Chactemal - Santa Rita Archaeological Site - Corozal

Chactemal, also known as Chactemáal or Chetumal, was an important area of the Maya civilization in what is now southern Quintana Roo, Mexico, and northern Belize.

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2017 Wedding Re-enactment

Another opportunity to learn and celebrate the birth of the mestizos. Join us, and please let us take photos for Chactemal.com!

2015 Wedding Re-enactment — Excellent!

On Thursday, 5 February 2015, at 8pm at the Santa Rita archeological site, CJC, BTIA, and the Corozal Town Council presented another re-enactment. Attendance was good, and in spite of a few small drops of rain, it seemed to be loved by all. See some cell phone photos of the event.

2014 Wedding Re-enactment Was Great!

On Saturday, 22 March 2014, at 7pm at the Santa Rita archaeological site, CJC and others presented a re-enactment of the wedding between Gonzalo Guerrero and Zazil Há. The one in December 2012 was great, and this one was even better! Congratulations to the schools, groups, and others whose participation made this possible.

We were not allowed to take pictures (a mistake that must be corrected), but we have been assured we will be allowed to use those taken by NICH when they are available. We hope that is soon. Roy Rodriguez has agreed to provide us with much better historical and cultural information, beginning with his excellent talk on Maya History.

Maya History

The Maya are the native people of this area. They thrived with cultural and political centers at various locations throughout history. Though Santa Rita was occupied much longer, there was a major development from about 400 BCE to 400 CE at and near the present archaeological site of Cerros, east across the Corozal Bay from Corozal Town.

The languages used by the Maya are called Mayan. Most everything else associated with these very interesting people is called Maya.

Many thanks to Roy Rodriguez for allowing us to include the excellent talk he made at the Santa Rita Archaeological Site on 22 March 2014.

Santa Rita

The Santa Rita Archeological Site was a cultural center of Chactemal off and on from before 1200 BCE to its most influential period, from about 1300 to 1539 CE. Its excavation is now just a little west of the Northern Highway, on the Northern side of Corozal Town, Belize.

Nachan Can

The Maya lord Nachan Can (or Nachan Ka’an) was the leader of the people in the Chactemal area in the early 16th century. He grew to trust the shipwrecked Spanish soldier, Gonzalo Guerrero, making him a war leader, and allowing him to marry his daughter. They were married by 1519, the year Cortés began his conquest of México.

Zazil Há

Nachan Can’s daughter, the Maya Princess Zazil Há, became the mother of the first known Spanish/Maya children, the cultural group we now call Mestizos (Mestizaje in Spanish).

Gonzalo Guerrero

Gonzalo Guerrero, a Spanish sailor/soldier was shipwrecked in 1511, was first enslaved by Maya but later became acculturated and began to show the Maya how to effectively fight the Spaniards. He married Zazil Há, had the first three Mestizo children, and refused to go back to Spain.

Mestizos

The children of Gonzalo Guerrero and Zazil Há were the first known Mestizos (or Mestizaje in Spanish). Many, if not most, of the Mestizo people in southern Yucatán and northern Belize are probably descendants of Gonzalo Guerrero and Zazil Há.

Wedding Garden

The Santa Rita site is on its way to becoming Belize’s best-known wedding venue. The charming legend of the birth of the Mestizos, combined with a perfect Maya temple as a backdrop, makes it a very exotic and romantic location for weddings.