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Belize History Timeline

Belize's Information

Flag of Belize
Land Area 22,806 km2
Water Area 160 km2
Total Area 22,966km2 (#147)
Population 353,858 (#176)
Population Density 15.52/km2
Government Type Parliamentary Democracy (National Assembly) Under A Constitutional Monarchy; A Commonwealth Realm
GDP (PPP) $3.09 Billion
GDP Per Capita $8,200
Currency Dollar (BZD)
More Information Belize
Largest Cities
1500 BC - 800 AD
  • Maya civilization dominated Belize
1100s - 1400s
  • (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

1900s continued

  • (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 deaths

    US 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
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.

Belize Trivia

What Languages Are Spoken in Belize?

English and Spanish are the most widely spoken languages in Belize, and bilingualism is very common in the country.

What Languages Are Spoken In Belize?

What is the capital city of Belize?

Belmopan is the capital of Belize.

What Is the Capital of Belize?

Who are the Ecoregions of Belize?

Belize has seven ecoregions: the Peten-Veracruz Moist Forests, the Yucatan Moist Forests, the Belizean Pine Forests, the Belizean Coast Mangroves, the Belizean Reef Mangroves, the Quintana Roo-Motagua, and the Western Caribbean Sea.

Ecological Regions Of Belize

What is the Leading Cause of Death in Belize?

Diabetes tops the list as the number 1 killer in Belize. Of all deaths occurring annually, 9.5% can be attributed to this disease.

Leading Causes Of Death In Belize

Where is the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve?

Added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve covers approximately 237,962 acres off the coast of Belize and hosts the largest coral reef system in the northern hemisphere. Within the site are 7 protected areas that include national parks, marine reserves, and natural monuments.

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve - Endangered UNESCO World Heritage Site

What is the biggest city in Belize?

Belize City is the biggest city in Belize with around 60,000 people.

Biggest Cities In Belize

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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