Belize History: The Maya, Spanish, and British Occupation

Belize is formerly known as British Honduras and is a small country of approximately 280,00 people. It is the only English speaking country in Central America and is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy that recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as sovereign. Belize, as with other Central American countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) and southeastern Mexico, was originally settled by the ancient Maya. There are over two-dozen documented ancient Mayan linguistic groups in this area, three of which currently reside in Belize. The Maya currently make up about 10% of the population of Belize and include the Yucatec in the north near the Yucatan border, the Q’eqchi in the south, near Punta Gorda, and the Mopan, in western Belize near the border town of Benque Viejo del Carmen.


Paleoindian is the earliest time period recorded in Belize thus far (Ca. 11,500 – 8000 BC) this is followed by the Archaic (Ca. 8000 – 900 BC) and the approximate ancient Maya Chronology that follows these preceramic periods include:

* Preclassic – 900 BC to AD 250 (often cited as early as 1500 BC)

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