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Quiché is the name of a Native American people of Guatemala, as well as of their native language, and their nation in pre-Columbian times. El Quiché is also the name of a department of modern Guatemala.

The Quiché People

The Quiché people are native to the Guatemala highlands. They are one of the Maya peoples.

In pre-Columbian times they were one of the most powerful states in the region.

The capital city was Gumarcaj, the ruins of which are a short distance from Santa Cruz del Quiché.

They were conqured by the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in the early 16th century. The last Quiché king, Tecún Umán, who was killed by Alvarado, remains a folk-hero and figure of legend.

The El Quiché department of Guatemala is named after them. The department is the heartland of the people, but in former times they were spread over a wider area of the Guatemala highlands.

The Quiché language

Quiché is part of the Maya language family. It is still spoken by many Quiché people, although most also have at least a working knowledge of the Spanish language except in some isolated rural villages.

The most famous work in the Quiché language is the Popol Vuh.