1638-1821 1884-1918

Belize, 1821-1884

There was a small British settlement at the town of Belize, which the British regarded their colony since 1798, although not accepted by the Spanish and their successors, the United Provinces of Central America respectively Guatemala; the borders were ill-defined, and the dictators of Guatemala attempted to annex Belize.

In 1823, martial law was terminated. In 1834 slavery was abolished. In 1836 the colony was hit by a cholera epidemic. In 1840, English law was declared to be valid in Belize. In 1846 the first Savings Bank was opened in Belize. In 1847, refugees arrived from Yucatan.
With a possible canal across the isthmus discussed, the region gained in strategic importance. In 1850 Britain and the US signed a treaty according to which Britain committed herself not to establish any fortification in Central America, nor to colonize any (further) part of it.
In 1852 Belize annexed Roatan, Moxat and the other Bay Islands (off Honduras). Honduras protested, and on August 27th 1856 Britain ceded the islands to Honduras.
In 1854 Belize, a colony tiny in regard to her population, was granted a constitution, which foresaw the establishment of a Legislative Assembly. In 1862 it was formally given the status of a Colony. From 1862 to 1884, Belize was administrated from Jamaica; in 1871 it was declared a Crown Colony under the name of British Honduras. The 1861 census counted 25,635 inhabitants.
The economy depended on logging (Mahogany) and there were some sugar plantations. After the abolition of slavery, workers were brought in from China and East India (several hundreds) to work the plantations.

Article from Infoplease : Belize
DOCUMENTS Flag of British Honduras (1870) from FOTW
Article Bay Inseln, from Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, in German, posted by Zeno
REFERENCE Tom Barry, Central America Inside Out, Grove Press 1991; see Belize Chronology, pp.49-51
Monrad Sigfrid Metzgen and Henry Edwy Conrad Cain, The Handbook of British Honduras, London : West India Committee 1925

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on May 6th 2009

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