A computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of called programs; these programs enable computers to perform an wide range of tasks. A "complete" computer including the hardware, the operating system, peripheral equipment required and used for "full" operation can be referred to as a computer system; this term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster. Computers are used as control systems for a wide variety of industrial and consumer devices; this includes simple special purpose devices like microwave ovens and remote controls, factory devices such as industrial robots and computer-aided design, general purpose devices like personal computers and mobile devices such as smartphones. The Internet is run on computers and it connects hundreds of millions of other computers and their users.
Early computers were only conceived as calculating devices. Since ancient times, simple manual devices like the abacus aided people in doing calculations. Early in the Industrial Revolution, some mechanical devices were built to automate long tedious tasks, such as guiding patterns for looms. More sophisticated electrical machines did specialized analog calculations in the early 20th century; the first digital electronic calculating machines were developed during World War II. The speed and versatility of computers have been increasing ever since then. Conventionally, a modern computer consists of at least one processing element a central processing unit, some form of memory; the processing element carries out arithmetic and logical operations, a sequencing and control unit can change the order of operations in response to stored information. Peripheral devices include input devices, output devices, input/output devices that perform both functions. Peripheral devices allow information to be retrieved from an external source and they enable the result of operations to be saved and retrieved.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of the word "computer" was in 1613 in a book called The Yong Mans Gleanings by English writer Richard Braithwait: "I haue read the truest computer of Times, the best Arithmetician that euer breathed, he reduceth thy dayes into a short number." This usage of the term referred to a human computer, a person who carried out calculations or computations. The word continued with the same meaning until the middle of the 20th century. During the latter part of this period women were hired as computers because they could be paid less than their male counterparts. By 1943, most human computers were women. From the end of the 19th century the word began to take on its more familiar meaning, a machine that carries out computations; the Online Etymology Dictionary gives the first attested use of "computer" in the 1640s, meaning "one who calculates". The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the use of the term to mean "'calculating machine' is from 1897."
The Online Etymology Dictionary indicates that the "modern use" of the term, to mean "programmable digital electronic computer" dates from "1945 under this name. Devices have been used to aid computation for thousands of years using one-to-one correspondence with fingers; the earliest counting device was a form of tally stick. Record keeping aids throughout the Fertile Crescent included calculi which represented counts of items livestock or grains, sealed in hollow unbaked clay containers; the use of counting rods is one example. The abacus was used for arithmetic tasks; the Roman abacus was developed from devices used in Babylonia as early as 2400 BC. Since many other forms of reckoning boards or tables have been invented. In a medieval European counting house, a checkered cloth would be placed on a table, markers moved around on it according to certain rules, as an aid to calculating sums of money; the Antikythera mechanism is believed to be the earliest mechanical analog "computer", according to Derek J. de Solla Price.
It was designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in 1901 in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, has been dated to c. 100 BC. Devices of a level of complexity comparable to that of the Antikythera mechanism would not reappear until a thousand years later. Many mechanical aids to calculation and measurement were constructed for astronomical and navigation use; the planisphere was a star chart invented by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī in the early 11th century. The astrolabe was invented in the Hellenistic world in either the 1st or 2nd centuries BC and is attributed to Hipparchus. A combination of the planisphere and dioptra, the astrolabe was an analog computer capable of working out several different kinds of problems in spherical astronomy. An astrolabe incorporating a mechanical calendar computer and gear-wheels was invented by Abi Bakr of Isfahan, Persia in 1235. Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī invented the first mechanical geared lunisolar calendar astrolabe, an early fixed-wired knowledge processing machine with a gear train and gear-wheels, c. 1000 AD.
The sector, a calculating instrument used for solving problems in proportion, trigonometry and division, for various functions, such as squares and cube roots, was developed in
A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit. Lending activities can be performed either indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords. Banking in its modern sense evolved in the 14th century in the prosperous cities of Renaissance Italy but in many ways was a continuation of ideas and concepts of credit and lending that had their roots in the ancient world. In the history of banking, a number of banking dynasties – notably, the Medicis, the Fuggers, the Welsers, the Berenbergs, the Rothschilds – have played a central role over many centuries.
The oldest existing retail bank is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, while the oldest existing merchant bank is Berenberg Bank. The concept of banking may have begun in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, with merchants offering loans of grain as collateral within a barter system. Lenders in ancient Greece and during the Roman Empire added two important innovations: they accepted deposits and changed money. Archaeology from this period in ancient China and India shows evidence of money lending. More modern banking can be traced to medieval and early Renaissance Italy, to the rich cities in the centre and north like Florence, Siena and Genoa; the Bardi and Peruzzi families dominated banking in 14th-century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe. One of the most famous Italian banks was the Medici Bank, set up by Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici in 1397; the earliest known state deposit bank, Banco di San Giorgio, was founded in 1407 at Italy. Modern banking practices, including fractional reserve banking and the issue of banknotes, emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Merchants started to store their gold with the goldsmiths of London, who possessed private vaults, charged a fee for that service. In exchange for each deposit of precious metal, the goldsmiths issued receipts certifying the quantity and purity of the metal they held as a bailee; the goldsmiths began to lend the money out on behalf of the depositor, which led to the development of modern banking practices. The goldsmith paid interest on these deposits. Since the promissory notes were payable on demand, the advances to the goldsmith's customers were repayable over a longer time period, this was an early form of fractional reserve banking; the promissory notes developed into an assignable instrument which could circulate as a safe and convenient form of money backed by the goldsmith's promise to pay, allowing goldsmiths to advance loans with little risk of default. Thus, the goldsmiths of London became the forerunners of banking by creating new money based on credit; the Bank of England was the first to begin the permanent issue of banknotes, in 1695.
The Royal Bank of Scotland established the first overdraft facility in 1728. By the beginning of the 19th century a bankers' clearing house was established in London to allow multiple banks to clear transactions; the Rothschilds pioneered international finance on a large scale, financing the purchase of the Suez canal for the British government. The word bank was taken Middle English from Middle French banque, from Old Italian banco, meaning "table", from Old High German banc, bank "bench, counter". Benches were used as makeshift desks or exchange counters during the Renaissance by Jewish Florentine bankers, who used to make their transactions atop desks covered by green tablecloths; the definition of a bank varies from country to country. See the relevant country pages under for more information. Under English common law, a banker is defined as a person who carries on the business of banking by conducting current accounts for his customers, paying cheques drawn on him/her and collecting cheques for his/her customers.
In most common law jurisdictions there is a Bills of Exchange Act that codifies the law in relation to negotiable instruments, including cheques, this Act contains a statutory definition of the term banker: banker includes a body of persons, whether incorporated or not, who carry on the business of banking'. Although this definition seems circular, it is functional, because it ensures that the legal basis for bank transactions such as cheques does not depend on how the bank is structured or regulated; the business of banking is in many English common law countries not defined by statute but by common law, the definition above. In other English common law jurisdictions there are statutory definitions of the business of banking or banking business; when looking at these definitions it is important to keep in mind that they are defining the business of banking for the purposes of the legislation, not in general. In particular, most of the definitions are from legislation that has the purpose of regulating and supervising banks rather than regulating the actual business of banking.
However, in many cases the statutory definition mirrors the common law one. Examples of statutory definitions: "banking business" means the business of receiving money on current or deposit account and collecting cheques drawn by or paid in by customers, the making
South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere in the Southern Hemisphere, with a small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas; the reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics. It is bordered on the west on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean, it includes twelve sovereign states, a part of France, a non-sovereign area. In addition to this, the ABC islands of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Tobago, Panama may be considered part of South America. South America has an area of 17,840,000 square kilometers, its population as of 2016 has been estimated at more than 420 million. South America ranks fourth in fifth in population. Brazil is by far the most populous South American country, with more than half of the continent's population, followed by Colombia, Argentina and Peru. In recent decades Brazil has concentrated half of the region's GDP and has become a first regional power.
Most of the population lives near the continent's western or eastern coasts while the interior and the far south are sparsely populated. The geography of western South America is dominated by the Andes mountains. Most of the continent lies in the tropics; the continent's cultural and ethnic outlook has its origin with the interaction of indigenous peoples with European conquerors and immigrants and, more locally, with African slaves. Given a long history of colonialism, the overwhelming majority of South Americans speak Portuguese or Spanish, societies and states reflect Western traditions. South America occupies the southern portion of the Americas; the continent is delimited on the northwest by the Darién watershed along the Colombia–Panama border, although some may consider the border instead to be the Panama Canal. Geopolitically and geographically all of Panama – including the segment east of the Panama Canal in the isthmus – is included in North America alone and among the countries of Central America.
All of mainland South America sits on the South American Plate. South America is home to Angel Falls in Venezuela. South America's major mineral resources are gold, copper, iron ore and petroleum; these resources found in South America have brought high income to its countries in times of war or of rapid economic growth by industrialized countries elsewhere. However, the concentration in producing one major export commodity has hindered the development of diversified economies; the fluctuation in the price of commodities in the international markets has led to major highs and lows in the economies of South American states causing extreme political instability. This is leading to efforts to diversify production to drive away from staying as economies dedicated to one major export. South America is one of the most biodiverse continents on earth. South America is home to many interesting and unique species of animals including the llama, piranha, vicuña, tapir; the Amazon rainforests possess high biodiversity, containing a major proportion of the Earth's species.
Brazil is the largest country in South America, encompassing around half of the continent's land area and population. The remaining countries and territories are divided among three regions: The Andean States, the Guianas and the Southern Cone. Traditionally, South America includes some of the nearby islands. Aruba, Curaçao, Trinidad and the federal dependencies of Venezuela sit on the northerly South American continental shelf and are considered part of the continent. Geo-politically, the island states and overseas territories of the Caribbean are grouped as a part or subregion of North America, since they are more distant on the Caribbean Plate though San Andres and Providencia are politically part of Colombia and Aves Island is controlled by Venezuela. Other islands that are included with South America are the Galápagos Islands that belong to Ecuador and Easter Island, Robinson Crusoe Island, Chiloé and Tierra del Fuego. In the Atlantic, Brazil owns Fernando de Noronha and Martim Vaz, the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago, while the Falkland Islands are governed by the United Kingdom, whose sovereignty over the islands is disputed by Argentina.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands may be associate
Television, sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in color, in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising and news. Television became available in crude experimental forms in the late 1920s, but it would still be several years before the new technology would be marketed to consumers. After World War II, an improved form of black-and-white TV broadcasting became popular in the United States and Britain, television sets became commonplace in homes and institutions. During the 1950s, television was the primary medium for influencing public opinion. In the mid-1960s, color broadcasting was introduced in most other developed countries; the availability of multiple types of archival storage media such as Betamax, VHS tape, local disks, DVDs, flash drives, high-definition Blu-ray Discs, cloud digital video recorders has enabled viewers to watch pre-recorded material—such as movies—at home on their own time schedule.
For many reasons the convenience of remote retrieval, the storage of television and video programming now occurs on the cloud. At the end of the first decade of the 2000s, digital television transmissions increased in popularity. Another development was the move from standard-definition television to high-definition television, which provides a resolution, higher. HDTV may be transmitted in various formats: 1080p, 720p. Since 2010, with the invention of smart television, Internet television has increased the availability of television programs and movies via the Internet through streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Video, iPlayer and Hulu. In 2013, 79 % of the world's households owned; the replacement of early bulky, high-voltage cathode ray tube screen displays with compact, energy-efficient, flat-panel alternative technologies such as LCDs, OLED displays, plasma displays was a hardware revolution that began with computer monitors in the late 1990s. Most TV sets sold in the 2000s were flat-panel LEDs.
Major manufacturers announced the discontinuation of CRT, DLP, fluorescent-backlit LCDs by the mid-2010s. In the near future, LEDs are expected to be replaced by OLEDs. Major manufacturers have announced that they will produce smart TVs in the mid-2010s. Smart TVs with integrated Internet and Web 2.0 functions became the dominant form of television by the late 2010s. Television signals were distributed only as terrestrial television using high-powered radio-frequency transmitters to broadcast the signal to individual television receivers. Alternatively television signals are distributed by coaxial cable or optical fiber, satellite systems and, since the 2000s via the Internet; until the early 2000s, these were transmitted as analog signals, but a transition to digital television is expected to be completed worldwide by the late 2010s. A standard television set is composed of multiple internal electronic circuits, including a tuner for receiving and decoding broadcast signals. A visual display device which lacks a tuner is called a video monitor rather than a television.
The word television comes from Ancient Greek τῆλε, meaning'far', Latin visio, meaning'sight'. The first documented usage of the term dates back to 1900, when the Russian scientist Constantin Perskyi used it in a paper that he presented in French at the 1st International Congress of Electricity, which ran from 18 to 25 August 1900 during the International World Fair in Paris; the Anglicised version of the term is first attested in 1907, when it was still "...a theoretical system to transmit moving images over telegraph or telephone wires". It was "...formed in English or borrowed from French télévision." In the 19th century and early 20th century, other "...proposals for the name of a then-hypothetical technology for sending pictures over distance were telephote and televista." The abbreviation "TV" is from 1948. The use of the term to mean "a television set" dates from 1941; the use of the term to mean "television as a medium" dates from 1927. The slang term "telly" is more common in the UK; the slang term "the tube" or the "boob tube" derives from the bulky cathode ray tube used on most TVs until the advent of flat-screen TVs.
Another slang term for the TV is "idiot box". In the 1940s and throughout the 1950s, during the early rapid growth of television programming and television-set ownership in the United States, another slang term became used in that period and continues to be used today to distinguish productions created for broadcast on television from films developed for presentation in movie theaters; the "small screen", as both a compound adjective and noun, became specific references to television, while the "big screen" was used to identify productions made for theatrical release. Facsimile transmission systems for still photographs pioneered methods of mechanical scanning of images in the early 19th century. Alexander Bain introduced the facsimile machine between 1843 and 1846. Frederick Bakewell demonstrated a working laboratory version in 1851. Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of the element selenium in 1873; as a 23-year-old German university student, Paul Julius Gottlieb Nipkow proposed and patented the Nipkow disk in 1884.
This was a spinning disk with a spiral pattern of holes in it, so each hole scanned a line of the image. Although he never built a working model
Finance is a field, concerned with the allocation of assets and liabilities over space and time under conditions of risk or uncertainty. Finance can be defined as the art of money management. Participants in the market aim to price assets based on their risk level, fundamental value, their expected rate of return. Finance can be split into three sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance. Matters in personal finance revolve around: Protection against unforeseen personal events, as well as events in the wider economies Transference of family wealth across generations Effects of tax policies management of personal finances Effects of credit on individual financial standing Development of a savings plan or financing for large purchases Planning a secure financial future in an environment of economic instability Pursuing a checking and/or a savings account Personal finance may involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance and saving for retirement.
Personal finance may involve paying for a loan, or debt obligations. The six key areas of personal financial planning, as suggested by the Financial Planning Standards Board, are: Financial position: is concerned with understanding the personal resources available by examining net worth and household cash flows. Net worth is a person's balance sheet, calculated by adding up all assets under that person's control, minus all liabilities of the household, at one point in time. Household cash flows total up all from the expected sources of income within a year, minus all expected expenses within the same year. From this analysis, the financial planner can determine to what degree and in what time the personal goals can be accomplished. Adequate protection: the analysis of how to protect a household from unforeseen risks; these risks can be divided into the following: liability, death, disability and long term care. Some of these risks may be self-insurable, while most will require the purchase of an insurance contract.
Determining how much insurance to get, at the most cost effective terms requires knowledge of the market for personal insurance. Business owners, professionals and entertainers require specialized insurance professionals to adequately protect themselves. Since insurance enjoys some tax benefits, utilizing insurance investment products may be a critical piece of the overall investment planning. Tax planning: the income tax is the single largest expense in a household. Managing taxes is not a question of if you will pay taxes, but when and how much. Government gives many incentives in the form of tax deductions and credits, which can be used to reduce the lifetime tax burden. Most modern governments use a progressive tax; as one's income grows, a higher marginal rate of tax must be paid. Understanding how to take advantage of the myriad tax breaks when planning one's personal finances can make a significant impact in which can save you money in the long term. Investment and accumulation goals: planning how to accumulate enough money – for large purchases and life events – is what most people consider to be financial planning.
Major reasons to accumulate assets include purchasing a house or car, starting a business, paying for education expenses, saving for retirement. Achieving these goals requires projecting what they will cost, when you need to withdraw funds that will be necessary to be able to achieve these goals. A major risk to the household in achieving their accumulation goal is the rate of price increases over time, or inflation. Using net present value calculators, the financial planner will suggest a combination of asset earmarking and regular savings to be invested in a variety of investments. In order to overcome the rate of inflation, the investment portfolio has to get a higher rate of return, which will subject the portfolio to a number of risks. Managing these portfolio risks is most accomplished using asset allocation, which seeks to diversify investment risk and opportunity; this asset allocation will prescribe a percentage allocation to be invested in stocks, bonds and alternative investments.
The allocation should take into consideration the personal risk profile of every investor, since risk attitudes vary from person to person. Retirement planning is the process of understanding how much it costs to live at retirement, coming up with a plan to distribute assets to meet any income shortfall. Methods for retirement plans include taking advantage of government allowed structures to manage tax liability including: individual structures, or employer sponsored retirement plans and life insurance products. Estate planning involves planning for the disposition of one's assets after death. There is a tax due to the state or federal government at one's death. Avoiding these taxes means that more of one's assets will be distributed to one's heirs. One can leave one's assets to friends or charitable groups. Corporate finance deals with the sources of funding and the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources.
Although it is in principle different from managerial finance which studies the financial management of all firms, rather than corporations alone, the main concepts in the study of corporate finance are applicable to the financial problems of all kinds of firms. Corporate f
E-commerce is the activity of buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange, inventory management systems, automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle although it may use other technologies such as e-mail. Typical e-commerce transactions include the purchase of online books and music purchases, to a less extent, customized/personalized online liquor store inventory services. There are three areas of e-commerce: online retailing, electric markets, online auctions. E-commerce is supported by electronic business. E-commerce businesses may employ some or all of the followings: Online shopping for retail sales direct to consumers via Web sites and mobile apps, conversational commerce via live chat and voice assistants Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales Business-to-business buying and selling.
A timeline for the development of e-commerce: 1971 or 1972: The ARPANET is used to arrange a cannabis sale between students at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology described as "the seminal act of e-commerce" in John Markoff's book What the Dormouse Said. 1979: Michael Aldrich demonstrates the first online shopping system. 1981: Thomson Holidays UK is the first business-to-business online shopping system to be installed. 1982: Minitel was introduced nationwide in France by France Télécom and used for online ordering. 1983: California State Assembly holds first hearing on "electronic commerce" in Volcano, California. Testifying are CPUC, MCI Mail, CompuServe, Volcano Telephone, Pacific Telesis. 1984: Gateshead SIS/Tesco is first B2C online shopping system and Mrs Snowball, 72, is the first online home shopper 1984: In April 1984, CompuServe launches the Electronic Mall in the USA and Canada. It is the first comprehensive electronic commerce service.
1989: In May 1989, Sequoia Data Corp. Introduced Compumarket, the first internet based system for e-commerce. Sellers and buyers could post items for sale and buyers could search the database and make purchases with a credit card. 1990: Tim Berners-Lee writes the first web browser, WorldWideWeb, using a NeXT computer. 1992: Book Stacks Unlimited in Cleveland opens a commercial sales website selling books online with credit card processing. 1993: Paget Press releases edition No. 3 of the first app store, The Electronic AppWrapper 1994: Netscape releases the Navigator browser in October under the code name Mozilla. Netscape 1.0 is introduced in late 1994 with SSL encryption. 1994: Ipswitch IMail Server becomes the first software available online for sale and immediate download via a partnership between Ipswitch, Inc. and OpenMarket. 1994: "Ten Summoner's Tales" by Sting becomes the first secure online purchase through NetMarket. 1995: The US National Science Foundation lifts its former strict prohibition of commercial enterprise on the Internet.
1995: Thursday 27 April 1995, the purchase of a book by Paul Stanfield, Product Manager for CompuServe UK, from W H Smith's shop within CompuServe's UK Shopping Centre is the UK's first national online shopping service secure transaction. The shopping service at launch featured W H Smith, Virgin Megastores/Our Price, Great Universal Stores, Dixons Retail, Past Times, PC World and Innovations. 1995: Jeff Bezos launches Amazon.com and the first commercial-free 24-hour, internet-only radio stations, Radio HK and NetRadio start broadcasting. EBay is founded by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as AuctionWeb. 1996: The use of Excalibur BBS with replicated "Storefronts" was an early implementation of electronic commerce started by a group of SysOps in Australia and replicated to global partner sites. 1998: Electronic postal stamps can be purchased and downloaded for printing from the Web. 1999: Alibaba Group is established in China. Business.com sold for US $7.5 million to eCompanies, purchased in 1997 for US $149,000.
The peer-to-peer filesharing software Napster launches. ATG Stores launches to sell decorative items for the home online. 1999: Global e-commerce reaches $150 billion 2000: The dot-com bust. 2001: Alibaba.com achieved profitability in December 2001. 2002: eBay acquires PayPal for $1.5 billion. Niche retail companies Wayfair and NetShops are founded with the concept of selling products through several targeted domains, rather than a central portal. 2003: Amazon.com posts first yearly profit. 2004: DHgate.com, China's first online b2b transaction platform, is established, forcing other b2b sites to move away from the "yellow pages" model. 2007: Business.com acquired by R. H. Donnelley for $345 million. 2014: US e-commerce and Online Retail sales projected to reach $294 billion, an increase of 12 percent over 2013 and 9% of all retail sales. Alibaba Group has the largest Initial public offering worth $25 billion. 2015: Amazon.com accounts for more than half of all e-commerce
Guatemala the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; the territory of modern Guatemala once formed the core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica. Most of the country was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, becoming part of the viceroyalty of New Spain. Guatemala attained independence in 1821 as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved by 1841. From the mid to late 19th century, Guatemala experienced civil strife. Beginning in the early 20th century, it was ruled by a series of dictators backed by the United Fruit Company and the United States government. In 1944, authoritarian leader Jorge Ubico was overthrown by a pro-democratic military coup, initiating a decade-long revolution that led to sweeping social and economic reforms.
A U. S.-backed military coup in 1954 installed a dictatorship. From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala endured a bloody civil war fought between the US-backed government and leftist rebels, including genocidal massacres of the Maya population perpetrated by the military. Since a United Nations-negotiated peace accord, Guatemala has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections, though it continues to struggle with high rates of poverty, drug trade, instability; as of 2014, Guatemala ranks 31st of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries in terms of the Human Development Index. Guatemala's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems includes a large number of endemic species and contributes to Mesoamerica's designation as a biodiversity hotspot; the name "Guatemala" comes from the Nahuatl word Cuauhtēmallān, or "place of many trees", a derivative of the K'iche' Mayan word for "many trees" or more for the Cuate/Cuatli tree Eysenhardtia. This was the name the Tlaxcaltecan soldiers who accompanied Pedro de Alvarado during the Spanish Conquest gave to this territory.
The first evidence of human habitation in Guatemala dates back to 12,000 BC. Evidence, such as obsidian arrowheads found in various parts of the country, suggests a human presence as early as 18,000 BC. There is archaeological proof. Pollen samples from Petén and the Pacific coast indicate that maize cultivation had developed by 3500 BC. Sites dating back to 6500 BC have been found in the Quiché region in the Highlands, Sipacate and Escuintla on the central Pacific coast. Archaeologists divide the pre-Columbian history of Mesoamerica into the Preclassic period, the Classic period, the Postclassic period; until the Preclassic was regarded as a formative period, with small villages of farmers who lived in huts, few permanent buildings. However, this notion has been challenged by recent discoveries of monumental architecture from that period, such as an altar in La Blanca, San Marcos, from 1000 BC; the Classic period of Mesoamerican civilization corresponds to the height of the Maya civilization, is represented by countless sites throughout Guatemala, although the largest concentration is in Petén.
This period is characterized by urbanisation, the emergence of independent city-states, contact with other Mesoamerican cultures. This lasted until 900 AD, when the Classic Maya civilization collapsed; the Maya abandoned many of the cities of the central lowlands or were killed off by a drought-induced famine. The cause of the collapse is debated, but the drought theory is gaining currency, supported by evidence such as lakebeds, ancient pollen, others. A series of prolonged droughts, among other reasons such as overpopulation, in what is otherwise a seasonal desert is thought to have decimated the Maya, who relied on regular rainfall; the Post-Classic period is represented by regional kingdoms, such as the Itza, Kowoj and Kejache in Petén, the Mam, Ki'che', Chajoma, Tz'utujil, Poqomchi', Q'eqchi' and Ch'orti' in the highlands. Their cities preserved many aspects of Maya culture; the Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region.
Advances such as writing and the calendar did not originate with the Maya. Maya influence can be detected from Honduras, Northern El Salvador to as far north as central Mexico, more than 1,000 km from the Maya area. Many outside influences are found in Maya art and architecture, which are thought to be the result of trade and cultural exchange rather than direct external conquest. After they arrived in the New World, the Spanish started several expeditions to Guatemala, beginning in 1519. Before long, Spanish contact resulted in an epidemic. Hernán Cortés, who had led the Spanish conquest of Mexico, granted a permit to Captains Gonzalo de Alvarado and his brother, Pedro de Alvarado, to conquer this land. Alvarado at first allied himself with the Kaqchikel nation to fight against their traditional rivals the K'iche' nation