The history of Belize starts with the earliest known settlement about 2500 B.C when the Mayas began settling the area now known as Cuello in the Orange Walk District. In the late 200 - 800 A.D., several Maya cities were at their peak of civilization throughout Belize.The Maya grew ground crops such as squash, beans, corn, cocoa and chile peppers and harvested other wild fruits. They also learned to make clay pots that were useful in storing everyday condiments, food and water.
They learned to entwine cotton fiber into strings which were used to weave cloth. The resulting cloth was dyed using bright pigments obtained from different barks and berries. The Maya also learned to manipulate gold and silver into fine art jewelry, as well, as jade and bones and sea shells. As we can see today, many of the larger communities developed into complex cities. Temples were erected, adorned with creative sculptures that tell of the story of the Mayas who occupied it, and their lifestyles. The rulers had their own palaces built, while public buildings, plazas and ball courts were built at the center of major cities to provide the Maya subjects with the basic idea of unity. In most instances, the rulers were the priests and astronomers and very active in public affairs. The Maya were the only ancient civilization that came close to developing a calendar similar to our modern day calendar. Even before the Europeans! The majority of the Maya were farmers. They lived in simple thatched houses. They ate tortillas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. The rich had a more savoury diet that consisted of turkey, fish, and game meat, accompanied by a chocolate drink made of cocoa. Their clothing consisted of clothes the women had woven and sandals. As expected, the rulers and merchants wore jewelry and feathered headbands. However, by the late 900 - 1000 A.D., Maya cities began deteriorating culturally and in population, all over the Maya World. Archaeologists still are still puzzled as to the origins of the Maya decline. Nevertheless, Maya descendants strived in smaller communities, away from their once magnificent cities, practicing the milpa system.
Pre-Modern History: Modern history started with the shipwreck of Scottish pirate, Captain Peter Wallace, off the coast of Belize in 1638. The year 1660 saw the arrival of famous British buccaneers, Bartholomew Sharpe, who adopted Belize his base and began cutting logwood for export to the United Kingdom. Due to the hardships experienced when cutting logwood, the British settlers began importing African slaves. In 1750, St. George's Caye was made the colonial capital. Belize has been endowed with a rich cultural diversity.