An Overview of Belizean History
Belize, the only English speaking country in Central America, emerged from being a mere settlement for pirates to an independent nation of patriots. The population of this diverse country is made up of Creole, Mestizo, Maya, Garifuna, East Indian, Chinese and Mennonites. In fact, each ethnic group plays a vital role in the remarkable history of Belize. The Europeans also contributed to what is now Belize. Nonetheless, to receive the essence of Belizean History, it is imperative to understand Belize from settlement, colony, crown colony to Independence.
It is true of course that the Spanish were the first European power to settle on British Honduras, but the living conditions were not favorable to them so they left, giving way for the British pirates to settle. In fact, British pirates and Privateers initially came to raid Spanish ships and acquire some of their wealth. The mouth of the Belize River was used as a base and a safe haven for these pirates. In 1667, however, the Treaty of Madrid outlawed piracy and privateering. As a result of no Spanish presence in British Honduras, the freedom to cut logwood rather than steal, and no British presence in the area, the pirates decided to make British Honduras their permanent settlement and make their own laws. Bear in mind that British Honduras was still legally for Spain. The 1670 Gadolphine treaty stated that the Spanish gave up de jure lands to other European powers, and Belize was a de fact. Clearly then, a series of conflicts arose between the British and Spanish which led to the 1798 Battle of St. George’s Caye. The Baymen were victorious, and the Spaniards recognized their sovereignty. Nonetheless, Britain gave British Honduras back to Spain in the 1802 Treaty of Amiens.
In 1821, Mexico and other Central American nations gained their Independence from Spain resulting in Spain losing her colonies on the mainland. The Spanish crown was then weakened,...
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