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.
On Saturday, 19th May 2017, as part of the Maya Symposium, there was another Maya wedding re-enactment, this one including an actual Maya wedding along with the excellent dancing, costumes, and choreography by the Ballet Folklórico de Quintana Roo. See this page.
There were 4 previous wedding re-enactments. See this page for the information we have about them.
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.
Also please see the fine contribution by Andy Chuc on The Maya Culture of Northern Belize on Corozal.com/maya
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.