image Belize History The history of Belize dates back thousands of years. The Maya civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BC and AD 300 and flourished until about AD 1200. Several major archeological sites include Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich. Cerros, another Maya site, was an important coastal trading center during the late pre-Classic period. Great Britain first sent an official representative to the area in the late 18th century, but Belize was not formally termed the "Colony of British Honduras" until 1840. Full internal self-government under a ministerial system was granted in 1964. The official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in 1973, and full independence was granted on September 21, 1981.