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Belize
 
[Flag of the United
                            Kingdom]
to 1870
 
[British
                            Honduras flag 1870-1919]
1870 - 12 Dec 1919
 
[British
                            Honduras 1919-1981]
12 Dec 1919 - 21 Sep 1981
 
[Pre-independence flag of Belize,
                            1950-1981]
2 Feb 1950 - 21 Sep 1981 (unofficial)
 
[Flag of Belize]
Adopted 21 Sep 1981
 

Map of Belize
Hear National Anthem
"Land of the Free"
Text of National Anthem
Adopted 21 Sep 1981
Constitution
(21 Sep 1981)
Capital: Belmopan
(Belize City 1798-3 Aug 1970;
St. George's Caye  to 1798)
Currency: Belizean Dollar
(BZD); British Honduras
Dollar (BZH) 1894-1974
National Holiday: 21 Sept (1981)
Independence Day
Population: 360,346 (2017)
GDP: $3.23 billion (2017)
Exports: $483.4 million (2017)
Imports: $944.4 million (2017)
Ethnic groups: mestizo 52.9%, Creole 25.9%, Maya 11.3%,
 Garifuna 6.1%, East Indian 3.9%, Mennonite 3.6%, white 1.2%,
Asian 1%, other 1.2%, unknown 0.3% (2010)
note: percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents
were able to identify more than one ethnic origin.
Total Active Armed Forces: 1,300 (2012)
Merchant marine
: 756 ships (2017)

Religions: Roman Catholic 40.1%, Protestant 31.5% (includes
 Pentecostal 8.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.4%, Anglican 4.7%,
 Mennonite 3.7%, Baptist 3.6%, Methodist 2.9%, Nazarene 2.8%),
 Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, other 10.5% (includes Baha'i, Buddhist,
 Hindu, Mormon, Muslim, Rastafarian, Salvation Army),
unspecified 0.6%, none 15.5% (2010)

International Organizations/Treaties: ACP, ACS, AOSIS, APM, BCIE (beneficiary), BTWC, C, Caricom, CCM, CD, CDB, CELAC, CTBT, CWC, ESCR, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, ICSID (signatory), IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IRENA, ISA, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, NPT, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCLOS, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFCC, UNFCC-KP, UNFCC-PA, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Belize
Chronology

1502                       Christopher Columbus was in the area of St. Georges
                             Caye (named Punta Caxinas by Columbus) off modern
                             Belize City.
1521                       Part of the Spanish colony of New Spain.

1524 - 1525                Hernán Cortés likely passed through Belize in his
                             march from Mexico to Honduras.
1582                       Spanish Franciscans erect a church at Lamanai
                             (an important Maya site in northern Belize).
c.1638/62                  Earliest recorded European settlers to Belize are
                             shipwrecked British sailors, later known as
                             the Baymen.

18 Jul 1670                By Treaty of Madrid, Spain agrees to allow English
                            
logwood cutters in the area.
 
5 Oct 1749                Black River Settlements.
 
5 Apr 1754                Battle of Labouring Creek, the Spanish fail to expel
                             the English from the area.
10 Feb 1763                By Treaty of Paris, British settlers are permitted

                             to cut logwood in an unspecified area.
15 Sep 1779 - 1782         Spanish occupy St. George's Caye.
 3 Sep 1783                By Treaty of Versailles, Spain recognizes British
                             rights to cut logwood in the area between Hondo
                             River and the Sibun River.
14 Jul 1786                By Convention of London the British undertook to
                             evacuate all British subjects from the northern
                             coast of Central America.
10 Mar 1787                Spanish take Black River, settlers relocate

                             further into Belize (the evacuation of British
                             settlers is terminated in Jun 1787, and Spanish
                             settlements formed on the Shore immediately
                             thereafter).
10 Sep 1798                Spanish attack on St. George's Caye repulsed.
30 Apr 1859                Anglo-Guatemala border convention (renounced by
                             Guatemala on 13 Apr 1940; Guatemalan constitution
                             of 15 Mar 1945 declared that Belize formed part
                             of Guatemala).

12 May 1862                British Honduras Colony (from 10 Apr 1871, a crown
                             colony).

31 Oct 1884                Separated from Jamaica.
 3 Aug 1897                Mexico-British Honduras border defined.

 1 Jan 1964                Self-government achieved.
 1 Jun 1973                Renamed Belize.
21 Sep 1981                Independence from Britain (Belize).
24 Nov 1992                Guatemala formally recognizes the independence 
                             of Belize.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Superintendents (subordinated to the governor of Jamaica)
Jan 1750 - 1758            Robert Hodgson, Sr.               (d. 1758)
1758 - 1762                Richard Jones (1st time)
1762 - 11 May 1767         Joseph Otway                      (d. 1767)
1767 - Jul 1768            Richard Jones (2nd time)(interim)
Jul 1768 - 1775            Robert Hodgson, Jr.               (b. 1725/30 - d. 1791)
1775 - 29 Aug 1776         John Ferguson (acting)
29 Aug 1776 - 10 Mar 1787  James Lawrie                      (b. 1722 - d. c.1800)
1787 - Jun 1790            Edward Marcus Despard             (b. 1751 - d. 1803)
Jun 1790 - Mar 1791        Peter Hunter                      (b. 1746 - d. 1805)
Mar 1791 - Jan 1797        Thomas Potts (acting)             (b. 1740 - d. 1806)
                             (chief magistrate)
 1 Jan 1797 - 1800         Thomas Barrow (1st time)
Aug 1800 - Dec 1802        Richard Bassett     
23 Jan 1803 - 14 Feb 1805  Thomas Barrow (2nd time)
14 Sep 1805 - 26 Apr 1806  Gabriel Gordon                    (b. 1762 - d. 1855)
28 Apr 1806 - 14 Sep 1809  Alexander Mark Kerr Hamilton      (b. 1767 - d. 1842)
15 Sep 1809 - 20 Jul 1814  John Nugent Smyth                 (d. 1814)
20 Jul 1814 - Apr 1822     George Arthur                     (b. 1784 - d. 1854)
 
4 Apr 1822 - 15 Jan 1823  Allan Hampden Pye (acting)        (b. c.1770 - d. 1830)
15 Jan 1823 - Apr 1829     Edward Codd                       (d. 1829)
22 Apr 1829 - 25 Jun 1829  Commissioners 
                           - Marshall Bennett                (b. bf.1775 - d. 1839)
                           - William Gentle
                           - George Gibson
                           - John Waldron Wright             (b. 1786? - d. 1850)
                           - Charles Evans
                           (acting)
25 Jun 1829 - Jan 1830     Archibald Alexander MacDonald     (d. c.1850) 
                             (1st time) (acting)
Jan 1830 - Mar 1836        Francis Cockburn                  (b. 1780 - d. 1868)
 
2 Mar 1836 - Jan 1837     John Grant Anderson (acting)      (b. 1793 - d. 1858)
Jan 1837 - Jun 1843        Archibald Alexander MacDonald     (s.a.) 
                             (2nd time)
10 Jun 1843 - 1851         Charles St. John Fancourt         (b. 1804 - d. 1875)
                             (1st time)
20 May 1846 - 18 Sep 1846  George Berkeley (1st time)(acting)(b. 1819 - d. 1905)
18 Sep 1846 - 1851         Charles St. John Fancourt         (s.a.)
                             (2nd time)
21 Apr 1851 - 1853         Philip Edmund Wodehouse           (b. 1811 - d. 1887)
18 Nov 1853 -  9 Mar 1854  George Berkeley (2nd time)(acting)(s.a.)
 
9 Mar 1854 - 1857         William Stevenson                 (b. 1805 - d. 1863)   
 
5 Mar 1857 - 12 May 1862  Frederick Seymour (1st time)      (b. 1820 - d. 1869)
18 Feb 1860 - Nov 1861     Thomas Price (acting)             (b. 1817 - d. 1865)
Nov 1861 - 12 May 1862     Frederick Seymour (2nd time)      (s.a.)
Governors
12 May 1862 - 31 Oct 1884  the governors of Jamaica
Lieutenant governors
(subordinated to the governor of Jamaica)
12 May 1862 - 1864         Frederick Seymour                 (s.a.)
12 Mar 1864 - 1867         John Gardiner Austin              (b. 1811? - d. 1900)
31 Oct 1867 - 1870         James Robert Longden              (b. 1827 - d. 1891)
14 May 1870 -  3 Jun 1870  Charles Bullen Hugh Mitchell      (b. 1836 - d. 1899)
                             (1st time)
 3 Jun 1870 - 1874         William Wellington Cairns         (b. 1828 - d. 1888)
                             (1st time)
22 Jun 1871 - 10 Jun 1872  Robert William Harley (1st time)  (b. 1829 - d. 1892)
                             (acting)
10 Jun 1872 - 1874
         William Wellington Cairns         (s.a.)
                             (2nd time)
17 Mar 1874 - 15 May 1874  Charles Bullen Hugh Mitchell      (s.a.)

                            
(2nd time) (acting)
15 May 1874 - 1876         Robert Miller Mundy               (b. 1813 - d. 1892)
18 Mar 1876 - 12 Mar 1877  Charles Bullen Hugh Mitchell      (s.a.)
                             
(3rd time) (acting)
12 Mar 1877 - 1882         Frederick Palgrave Barlee         (b. 1827 - d. 1884)
                             (acting to 11 Jun 1877)
 3 Aug 1882 - 1883         Robert William Harley (2nd time)  (s.a.)
                             (acting to 4 May 1883)
10 May 1883 - Jul 1883     Robert Straker Turton (acting)    (b. 1869 - d. 1953)
17 Jul 1883 - 17 Jul 1884  Henry William John Fowler (acting)(b. 1842 - d. 1893)
17 Jul 1884 - 31 Oct 1884  Roger Tuckfield Goldsworthy       (b. 1839 - d. 1900)
Governors

31 Oct 1884 -  4 Oct 1890  Roger Tuckfield Goldsworthy       (s.a.)
                             (from 2 Jan 1889, Sir Roger Tuckfield Goldsworthy) 
 
4 Oct 1890 - 17 Aug 1891  George Melville (acting)          (b. 1842 - d. 1924)
17 Aug 1891 - 1897         Sir Cornelius Alfred Moloney      (b. 1848 - d. 1913)
1897                       Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott       (b. 1857 - d. 1941)
                             (1st time)(acting)
1897 - 1898                David Wilson (1st time)           (b. 1838 - d. 1924)
1898                       Francis James Newton (acting)     (b. 1857 - d. 1948)
1898 - 1903                David Wilson (2nd time)           (s.a.)
                             (from 3 Jun 1899, Sir David Wilson) 
May 1903 - 31 Oct 1904     Philip Clark Cork (1st time)      (b. 1854 - d. 1936)
                             (acting)
31 Oct 1904 - 22 Jul 1905  Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott   (s.a.)
                             (2nd time)
22 Jul 1905 -  7 Aug 1905  Henry Eugene Walter Grant (acting)(b. 1855 - d. 1835)
 7 Aug 1905 -
18 Oct 1905  Philip Clark Cork (2nd time)      (s.a.)
                             (acting)
18 Oct 1905 - 1913         Sir Eric John Eagles Swayne       (b. 1863 - d. 1929)

                             (acting to 13 Aug 1906)
19 May 1913 - Mar 1917     Wilfred Collet                    (b. 1856 - d. 1927)
                             (from 1 Jan 1915, Sir Wilfred Collet)
Mar 1917 - 29 Jan 1918     Robert Walter (1st time)(acting)  (b. 1873 - d. 1959)
29 Jan 1918 -  4 Sep 1918  William Hart Bennett              (b. 1861 - d. 1918)
 4 Sep 1918 - 22 Mar 1919  Robert Walter (2nd time)(acting)  (s.a.)
22 Mar 1919 - 1925         Sir Eyre Hutson                   (b. 1864 - d. 1936)
16 Apr 1925 - 1932         Sir John Alder Burdon             (b. 1866 - d. 1933)
 9 Mar 1932 - 1934         Sir Harold Baxter Kittermaster    (b. 1879 - d. 1939)
 2 Nov 1934 - 1939         Alan Cuthbert Maxwell Burns       (b. 1887 - d. 1980)
                             (from 1 Jan 1936, Sir Alan Cuthbert Maxwell Burns)
1939 - 24 Feb 1940         William Johnston (acting)         (b. 1890 - d. 19..)
24 Feb 1940 -  1 Jul 1946  Sir John Adams Hunter             (b. 1890 - d. 1962)
 1 Jul 1946 - 14 Jan 1947  Arthur Norman Wolffsohn (acting)  (b. 1888 - d. 1967)
14 Jan 1947 - 1948         Sir Edward Gerald Hawkesworth     (b. 1897 - d. 1949)
28 Feb 1949 - Mar 1952     Ronald Herbert Garvey             (b. 1903 - d. 1991)
                             (from 8 Jun 1950, Sir Ronald Herbert Garvey)
21 Oct 1952 - Aug 1955     Patrick Muir Renison              (b. 1911 - d. 1965)
                             (from 1 Jan 1955, Sir Patrick Muir Renison)
Aug 1955 - 17 Jan 1956     Thomas Douglas Vickers (acting)   (b. 1916 - d. 1999)
17 Jan 1956 - 1961         Sir Colin Hardwick Thornley       (b. 1907 - d. 1983)
 9 Dec 1961 - 1966         Sir Peter Hyla Gawne Stallard     (b. 1915 - d. 1995)
11 Jul 1966 - Jan 1972     Sir John Warburton Paul           (b. 1916 - d. 2004)
26 Jan 1972 - 1976         Sir Richard Neil Posnett          (b. 1919 - d. 2009)
 1 Jun 1976 - 1980         Sir Peter Donovan McEntee         (b. 1920 - d. 2002)
 
2 Mar 1980 - 21 Sep 1981  Sir James Patrick Ivan Hennessy   (b. 1923)
Queen¹
21 Sep 1981 -              the Queen of the United Kingdom
Governors-general (representing the British monarch as head of state)
21 Sep 1981 - 17 Nov 1993  Elmira Minita Gordon (f)          (b. 1930)
                             (from 14 Feb 1984, Dame Elmira Minita Gordon) 
17 Nov 1993 -              Colville Norbert Young            (b. 1932)
                             (from 22 Feb 1994, Sir Colville Norbert Young) 

First minister
 7 Apr 1961 -  1 Jan 1964  George Cadle Price                (b. 1919 - d. 2011)  PUP
Premier
 1 Jan 1964 - 21 Sep 1981  George Cadle Price                (s.a.)               PUP
Prime ministers

21 Sep 1981 - 17 Dec 1984  George Cadle Price (1st time)     (s.a.)               PUP
17 Dec 1984 -  7 Nov 1989  Manuel A. Esquivel (1st time)     (b. 1940)            UDP
 7 Nov 1989 -  3 Jul 1993  George Cadle Price (2nd time)     (s.a.)               PUP
 3 Jul 1993 - 28 Aug 1998  Manuel A. Esquivel (2nd time)     (s.a.)               UDP
28 Aug 1998 -  8 Feb 2008  Said Wilbert Musa                 (b. 1944)            PUP
 8 Feb 2008 -              Dean Oliver Barrow                (b. 1951)            UDP

 ¹Full style:
(a) 21 Sep 1981 - 1981: "By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith";
(b) from 1981: "By the Grace of God, Queen of Belize and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth."

Territorial Disputes: Guatemala persists in its territorial claim to half of Belize, but agrees to the Line of Adjacency to keep Guatemalan squatters out of Belize's forested interior; both countries agreed in Apr 2012 to hold simultaneous referenda, scheduled for 6 Oct 2013, to decide whether to refer the dispute to the ICJ for binding resolution; Belize and Mexico are working to solve minor border demarcation discrepancies arising from inaccuracies in the 1898 border treaty. Honduras claims the Belizean-administered Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize in its constitution, but agreed to a joint ecological park around the cays should Guatemala consent to a maritime corridor in the Caribbean under the OAS-sponsored 2002 Belize-Guatemala Differendum.

Party abbreviations: PUP = People's United Party (social-democratic, christian democratic, nationalist, to 1954 named People's Committee, est.1950); UDP = United Democratic Party (conservative, center-right, merger of Liberal Party, National Independence Party and People's Development Movement, est.27 Sep 1973)




© Ben Cahoon