The month of September is a time of festivity here in Belize, when all Belizeans join together in celebration of two important occasions that took place in our history. One of those events is the Battle of St Georges Caye Day.On the 10th of September, 1798, the people of Belize, black and white, slave and free, won the Battle of St. George’s Caye.
The battle took place between an invading force from Mexico, attempting to claim Belize for Spain, and a small force of resident woodcutters called Baymen, who fought for their livelihood assisted by black slaves. After the final two and a half hour battle, ravaged by sickness, the Spaniards withdrew and the British declared themselves winners.
The territory that is now Belize was under dispute from as early as the mid 1750s by Great Britain and Spain. While Spain never occupied Belize, she apparently considered it part of her Central American territories, such as Mexico and Guatemala.
The British had entered the territory as of 1638 to harvest logwood and later mahogany. Spain recognized this trade in the Treaty of Paris (signed in 1763) but did not undertake to draw boundaries (which would have suggested that Spain was giving up claims of sovereignty to the area), leading to further disputes.
From September 3 to 5, the Spaniards tried to force their way through Montego Caye shoal, blocked by the defenders. The military commanders, Moss and Barrow, differed on where to put their resources for the next phase of the fight: Barrow thought they would go to the land phase, while Moss decided on defending St. George’s Caye. Moss arrived in time to stop the Spaniards, setting the stage for September 10.
That afternoon, the Spaniards and British lined up off St. George’s Caye. The Spaniards stormed through the channel, and the British engaged in a two-hour fight which ended in defeat for the confused Spaniards. Moss reported no one killed and the side in good spirits. Barrow was dispatched and arrived in time to see the end of the battle and prevent the slave men from boarding the enemy. The Spaniards were in full retreat by September 13, and Barrow agreed to send vessels to further push the Spaniards back.
Today is a full day of festivities… a Parade in the heart of San Pedro Town, Music, Dancing, Delicious food and a lot of fun at the beach! On our blog you will find a few pictures from this morning and we hope that you will enjoy them!