A Brief and Fascinating History of Belize Independence Day
Did you know that Belize Independence Day is September 21?
Belize boasts dreamy beaches, perfect tropical weather, and super friendly people. It also has the distinction of being the only Latin American country with English as its official language.
Read this blog post to learn all about the history of “The Jewel of the Caribbean” and Belizean Independence Day. It’s full of fascinating traditions that will wow you!
Belize’s Long Road to Independence
September is a month of celebration for Belizeans. September 10, 2021 marks the 223rd anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye, the critical event leading to Belize Independence Day.
Similarly to the rest of Latin America, Belize was once on the Spanish radar to be taken over as a colony, but the Mayan community there resisted. Britain decided to settle in the cays of Belize and guard their soon-to-be moneymaker from Spanish ships who still wanted a way into the country. Also called Baymen, the British began logwood exportation in the mid 17th century.
The Spanish came back to fight for the territory that is now Belize in the 18th century. On September 10, 1798, the Spanish attacked the Baymen. However, the British won the Battle of St. George’s Cay and claimed the land as theirs.
19th and 20th Century Belizean History
The people of Belize didn’t actually recognize such victory as independence. In 1862, they were still called British Honduras and still a colony. The natives realized that they were only being used for handiwork to make the British rich, and that they weren’t considered in government matters.
Belizeans joined forces and the native people eventually gained the right to have a true self-government. Belizean farmers were allowed to develop their own land and earn profits from it.
After multiple struggles to decolonize, they appealed to the UN in the 1970s. The territory was renamed Belize in 1974 and declared independent on September 21, 1981. Belize is part of both Latin America and the Caribbean.
Fun fact! The term “filibusters” was another word for the pirates who guarded the cays of Belize from Spanish invasion in the 16th century.
Belize Independence Day Celebrations
Even though they’re primarily English speakers, many Belizeans speak Spanish, and they all share the festive spirit of all Latin Americans.
Their independence day celebrations begin each year on September 10 since Belizeans recognize the Battle of St. George’s Cay as a major step toward their independence.
Radio stations play patriotic music and people proudly wear the flag’s colors.
All over the country, people organize lively parades with marching bands and choreographed dances that brighten the streets on Belize Independence Day. Kids enjoy participating in these exciting patriotic events.
As part of their festivities, people in villages and small towns hold concerts to celebrate their patriotism. People not only share lively music, but also wear vivid colors to represent their joy.
Activities for Kids
Belize Independence Day is a celebration for the whole family! Kids especially enjoy these days since they’re included in patriotic activities like talent shows that everybody partakes in.
The street carnival and associated parade is the biggest event during Belize Independence Day. Hordes of people gather to watch the amazing performers dance in flashy costumes.
Belize Expo Marketplace
A true representation of patriotism, the Expo Marketplace organized by The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry provides an opportunity for local businesses to network, showcase, and sell their products.
Belize’s patriotic symbols are related to their history of struggle and effort to become an independent nation.
The Belize Flag
The white, blue, and red national flag displays 50 olive leaves around the coat of arms. A mahogany tree represents the country’s timber industry.
The men on either side of the tree are logwood workers. One holds an axe to represent the wood cutters; the other holds an oar to represent how they traveled by river.
Belize’s national motto is also on the flag: “Sub Umbra Floreo.” It’s Latin for “under the shade I flourish.”
The national bird of Belize is the Keel Billed Toucan. This species is closely related to woodpeckers and barbets.
The black orchid is found in trees in damp areas, and it flowers nearly all year round.
The Baird’s Tapir (also known as a Mountain Cow) feeds on plants such as twigs, flowers, grasses, and fallen fruit.
Belize Independence Day Vocabulary
Aren’t Belize’s Independence Day history and traditions compelling? Here’s some fun and useful Spanish vocabulary related to Belizean culture:
|Belize Independence Day||el Día de la Independencia de Belice|
|Battle of St. George’s Caye||la Batalla del Cayo de San Jorge|
|keel-billed toucan||el tucán pico iris|
|logwood||el palo de tinte|
|mahogany tree||el nogal|
|marching band||la banda musical|
|national animal||el animal nacional|
|national bird||el ave nacional|
|national flower||la flor nacional|
|national tree||el árbol nacional|
|patriotic symbols||los símbolos patrios|
Example Spanish Sentences
En septiembre celebramos nuestra independencia.
In September, we celebrate our independence.
Los colores nacionales de Belice son rojo, azul y blanco.
Belize’s national colors are red, blue, and white.
¡Quiero ver el desfile!
I want to see the parade!
La economía de Belice se basó en la exportación.
Belize’s economy was based on exportation.
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Speak Spanish and Travel the World
Spanish is expanding around the world! Did you know that there are more than 460 million native Spanish speakers globally? And if we add Spanish learners into the mix, there are more than 500 million speakers.
If you want to travel to the marvelous Spanish-speaking countries and explore amazing landscapes, fascinating cultures, and colorful traditions, take a free trial class today and interact one-on-one with a certified, native-speaking teacher from Guatemala.
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