On Wednesday, February 13, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Margaret Hawthorne and Public Affairs Officer Eric Heyden traveled to the Santa Rita Archaeological Park near Corozal to meet with Dr. Jaime Awe, Director of the Institute of Archaeology, to tour the archaeological park and learn more about the site’s ongoing restoration.
Each year since 2001, through its U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Center has assisted eligible countries in preserving their cultural heritage. The AFCP awarded BZ$100,000 to the National Institute of Culture and History’s Institute of Archaeology for the conservation of Santa Rita in recognition of its cultural importance.
Santa Rita represents a unique chapter in Belizean history. Approximately 500 hundred years ago, a small number of Belizean Maya defeated soldiers from then-military superpower Spain. Partly due to this effort, Belize was never colonized by Spain. Belize is the only English-speaking country on the Central American isthmus.