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“Belize Day”: Country was renamed 47 years ago on June 1

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Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020. 1:46 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: June 1, 1973, was an unheralded milestone for The Jewel.

After a century of being known as the Crown Colony of British Honduras, the administration of then-Premier George Cadle Price passed the Belize Act, which formally renamed the country Belize.

The full text of the Act, Chapter 332 of the Laws of Belize reads as follows:

“CHAPTER 332

BELIZE

[1st June, 1973]

  1. This Act may be cited as the Belize Act.
  2. On and after 1st June, 1973 the name of the Territory which immediately before the said 1st June constitutes the Colony of British Honduras shall be Belize.
  3. On and after the said 1st June any reference in any Ordinance, Act, Statutory Instrument or public document in whatever words to British Honduras shall be construed in relation to any period after that date as a reference to Belize.”

The Act was passed unopposed (the sole Opposition member of the House of Representatives, the late Phillip Goldson, was away studying law, according to The Reporter) in March of 1973, in anticipation of Independence, which took eight more years to come.

As for the name, as we have previously reported, it was in use before 1821.

One potential source of the name was a Scots colonist, Peter Wallace, the first settler on the Belize River. His last name was bastardized from Wallace to Wallis to Balis and eventually Belize.

The other source is the Maya ‘Belikin’ (now trademarked by Bowen and Bowen/Belize Brewing Company Limited for its beer), which it says officially translates as ‘route to the east’ but which some say is the source of Belize’s name. Others say the name translates to ‘muddy waters,’ referring to the Belize (Old) River.

Either way, Belize it has been ever since, and hopefully forevermore shall be.

 

 

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