November 3, 2015

2008 BELIZE - A mayan woman

The Maya civilization spread across what is now Belize around 1500 BC, and flourished there until about 900 AD. In the late Classic Era of Maya civilisation (600-1000 AD), as many as 1 million people may have lived in that area. In the centuries that followed, much of original Maya population was wiped out by disease and conflicts between tribes and with Europeans. Now, Belize has a population at about 340.000, from which about 10.6% are Maya, and 34% are Mestizo (with mixed Maya and European descent).

Three Maya groups now inhabit the country: The Yucatec (who came from Yucatán, Mexico, to escape the Caste War of the 1840s), the Mopan (indigenous to Belize but were forced out by the British; they returned from Guatemala to evade slavery in the 19th century), and Kekchi (also fled from slavery in Guatemala in the 19th century). The majority live in the south of the country, in Toledo District. The languages spoken by the Kekchi and Mopan Maya were probably a dialect of Cholan, the language of the Classic Maya heartland.

Today, men generally wear Euro-American style pants and shirts. Women display a range from modern to traditional in their clothes. Many women wear plain color, full-length dresses sewn from a variety of bright color material, with lace trimmings around the collar and sleeves. Other women use calf length skirts of machine or hand woven cloth. Blouses are made of white or colored cotton cloth and decorated with embroidery or lace trimmings. Is a common habit to carry bags hanged from foreheads.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the 2005 definitive series of twelve stamps featuring Ecological and Heritage Sites around the country, about which I wrote here. The second stamp is one of the two issued on 8 April 2015 to commemorate the centenary of the Salvation Army in Belize.

Belize - Wikipedia
The maya - Southern Belize

Sender: Joseph Koop (direct swap)
Sent from Spanish Lookout (Belize), on 01.07.2015
Photo: Joan Costa

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