A land rich with History and beauty
Belize is south of the Yucatan Peninsula and it borders Guatemala and Mexico. On its east coast Belize has an extensive border with the Atlantic Ocean. Belize is a tropical country with a small mountain range. Belize is known for its beautiful beaches, diverse culture and its old mahogany harvesting industry. Belize was formerly a British and Spanish colony until 1981. Belize is a country that relies mostly on tourism because it does not have many natural resources. Belize is a fairly small country with a steady economy, prominent geographical features and a rich history.
At the peak of the Mayan empire Belize was inhabited by 400,000 Mayans. They controlled the land until a Spanish galleon wrecked on the barrier reef. One crew member Gonzalo Guerrero, later defected to the Mayans. Guerrero married the daughter of a Mayan. Gonzalo Guerrero and his wife became the first Mestizos. Belize’s population is now almost half Mestizo. The first known European colony was founded in 1638. It was used as a hiding place by pirates from Scotland and England. Soon after Spain came to Belize and claimed the general area for itself. Britain wanted Belize for their logging industry and agreed with Spain to allow loggers to live there but to not colonize Belize. Britain brought African slaves to help with logging. When Spain and Britain went to war, Spain sent a fleet of 32 ships to seize the British settlements and logging camps. From September 3 through September 10 battles were fought around the islands and reefs off the Belize coast. This is known as The Battle of St. Georges Caye and is celebrated as a national holiday on September 10. After the war treaties were signed in 1763 and 1786 allowing the British to continue to log and have Belize become a British colony in exchange for protection against pirates hunting the Spanish galleons. In 1931 Belize City was hit by a hurricane. This resulted in two new towns. The first was Hattieville. The second was Belmopan, a community planned as the new capital of Belize, Self-government was granted in January 1964. The official name was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June 1973 and full independence was granted on September 21, 1981.