Posted: Sunday, September 10, 2017. 8:53 a.m. CST.
By Zoila Palma: Today, Belizeans across the jewel celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye.
The Battle of Saint George’s Caye is commemorated because in the 1500’s, the Spaniards made constant attempts to control the region of the Yucatan coast which included Belize.
By the mid 1600’s, shipwrecked British sailors became the first recorded European settlers in Belize.
Those sailors are known as the Baymen and were the primary log-wood cutters in Belize who exported logwood to Europe.
However, Spain continued with repeated attacks to reclaim sovereignty. As a result of those attacks, treaties were signed between England and Spain, allowing the Baymen to continue their trade.
On September 10, 1798, the Baymen were forced to defend their tiny settlement against a Spanish invasion of 32 ships carrying 2,000 troops and 500 seamen. Heavily outnumbered and against the odds, the Baymen achieved a decisive victory.
The Battle of St. George’s Caye, was the last attempt made by Spain to control Belize.
Today, September 10 is celebrated as a national holiday in Belize.
The historical significance of St. George’s Caye has been immortalized on Belize’s five dollar bill which depicts a map of the island.
Festivities include an official ceremony on the eve of September 10, with fire-works, cultural presentations and address by Mayors, area representatives and historians.
On September 10, a colorful parade with floats depicting the national symbols of Belize and colors red, white and blue of our flag is held.
Happy St. George’s Caye Day, Belize!
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