Chronology of Key Events in Belize History | Belize History Facts

Chronology of Key Events in Belize History

Belize History Events

1123: The Yucatec Maya people conquered the Itza-Maya, dominating the region.

1487: Aztec spies sneak into Belize to steal valuable political and trade secrets.

1508: While colonizing the Belize region, Spaniards are met by heavy Maya resistance.

1600s: Spain conquers the region, including Belize, but fails at convert the Maya to Christianity.

1660: English pirate Bartholomew Sharpe turns Belize into a log harvesting base.

1700s: English explorers are given wood-cutting rights as Spain retains sovereignty over Belize.

Key Events in Belize History
1720s: First African slaves are brought to Belize to help harvest hardwood.

1783: Treaty of Versailles affirms British rights to cut logs between the Hondo and Belize Rivers.

1798: First attempts by Spaniards to remove British settlers from the region fail.

1832: Garifuna (Garinagu), descendants of Black Caribbeans, migrate to Belize.

1847-53: Caste Wars on the Yucatan force Spanish-speaking settlers to seek safety in Belize.

1859: A legal border between Great Britain and Guatemala is established via a treaty.

1862: Belize is proclaimed a British Crown Colony under its new name, British Honduras.

Belize Timeline
1863: President Abraham Lincoln grants Britain’s request to recruit volunteers for a Belize colony.

1893: Claims made by neighboring Mexico on territory in British Honduras are renounced.

1930s: The Belize economy crashes and Belize City, the capital, is destroyed by a hurricane.

1936: The ancient Mayan city of Caracol is discovered by archaeologists.

1954: Belize fights for autonomy and is granted a limited amount by a new Constitution.

1950: The People’s United Party (PUP) is founded.

1950: The minimum voting age for women is lowered to 21 from 30.

1950s: Mennonites begin emigrating to Belize from Canada in search of religious freedom.

1954: George Price, member of the People’s United Party (PUP), becomes Belize’s first Prime Minister.

1958: The National Independence Party (NIP) becomes PUP’s first political opposition.

1961: Hurricane Hattie’s punishing impact kills 260 people and displaces more.

1964: A new constitution confers full autonomy on the people of British Honduras.

1968: Belize sends athletes to the Olympic Games for the first time.

1970: The nation’s hurricane-ravaged capital Belize City moves inland to Belmopan.

1973: The name British Honduras is officially changed to Belize.

1973: Yet another political party is established: the United Democratic Party (UDP).

1981: The nation declares full independence on September 21st.

1981: Guatemala refuses to recognize Belize, forcing remaining British troops to defend the border.

1984: George Price is replaced by Manuel Esquival, a center-rightest, as Prime Minister.

1989: The Mayan cave Chechem Ha is discovered.

Belize History Facts
1992: Guatemala finally acknowledges Belize’s independence and sovereignty.

1993: England commits to withdrawing all troops within the year.

1993: Belize’s Terra Nova Medical Reserve established as the world’s first ethno-biomedical forest reserve.

1993: Prime Minister Esquival suspends the Belize-Guatemala treaty, saying too many concessions were made.

1998: Government leadership changes hands when Said Musa wins a landslide election victory to become PM.

2000: Hurricane Keith brings widespread devastation to Belize in October.

2001: Hurricane Iris flattens towns and leaves thousands homeless.

2002: The Organization of American States (OAS) brokers a new agreement between Guatemala and Belize.

2003: Prime Minister Musa wins a second term as PM in March.

2004: Britain denies appeal to overturn Belize’s approval of proposed Chalillo dam for environmental reasons.

2005: Riots break out as a wave of anti-government protests sweeps across Belize.

2005: Belize joins 6 nations to form a rapid-response force fighting drug trafficking, terrorism and other threats.

2006: Belize announces its intention to commercially exploit their oil reserves.

2007: Once again, the OAS mediates a border dispute with Guatemala in February.

2008: Following the February election, Dean Barrow is resoundingly named Prime Minister.

2008: Iconic Belize musician Andy Palacio, whose album “Watina” won international acclaim, dies at age 47.

2010: Belize’s government announces it will no longer send appeal cases to the British Privy Council.

2011: The U.S. adds Belize to its black list of nations considered illegal drug producers and distributors.

2011: Belize founding father George Cadle Price dies on September 19th at age 92.

2012: Belize wins a 60-day reprieve after repaying some overdue debt interest on monies owed to the U.S.

2014: In March, Belize and Guatemala agree to prohibit illegal logging but don’t resolve the border dispute.

2015: Belize’s Energy Ministry considers opening the coast to oil/gas drilling despite environmental concerns.

2015: Prime Minister Barrow once again leads the United Democratic Party to victory for a 5-year term.

2016: The unresolved Guatemala/Belize border dispute is re-ignited by a border shooting.

2020: Belize shuts down due to the Covid-19 epidemic, establishing stringent health protocols.

2020: The nation withstands extreme flooding, likely due to weather patterns associated with global warming.


2020: Once again, PUP dominated the year’s Belize general elections.

2021: Belize re-opens borders following Covid lockdowns that kept infection rates low throughout the pandemic.

Belize History Event

2021: Belize chooses Froyla Tzalam to replace retiring Governor-General Sir Colville Young.

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