History in Belize

History in Belize

In the jungles of Belize, settlements were discovered, whose age is about 9 thousand years. From the 16th century BC Maya Indians began to penetrate the territory of modern Belize. The Maya civilization flourished in 300-900 AD, the ruins of their cities have survived here to this day.

In 1502, the crew of Christopher Columbus sailed along this coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, but they did not dare to land on the coast. The Spaniards first set foot on these lands in 1511, they tried to penetrate into the interior of Belize, but were forced to abandon their intentions, having met with strong opposition from the locals. Later they broke the Indians and began to establish their own settlements. Check a2zdirectory for old history of Belize.

In 1638, English pirates settled on the coast of Belize, attacking Spanish ships. To fight the pirates, the Spaniards called on the British, whom they allowed to engage in logging. The British government initially did not recognize these settlements as its colony, but in 1786 for the first time sent its official representative here – the superintendent. Due to territorial disputes in 1798, a war broke out between the Spanish and the British. In several battles, the British were victorious. Until now, the date of the decisive battle – September 10 – is considered a public holiday in Belize.

But the British were in no hurry to officially proclaim the conquered territories as their colony. Only in 1862 these lands were named British Honduras and were officially declared a British colony. Instead of a superintendent, a lieutenant governor was placed at the head of the administration.

The first half of the 20th century in British Honduras was marked by an increase in the economic crisis as a result of a sharp drop in demand for timber in the UK. In 1934, a wave of demonstrations and speeches swept through the country, marking the beginning of the independence movement. Over the next thirty years, the economy of British Honduras was in a state of stagnation, especially since powerful hurricanes constantly hit the country, sweeping entire cities in their path. In 1964, Great Britain nevertheless granted internal self-government to British Honduras, and in 1973 the colony was named Belize. Great Britain was ready to grant independence to the country, however, this was prevented by Guatemala, which referred to the territorial rights that it allegedly inherited from Spain. In 1975, Guatemala even threatened to send troops into Belize, but the UK sent reinforcements to the country’s borders. In 1980, the UN adopted a special resolution recognizing the independence of Belize. The only country that voted against the resolution was Guatemala. Belize was proclaimed an independent state on September 21, 1981 and joined the Commonwealth of Nations.

RUINS OF THE ANCIENT MAYAN CITIES

The main attraction of Belize are the ruins of the ancient cities of the Mayan Indians scattered throughout the country. Country together with Mexico and Guatemala is a member of the international project “Maya World”, the purpose of which is to study and protect Mayan cultural sites on the Yucatan Peninsula. Archaeologists daily find more and more new items related to the era of this ancient civilization.

Caracol

The ruins of the ancient city of Caracol are located in the southwestern part of the country near the border with Guatemala. It is the largest Mayan city in the country. To Karakol there are about 20 areas. There are 32 large structures and 12 smaller structures around the five main squares. The Kanaa pyramid rises above the city, which is one of the tallest buildings of the Mayan empire, its height reaches 43 m. Also, a stele with inscriptions was excavated here that tells about the victory of the city of Karakol over Tikal, which undoubtedly is of great interest to historians. Ceremonial burials with samples of hieroglyphic writing were also found in Karakol.

Altun-Kha

Altun-Kha is one of the largest archaeological centers in the country. It lies 55 km north of Belize City. and 9 km from the sea. The construction of the city began in 250 BC. e. In the classical period of the Mayan Empire, Altun-Ha was a major ceremonial and commercial center that linked the Caribbean Sea and the Mayan cities located in the interior of the mainland. The center of Altun-Kha are two squares surrounded by four temples. In the largest of these squares – Square A – stands the Temple of the Green Grave, which is known for unique burials with jewelry, skeletons of rays, jade crafts and Mayan books. The Temple of the Stone Altar is the largest structure in Altun Ha. It was the main site for Mayan ceremonies. At the top of the temple there is an altar, to which one staircase leads. Under the Temple of the Stone Altar, a stunning find was discovered – the largest inlaid jade head, symbolizing the sun god Kinich-Ahau.

Xunantunich

The ruins of Xunantunich were found near the town of San Ignacio. This walled city controlled the trade routes that ran from the hinterland to the Caribbean coast and was a major ceremonial center for the Maya empire. Here you can see the overgrown ruins that are concentrated around the main square of the city. Among all the structures, the pyramid of El Castillo stands out, about 40 m high. It was built in the 5th century AD. and is decorated with various ornaments and masks made of stucco material (something like cement). Today, there is a museum in Shunantunich, which tells the history of this city.

Not far from Xunantunich, the archaeological site of El Pilar is interesting.. Here was located one of the last cities of the Maya empire, which the European conquerors could not break for a long time. El Pilar covers an area of 50 hectares, on which there are about 25 squares. In the vicinity of San Ignacio, it is also worth visiting the ruins of Cajal Pech with 34 structures, the highest of which is 25 m high.

In the northern part of Belize, the ruins around the cities of Corozal and Orange Walk are interesting. Corozal was once the capital of one of the Mayan provinces. From those times to the present day, the ruins of the city of Cerros have been preserved., which is one of the earliest cities of the Maya civilization. A unique building was excavated here, which served as an astrological observatory for the Maya Indians. East of Corozal are the ruins of Santa Rita, Nomul and La Mulpa with the graves of Mayan leaders.

5 km west of Orange Walk are the ruins Cuello, their age is about 3000 years, these are the most ancient settlements found in the country. The Lamanai archaeological reserve

is also of interest in the vicinity of Orange Walk. It is considered one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centers preserved in Belize.. In the language of the Indians, the name of the place is translated as “plunging crocodile”, because crocodiles live in the river flowing nearby. Two temples have been excavated in the park – the Temple of the Jaguar Mask and the High Temple. Most of them still remain underground, and from the tops a beautiful view of the surroundings opens up. There is a museum, the remains of two 16th-century Spanish churches destroyed by the Indians, and a sugar factory.

Lubaantun

in the south of Belize not far from the city of San Antonio are the ruins of Lubaantun. From 700 to 890 A.D. e. Lubaantun was the main city of this part of the Yucatan Peninsula. The found structures were built in an original way – they are made of stone blocks, which are fitted as close as possible to each other without connecting substances (this is how the Incas built), and all their corners are rounded. Here, during excavations, a human skull made of quartz weighing 5.13 kg was discovered.

7 km west of San Antonio lie the ruins of a small Mayan city Usbenka. It is located on the top of the mountain, which offers a beautiful view of the coast.

History in Belize