Belize – The Mayan Cradle
Mariposa Beach Suites and Resort invites all travellers interested in the Mayans and ancient Central American culture to visit Belize and learn more about this ancient, celebrated history. Many people don’t realize that the Mayans were not restricted to mainly Mexico only, when in reality their empire once stretched as far south as Honduras!
The Mayans originated in 2600 B.C. and rose to power in Central America around 25 A.D., at one point numbering over an estimated 400,000 strong in Belize. Interestingly enough, this is more people than the current population of Belize today! Our civilization today can still learn a lot from the ancient Mayans. Their systems for astronomy, calendars, written communication and heirarchal government are quite close in concept and style to some technology that we still use on a daily basis. The form and style of writing that the Mayan’s centered their culture around is somewhat heiroglyphically based but retains the complex sentence structure of a word-based language. The language is still spoken around Central America today, although time and space has taken its effect on the many different dialogues that Mayans developed in different areas.
The Mayan world was one of cyclical ups and downs with different tribes and areas rising to power only to be supplanted years later with a new rising tribe. Sometimes these Tribe-Kings held power for their entire life. Sometimes another leader cut this time short. This constant pressure of renewal of power brought many effects onto Mayan culture. It drove their somewhat nomadic lifestyle with tribes being forced to move areas, hunting grounds exchanging hands under the blood of their obsidian-enhanced clubs and spears. Small cultural differences between tribes were free to be spread and mingle as groups rose and fell from power.
Mayan art and leisure activities were also very advanced. They played a variety of sports but most famously, the Mayans loved what historians call the “Ball Game”. Small rubber balls were used on large, flat courts. Usually two walls bordered the court and held small rings for which the ball would be sent flying through to score. These rings varied in height, but the main challenge of the game never changed. No matter the height of the ring, players must force the ball through without using their hands. Feet, thighs, shoulders and elbows were the most used instruments to play. The Mayans developed padding for their atheletes to help relieve the game’s injury toll. This game was very important to Mayan culture and was often the center of gambling, entertainment and celebrity. War prisoners were sometimes forced to play the game against their captor’s skilled team. The contact between players was very physical and dangerous in spite of primative padding. Belize has many intact and preserved ball courts to witness!
This is just the tip of the Mayan iceberg. Belize has such a large amount of Mayan historical sites that you’d need to visit us for a long time to see them all. Come stay with Mariposa Bed and Breakfast and see how many Mayan adventures you can go on!