Corozal Town is the capital of Corozal District. It is located about 84 miles north of Belize City, and 9 miles from the border with Mexico. Corozal was a private estate before becoming a town in the 1840s, mostly settled by Mestizo refugees from the Caste War of Yucatán. Much of the town was built over an ancient Maya city sometimes known as Santa Rita; this may have been the original Pre-Columbian town called Chetumal. The town was badly damaged by Hurricane Janet in 1955 and was substantially rebuilt afterwards.
Across the bay from Corozal Town are the mounds of Cerros, the first Maya coastal trading center. Cerros is considered one of the most important late preclassic Maya sites because it represented the first experiment with kingship in the Maya world. The remains include a number of temples, plazas, ballcourts, canals, and minor structures. The most interesting artifacts so far discovered are five jade head pendants.
Within Corozal itself can be found another Maya ruin from the fourteenth century AD. Known as Santa Rita, the pyramid site sits atop the remains of a Maya city that dominated the area for more than 2000 years. Burial sites rich in jewelry and artifacts have been unearthed here. Santa Rita was probably part of ancient Chactumal, the Maya capital of the area at the time of the first Spanish attempt to conquer the Yucatec Mayas in the early 16th century.
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