----by Paul A. Warren Hon. Consul of Belize, State of California 1985-90.
Belize lies on the eastern or Caribbean coast in the Bay of Honduras, Central America. It was founded some 376 years ago by British buccaneers, immigrants from Jamaica and black slaves turned timbermen. They toiled from dawn till dusk cutting logwood, zericote and these hardwoods and pine are still exported except logwood which was used as a clothing dye. One hundred and sixty years later, on the 10th day of September 1798 the Settlement repulsed a Spanish Fleet from Mexico, at the Battle of St. George's Caye. This historic event secured the land from Spain's domination forever. The country's name was changed on 1st. June 1973 from British Honduras to Belize. Independence was achieved on September 21st. 1981 and a new Constitution introduced at Belmopan the new inland capital.
From early times the 8,866 square miles area of Belize has enchanted most visitors. It happened to an Anglican who arrived in 1917. He was ordained Archbishop of the West Indies from 1936 until retirement in 1944. It's reported that when questioned why he retired on the Point Placencia peninsula, he replied that Placencia was a paradise and the most peaceful and pleasant place he had beheld in the West Indies. He loved the sub tropical climate tempered by trade winds with temperatures from 50 degrees F to 96 degrees F The Archbishop is buried on the grounds of the oldest in Spanish America built by slaves in 1812.
Nearly a decade later it occurred again in early 1926, to fishing enthusiast Henry Edward E. V. Bliss a very ill millionaire when he arrived. This gentleman was the 4th Baron of the former Kingdom of Portugal. Previously, the Baron an Englishman by birth lived in the Bahamas for 5 years. He then migrated to Trinidad & Tobago for about a year, before arriving in Belizean waters. Here he resided on his yacht and went fishing for barracudas, mackerel, lobsters, etc. as much as his health allowed. Baron Bliss never set foot on Belizean soil, but lived on the "SEA KING" for less than 2 months. On the 9th. March 1926, he passed away, but a spell was already cast. Through the Baron Bliss Trust he willed most of his fortune to the Colony and it's people whose friendliness touched him deeply. March 9th is Baron Bliss Day, a public and bank holiday celebrated annually. The Baron's body is entombed below an obelisk with a beacon above, signaling the entrance to the Belize City harbor at night.
One of Belize most recent captive is Sharon Matola a 37 yr. American biologist and founder of the Belize Zoo the youngest one in Central America. She visited Belize in 1980 and slowly but surely fell in love not only with the land and it's man races of 1983. She had surpassed most immigrants by becoming a naturalized Belizean. Incidentally Sharon and the Zoo are featured in Sports Illustrated of March 9th ‘92 .
This is recorded proof of only a few people which Belize has bewitched. It's believe that the senses are enhanced in this blessed land. For example to witness dawn's first rays racing across an emerald sea crowned by the largest coral reef (stretching for nearly 185 miles) in this hemisphere is a mystical experience, when the Nous, "positive elements of the sun's rays" enhalos and enhance your being.
Moreover to inhale the rich burnt coffee like scent of roasting cashew nuts, mingled with the smell of a dozen wild flowers in bloom is pure ecstasy. Furthermore to savor the flavor of custard apples, mamies and the succulent sapadilla fruits is beyond description. Finally to experience the sounds of the lush jungle as tropical showers collide with corrugated zinc roofs is extremely enticing.
Ahh Yes! You Better Belize It.
Paul A. Warren Hon. Consul of Belize, State of California 1985-90.
Written for Caye Records 25th March, 1992
all images (except logwood cutters, taken from The Hand Book of British Honduras published 1925)
was published in "Destination Belize 1996 & 1998
(the official visitors magazine of Belize Tourism Industry Association.)