El Progreso Department
El Progreso is a department of Guatemala and is in the middle of the country ( region III). It extends to nearly 2,000 square kilometers and has about 150,000 inhabitants. The capital of the department is Guastatoya, the largest city is Sanarate.
El Progreso is bordered to the north by the department of Alta Verapaz, Zacapa to the east, in the southeast of Jalapa, on the southwest by the department of Guatemala and to the northwest by Baja Verapaz.
El Progreso is one of the hottest and driest departments of the country, and is sometimes called the " desert of Guatemala " means. End of the 19th century, they offered large forest areas as railway construction. One exception is located in the north mountain ranges of the Sierra de las Minas and dehydrated in the middle of the eastward -opening of the west valley of the Río Motagua, the largest river of the country, large parts of the highlands and empties into Izabal in the Caribbean.
Since El Progreso has always been a transit country and run the routes between Guatemala City and the Caribbean ports in Izabal here, the indigenous people and their language in this area has been almost completely replaced. The almost exclusively Spanish speaking population is concentrated along the Río Motagua and to the main traffic routes. El Progreso is divided into eight municipios ( large municipalities or counties ):
The Department as state administrative district is headed by a delegated by the central government governor. The Municipalities are autonomous local authorities with elected mayors and elected assemblies and are divided into Aldeas ( rural communities ) and Caseríos, Parajes or fincas ( hamlets and farms ).
Traditionally most important economic sectors are agriculture and crafts. Main agricultural products are coffee, sugar cane, tobacco, corn, vegetables and cotton. The products of the numerous small craft businesses include furniture, leather and wicker. Tourism is developing only sporadically due to the through traffic. The Atlantic route CA -9, which connects Guatemala City to the Caribbean port of Puerto Barrios, crosses the department from west to east. At El Rancho, where the CA -14 branches off to the north located Coban, is the main hub of the department. South of the Atlantic Highway CA- 9 extends the route of a disused railway line. It was repeatedly considered this to reactivate for container traffic. Since to date no private investors could be found for this project and the expansion of the CA -9 preceded by very slowly to a highway, the Atlantic route is almost continuously overloaded because of the heavy traffic.
In the capital Guastatoya is one of the most beautiful city parks in Guatemala. Conducive to tourism was the construction of a water park ( Parque Acuático Guastatoya ), which was opened in 2001. A similar device maintains the Guatemalan workers welfare organization IRTRA a little further west on the Atlantic route CA- ninth 10 km south of Sanarate the Balneario Poza Los Platanos is linked to its source areas and natural bathing and recreation. Mayan ruins can be visited in Guayatán the Motagua, as well as in El Jabillo and Los Bordos where in the classical period took place more ball games. Attractions more modern eras, the baroque churches of San Cristóbal and San Agustín Acasaguastlán Acasaguastlán, both located near the CA -9. The mountains of the Sierra de las Minas in the north waiting with their richer vegetation and nature reserves, including the forests of La Peña del Ángel and the Cerro El Pinalón, the highest at 2,962 m mountain in the department.
Large parts of El Progreso formerly belonged to Jalapa. The department of El Progreso was created on 13 April 1908 has already been dissolved in 1920 again. In its present form it is since 3 April 1934.