Etymology of Guatemala

The origin of the name “Guatemala” is unclear, but several theories exist.

“Guatemala” is derived from “Goathemala,” which means “the land of the trees” in the Maya-Toltec language.

Another theory is that it comes from the Nahuatl expression “Cuauhtitlan,” meaning “between the trees.” “Cuauhtitlan” was the name the Tlaxcaltecan soldiers who accompanied Pedro de Alvarado during the Spanish Conquest gave to this territory.

Lastly, there is a theory that it is the Spanish corruption of a Nahoa word “coactmoct-lan,” meaning “land of the snake eating bird.”