Why does La Antigua Guatemala now have more aldeas?

View of Antigua from one of its new aldeas, El Hato   (guido lucci)

View of Antigua from one of its new aldeas, El Hato (Guido Lucci)

Most cities in Guatemala were founded in the 1540s as part of the Spanish territorial “order.” Today municipalities are divided into various categories of smaller urban areas: aldeas, caserios, barrios, colonias and lotificaciones.

While aldea may be translated as a village, aldeas are not necessarily occupied by Mayas, as La Antigua Guatemala, in fact, has no Maya inhabitants. Antigua has barrios that date back to colonial times, and aldeas and caserios emerged organically throughout the 20th century.

Antigua had 14 aldeas (and a number of caserios) prior to April 9, 2010, when the City Council approved a number of new aldeas: Agua Colorada, Bueva Vista, Guardiania el Hato, San Gaspar Vivar, El Hato, Pueblo Nuevo, Vuelta Grande, San Pedro el Panorama, Santa Isabel, San Lazaro and El Guayabal. With 23 aldeas today, each one has an auxiliary mayor who works with the mayor of Antigua. Now we have to figure out when their fiestas are celebrated!

A new Municipal Code was approved on May 13, 2010, by the Guatemalan government, and it has specific guidelines for aldeas–alas, Antigua’s new aldeas were created before that date.

Unfortunately, this does not affect how much funding the city receives from the central government–that is based on the population of 56,000 inhabitants. (The total municipal budget last year was Q86,169,812.) Does this affect the vote for the September elections? No–although 70% of Antigua’s population lives in the “villages,” so the vote will be decided there!

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