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Cuevas De Lankin

Lankin, Guatemala

San Agustín Lanquín (Spanish pronunciation: [san aɣusˈtin laŋˈkin]), often referred to simply as Lanquín, is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. It is situated at 380 m above sea level. It contains 16,500 people, many of Q'eqchi' Maya descent. It covers an area of 208 km².

Lanquín, one of the native settlement conquered peacefully by the Order of Preachers -among them: Pedro de Angulo, O.P., Luis de Cáncer, O.P. and Rodrigo de la Cebra, O.P.- was established in 1540. In the 1540s, its first Catholic chapel was built, with the name of "San Agustín Lanquín". According to this historical records, it was elevated to the municipality category in 1846, and its first mayor was Crisanto Beb, honorable native.

In May 1956, an executive action by colonel coronel Carlos Castillo Armas declared Lanquín a National Park due to its natural beauty, which is one of the main tourist attractions in Guatemala. Later, in 1970, Lanquín was promoted to National Monument and, finally, in 1997 -by another executive action- it was declared as a National Cultural Patrimony.

In the 1960s, the importance of the region was in livestock, exploitation of precious export wood and archaeological wealth. Timber contracts we granted to multinational companies such as Murphy Pacific Corporation from California, which invested US$30 million for the colonization of southern Petén and Alta Verapaz, and formed the North Impulsadora Company. Colonization of the area was made through a process by which inhospitable areas of the Franja Transversal del Norte (FTN) were granted to native peasants.

In 1964, the National Institute for Agrarian Transformation (INTA) defined the geography of the FTN as the northern part of the departments of Huehuetenango, Quiché , Alta Verapaz and Izabal and that same year priests of the Maryknoll order and the Order of the Sacred Heart began the first process of colonization, along with INTA, carrying settlers from Huehuetenango to the Ixcán sector in Quiché.

The Northern Transversal Strip was officially created during the government of General Carlos Arana Osorio in 1970, by Decree 60-70 in the Congress, for agricultural development. The area included within the municipalities: San Ana Huista, San Antonio Huista, Nentón, Jacaltenango, San Mateo Ixtatán, and Santa Cruz Barillas in Huehuetenango; Chajul and San Miguel Uspantán in Quiché; Cobán, Chisec, San Pedro Carchá, Lanquín, Senahú, Cahabón and Chahal, in Alta Verapaz and the entire department of Izabal.

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