currently researching the history of Sarteneja. Below are some notes.
The Mayan Port of
Sarteneja flourished from the Late Postclassic (250
AD) to the Terminal Classic (1000 AD) periods of Maya
history. see Maya Heritage
Sarteneja has a rich history first a port in the Maya
civilisation, then as a Spanish and pirate hideaway, then an isolated farming village, to the
largest fishing village in Belize. Sarteneja's future offers better services, diversification of
industries, sustainable management, and a greater emphasis on tourism and tourist
The Mayan Port of Sarteneja extends many kilometers back from the
coast but only has a few moderately sized mounds and clusters. Some of these clusters surround
plazas where cultural events occurred. The location of
Sarteneja in a sheltered position in Corozal Bay, and the extent of settlement suggests that
Sarteneja was a significant primary producer and trading port for the Maya.
We are currently researching the recent history of Sarteneja from
1000 AD, late in the Mayan Terminal Classic, until the present through
anecdotal, historic, and archeological information.
1000 - 1900 AD
"In 1886 my father was
born in Sarteneja. Some of the orchard here are that old at least. Before then Sarteneja used to be
a place where the Spanish from Chetamal came for parties."
"Sarteneja was settled by the Maya before some Mexican refugees
from Vera Cruz, Yucatan, Mexico, arrived as a result of the caste wars. There was then some
hostility between the Mexicans and the Maya. Eventually the Mexicans and the Maya intermaried."
1900 - 1955
Road was used for farms 70 years ago because my father worked there when he was 20 years old"
Road orchards are over 100 years old." Old Chinese looking guy. There are many old Mango
trees with epiphyte growth to be seen but their age is uncertain.
During World War 2, 1938 -
1945, Sarteneja was a provider of food for the war effort. La Isla Road was almost all cleared
for farms. George
1955 - 1965
Before 1955 houses in Sarteneja for a population
of about 300 were of Maya design (see houses) and of simple palm tree plaster walls and palm
leaf roofs. The entire village was destroyed through the winds and the tidal surge of Hurricane Janet in
1955. Nearby and much larger Corozal was also mostly destroyed. After Janet,
Sarteneja village was largely rebuilt with rocks taken from Maya ruins within the village with
cement, tin, and other materials provided by emergency aid
"An archeologist called Thomson looted
a lot of burial mounds in 1972. The finds were on public display in a building in the village. One
morning Thomson and the artifacts were gone never to return" Georges worker
"In the early to mid 1950's Sarteneja was a small village of
subsistence farmers. People used to pull wagons with fruit by hand as there were no horses."
"The fishing industry started in 1960
when a fishing cooperative was formed. The men generally gave up farming for fishing. Wages for
farming were only a few dollars a day. The cooperative later failed and the fishing base moved to
Belize City." Wilmers brother
"The fishing cooperative financed
boats for fishing, but they ended up doing tourism business on Cay Caulker." Wilmers
"In 1976 Chetamal was a small village. Chetamal grew very fast
because the Mexican, Cancun and the Mayan tourist route ended at Chetamal. The Maya were at
Sarteneja when Spanish arrived. Great grand patents had always lived in Sarteneja. Spanish moved in
during the cast war." Wilmer Sosa.
1981 An archeological survey of the Mayan Port of Sarteneja was
conducted with about 140 buildings identified. The surveyed area was considered to be about
30% of the port. The work was a Masters Thesis by Box, UCLA, and a copy of the thesis was to
be supplied to the Belize Archeology Institute.
Electricity was provided in ??? by diesel generators and then in ??? by wire. Purified
village water was provided in ???, after an 8 month gap a new system was installed in
2013. Cable internet was provided in ?? and G3 Internet in
"When building the hotel next to the police station 10 Mayan skulls
were found that were later buried in the cemetary." Peter