Belize Timeline 2

1500 BC – 800 AD

  • Maya civilization dominated Belize

1100’s – 1400’s

  • (1123) Yucatec Maya overthrew the Itza-Maya
  • (1487) Aztec sent spies to Belize for trade and political information


  • (1508) First Spanish excursions occurred, Maya resisted Spanish attempts to control
  • (1511) Geronimo de Aguilar first Spaniard to arrive, settled at Chetumal Bay
  • (1544) Spanish took over northern Belize
  • (1546) Massive uprising threw Spanish out of Belize
  • (1547) Spanish cousins, the Pechecos, and friends received Spanish Grant to Belize; tortured, killed villagers, burned homes
  • (1567) Spanish from Yucatan organized conquest, destroyed anything related to Mayan culture
  • (1568) Juan de Garzon’s forces destroyed Mayan communities in Belize as far south as Lake Isobel
  • (1569) Dutch arrived, raided along the coast


  • (1627 – 1630) Famine, plagues of locusts devastated crops, tens of thousands of Maya starved to death; towns abandoned as people left to eat roots in the bush
  • (1636) Major war between Maya and Spanish occurred
  • (1637) Population of Belize nearly extinct
  • (1638) Mayan political leaders started new independence movement; piracy along coast became common
  • (1639) Three leaders of independence movement: Gaspar Puc, Alcalde of Lamanai, Don Luis Kinil, captured, tortured to death by Spanish
  • (1642) War for Belize ended, gained independence
  • (1660) British pirate, Bartholomew Sharpe, began harvest of logwood; British buccaneers settled near coast
  • (1677) Spanish failed attempt at conquest in south


  • (1707) Spanish forced Tipu Maya to aid in fight against Itza-Maya; then sold them into slavery
  • (1763) Spain signed treaties with British for woodcutting, Spain retained sovereignty
  • (1798) Spain lost attempt to remove British settlers from area


  • (1809) Maya of Belize attacked British logging camps
  • (1821) Central American region declared independence from Spain
  • (1839) Federation of Central America dissolved; Guatemala claimed they inherited sovereign rights from Spain for Belize
  • (1840) Laws of England declared to be in force in Belize
  • (1854) Formal constitution adopted, provided for Legislative Assembly for Belize
  • (1859) Treaty between Guatemala, Britain defined Belize boundaries
  • (1862) Belize declared British crown colony, named British Honduras


  • (1929 – 1930) Great Depression caused drop in imports, reduced export prices; government finances collapsed
  • (1931) Hurricane struck Belize City, killed 2,500, devastated northern coast
  • (1940) Guatemala declared 1859 Treaty void, restablished claim to Belize
  • (1950 – 1960) Mennonites from Canada immigrated to Belize searching for religious freedom
  • (1954) Constitutional reforms gave Belize limited autonomy
  • (1959) Belize and Guatemala signed border treaty
  • (1961) Hurricane Hattie destroyed most of Belize City, killed 307
  • (1964) New constitution gave Belize full autonomy; control of local government passed to Belize; Britain retained control over defense, foreign affairs, internal security, terms and conditions of public service; Governor General appointed George Price as prime minister
  • (1970) Capital moved from Belize City to Belmopan
  • (1964) Guatemala threatened war against Britain, mobilized troops at border; Britain sent fleet, several thousand troops to Belize
  • (1973) Name changed from British Honduras to Belize
  • (1975) Britain sent squadron of Harrior jets to Belize due to tension with Guatemala
  • (1979) Refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala came to Belize
  • (1981) Belize became independent from Britain; Guatemala protested, refused to recognize new status; British troops remained to defend the country
  • (1991) Guatemala recognized Belize independence
  • (1993) British government announced withdrawal of troops
  • (1997) United Democratic Party (UPD) in control, Prime Minister Esquivel stated party would not de-centralize, wanted to retain strong party control
  • (1998) UPD lost five-year national elections by landslide to People’s United Party (PUP); Said Musa became Prime Minister
  • (1999) Belize troops killed two Guatemalan civilians in disputed border area


  • (2000) Three Maria Estela skiff crew members, enroute from Guatemala to Belize, killed five people, threw survivors overboard into Gulf of Honduras, three of 10 passengers survived; Guatemala officials claimed British awarded 4,739 square miles of Guatemalan territory to Belize; Hurricane Keith caused widespread damage, estimated at $280 million, killed 19
  • (2001) US Navy and Coast Guard captured Belize-flagged fishing boat with ten men and 8.8 tons of cocaine 250 miles west of Acapulco; Hurricane Iris caused $66.2 million in damages, 22 deathsUS Coast Guard found cocaine aboard 152-foot Belize-flagged fishing vessel, Svesda Maru, 1,500 miles south of San Diego; Belize agreed to conserve 23,000 acres for cancellation of US debt including $1.4 million in debt relief, $10 million savings in interest payments over 26 years
  • (2002) Belize, Guatemala announced proposed border settlement between the two countries
  • (2003) Said Musa elected Prime Minister for second term
  • (2005) Two-day strike by public and private sector workers over budget measures; rioting broke out in capital during anti-government protests; seven Central American countries agreed to rapid-response to combat drug trafficking, terrorism, regional threats; sabotage at Belize Telecommunications left entire country without phone, internet or fax services through entire weekend
  • (2006) Central American presidents agreed to plan to ease border controls, installed common customs system; residents allowed to cross borders without passports or visas; Belize began commercial exploitation of oil reserves
  • (2007) Organization of American States recommended border dispute between Belize and Guatemala be referred to International Court of Justice
  • (2008) UDP won landslide victory in elections, Dean Barrow became country’s first black Prime Minister
  • (2009) Earthquake killed six, injured 40, collapsed two dozen houses
  • (2010) Belize government announced it would cease sending appeals cases to British Privy Council, Trinidad Carribean Court of Justice to hear Belize court appeals
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