In 1492, Christopher Columbus rediscovered the Western Hemisphere when he landed on the island of El Salvador in the Bahamas. Columbus returned on three more voyages. On his fourth voyage in 1502, Columbus entered the Gulf of Honduras and sighted the Toledo district of Belize. Other Spanish voyagers also sighted Belize from outside the reef. These included Vicente Yanez Pinzon and Juan Diaz de Solis who sailed near to our country in 1506.
One of the first Spaniards to come to Belize was a shipwrecked sailor by the name of Gonzalo
Guerrero. In 1511, Guerrero was captured by the Maya living in the Corozal district. Guerrero was not killed but he married Sasil Ha, the daughter of the Maya chief (Na Chan Can) who had captured him. Guerrero changed his allegiance and fought along with the Maya to defend their territory. The Spanish by this time were attempting to subjugate the Maya of Belize to claim their territory but the Maya resisted.
One site where the Spanish were successfully able to temporarily form a settlement was at Lamanai. Between, the late 1580s and 1641 the Spanish occupied Lamanai. However, in 1641, the Spanish were forcefully expelled by the Maya and their buildings were destroyed. Thus, the Maya resisted the Spanish and were able to keep them out of Belize.