The present city is the fourth permanent capital of Guatemala; the capital was moved there after Antigua Guatemala was destroyed by earthquakes in 1773. An earthquake destroyed Guatemala City in 1917–18, but it was rebuilt on the same site. In 1976, another earthquake caused extensive damage to the city and its environs, resulting in more than 20,000 fatalities. The city is also near several volcanoes, the most active of which is Pacaya (8,373 ft/2,552 m high), some 15 mi (25 km) to the south. From the city excursions may be made to Antigua Guatemala and Ciudad Vieja, the third and second capitals. Many interesting remains of Mayan civilization have been unearthed in the vicinity of Guatemala City, notably at Lake Amatitlán. The Univ. of San Carlos de Guatemala (1676) is in the city, as are many other educational and cultural institutions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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