For hundreds of years, Belize was populated by around a million Mayan Indians, whose advanced civilization reached its zenith between 250 and 900. The first reference to European settlement was in 1638, when British woodcutters known as Baymen settled there. Nearby Spanish settlements attacked the Baymen until the 1798, when the settlers won a victory with British naval support. The area became British Honduras in 1840 and finally gained independence as Belize in 1981. Christianity came to Belize in 1848, when Roman Catholics arrived from Mexico. Today, the Roman Catholic church is still the largest Christian group. Methodists and British Anglicans form the second and third largest groups.