1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amatitlán

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AMATITLÁN, or San Juan de Amatitlán, the capital of a department bearing the same name in Guatemala, on Lake Amatitlán, 15 m. S.W. of Guatemala city by the transcontinental railway from Puerto Barrios to San José. Pop. (1905) about 10,000. The town consists almost entirely of one-storeyed adobe huts inhabited by mulattoes and Indians, whose chief industry is the production of cochineal. In 1840 only a small Indian village marked its site, and its subsequent growth was due to the sugar plantations established by a Jesuit settlement. The wells of the town are strongly impregnated with salt and alum, and in the vicinity there are several hot springs. Lake Amatitlán, 9 m. long and 3 m. broad, lies on the northern side of the great Guatemalan Cordillera. Above it rises the four-cratered volcano of Pacaya (8390 ft.), which was in eruption in 1870. The outlet of the lake is a swift river 65 m. long, which cuts a way through the Cordillera, and enters the Pacific at Istapa, after forming at San Pedro a fine waterfall more than 200 ft. high.