Cozumel History

The island of Cozumel is thought to have been first settled by the Maya early in the first millenium AD. The Maya made an annual pilgrimage from the Yucatan mainland to the island for ceremonies honoring the Maya Moon Goddess of fertility, Ix Chel. Some ruins remain on the island at San Gervasio, but the largest ones near what is now downtown San Miguel were destroyed.


At one time, up to 10,000 Maya lived on the island. Sadly, in 1520, the infected crew members of a Spanish expedition brought smallpox to the island. 50 years later, less than 200 men and 200 women remained alive. 

Subsequently, the island was frequently attacked by pirates forcing the relocation of islanders to Xcan Boloná on the mainland for their safety. By 1688, most of the remaining population, as well as settlements on the Yucatán coast, evacuated inland. It wasn’t until 1848 that refugees settled the island again as they escaped the Caste War of the Yucatán.

If you have an interest in the history of the island, Ric Hajovsky published an incredibly well-researched book that is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback version. The book is entitled “The True History of Cozumel” and can be purchased here.