Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
Formerly called British Honduras, Belize, an emerging third world country, second smallest in Central America, originally became a part of the British Empire because its coast gave sanctuary to British sailors and pirates. But a thousand years or so before, the land formed a small part of the mighty Mayan civilization. A dozen or more sites-Mayan centers-have been discovered in Belize and have offered up their pyramids and artifacts as silent testimony to the past. Becoming fully self-governing in 1964, the country continues to experience various power struggles; Guatemala claims Belize since, according to its doctrine, a province which successfully revolts against a colonial power inherits all the rights and boundaries claimed by the colonist power. Hence both Mexico and Guatemala, as successful revolters against the Spanish, could lay claim to Belize. Moreover, the inhabitants of Belize represent many disparate loyalties: the Black Caribs, descendants of West Africans and the Red Caribs; Mayan Indians; Creoles and Africans; Mestizos, Maya Indian and Spanish mixed bloods; East Indians; Syrian and Lebanese; Chinese; North Americans and Europeans.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1983