Culture

The most beautiful bird in the Americas has had a major impact on Latin American and world culture. Long a symbol of freedom, the resplendent quetzal continues to represent political ideals, such as with the Maya liberation movement in Chiapas and elsewhere in Southern Mexico, and in Guatemala and other Central American nations. The bird is the national symbol of Guatemala and the name of that country's monetary unit. Homages to the quetzal and quetzal-based deities have been documented in numerous major archaeological sites of Mesoamerica, including Cacaxtla, Chichén Itzá, Copán, Teotihuacán, Tikal, Tula, and Xochicalco. Pre-Hispanic hieroglyphs include symbols for the quetzal and quetzal derivatives, and linguistic dimensions of the quetzal have been noted in various languages. Indeed, the bird's cultural significance transcends cosmology, religion, and folklore.

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