All of the coins feature basically the same thing on the tails side. It's the coat of arms. It consists of two bayonette rifles crossed and two sword crossed representing the fight for independence, the declaration of independence 15 Sept, 1821, and the quetzal (national bird). They have a lifesize coat of arms in the national palace in Guatemala City that I've seen several times. I've never been in the country on Independence Day (arrived 23rd Sept, then we were in eastern Canada late August until the 16th of Sept last year. I've neither seen a living quetzal, though I've walked through the quetzal reserve 30 minutes away.
One cent. This is Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. He's the Spanish monk who defended the Mayans against atrocity and wrote several books about them 450 years ago. From what I've heard, he also taught them to read. There's a town 4 hours away that is named after him - it's very hot there and there are snakes.
The five cent coin says "Free Grow Fertile." Pictured is the ceiba, the national tree.
The dime carries the picture of the Quirigua Monolith, an obelisk ruin situated about 2 1/2 hours away from where I live. I haven't been yet, but when I head up that road, I'll stop for a visit. Apparently the ruins are pretty cool there too.
I don't know who this is on the quarter, but I think it's just one of the indigenous people of Guatemala to recognize them.
The monja blanca (white nun) is on the half-quetzal. It's the national flower, but it's actually an orchid. It's also the name of a bus line here, and a heap of restaurants, stores, and other touristy stuff. It's against the law to pick or sell them, but I've been offered them quite a few times. They ask Q100 ($15), but what am I going to do with a white nun?
The Quetzal coin commemorates the signing of the peace accord between the army and the guerillas on December 29, 1996. This marked the end of a 36-year civil war in which more than 200,000 people (mostly civilians) were killed (93% of the killing was done by the army). Across the top of the coin is says "Peace, firm and lasting." The word Paz (meaning Peace) is written again in the shape of a quetzal.
|Guatemalan Centavos||Canadian Cents|
|100 or Q1||15.56¢|
The Quetzal was on par with the $US until 1987. Something happened. What?