Mayans in Belize

The Maya Of Belize
October 9, 2019 – 08:28 am
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Recent discoveries and expanded analyses have led many archeologists and cultural anthropologists studying Maya history to conclude that the center of Maya civilization was, in fact, Belize. Belize is a treasure trove of ancient Mayan temples, towns and cities, only a few of which have been uncovered.

The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica . Originating in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras.

Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations such as the Olmec, the Maya developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing.

The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizeable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. The Maya were equally skilled as weavers and potters, and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.

Around 300 B.C., the Maya adopted a hierarchical system of government with rule by nobles and kings. This civilization developed into highly structured kingdoms during the Classic period, A.D. 200-900. Their society consisted of many independent states, each with a rural farming community and large urban sites built around ceremonial centres.

It started to decline around A.D. 900 when – for reasons which are still largely a mystery – the southern Maya abandoned their cities. When the northern Maya were integrated into the Toltec society by A.D. 1200, the Maya dynasty finally came to a close, although some peripheral centres continued to thrive until the Spanish Conquest in the early sixteenth century.

Maya history can be characterized as cycles of rise and fall: city-states rose in prominence and fell into decline, only to be replaced by others. It could also be described as one of continuity and change, guided by a religion that remains the foundation of their culture. For those who follow the ancient Maya traditions, the belief in the influence of the cosmos on human lives and the necessity of paying homage to the gods through rituals continues to find expression in a modern hybrid Christian-Maya faith.

The Maya Of Belize and Their Neighbors

The Maya of Belize have never lived in isolation. A growing body of evidence suggests that from Preclassic times there was increasing contact between them and their neighbors, the Olmecs on the Gulf of Mexico, the Zapotecs and Mixtecs in Oaxaca, the Teotihuacanos, Toltecs and Aztecs in the Valley of Mexico, and the Tlaxcalans and Uaxtecs of the East coast.

Between 1200 and 600 BC Maya ideology was influenced to some degree by the Olmec people from the Tabasco-Veracruz area. During this time the Belize Maya Incorporated many Olmec-like symbols on their ceramics and artifacts. In the classic contacts with other regions were maintained for the acquisition of exotic materials that served both utilitarian and decorative purposes and for social political reasons. Jade was imported from the Motagua Valley, obsidian the Guatemala highlands, and marine shells from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. The Belize Maya also exported many objects and produce to their neighbors. The raw material for a large slate stela from Calakmul for example was likely shaped by river and overland routes from the Maya Mountains. Contacts with even more distant locations, like Teotihuaca, are indicated by the presence of Pachuca obsidian from sources near Mexico city. This diagnostic green coloured obsidian has been found at Altun Ha, Pactibun and many other sites in Belize.

Belize History, and the Early Colony: Ancient Mayan Civilization, Slavery in the Settlement, 1794-1838, The Society and Its Environment, Cultural Diversity ... Belizean Society, Ethnicity, Economy, Tou
Popular Q&A
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The Aztec people/tribe were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in t

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