, 166, 168. (Pis. 13, b; 

14, a; 21, c;42, &.) 
Asuncion Mita, 84, 85, 128, 173, 178. 
Atitlan Lake, v, \% viii, 3, 4, 12, 16, 21, 24-26, 29-32, 35, 39, 

41, 43-45, 48, 49, 62, 68-70, 73-80, 83, 84, 86-89, 91, 93, 95, 

97-104, 112, 120-124, 126, 127, 129-133, 135-142, 144, 14f^- 

148, 151, 161, 163-171, 174, 178-180. (Map 20; pis. 2, e; 

6; 7; 8; 9; 10, a, c; 12, d; 13, a; 24; 25, b-d, /; 27, a~e; 

45; 46; 47.) 
Atitlan, municipio and village, sec Santiago Atitlan. 
Atitlan, volcano, v, viii, 6, 27, 97, 132, 165, 166, 168, 169, 179, 

180. (Pis. 5, b; 10, a; 12, d; 22, c; 23, b; 24, c; 26, a; 

46, c;47.) 

Baja Vera Paz, 37, 45, 78. 

Barillas, 75. 

Belize, 85. 

Boca costa, see Piedmont. 

Bolivia, 134. 

Brazil, 138, 139. 

British Honduras, 43, 65, 137, 138, 145. 

Buena Vista, 8. 

Caballo Blanco, 145. 

Cabrican, 73, 74, 98, 127. 

Cajabon, 24. 

Cajola, 20, 27, 63, 71, 74, 7S, 89, 98, 127, 174. 

Campeche, 44. 

Cantel, vii, 20, 32, 38, 52, 62, 66, 77, 78, 89, 98, 113, 127, 172, 

174-176. (PI. 32, c.) 
Capotitlan, 48, 51, 59, 86, 92, 102, 143. 
Cerro de Oro, v, viii, S3, 68, 90, 91, 98-102, 104, 112, 121, 124, 

164. (Pis. 6; 7, r.) 
Cerro de Oro, volcanic cone, 169, 179. (Pis. 24, a; 46, /.) 
Cerro Quemado, volcano, vn, 3, 6, 162, 173-176. (Pis. 3, /; 

35, rf;41,d.) 
Chajiil, 39, 78. 
Chalchitan, 172. 
Champerico, 13, 58, 73, 80, 92. 
Chiantla, 64, 65, 73, 76, 78, 127, 141, 172. 
Chiapas, 2, 7, 51, 62, 72, 79, 84, 96, 97, 134-136, 141, 143, 144, 

146-148, 174. 

Chicacao, v, vi, vii, 2, 12, 23, 25, 35, 37, 41, 48, 67, 73, 7&, 

84, 87-94, 98, 99, 120, 121, 133, 146, 147, 162, 179. (Pis. 4, 

Chiche, VI, 15, 37-39, 50, 67, 75, 77-79, 83, 89, 166. (PI. 29, c.) 
Chichicastenango, v, vi, viix, 3, 29, 39, 43, 49, SO, 52, S3, 56-58, 

62-65, 67-71, 73-81, 83, 84, 87-90, 93, 96-99, 102, 104-119. 

122, 123, 125, 148, 149, 153, 163, 165-167, 171. (Map 25; 

pis. 6; 7,b,c; 14, h, d, e, g; 17, e; 28; 29, a, b.) 
Chile, 139. 

Chimaltenango, 15, 33, 88, 91. 
Chinaca, 73. 
Chinautla, vi, vii, 51, 54, 80, 109, 111, 115, 166, 176. (Pis. 

21, c;42, &.) 
Chinique, 37, 39, 74, 78. 
Chiquilaja, 20, 28, 95. 
Chiquimula, 11, 34, 45, 72, 78. 
Chiquimulilla, 15. 
Chocola, 35, 39, 78, 90. 

Ciudad Vieja, 142, 168, 177. (PI. 44, d.) ' 

Coastal Plain (La Costa), 2-6, 10, 16, 22, 23, 23, 30, 33, 37, 

39, 43, 45, 51, 58, 59, 127, 128, 131-133, 138, 148, ISO, 178. 
Coatepeque, 2, 15, 73, 75, 78, 83, 98. 
Coatunco, 41. 
Coban, vii, 24, 34, 44, 51, 52, 65, 69, 102, 127, 142, 173, 176. 

(PI. 34, c.) 
Cocales, 92. 
Colomba, 32, 75, 77, 78. 
Colombia, 66, 134, 137. 
Colotenango, 69. 
Comalapa, 16, 29, 101, 165. 
Comitan, 79. 

Comitancillo, 64, 69, 141, 176. (PI. 41, e, g.) 
Concepcion, v, 30, 49, 76, 89, 98, 104, 113, 117, 118, 121, 122, 

Concepcion Chiquirichapa, vii, 27, 75, 76, 78, 89, 98, 126, 140. 

Continental Divide, 4, 6, 128, 131, 133. 
Copan, 142. 
Cordillera, 6. 
Costa Cuca, S. 

Costa de Guazacapan, S, 38, 59. 
Costa Grande, S. 

Costa Rica, 43, 136-138, 144-146, 148. 
Cotzal, 39, 78, 177. 
Cubuico, 37, 79. 
Cuchumatancs Alountains and villages, vi, vil, 7, 20, 32, 39, 

43, 48-51, 54, 55, 58, 62, 64, 65, 67, 72-75, 78, 81, 83, 84, 87, 

93, 126, 128, 129, 131, 135, 140, 1.52, 172, 174, 175. (Pis. 

30, a; 37.) 
Cuiico, 71, 151. 
Cuilco River, 7, 131. 
Cunen, 101, 177. 
Cutzan River, 94. 
Cuyotcnango, 32, 38, 41, 58, 76, 78. 

EI Baul, 14. 

El Rancho, 178. 

El Rodeo, San Marcos, 162. 





El Rosario Tumbador, 8. 

Escuintla, 32, 39, 73, 88, 120, 139, 143, 151. 

Esquipulas, 85. 

Filadelfia, 93. 

Flores, 14. 

Fuego, volcano, viii, 6, 177, 178. 

(PI. 44, b, d.) 

Godines, VI, 97, 179. (P1.23, c.) 

Golfo Dulce, 34. 

Guatemala City, v, vn, IS, 32, 53, 54, 64, 67-69, 71, 74-76, 79, 

80, 82, 85, 92, 138-140, 148, 161, 166, 168, 171, 1-75, 176 (PI. 

42, c.) 
Guatemala Dept., 37. 
Guazacapan, 143. 
Giiija Lake, 178. (PI. 44, e.) 

Helvetia, V, 8. (PI. 5, t/.) 

Highlands, v, vii, vui, 2, 5-7, 10, 11, 14-17, 19-26, 28-30, 32, 
33, 35, 2,7, 38, 41^16, 48, 51, 52, 54, 57, 58, 64, 67, 70, 7o, 
74-85, 87-95, 97, 98, 101, 120-122, 127-129, 131-135, 137, 
139, 142, 144-149, 153, 155, 161-164, 170-172, 175-177. (Pis. 
6-42, c; 44-47.) 

Honduras, 15, 46, 67, 81, 85, 96, 135, 138, 140, 141, 143. 

Huehuetenango, vi, vii, 3, 15, 20, 32, 38, 39, 52, 54, 63-65, 72, 
75-79, 81-83, 97, 126, 131, 164. (Pis. 31, c, d; 41, b.) 

Huehuetenango Dept., 52, 55, 61, 66, 79, 134-136, 141, 143, 
147. (PI. 31.) 

Huitan, 52, 74, 89, 98. 

Ical, 73. 

Ilopango Lake (El Salvador), 

Iximche, 177. 

Ixtapa, 15. 

94. (PI. 4, a.) 

Jacaltenango, 39, 78, 135. 

Jaibal, vi, viii, 30, 101, 120, 167, 178, 179. (Pis. 18, a, b; 

19, fc; 45,/; 46, a.) 
Jaibalito, VIII, 89, 121, 123, 178. (PI. 45, d.) 
Jalapa Dept., 37, 72, 78. 
Jalpatagua, 143. 
Jamaica, 162. (PI. 5, /.) 
Jatate River, 141. 
Jocotenango, 177. 
Jutiapa Dept., 37, 78, 134. 

La Abundancia, 93. 

La Democracia, 75. 

Las Mercedes, 8. 

La Union (San Marcos), 15, 52, 57, 61, 63, 67, 73, 75, 81, 126, 
127, 135. 

Livingston, 14. 

Los Altos, 6, 131, 166. 

Los Encuentros, 28, 30. 

Los Esclavos, 14. 

Lowlands, v, \i, 2, 4-6, 11, 13-16, 19, 22-25, 28, 30, 32-39, 41, 
46^18, 50, 51, 56, 57, 61, 66, 68, 70, 72-86, 88-99, 101, 103, 
104, 107, 112, 117, 120-122, 125-129, 131-135, 137, 138, 140, 
143-155, 161, 162, 166 169-171, 176, 177, 179, 180. (Pis. 

Madre Vieja River, 124. 

Malacatancito, 61, 72. 

Mazatenango, v, vi, vii, 2, 16, 30, 32, 37-39, 45, 66, 73, 75, 76, 

78, 80, 82-S4, 92, 93, 110, 126, 133, 137, 143, 145-149, 162, 

172,176. (P\s.3.a,f;5,e;41,g.) 
Alexico, 2, 9, 58, 59, 66, 72, 79, 85, 97, 129, 134-143, 145, 146. 

148, 151, 155. 
Mixco, 56. 

Moca, v, 5, 35, 80, 90. (PL 5, fc.) 
Momostenango, vi, vii, 3, 4, 13, IS, 16, 20, 26, 27, 48, 61-66, 

73-75, 77, 81, 85-88, 90, 98, 118, 127, 132, 142, 149, 151, 154, 

162, 163, 166, 171, 172. (Pis. 30, b, f; 33; 34; 35, a.) 
Motagua Valley, 7, 178. 

Nahuala, v, 57, 61, 63, 69, 73, 74, 82, 89, 93, 98, 104, 106, 112, 

lis, 120, 146-148, 162-165. (Pis. 6; 8, a; 14, g.) 
Nahualate, 24, 94. 
Nahualate River, 178. (PI. 45, b.) 
Nebaj, 177. 

Negro River, 7, 32, 127, 131, 177. 
Nenton, 68. 

Nicaragua, 33, 37, 57, 62, 66, 135, 144, 146. 
Nicoya, Gulf of, 62, 146. 
Nuevo San Carlos, 72. 

Oaxaca, 38, 142, 147. 

Olintepeque, vii, 39, 52, 53, 63, 68, 74, 78, 80, 98, 127, 174. 
(PI. 38, a.) 

Pacaya, volcano, 161, 177. (Pis. 1, c; 44, b.) 

Pacayal, 22, 35. 

Palencia, 78. 

Palin, 51, 149. 

Palmar, 36, 67, 78, 90, 145, 146 149. 

Panajachel, v, \i, viii, 8, 12, 15-17, 20, 21, 26 29-31, 36 45, 

49, SO, 73, 74, 77, 79, 84, 87-91, 94, 97-99, 102-106, 108-111, 

120-127, 141, 146, 148, 150, 163, 165, 168-170, 176 179. 

(Map 23; pis. 6; 7, d, e; 9, a. b; 12, a; 18-21; 24, d-f ; 

46, a, b.) 
Panajachel River, vi, viii, 31, 122, 132, 167, 179, 180. (Pis. 

18, a, c; 19, o;46, o, fc.) 
Panama, 85, 134, 137. 
Panebar, 90, 98. 

Panimache, 73, 74, 123, 168. (PI. 21, a.) 
Patanatio, 68, 90, 91, 123. (Pi. 14, e.) 
Patulul, 2, 67, 68, 80, 92, 93, 124, 125, 179, 180. 
Patzicia, 15, 53, 75, 90, 91, 102, 164. 
Patzite, 15, 79, 89. 
Patzum, 3, 16 49, 51, 58, 73, 75, 78, 87, 99, 124-126, 136 148, 

163, 168. 
Paxi.xil, 60, 73. 
Pecul, 90. 

Peru, 94, 134, 137, 139, 161. 

Peten, 14, 65, 66, 88, 96 

Pie de Volcan, vn, 20, 43, 45, 74. (PI. 38, c, d.) 

Piedmont (La Boca Costa), v, 2, 5, 10, 14, 15, 23, 29, 31, 33. 
35-37, 39, 43, 45, 52, 67, 70, 73, 75, 77, 79, 80, 82, 86, 90, 92, 
93, 95, 98, 104, 126, 128, 129, 133, 136-139, 141, 144, 148-150, 
166 (Pis. 2, 3, 4, 5.) 

Pochuta, 80. 



Polopo, 89, 103. 

(See also San Antonio Palopo and Santa Catarina Pa- 
lo p6.) 
Pueblo Nuevo, v, 3, 32, 35, 36, 38, -16, 71, 90, 95, 140, 149, 172. 
(Pis. 3, (?; 31, a.) 
Puerto Barrios, v, 14. 

Quezaltenango, vii, viii, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 16, 20, 28 29 31 
38, 39, 41, 44, 48, 50-53, 56, 57, 61, 62, 68-70, 72-82^ 85 87* 
88, 95-98, 101, 104, 105, 113-116, 118-120, 125-128, 131, '135', 
136, 140, 145-147, 149, 161-164, 166, 172-176. (Pis. 32, e'- 
38, 6;39, /.) 

Quezaltenango Dept., 88, 90, 98. 

Quezaltenango-Totonicapan Valley (see also upper Samala 
Valley), 3, 4, 16, 19, 62, 71, 74-77, 82, 83, 97, 102, 126-128, 
133,140,142, 143, 163. (Map 24.) 

Quiche Dept., 39. 88, 93, 98. 

Quiche (Santa Cruz del Quiche), v, 37, 39, 67, 73, 75, 78, 113, 
122, 127, 132, 163, 173, 177. (Pis. 13, c:30,e; 42, a.) 

Quixcap River, v, vm, 30, 100, 102, 121, 122, 132, 166, 178- 
180. (Pis. 10, Off; 45,/; 46, o.) 

Rabinal, viii, 37, 56, 57, 68, 70, 79, 81, 148, 150, 154. (PI 

43, a-e.) 
Retalhuleu, 2, 16, 28, 32, 38, 73, 75, 76, 78, 80, 82, 88, 98, 104, 

133, 140, 151, 162. 
Retana Lake, 134. 

Sacapulas, vi, vii, 48, 58, 59, 60, 71, 73, 74, 104, 113, 115, 131, 

150, 171, 177. (Pis. 30, c ; 42, e, /.) 
Sacatepequez Dept., 88. 
Salama, 37, 79, 131. 
Salcaja, \ii, 16, 27, 52, 62, 63, 74, 81, 87, 98, 126, 127, 164, 163, 

175. (Pis. 39, o;40, o, rf, ^.) 
Salvador, EI, v, vm, 5, 9, 11, 13-15, 32-34, 37, 38, 41-43, 57, 

62, 63, 66, 67, 72, 81, 85, 94, 127, 135, 138-143, 146-148. 

(PI. 44, f.) 
Samala River, vii, 3, 4, 31, 66, 126, 133, 173, 174, 176. (Pis. 

35, (i;38;39, d;40;41, rf.) 
Sama>-ac, 43, 45, 70, 161, 162. 

San Andres Sajcabaja, 68, 70, 93, 101. (PI. 17, g.) 
San Andres Semetabaj, v, vi, vm, 17, 20, 21, 22, 25, 28, 49, 

75, 76, 98, 104-106, 108, 118, 119, 121, 125, 127, 165, 179. 
(Pis. 6; 7, h; 19,e;46,b.) 

San Andres Xecul, v, vii, 20, 52, 55, 66, 70, 74, 86, 89, 95, 102, 

126. (Frontispiece; pis. 32, d;38,e,f; 39, a; 40, fe.) 
San Antonio Aguascalientes, vm, 51, 68, 177. (PI. 44, c.) 
San Antonio Huista, v, 134-136, 153. (PI. 5, a.) 
San Antonio Palopo, v, vi, vm, 25, 26, 28, 41, 49, 50, 68, 75, 

76, 87-89, 98, 102-105, 110, 124, 125, 132, 138, 163-166, 169, 
171. (Pis. 6; 7, o;9, c; 13, c; 14, rf; 23; 27, fc; 46, c.) 

San Antonio Sucliitepequez, 35, 37, 41, 58, 87, 92, 101, 146, 

Sanarate, 78. 

San Bartolome Agiiacatepeque, 92, 101. 
San Bartolome Aguascalientes, 19, 48, 56, 90, 139, 172. 
San Bernardino Suchitepequez, v, 25, 34, 38, 45, 51, 58, 70, 

92, 149, 161. (PI. 3, d.) 
San Buenaventura, vm, 166, 178. (Pis. 18, c; 46, a.) 
San Carlos Sija, 71, 73, 98. 
San Cristobal, Aha Vera Paz, 27, 42, 69. 
San Cristobal, Jutiapa, 44 (PI. 44, e.) 

San Cristobal Totonicapan, vii, 20, 27, 29, 32, 46-48, 52, 54-57, 

62, 63, 66, 68, 70, 73, 74, 76, 77, 80, 81, 87, 89, 92, 98, 126^ 
128, 140, 167, 171, 173, 175, 176, 178. (Pis. 17, /; 29, a; 

32, rf;41, a, r.) 
San Felipe, v, 32, 38, 75, 77, 78, 80, 126, 139, 149, 162, 177. 
San Francisco el Alto, v, vii, 3, 20, 22, 27, 28, 32, 38, 39, 52, 

54-57, 61, 63-65, 67, 69, 73-83, 86, 89, 92, 98, 104, 106, 127, 
128, 138, 166, 172-176. (Frontispiece; pi. 13, c; 35, b-d; 

San Francisco la Union, 38, 78, 79, 98, 166. (PI. 13, c.) 
San Francisco Zapotitlan, 38, 90, 146. 
San Gabriel, 46. 
San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan, 75. 
San Isabel, 134. 
San Jorge, v, \-i, vm, 77, 88, 104, 110-112, 114-116, 118, 122, 

167, 178, 179. (Pis. 12, d; 16; 45, /; 46, a.) 
San Jose Chacaya, vi, 30, 49, 58, 71, 74, 88, 89, 98, 102, 104, 

116,122,163,178. (PI. 17, a.) 
San Jose, Puerto, v, 2, 16, 23, 73, 173. (PI. 1, e.) 
San Juan Atitan, n, vii, 49, 51, 172. (Pis. 31, b; 32, c.) 
San Juan Bautista, 93. 
San Juan Comalapa, v. (PI. 8, e.) 
San Juan Ixcoy, vn, 75. (PI. 39, £r.) 
San Juan la Laguna, vi, 28, 69, 76, 78, 81, 90, 93, 98, 99, 101- 

104, 142, 147, 164, 178. (PI. 45, a.) 
San Juan Ostuncaico, vii, 3, 4, 20, 22, 27, 28, 32, 38, 49, 71, 

74, 75, 77-81, 84, 89, 95, 98, 126, 127, 146, 149, 174, 176 

(PI. 41, e.) 
San Juan Zacualpa, 98. 
San Lucas Tollman, vi, vm, 16, 26, 41, 42, 44, 46, 80, 83, 90- 

92, 95, 98-101, 103, 120, 125, 131, 132, 162, 169, 179. (Pis. 

23, b ; 4b, d, e.) 
San Luis Jilotepeque, 72, 134. 
San Marcos, see La Union (San Marcos). 
San Marcos Dept., 67, 72, 162, 167, 176. 
San Marcos (la Laguna), vm, 3, 13, 26, 49, 93, 98, 102-104, 

120, 121, 141, 142, 169, 171. (PI. 45, b-e.) 
San Martin Jilotepeque, ,78. 
San Martin Sacatepequez ("Chile Verde"), vii, 27, 44, SO, 

52, 76, 89, 98, 127, 174, 176. (Pis. 39, b. c; 41, e.) 
San Mateo, 20, 90, 98. 
San Mateo Ixtatan, 58, 73. 
San Miguel Acatan, 83. 

San Miguel Ixtahuacan, 56, 80, 175, 176. (PI. 41, d, e. g.) 
San Miguel Panan, 67. 
San Miguel Sigiiiki, 71, 89, 98, 101. 
San Miguel Uspantan, 67. 
San Pablo (la Laguna), vm, 13, 26, 49, SO 69, 84, 87, 92, 93. 

98, 102-104, 120, 121, 142, 162-164, 168, 178. (Pis. 21, d; 

45, b, c.) 
San Pablo Jocopilas, v, vi, 23, 45, 80, 90, 149. (PI. 3, b.) 
San Pedro Ayanipuc, 76. 
San Pedro Carcha, 24, 65, 173. (PI. 34, c.) 
San Pedro Cutzan, v, 22, 23, 25, 34, 42, 46, 48, 62, 70, 90, 94, 

95, 101-104, 120 137, 148. (Pis. 2,f,g; 4, 6.) 
San Pedro Jocopilas, vi, vii, 54, 56, 101, 109. (Pis. 29, c; 

30, c;42, a.) 
San Pedro la Laguna, v, vm, 20, 25, 26, 28, 42, 44, 46, 48-50, 

61, 62, 69, 70 75, 76, 80, 86, 88, 90, 92, 94, 95, 97-99, 101- 

106, 115, 120, 125, 129, 140-143, 147, 163, 164, 168, 169, 178, 

180 (Pis. 6; 7, t; 9, d; 21, c; 24, a, c; 26; 44, /; 45, a.) 



San Pedro Necta, 75. 

San Pedro Pinula, viii, 171. (PI. 43, /.) 

San Pedro Sacatepcquez (Dept. San Marcos), 16, 53, 57, 61, 

167. (PI. 19, i.) 
San Pedro Soloma, vi. (PI. 30, a.) 
San Pedro, volcano, vi, 100, 102, 161, 165, 166, 168-170, 178, 

179. (Pis. 2, e; 10, c; 13, a; 24, o; 26, a; 45, a; 47.) 
San Pedro Yepocapa, 75. 
San Raimundo, 76. 

San Salvador, 68, 143. (PL 42, d.) 
San Sebastian Coatan, vii, 65, 81, 83. (PI. 37.) 
San Sebastian Huehuetenango, 62, 84. 
San Sebastian Lemoa, 58, 67. 
San Sebastian Retalhuleu, v, vii, 8, IS, 43-46, 51, 52, 67, 98, 

145, 149, 154, 161. (PI. 2, b-d.) 
Santa Adela, v. (PI. 5, e.) 
Santa Ana Huista, 134. 
Santa Apolonia, 47, 73. 
Santa Barbara, 64, 67, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94. 
Santa Catarina Ixtahuacdn, 9, 14, 16, 37, 49, 50, 56, 64, 72, 

77, 78, 88, 89, 98, 99, 137, 146 148, 155. 
Santa Catarina Laguna, 103. 
Santa Catarina Palopo, v, vi, \iii, IS, 21, 25, 27, 46-50, 68, 

74, 84, 90, 97, 98, 102-104, 112, 120, 122-124, 135, 136, 142, 

147, 148, 162, 164, 169, 179. (Pis. 6; 7, f, g; 22; 46, b.) 
Santa Clara la Laguna, 56, 93, 98, 102, 104, 169, 178. (PI. 

44, a.) 

Santa Cecilia, 8. 

Santa Cruz del Quiche, see Quiche. 

Santa Cruz la Laguna, vi, viii, 9, 13, 20, 24, 26, 30, 46, 48, 
49, 50, 68, 88, 89, 98, 102-104, 109, 110, 112, 114, 116-121, 
142, 147. 162, 163, 167, 171, 178, 179. (Pis. 17, /; 27; 

45, d, e.) 
Santa Elena, 94. 

Santa Eulalia, vi, vir. (Pis. 20, a; 37, c.) 

Santa Lucia Colzumalguapa, 41, 75. 

Santa Lucia Utatlan, 49, 53, 57, 70, 78, 90, 93, 94, 98, 102, 

104, 105, 108, 110, 112, 114-117, 119, 120, 123, 167. (PI. 

14, /.) 
Santa Maria, vii, 61, 98, 126. (PI. 39, d, e.) 
Santa Maria Chiquimula, 54, 55, 57, 71, 73, 74, 77, 80, 89, 

93, 98, 104, 126, 127, 151. 
Santa Maria Visitacion, 98. 
Santa Maria, volcano, 3, 6, 14, 27, 36, 74, 98, 162, 173, 174- 

176. (Pis. 3, /; 35, d; 38, c, d; 41, d.) 
Santa Rosa, 37, 78. 
Santiago Alitlan, v, vi, vii, 13, 16, 17, 19-21, 25, 26, 29, 39, 

43, 46, 48-50, 52, 62, 68, 73, 75, 78, 80, 82, 83, 85-104 112, 

120, 121, 124, 125, 130. 131, 136, 142, 146, 147, 162-164, 

166, 167, 169, 170, 179, 180. (Pis. 6 ; 7, j-n ; 23, d ; 24, a-r ; 

25; 42, b; 47.) 
Santiago Bay, viii, 170, 180. (PI. 47.) 
Santiago Petatan, 134. 
Santiago Sacatepequez, 53. 
Santiago Zambo, 14. 

Santiaguito, volcano, 6, 162. (PI. 3, /.) 
Santo Domingo Suchitepcqucz, v, 2, 24, 29, 30, 34, 37, 42, 

45, 46, 51, 84, 134, 136-139, 143, 145, 147, 149, 162. (PI.' 3, 

Santo Tomas, Chichicastenango, sec Chichicastenango. 

Santo Tomas la Union, v, 2, 16, 23, 37, 39, 45, 48, 78, 79, 82, 

90, 95, 146, 147, 162. (PI. 4, d.) 
Santo Tomas Perdido, 90. 

Santo Tomas, volcano, 3, 162, 178. (Pis. 3, /; 45, a.) 
Senahu, 24. 
Sibilia, 71, 98. 
Siguila, 44, 78. 
Sipacate, 73. 

Soconusco, 5, 10, n, 14, 33, 34, 97, 143. 
Solola, v, VI, viii, 3, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 22, 25, 29-32, 37, 39, 

41, 44, 45, 48-51, 53, 63, 66, 68-71, 73-81, 83-87, 89-91, 93, 

94, 96-122, 124-126, 128, 138, 147-149, 163-170, 176, 178. 

(Maps 21, 22; pis. 6;7,a,b,c; 10-17; 21, a; 22, e; 45, /: 

46, a.) 
Solola Dept., 88, 98. 
Soloma, 39, 73, 78. 
Sonsonate, 11, 14, 34. 
Suchitepequez, 14, 33, 41, 78, 88, 90, 91, 93, 98, 143, 180. 

Tactic, 27. 

Tahuesco, v, vi, 2, 4, 13, 14, 22, 41, 58, 73, 110, 133, 161. 

(Pis. l,a-rf;2, a.) 
Tajumulco, 61, 72, 131, 162. 
Tapachula, Chiapas, 79, 134. 
Tecpan, v, viii, 3, 49, 53, 64 71, 73, 75, 78, 83, 87, 91, 99, 

120, 125, 126, 136, 165-167, 169. (Pis. 6; 8, d;14.e;44, b.) 
Tecpanatitlan (Solola), 86, 92. 
Tejutla, 65. 
Todos Santos Cuchumatan, 15, 20, 50, 51, 75, 76, 140, 143, 172. 

(PI. 31, a, /,<;.) 
Toliman, volcano, viii, 6, 27, 92, 97, 165, 166, 168-170, 179. 

(Pis. 10, a ; 12, d; 22, c; 23, b; 24, a, c; 26, o; 46, d, e, f; 

Torlon, 73. 
Totonicapan, v, \% vii, 3, 4, 9, 15, 16, 19, 25-29, 46-48, 50-57, 

61, 62, 68-70, 73, 74 76-81, 85, 86, 88, 90, 93, 97, 98, 101, 

102, 104-106, 109, 111-119, 123, 126, 127, 138, 140, 147, 

161-166, 175, 176. (Pis. 13, b, c; \4, a, c, d; 32, a, b; 

40,c;41, c,d,f,g.) 
Totonicapan Dept., 98. 
Tulatc River, 2. 

Tzanjuyu, vi, 122, 123, 167, 168, 178. (Pis. 18; 46, a.) 
Tzununa, vi, v^II, 13, 24, 30, 77, 89, 103, 104, 121, 137, 138, 

148, 162, 168, 171, 178. (Pis. 27, d, c; 45, c, d, e.) 

Veracruz, 71, 150, 148. 
Vera Paz, 24, 66, 72, 123. 

Xelaju (Quezaltenango), 10, 126. 
Xepec, 90, 91,98, 123. 

Yucatan, 2, 42, 44, 47, 48, 59, 135, 137, 138, 140, 142, 144, 154 

Zacapa, 44 45, 147, 178. 
Zacaulpa, VI. (PI. 19, rf.) 
Zambo, 14, 43, 120. 
Zapotitlan, 10, 11, 34 91, 93, 143, 146. 

(Set also Capotitlan.) 
Zaragoza, 16, 46. 

Zunil, 52, 55, 90, 98, 126, 127, 146, 149. 
Zunil, volcano, 3, 4 31, 44 162, 178. (Pis. 3, /; 45, a.) 
Zunilito, 90. 

■i^ U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1947 — 654162 


Publication No 4 Plate i 




A^^"^.^ m'^ 



PACIFIC Littoral. 

a Dugout canoes at Tahucsco. b. Frcsli-watcr wt-ll in the liiu-h sand barrier beach of Tahucsco. c. Washing clothes with well water 
carried in a gasoline can. </, Salt extraction from pliiya deposits at Tahucsco. c, Sun-evaporated salt at Puerto San Jose. 

(For explanutiou. st.'i.' p. 161.) 


PUBLICATION No. 4 Plate 3 

ttf^ iiiir iiiiSiJ^^M 



a,' Cartload of hoja de sal [Calathea] leaves for thatch, b. Thatching a house with hoja de sal at San Pablo Jocopilas. c, Dwelling at 
Santo Domingo Suchitepequez. d. Clearing weeds for planting milpa at San Bernardino, c, Load of Aguacatan (Highland) 
baskets near Pueblo Nuevo, headed for San Felipe market. /, Mazatenango, looking north from railway station. 

(For explanation, see p. 162.) 

Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication No 4 plate 4 

Pacific Coastal Lowlands and Piedmont. 

Ladino fisherman making a net at Dolores Apulo, on Lake llopango, lil Salvador, b, Men fishing with small hand nets in the Tarro 
River, San Pedro Cutzan. r. Load of Totonicapan tinware near Chicacao carried by an itinerant merchant, d. Young cattle from 
eastern Guatemala sold at Santo Tomas la L'nion by an Indian of Santiago Atitlan. e. Chicacao market scene. 

(For explanatinn, sot- p. 162.) 

Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication no 4 Plate 6 




atitlAn region 

Lake Atitlan Region Map and Index of Costumes Worn in Lake Municipios. 
1, Sama Catarijia Ixtaliuacaii-Xahuali; 2, Solola, San Jose Chacaya, and Concepcion; 3, Panajachel; 4, Santo Tomas Chichicastenanso 
(Paniniache); 5, San Andres Semetabaj; 6, Santa Catarina Palopo; 7. Tecpan; S, San Antonio Palopo; 9 San Pedro la Laguna, 
San Juan la Lacuna, and San Pedro CutzSn; 10, Santiago Chicacao; 11, Cerro de Oro. (For explanation, see p W> ') 

Institute of social Anthropology 

Publication No 4 Plate 8 

Indian Types in the Lake Atitlan Region. 

a, Nahuala woman (Xahaulena, Xancatal). b, Santo Tomas Chichicastenango man (Maxcno). f, Santo Tomas Chichicastenango 
woman (Maxt-na). d, Tecpan woman (Tecpaneca). e, San Juan Comalapa woman (Comalapeiia), in Tecpan market. 

(For t'X[)l;iri:ili(iii. s**f p. H>1.) 

















Publication No. 4 Plate 11 

Indians Going to the Solola Market. Ancient Trail to Concepcion Just East of Solola. 

U' iir i\|ilalKiIiuii. M'c p. liiii 

Institute of social Anthropology 

Publication No. 4 Plate 12 

Indians Going to the Solola Market. 

Adjusting a muleload of onions at Panajachel. b. Selling honey from Aniigua at Solola during the Semana de Dolores fair, c, 
Santiago Atitlan men arriving at Solola with Lowland cargoes in carrying frames (cacasti's). d, San Jorge (Solola) man climbing 
trail to Solola market with a gasolinc-hox load of panela. f, Load of iguanas from Chicacao passing through Panajachel en 
route to the Highlands. 

(Fill f\pl;iiKili<>n, St'*' p. 16G.} 

Institute of Social anthropology 

Publication No 4 Plate 13 

Animals Being taken to Market. 

a. Two iguanas, a parrot, and tropical fruit on the trail just below SoloU'i (from a water color by the author), b, Solola women in their 
Friday market with a turkey and two chickens for sale, r, Chichicastenango and Quiche (extreme left) men selling young pigs 
from Chiche at Solola. Inset shows manner of driving pigs. 

(For expIurmliiHi. sim- p. ltK>.) 




SOLOLA Easter procession. 
'El Sciior de las tres caidas" (imaee of Christ carrying His cross) moving down east side of central park on hooded men's shoulders. 

(For explanation, see p. 167.) 



















Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication No- 4 Plate 17 

CERL ■ '■ -.1 -.L SCENES. 

Maize-plarning mass inside a leaf-covered shelter near San jose Chacaya. b, Close-up of an altar for a planting ceremony, with corn 
ears dressed as saints. (, Solola chirimia player and his drummer son during a fiesta, d, Solola marimba pla>-ers at a small modern 
instrument, c Chichicastenango man playing old-type marimba with gourd sound-boxes. /, Ceremonial dance masks at sdola, 
en route to di jiista. g. Conquistador masked dance at San Andres Semetabaj. 

(For t'\phin;itioii, see p. lt)7.) 





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'f-:^ *J 









Publication NO- 4 Plate 19 


Mosaic panorama of Panajachel as seen from a 200-foot clilf at tlie nortlicrn edge of the village, b, Indian laborer beside a 3-year- 
old coffee bush (at his right) and shade trees at Finca Jaibal. west of Panajachel. c, Jocote varieties grown at Panajachel. d, Za- 
caulpa Indian youth on his way to work on a Lowland coffee plantation, spinning black wool while waiting for a motor launch. 
e. Large gully, caused by a flood in 1933, just east of the Panajachel delta, below San Andres Semetabaj. /, Foot of the gully 
shown in e. 

(For f-\pl;uuitioii spe p. 168.) 














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Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication No 4 Plate 24 


*«»., ':*« 


Boats on Lake Atitlan. 

(J, Santiago mall canoe abont lu land at San Pedro, b. Disembarking and beachins; a Santiago canoe at Panajachel. c. Large dug-tint 
from San Pedro landing at Santiago, d. Motor launch at Sanlander pier, Panajachel, loading for a regular trip to San Lucas. 
e. Passengers disembarking from a Santiago canoe at Panajachel. /, Same as d, to show a line of pottery merchants about to get 

(For expkination, see p. 169.) 











Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication No 4 Plate 27 


Santa Ckuz and Tzunuua ,un Lake AtitlaN). 

Setting of Santa Cruz on a ridge top on the north ceiural Lake shore, h. Santa Cruz as viewed from a high slope to the northwest. 
c, Santa Cruz man and woman catching small tish witli a trap made of burlap coffee sacks, d. Tziinima (Santa Cruz) men seine- 
fishint;. f. Santa Cruz (Tzununa) men, with old-style dress (three in center) and new (ends). /, Santa Cruz men selline limui in 
the Chicacao market. 

(For I'.vplunatiou. see p. 170.) 

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Publication No 4 Plate 29 

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Chi. mi. II ■. .-.oo ATJD Vicinity. 

The market seen from the pottery section, with tlie church in ilic background, b, Indian church othcial ministers to vendors in the 
market, c, Gullying of an overgrazed hillside just west of Chichc; San Pedro Jocopilas pottery, foreground, going to the Chiche 

(For exphuiatinn, sic p. 171.) 

Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication No 4 Plate 30 

* *»--^*i'^'*»' ?.*'-j^ 

S " 

Maize. Cornfields (Milpas), and Erosion. 

a. Clearin>.- lilgh bunchgrass with a \vx. in the Ciichumatanes iMuuiitains between San Pedro Soloma and Santa Eulalia. b. Cornfield 
and rural dwellin.cs jnst south of Moniostenango. c, Diggln.i; deep furrows of a cornfield between San Pedro Jocopilas and Sacapulas. 
d. Maize ears froin Santa Cruz (Lake .\titlan). e. Head of a deep, gullied ravine (barranca) by the main road just south of Santa 
Cruz del Quiche, f. Pinnacled erosion features, locally termed "los risco.'," at Momostenango. 

(For rxpluiiuliuu, .sec p. 171.) 







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Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication No. 4 Plate 33 

Wool Weaving in Momostenango 

a, Weaver spinning "black" (natural brown) wool. b. \\ ea\'er and his L'randst:)ns carding and spinning white wool. r. Spooling black 
wool thread from a reel, d. Spooling thread (right) and setting warping frame (left) from the creel (right), c, T'lirce generations of 
weavers twisting fringe-ends of a finished blanket. 

[Vtn cxphmiilion, set- p. 172.) 

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Publication No. 4 Plate 37 

San Sebastian Coat an and the Weaving of Shaggy Wool rugs ipeyones). 

Home and surroiiinJiu;-,'S of one of tfiree related families of weavers, above San Sebastian Coatan. at about 2,600 ni. elevation in 
tlie Cucluiniatanes Mountains, b. Spinning and weaving beside the house at left in a. c. Summit (2,S00 ni.) meadow and forest 
of pine and cedar shrouded in fog, and live wooden crosses over a wayfarers' shrine (right), between Sanla l'',ulalia and San Sebastian 
Coatan. d. Close-up of weaver twisting weft loops in bunches to be cut later, leaving loose ends ,5 lo 4 inches long. ,-. Pulling 
weft thread through the loom. 

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Institute of Social. Anthropology 



I.adino wciULTs at Salcaj.'i, arraiiL'ini; strands of jaspe (tic-dyed) yarn, witli a vvciudcn comb to keep a pattern, for winding on the 
loom as warp thread. /;, Indian L'irl of San Andres Xecii! brocading a winc-colorcd, figured collar on a white machine-made cotton 
huipil such as the one she is wearing, c. Totonicapan Indian man and his wife weaving bright-colored, figured cotton head bands on 
special treadle looms, d. Transferring a strand of white \ arn from a number of spools on a creel, preparatory to tying and dyeing 
it with indigo. i\ Strands of cotton iaspe > arn which has been liound with cord at regular Intervals so as to form a white pattern 
on indigo blue. 

(For cxpliuiatidn, sec |i. I7.''i ) 


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Institute of Social Anthropology 

Publication No 4 Plate 43 

Rabinal Tree-Calabash ijIcarai Industry 

Preparing a pitch-pine smudge for soot accumulation in a special stone oven. b. Smearing soot on a tree calabasli whicii has been 
smoothed with an alder leaf and smeared with yellowish wax boiled out of the scale insect Llavea axin. c. Cutting tr