There are three Maya groups present in Belize, namely the Yucatec, Mopan, and Kekchi Maya.
The Yucatec originated from Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and came to Belize in the mid-nineteenth century running from the Guerra de Castes (Caste War). They now reside in the Corozal, Orange Walk, and Cayo Districts. Today the Yucatec Maya have exchanged their spoken language for English and Spanish.
The Mopan Maya, who were fleeing taxation and forced labor, came to Belize in 1886 from the Peten region of Guatemala. Settlements can be found in San Antonio Village in Toledo District and other villages in the Cayo District.
Kekchi Maya came to Belize in 1870's, running from enslavement by the German coffee growers in Verapaz, Guatemala. They settled in the lowland areas along rivers and streams, forming small isolated villages throughout Toledo. Because of their isolation, the Kekchi have become the most self reliant ethnic group in Belize. They are also peaceful people known for their cooperative practices in farming and cultural development.
Belize was the home of the earliest Maya settlements as proven by glyph translations and diggings. In the Orange Walk District, Archaeologists have found evidence that trace Mayan communities as far back as 2000 BC
Mayans considered themselves, and still do, as products of the ceiba tree. This tree is, said to be in the center of the universe, holds up the heaven and is a symbol of life.
The fact that the Maya have contributed the concept of the zero among other things, tells that they had an advanced civilization. Yet it is somewhat a mystery why such a civilization disintegrated.