DECEMBER 21, 1866


The Guerra Social Maya, AKA the “Caste War,” lasted over 80 years (1847-1930’s) and saw over 50,000 deaths, villages burnt, and people displaced. The initial cause of the war was the northern boundary of British Honduras. The Maya, traditional occupants of the area, included the Santa Cruz Maya & Pacificos del Sur/Icaiche. Ironically, the Icaiche posed the greatest threat to the British demanding rent from logging operations and raiding those that did not pay. In 1866, the Icaiche raided Qualm Hill, a British Honduras Company (BHC). Led by Marcus Canul, the attack killed 2 men. An English foreman & dozens of Creoles were held for ransom. The British responded by marching on San Pedro Siris, principal Icaiche settlement in northwestern Belize. There, in the Battle of San Pedro Yalbac, the Icaiche, led by Asuncion Ek and Marcos Canul, routed the British. The British later retaliated & burned San Pedro Siris in 1867. Canul eventually died from injuries suffered in the 1872 Battle of Orange Walk.

Sources:  Brett A. Houk and Brooke Bonorden, “THE “BORDERS” OF BRITISH HONDURAS AND THE SAN PEDRO MAYA OF KAXIL UINIC VILLAGE,” Ancient Mesoamerica, 31 (2020), 554–565 (Cambridge University Press).  Retrieved 7/7/2022, S0956536120000073jra 554..565 (
Andy Chuc, “Happy Battle of San Pedro Yalbac Belize,” Amandala Newspaper, 12/20/2017.  Retrieved 7/8/2022, Happy Battle of San Pedro Yalbac Belize | Amandala Newspaper
Painting: Desconocido óleo sobre lienzo, 1850. The Caste Wars. Public Domain.  Source:  Los mayas. Una civilización milenaria. ISBN 978-3-8331-1959-0

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