CULTURAL HERITAGE

The cultural heritage of the people of Sarteneja began as humans migrated from Africa through Asia and then populated North and South America in two waves about 26,000 and 15,000 years ago. The native populations of North and South America formed many cultures, societies and some of the greatest civilisations.

The peoples of North and South America are Asiatic and migrated from China in two main waves at 12,000 years ago and 26,000 years ago across what is now the Bering Strait. see Prehistory

Belize supported major Mayan cities and settlements and was heavily populated. Sarteneja was a Maya coastal settlement that supported a substantial population. see Mayan Port of Sarteneja see Mayan archeological periods

B'alam Ja Way (jaguar water spirit) is located on the outskirts of the Maya trading port of Sarteneja. Here we study the Mayan cultural heritage of Sarteneja and Sartenejan history after the European invasion, develop community consciousness of the regions Maya heritage, and encourage archeological tourism.

After 12,000 years of cultural isolation, modern cultures, ships, and weapons, enabled European countries to successfully invade and occupy both North and South America. These invasions were followed by epidemics of novel diseases and a large slave trade that decimated native populations.

Belize supported a Maya population of about 300,000, just under the current toatl population, in many communities and and cities immediately before European invasions. However, the Maya City of Lamanai in Belize was still inhabited by the Maya.

Some armed resistance to early European colonisation occurred in Belize and the adjacent Yucatan Peninsula. These actions and recent genocide of Mayans and civil war in Guatemala have resulted in population displacement and movement of refugees into Belize.

Now confronted by globalisation, the older people of Sarteneja struggle to maintain employment and their cultural identity, and the youth struggle to assimilate with global culture because of low educational standards, and little modern industry to offer employment.