Cruzoob Maya rebels during the caste war
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Cruzoob Maya rebels during the caste war

South Mexico/North Belize history - During the Caste war and after 1901 many Cruzoob Maya soldiers cross the Rio Hondo and stayed in Belize. The Resistance of the Cruzoob Maya (Mexico) and the Iciache Maya/Yalbac Maya (Belize) continue until the 1930's.

In 1850 the Chan Santa Cruz state founded by the Yucatec Maya group known as the Cruzoob Maya, stretching from north of Tulum to the Belize border and a considerable distance inland, was the largest of the independent Maya communities of the era but not the only one. The Ixcanha Maya community had a population of some 1,000 people who refused the Cruzob's break with traditional Catholicism. In the years of stalemate, Ixcanha agreed to nominal recognition of Mexico in exchange for some guns to defend themselves from Cruzob raids and the promise that the Mexican government would leave them alone. As Chan Santa Cruz was more of a worry, the Mexicans let Ixcanha govern itself through 1894.

Another important group was the Icaiche Maya, in the jungles of the lower center of the peninsula .The Icaiche Maya territory included part of northwestern Belize and southern Mexico close to the Rio Hondo. , who in the 1860s battled against the Mexicans, the Cruzob, and the British . When the British arrived in Belize, they discovered mahogany and started to export it. They reported several attacks on the British camps from the Maya in 1788 and 1801. The Maya move deeper to the jungle. At the time when the British wanted to expand their woodcutting operations they faced Maya resistance in Icaiche and in the Yalbac área of Belize. The Icaiche Maya With the support of Marcus Canul and the Maya who had migrated to the San Pedro Yalbac area, the Icaiche led by Asunción Ek defeated the British troops in December 21,1866 known as the battle of San Pedro Yalbac. Canul's forces occupied Corozal Town in 1870 and attacked Orange Walk Town on 1 September 1872. In 1867 the British mounted a retaliatory raid, including in their weaponry incendiary rockets which set the houses of Icaiche in Yalbac on fire from a good distance away , Many move away while others rebuild thier Maya villages . Canul was killed in september 1,1872 and the new Icaiche leaders promised respect and friendship with the British. However, in the early 1930s the Belize Estate and Produce Company (BEC) began a series of campaigns to forcibly remove Maya villagers of San Jose Yalbac, claiming that the land was now private ‘company property’ They soon made an agreement with Mexico similar to that of Ixcanha.

NOTE: The Cruzoob Maya,San Pedro Maya,Ixcanha Maya and Iciache Maya were the names of Yucatec Maya (Masewal) groups which we descent of.

Photograph courtesy Andy Chuc

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