Belize, a small country located in Central America, surrounded by Guatemala, the Caribbean Sea and Mexico, is a place encrusted with ruins of the ancient Maya civilization. The country is considerably small, covering only 8,867 square miles, about the size of Massachusetts.
Its size, however, does not diminish the prospect of finding astonishing sights. The ancient destinations as well as the natural wonders of Belize are compressed together tightly that everywhere you turn, you’ll find great adventure.
The Belize Adventure, History, and Culture
Going out on an adventure and learning about the culture of Belize are two things that are intertwined. You can’t simply visit and watch the places without being drawn in to the history that shaped today’s Belize culture. You will be surprised to find out that it all dates back to 250 AD, back during the heights of the civilization of Maya.
Archaeologists have reason to believe that the indigenous Maya were the first people to ever set foot on Belize, and establish settlements. To this day, the rich cultural treasures, artifacts, and ruins are still scattered all over the country. In the summit of the great Maya civilization—the Classic Maya era (250-900 AD), to be exact—the people of Maya created many adjacent settlements in Belize. Stone structures, pyramid-temples, burial mounds, and even palaces that would have been the center of governance of the smaller cities in Maya, were discovered by European explorers several hundred years after the fall of Maya, in 1500 AD. It was said that the prosperity of the Aztecs as well as the arrival of Spanish explorers during 1500 were some of the things that drove the Maya civilization to its end.
Nevertheless, the Maya culture and history remained and were passed on the people of Belize, which became the basic structure for modern Belize culture. Mayan Ruins of Belize
Located between the borders of Guatemala and the Belizean half of the Peten tropical forest, Caracol is perhaps the most important Mayan site in all of Belize. Thousand-year-old structures of great palaces stand as proof of the great kingdoms that once lived there. It was said that Belize used to be the seat of power of one of the important kingdoms of Maya. During the classic period of the Maya civilization, political struggles concerning the southern lowlands of Maya were resolved in Belize. It’s also where some of the ruling bodies helped oversee the governance of Maya.
The standing armies of Caracol were a force to be reckoned with. Archaeological evidences point out that the kingdom in Caracol was the one that finally subjugated Tikal, another important kingdom that once thrived in the land now known as Campeche, Mexico.
If Caracol was recognized for its strength, Lumanai was known for its success. Lumanai, a spanning settlement of Classic Maya located along New River, in Orange Walk District, is one of the longest-occupied settlements in Mesoamerica.
Found in Chetumal Bay, north of Belize, Cerros is perhaps the earliest Maya site established in Belize, during the Late Pre-Classic Maya, sometime around 250 or 300 AD.