What did Belize go through for independence from Britain?

Belize, formerly British Honduras, with a small population and even smaller amount of valuable natural resources, was rather low priority on the colonial circuit.  It was one of those places that Britain would not mind to let go.  When Jamaica and a few other colonies in the Caribbean gained independence in the 1960s, British Honduras did not, yet only because there was not a sizable enough portion of the local population that wanted it.  It took a couple decades for that to happen.  Along the way, there was a very long negotiation with neighboring Honduras, a state that claimed all of British Honduras.  With the annexing of a portion of the state, Honduras quit its' claim on the rest.  By the late 70s, independence was demanded, yet the USA wasn't sure if it liked the idea.  The British are a close ally and would help with troubles in the region, such as defending the Panama Canal Zone, and the communists in Nicaragua and El Salvador.  It would be one more ally to use against Castro and his interventions, such as in Bolivia and Grenada.  However, at the time, the British were busy dealing with the Rhodesia-Zimbabwe fiasco in Africa, as well as their economic woes within Britain itself, and labor strikes, coal mine shutdowns, and the periodic 3-Day-Work-Week, and didn't have time for Central America, or the Caribbean, where they were at the same time handing over power in the Bahamas.  They wanted out.  So Reagan gave the quiet nod in his first year, and British Honduras became Belize in 1981.  Today Belize enjoys a tourism industry, an offshore banking sector, as well as a small expat community of retired persons, which brings capital to the region.  Excellent beaches, so I am told.


It would be good to read this: Belize The Struggle For Independence, due to the claim by Guatemala to the territory of Belize, which delayed independence.

During much of 1981, the UK pressed Belize in negotiations with Guatemala to make concessions on territory and sovereignty, to concede the cession of cayes and waters (to get a safe and faster independence). But Belize resisted.

  • And so it was that on 21 September 1981, Belize became an independent State with all its territory, with full sovereignty, and with British troops stationed here to defend Belize against any possible attack from Guatemala. And our calculated risk proved correct: although the British had told us they would only stay for 9 months, and in fact continued to make real preparations after independence to remove their military forces within that time, they in fact remained for 13 years, and left only after Guatemala had recognized Belize as an independent State and signed a non - aggression pact with Belize.

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