OF THE MAYAS
Licenciado Mateo Ayuso
J.P. & Commissioner of
the Supreme Court.
1. The most accepted theory about the origin of the Mayas, my
ANCESTORS, is that of the BERING STRAIT, when the Mongols, hunting animals for
food, crossed this frozen Strait on the NORTH-WESTERN side of Asia, into
Alaska, say about (40,000) forty thousand years ago. Some historians claim that
it is possible that these Mongols, as the years went by, perhaps centuries,
multiplied among themselves, forming many communities, with their respective
traits or characteristics; and thus molding their mode of livelihood,
developing languages, customs, traditions and other cultural features.
2. It is possible that through the thousands of years, their
land and water sojourns took them through Canada, the United States of America, Mexico, Central America, South America and, including all the Islands of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
3. But according to our present-day knowledge, our Maya
ancestors, concentrated their final habitat, within the confines of Central America; as The Mundo
Maya tourist project comprises of: Yucatán-México, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
4. Many historians, and other researchers in the Social
Sciences, have ascertained that Mayan Archaeological Edifices, proved their
vast scientific knowledge in the areas of Advanced Mathematics, in Astronomy,
etc., in fact, the late Sir J. Eric S. Thompson, a most renowned Archaeologist
in this field, has compared the Mayas as the” Great Egyptians of the Americas”.
OF BELIZE , CENTRAL AMERICA
5. Our history of Belize, Central América,
begins about (4,000) four thousand years, ago, as portrayed and evidenced by
many magnificent Mayan Pyramids, such as Santa Rita and Cerros
here in Corozal Town which once was the home of no
less then (60,000) sixty thousand Mayas. At present, 2001, our Maya-Mestizo Belizean-Ethnic group, throughout the whole country
of Belize is composed of about 55.9%
or 140,000, of the total Belizean Population. Belize is fortunate in possessing
many Mayan archaeological edifices.
6. Since the appearance of the Europeans, e.g. Spaniards,
Portuguese, English, etc., say 509 years ago, in the Americas, all indigenous
people like the Mayas, our ancestors, have been victims of utter and brutal
exploitation, comparable to the treatment, which (15,000,000) fifteen million
of brother-Africans, suffered while being brought to the Americas, so as to
enrich the coffers of the said, Europeans.
7. Historical records attest that Spanish Missionaries, like Bartolomé de Fuensalida, Orbita and Delgado, in spite of some violent encounters
with the Mayas, who were living at TIPU, about 1618, a Village situated on the
branches of the Belize/Old River, now known as Negro man, near Benque Viejo del Carmen, Caye District, traveled up to
TAYASAL, now Petén Flores, in Guatemala, Central América. Their journeys usually began at Mérida, and continued through Bacalar,
thence canoeing the Río Hondo, “Noh Ucum”, and the New River, “Tzulouinicob”,
passing a Maya Village, named LAMANAI, (now, a tourist resort in the Orange
Walk District), where the remnants of a Spanish Church still exists, and
continued to the said, Tayasal/Petén Flores.
8. Incidentally, some of our knowledgeable Belizean Historians
can prove absolutely, that our Maya ancestors inhabited this portion of the Yucatán Península, now called
Belize, Central América, for many thousand of years
before the appearance of the white Europeans. Read “The Empty Land Myth: Justifying
Continued Racism in Belize against the Maya", published in the Amandala, Sunday, August 6, 2000, page 17; a Lecture
which Dr. Angel E. Cal, Ph.D., Rector of our Belize University, presented to a
Select Faculty, at the University of Louisville, State of Kentucky, USA on 25th
Feb. 2000. We, true born Belizeans, shall no longer acquiesce nor tolerate any
more deliberate distortions of our Belizean History.
9. Magnus Morner states that from the
early appearance of the Spaniards and other Europeans, in our American-Ancient-Civilization,
miscegenation or mixtures of people, indigenous of course, began in earnest. So
it was not surprising that about 1511, when Gonzalo Guerrero and Gerónimo de Aguilar, the two survivors of Valdivias’s shipwreck, were rescued
here at this Corozal Bay, know at that time as “Chactamal”; and consequently, it is claimed that Gonzálo Guerrero married Nachan
Can’s daughter and thus initiated our Yucatán-region’s
miscegenation or “MESTIZAJE”.
APPEARANCE OF THE ENGLISH
Our Maya-Mestizo ancestors continued their
resistance, now, not only against Spanish domination but also, against English
encroachments, who established their Logwood and Mahogany working camps, on the
Río Hondo and New River banks, about 1618. While England and Spain, agreed and disagreed on
Signed-Treaties, about the Rights of Occupation, on the part of the English to
exploit the Spanish Territory's natural resources, the
Spanish Government continued with its Colonization of New Spain, including our
geographical area of Yucatán, for, Belize at this time, was a
political entity of Yucatán Península.
11. Even though, there occurred many social and violent upheavals
in Yucatan, as well as in many other regions of New Spain, during a spawn of no
less than 348 years (1840-1492), one of these, must be remembered, since this
specific one played a most important role in the development of our area, now
known as Belize, in Central América. This particular one is the so-called, Guerra de Castas, 1847-1901, which caused a mass migration of
about (15,000) fifteen thousand Maya-Mestizos, into
the Northern and Western regions of this English–occupied territory, (British
12. Because of this migration, the entire population of this
territory, British Honduras/Belize, increased to a total of about (25,000)
twenty-five thousand inhabitants, composed at that time, of a few white
Englishmen and a large number of our Brother–African slaves.
13. It was about the early parts of the 1830’s to 1859 or so, that
our present day Towns, e.g. Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo–San Ignacio and Benque Viejo
del Carmen; and Villages, e.g. Consejo, Xaibe, Patchakan, San Joaquín, Succotz and others,
appeared as permanent settlements. Our Maya-Mestizo
ancestors brought with them their Maya and Spanish languages, their customs and
traditions; together with their Pre-Colombian and Spanish-Christian religious
beliefs and their agricultural know-how. For example, besides the abundant
production of corn, beans, yams and peppers, our ancestors produced 1,033 tons
of sugar, of which, 762 tons were exported to England in 1868. Now, at present,
2001, both Orange Walk and Corozal sugar districts, produce
annually, approximately (100,000) one hundred thousand tons of sugar.
OF “THE CASTE WAR OF YUCATAN”
Some historians maintain that “The Caste War” was not a Racial War,
a battle between Spanish Mestizos and Maya Indians;
but was definitely, an economic-social “Revolution” between sectors of the Yucatán Society, which controlled the Government and its
Socio-Economic resources, against the Marginalized-Proletariat or Peones, who for centuries were victims of Political, as
well as Religious-Church oppression. I believe that our
Belizean-Artist-Painter, Manuel Villamor Reyes,
depicts this concept clearly in his Mural Painting, which can be seen in the
Municipal Office-Building in Corozal Town.
CONSEJO-COROZAL GOSFEN ESSTATE
15. When our Maya-Meatizo parents
settled Consejo Village, Corozal
and the rest of the Northern and Westerns regions of this country of ours,
Belize, say about (150), one hundred and fifty years ago, no land could have
become purchased-property. There existed then, the Goshen Estate, an English
Company, under the names of Young, Carmichael, Blake and the Schofields. Our Yucateco-Ancestors
became TENANTS (Serfs) paying rent to the late Mr. William (Guillermo-Mito)
Schofield, up to about 1956, when he sold all his Estate to the English
Colonial Government, as a result of the total destruction of Corozal and surroundings, caused by Hurricane Janet of
This paper was presented in Corozal Town, at the Civic Center on the occasion of “The
Official Programme for Expo 2001” by the Corozal Community College, Secondary Level, on 16th May 2001. “The purpose or objective of this said Expo-2001
was to retrieve the true History, language-Maya, Traditions, Customs and
general culture of our Maya-Mestizo people.
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