History of the Mayans in Belize

Belize was a significant influence on the culture and history of the Mayan people. The peak of the Mayan culture in Belize is estimated to have been between 600-900 AD. The region may have been divided into many different Mayan kingdoms but all the kingdoms shared a common religion and language. This however did not stop the many arguments between the different kingdoms throughout the years. There were times of war and times of peace, there was over abundance and famine, but all that is still seen in this day and age.

Belize has much to offer with its fertile climate and its very rich marine life. The growth of the Mayan culture and its people produced many large cities as their ruins can attest to and some of these beautiful ruins can be seen to this day. The Mayans trade route, their primary one, was along the Belize River and made it simpler for those in Belize to contact the many kingdoms of the Mayans.

The Mayan kingdoms in Guatemala, the most known one was Tikal and during one of the wars between Caracol, the most powerful of the Belize Mayan cities, Caracol took over Tikal. An amazing feature of the Mayan culture is their use of the cave systems in Belize. Many Mayan treasures have been discovered in the caves of Belize. These sites were considered sacred by the Mayans and have produced numerous ceremonial discoveries of the Mayan culture. Things such as carvings and even skeletons of what is believed to be the victims of human sacrifices that were used for religious ceremonies have been found deep in the caves of Belize.

The Mopani Mayans were believed to be the inhabitants of Belize in the 1600's and they were to have numbered over a million. Unfortunately many Mayans died during a small pox epidemic and for those that did not perish during the small pox epidemic were driven out by the British in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Mopani Mayan would start their migration back into the Belize area in 1886 it is also believed that the Kekchi Mayans from Guatemala also migrated to Belize when German coffee growers came in the late 1800's and ran them off their land. The Kekchi are thought to have settled in the lowlands around the rivers and streams. The Kekchi are also believed to have been the most self-reliant of the Mayans. Today many of the Mayans descendants still live in Belize.

"History and Culture of Belize," IZEBelize

Association for Belizean Archaeology, "Maya Archaeological Sites in Belize" AmberGrisCaye

"Caracol Archaeological Sites" duPlooy Travel