Just a Little Belize History
A Bit of Belize History
It is easy to get captivated with everything Belize. You can read more blogs on our many favorite spots, places to eat, and things to do - but what is the history of Belize? We thought entice you with a short lesson on the history of Belize, and how it has become the dream location that we have come to love today. We enjoy sharing the history of Belize because it's so unique and amazing.
Let's jump in!
The Ruins and Ceremonial Centers
Belize is a small country with many Maya Ruins. There are several fantastic ruins and ceremonial centers throughout the country. These are proof that for thousands of years, Belize was populated by the Maya Civilization. Tourists can explore the ancient cities built by these very intelligent people, you can climb the pyramids and check out the protected wildlife inhabiting the ruins. Each individual ruin is memorable in itself from the architecture, size, location and conservation.
The Maya Civilization thrived from 2000 BC to 900 AD. At its absolute peak, the Maya of Belize and Central America created one of the most culturally dynamic societies in the world - now that's an achievement. The civilization did decline - but large groups of offspring still exist in Belize today. That is one of the most magical parts of Belize, the mix of traditional culture, and modern life.
Believe it or not, it wasn't actually Columbus that introduced the Europeans to Belize. Rumor has it that, although he sailed through parts of the Caribbean, he never actually visited what much later became British Honduras.
The first European to make their way to Belize and call it his home was Gonzalo Guerrero - a sailor from Spain, who actually shipwrecked on the peninsula in 1511. The Maya captured him, and he later married and settled down in Chactemal - now known as Corozal Town in Northern Belize.
The first reference to mass European settlement was in 1638. The Scottish and English pirates used Belize has a hiding place. From this, the population grew rapidly. British soldiers, sailors, and the movement from Jamaica in 1655 meant that Belize had a very troubled history during this time. Unfortunately, 150 years were spent dealing with colonization and Spanish sovereignty. Some reports state that Belize was mainly used as a refugee spot, for those escaping from the Spaniards.
Slavery in Belize
In 1763, Britain allowed Paris to engage in the logwood industry. The logwood industry was, in the shortest form, logwood cutting - mainly used to create dye. The British introduced slavery to Belize - they imported thousands of slaves from Africa to cut logwood.
Although a dark, sad time for Belize and all those involved - it's imperative to mention and reflect on. The relationships and offspring between the Europeans and African slaves have led to modern-day Creoles in Belize. It's a less than desirable part of Belize's history, but a relevant part nonetheless.
In modern-day history, Belize settlers governed themselves. Public meetings were the name formally given to the system of basic democracy. After this, constitutional advances arrived in 1954, which led to Universal Adult Suffrage and an actual elected majority in the Legislature.
In 1964, a self-Government became a reality. Which, when you really think about it, is not that long ago.
Where did Belize's name come from
The Country's name was changed on July 1st, 1973. As a country was known as British Honduras, it became Belize and could finally begin to live a life of freedom and independence. Wahoo!
In fact, Belize gained their independence on September 21st, 1981 - and a new constitution was introduced. INDEPENDENCE DAY!
Interesting historical facts about Belize
Just to treat you with a little extra information (and maybe the winning answer on a pub quiz), here are my top picks of interesting historical facts.
It was the capital of the Ancient Maya Empire
Hundreds of years before the arrival of the Europeans, the Maya Empire stretched over thousands of miles. Belize was located in the center of all the most important trade routes - making it the perfect capital.
I think this still shows today, with the country being rich in Maya culture and tradition.
Belize is the only nation in Central America, where English is the official language. This is owed to it being a part of the British colony for more than 200 years.
San Pedro is the second largest town in the Belize District, after Belize City. It was founded in 1848. It was made famous as La Isla Bonita in a song by Madonna.
We hope you liked this brief but exciting history post. We will continue to learn more and more about the history, the culture and the Country of Belize.