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Tony Rath's

Northern Belize and the Maya

Map of ancient Mayan regions(Note: The history of the Maya is a huge area of study, with enough written information to fill a library. We can only touch the surface of this fascinating realm of study.)

The ancient Maya Civilization area spread over the entire Yucatan peninsula and as far south as northwestern Honduras, El Salvador and the northern portions of Nicaragua, all of Guatemala and Belize and portions of Chiapas and Tabasco in Mexico. This huge area is generally divided into three sub-regions: the Southern Highlands extending from Chiapas through Guatemala El Salvador and into Nicaragua; the Central Lowlands encompassing northern Chiapas, the Department of Peten in Guatemala and much of Belize; and the Northern Lowlands represented by the flat, featureless shelf of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The chronology or cultural sequence of the Maya area is traditionally divided into six major periods: Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Preclassic, Classic and Postclassic. The Preclassic, Classic and Postclassic are further divided into four phases each. Northern Belize posses evidence of human habitation from all major periods of Maya cultural development (Click HERE for chart displaying major periods of Mayan chronology in northern Belize). Basically, the Maya Civilization progressed from:

  • Hunter/gathers
  • Agricultural communities
  • Chiefdoms
  • Expansion of Trade
  • Growth of major cities
  • Wide spread Warfare
  • Decline of cities
  • Conquest

Use the links below for more detailed information on Northern Belize during these major historical periods:

Archaic Preclassic Classic Postclassic
MayaSpanish/BritishCaste WarRecent
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