Timeline Belize

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Formerly British Honduras. It is about the size of Massachusetts. Five distinct cultures co-exist: Garinagu (Garifuna), Creole, Mestizo, Mayan and Mennonite. The government while promoting ecotourism is in the process of giving every Belizian 40 acres of farmland. The Cockscomb area is a 102,000 acre nature preserve.
    (WSJ, 5/10/96, p.B-8)(SFEC, 6/1/97, p.T3)

562AD    Mayans from the city of Ah Witz Na conquered Tikal.
    (SFEC, 6/1/97, p.T3)

1660        Bartholomew Sharpe, a British pirate, turned Belize into a base to harvest logwood. British buccaneers settled the coast.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

c1720        The 1st recorded African slaves were brought to Belize in the 1720s to help harvest logwood.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

1783        Sep 3, Spain, in the Treaty of Versailles, recognized British rights to cut logwood in Belize between the Hondo and Belize Rivers.
    (HNQ, 7/19/98)(SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

1820        Jul 10, Captain Jairus of the USRC Louisiana captured four pirate ships off Belize.

c1820    The Garinagu, descendants of African slaves and Caribbean Indians, fled to Belize in the 1820s from the Bay Islands of Honduras.
    (SFEC, 6/1/97, p.T3)

1832        The Garifuna (Garinagu) arrived in British Honduras (later Belize). They were descendants of the Black Caribbeans who were first deported from St Vincent in 1797. This is celebrated every year on Nov 19 as Garifuna Settlement Day. The holiday was created by Thomas Vincent Ramos, Belizean civil rights activist, in 1941 and was declared a national holiday in 1977.
    (http://tinyurl.com/mqm6euc)(SSFC, 11/3/13, p.P6)

1859        A treaty between Britain and Guatemala defined the boundaries of Belize.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

1862        The Baymen, named after the Bay of Honduras, sought protection from their Spanish-speaking neighbors as a British colony, British Honduras.
    (SFEC, 6/1/97, p.T3)

1863        Pres. Lincoln granted a British agent permission to recruit volunteers for a Belize colony.
    (AP, 3/4/11)

1871        Belize was declared a Crown Colony.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

1936        The Mayan city of Caracol was discovered.
    (SFEC, 6/1/97, p.T3)

1940        Guatemala declared the 1859 treaty void and reasserted its claim to Belize.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

1950-1960    Mennonites from Canada emigrated to Belize in search of religious freedom. Some still speak Low German.
    (SFEC, 6/1/97, p.T3)

1959        Belize and Guatemala signed a border treaty
    (AP, 9/19/02)

1961        Hurricane Hattie destroyed much of Belize City. The capital was moved inland to Belmopan in response.
    (SFC, 10/8/01, p.B2)

1973        British Honduras legally changed its name to Belize.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

1974        Sep 18, Hurricane Fifi struck Honduras with 110 mph winds and killed about 8,000. The hurricane made landfall as a Category 2 storm in Belize on the next day, and continued through Guatemala and Mexico as a tropical system. After weakening to a depression, Fifi emerged into the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first crossover storm since Hurricane Irene-Olivia in 1971.

1981        Sep 21, Belize under leader George Price (1919-2011) gained independence from Britain and joined the UN under protests from Guatemala. As head of the centrist People's United Party, Price served two terms as prime minister, 1981-84 and 1989-1993.
    (www.belizenet.com/bzeguat/chap10.html)(AP, 9/19/11)

1989        The Mayan cave site Chechem Ha was discovered.
    (Via, 3-4/99, p.59)

1990        Belize legislation was drafted to privatize the ship-registry industry and the registration of off-shore companies. The draft was made by lawyers of Mr. Ashcroft’s BHI Corp., the largest company in Belize.
    (WSJ, 9/19/96, p.A14)

1991        Guatemala recognized the independence of Belize and established full diplomatic relations.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

1993        The Terra Nova Medical Reserve was established as the world’s 1st ethno-biomedical forest reserve in western Belize. It was the brainchild of Rosita Arvigo of Chicago.
    (AM, 7/01, p.2,34)

1996        Don Elijio, a Mopan Maya h’men (doctor-priest), died at age 103.
    (AM, 7/01, p.35)

1997         The population of Belize was about 230,000.
    (WSJ, 5/10/96, p.B-8)

1998        Oct 5, It was reported that Orange Walk, a town of 14,000, was overrun by crack cocaine addicts known as “sprungheads."
    (SFC, 10/5/98, p.A8)

1998        Oct 9, The body of Sherilee Nichols (13) was found along Western Highway with 40 stab wounds and evidence of rape.
    (SFC, 9/23/99, p.A13)

1998        Oct 27, Hurricane Mitch cut through the western Caribbean, pummeling coastal Honduras and Belize; the storm caused several thousand deaths in Central America in the days that followed.
    (AP, 10/27/99)

1998        Nov 8, The body of Samantha Gordon (15) was found floating naked in the sea.
    (SFC, 9/23/99, p.A13)

1998        Said Musa took office as prime minister of Belize.
    (Econ, 8/28/04, p.31)

1999        Mar 24, The body of Jackie Malic (12) was found along Western Highway with her hand cut off. About the same time the body of Becky Gilharry (13) was found dead on the grounds of the Santa Rita Mayan ruin in Corozal.
    (SFC, 9/23/99, p.A13)

1999        Apr, The body of Jay Blades (9) was found.
    (SFC, 9/23/99, p.A13)

1999        Jun 22, A skull and bones identified as the remains of Erica Wills (9) was found behind a quarry.
    (SFC, 9/23/99, p.A13)

1999        Jun, In Orange Walk the body of Karen Cruz (10) was found with signs of rape at a stadium near her home.
    (SFC, 9/23/99, p.A13)

1999        Belize troops killed 2 Guatemalan civilians in a disputed border area.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

2000        May 30, Three crew members of the Maria Estela skiff, enroute from Guatemala to Belize, killed at least 5 people and threw survivors overboard into the Gulf of Honduras. 3 of 10 passengers survived.
    (SFC, 6/2/00, p.A15)

2000        Guatemala officials claimed that the British mistakenly awarded to Belize some 4,739 square miles of Guatemalan territory.
    (SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)

2001        Aug 2, Belize agreed to conserve 23,000 acres in exchange for the cancellation of a US debt that included $1.4 million in debt relief and $10 million savings in interest payments over 26 years.
    (SFC, 8/3/01, p.D3)

2001        Oct 9, Hurricane Iris hit Belize with 140 mph winds. 17 members of a Virginia diving club and 2 local sailors were confirmed dead with 3 missing. Winds nearing 200 mph left 20 people dead.
    (WSJ, 10/10/01, p.A1)(SFC, 10/10/01, p.A17)(SFC, 10/11/01, p.A21)

2002        Sep 17, The foreign secretaries of Belize and Guatemala announced a proposed border settlement in their countries. The proposal retains the border between the two countries established in a 1959 treaty, which Guatemala has rejected, and suggests a series of measures aimed at sharing resources.
    (AP, 9/19/02)

2004        Aug, It was reported that the Belize state pension fund had shelled out over $3 million to cover debt guarantees to a company owned by a former government minister. Half the cabinet resigned and demanded the resignation of finance minister Ralph Fonseca. PM Musa took over the finance portfolio, brought the rebel ministers back in and gave Fonseca new responsibilities.
    (Econ, 8/28/04, p.31)

2005        Jan 21, In Belize a 2-day strike ended to protest a lawmakers vote to approve tax hikes opposed by a majority of the country's 250,000 people. Some 500 protesters clashed with police in front of Belize's House of Representatives.
    (AP, 1/22/05)

2005        Mar 3, The seven Central American nations (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) agreed to create a rapid-response force to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and other regional threats.
    (AP, 3/3/05)

2005        Apr 15, Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) suffered an apparent act of sabotage which left the entire country without any phone, Internet or fax services. Unfortunately, BTL was unable to restore its services for the entire weekend, leaving Belize completely stranded.
    (www.sanpedrosun.net/old/05-161.html)(Econ, 4/30/05, p.34)

2005        Sep 6, Nine countries: Antigua, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Dominica, Suriname, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Dominican Republic, signed oil deals with Venezuela in Jamaica. Cuba and Jamaica had previously signed. Chavez urged Caribbean governments to consider Cuba-style socialism as an alternative to capitalism.
    (AP, 9/11/05)

2005        Oct 24, Abigail Brinkman (28), of Columbus, Ind., died and three companions spent three days floating in the stormy Caribbean off Belize after their weekend diving trip went awry.
    (AP, 10/26/05)

2005        Nov 13, In Belize Julia Armstrong Minard (20), daughter of the late Lawrence Minard, a former managing editor of Forbes magazine and founding editor of Forbes Global magazine, was found dead in the Mayan town of Indian Creek. Police on Nov 17 charged Agripo Ical (19) with killing Minard.
    (AP, 11/17/05)

2005        Nov 20, Tropical Storm Gamma weakened into a tropical depression after it deluged the Central American coast, killing 14 people in Honduras and Belize. 2 US newlyweds were among the dead in Belize.
    (AP, 11/20/05)(WSJ, 11/22/05, p.A1)

2006        Jul 11, Central American presidents agreed on a plan to ease border controls and install a common customs system on the way to negotiating an eventual free-trade agreement with the EU. The agreement signed by Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize would allow residents to cross borders without passports or visas.
    (AP, 7/11/06)

2008        Jan 19, Andy Palacio (47), Belize musician, died in Belize City. His 2007 album “Watina" was acclaimed as one of the best world music releases of the year.
    (SFC, 1/22/08, p.B5)

2008        Feb 7, Belize's opposition United Democratic Party won a landslide victory in general elections, ending PM Said Musa's 10 years in office. UDP leader Dean Barrow was to be sworn in as the country's first black prime minister the next day.
    (AP, 2/8/08)(Econ, 2/16/08, p.44)

2008        May 31, Tropical Storm Arthur the first named storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season, kicked up surf when it made landfall at the Belize-Mexico border and headed west.
    (AP, 6/1/08)

2008        Jun 3, Belize PM Dean Barrow declared a disaster area in southern Stann Creek Valley as flash flooding carried away houses and ripped a child from his father's grasp. Falling trees killed two people in Honduras, raising the death toll from Central America's twin tropical storms this week to at least nine.
    (AP, 6/4/08)

2009        May 28, In Belize and Honduras a magnitude 7.1 earthquake collapsed more than two dozen homes, killing at least 6 people and injuring 40 others as terrified people ran into the streets in towns across much of Central America.
    (AP, 5/28/09)

2009        Aug 25, In Belize PM Dean Barrow rushed thru the nationalization of Belize Telemedia, the country’s dominant telecommunications company, and appointed a new board of directors. This was seen locally as an escalation in Barrow’s long standing dispute with Michael Ashcroft, a British peer with interests in Belize Bank. In 2011 Belize’s Court of appeal ruled that the nationalization was unconstitutional.
    (Econ, 10/24/09, p.41)(http://tinyurl.com/ykson7t)(Econ, 7/2/11, p.30)

2010        Feb 26, In Belize a single-engine aircraft crashed. Michael and Jill Casey of Albany, NY, and their two young children died in the accident on the island of San Pedro along with former senator and bottling magnate Sir Barry Bowen as the group headed to a fundraising event hosted by Bowen. The Caseys taught at a school in northwestern Belize owned by Bowen.
    (AP, 2/28/10)

2010        May 11, The government of Belize said it will stop sending appeals cases to the colonial-era British Privy Council starting June 1. The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice will hear all Belize court appeals filed after May 31.
    (AP, 5/11/10)

2010        Oct 26, In Belize the body of Bruce Cullerton, an American who also held Belizean citizenship, was found. He had been killed by a 30-pound (59 kilogram) jaguar, that had escaped from its cage last week during Hurricane Richard. Max, the jaguar, was recaptured and euthanized On Oct 27.
    (AP, 10/27/10)

2010        Nov 13, In Belize a small plane made a bold midnight landing on a highway to drop off cocaine. Authorities seized 2 tons of cocaine and also detained five officers thought to have cordoned off a section of the road so the twin-engine Beechcraft could land. Authorities found 80 bales of cocaine in a village near the highway.
    (AP, 11/17/10)

2011        Jun 22, In Guatemala the World Bank unveiled a billion-dollar plan to fund security measures in Central America, amid other hundred-million-dollar pledges from donors bidding to cut a wave of drug gang-related violence sweeping the region. The announcement came as leaders of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama attended the Central American Security Conference aiming to curb crime fueled by a spillover from Mexico's war on drug cartels.
    (AFP, 6/22/11)

2011        Sep 15, The US White House added Belize and El Salvador to its list of drug producing and transit countries, placing for the first time all seven Central American countries on the list.
    (SFC, 9/16/11, p.A2)

2011        Sep 19, Belize's founding father and first prime minister, George Price (92), died just short of three decades since he led the small Central American nation to independence.
    (AP, 9/20/11)

2011        Nov 9, In Belize Larry Johnson (68), a retired chiropractor from New Mexico, was killed during a home invasion at the Iguana Creek Resort he owned, 60 miles west of Belize City. Police soon detained several people for questioning.
    (AP, 11/14/11)

2012        Nov 11, In Belize Gregory Viant Faull, an expatriot American from Florida, was found shot dead at his beach front home in San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye. Police said John McAfee (67), founder of the McAfee anti-virus software, was a person of interst in the case.
    (SFC, 11/13/12, p.A1)

2012        Dec 3, Software company founder John McAfee, wanted for questioning in connection with the killing of a fellow American ex-pat, said he has left Belize and is still on the run. He escaped to Guatemala and requested asylum.
    (AP, 12/3/12)(SFC, 12/5/12, p.E1)

2012        Dec 5, Guatemala police arrested software company founder John McAfee for entering the country illegally, ending his bizarre weekslong journey as a blogging fugitive claiming to be persecuted by authorities in Belize.
    (AP, 12/6/12)

2012        Dec 12, Guatemala released John McAfee from a detention center and put him on a plan for Miami. Authorities in Belize had sought McAfee for questioning about the November slaying of neighbor Gregory Faull.
    (SFC, 12/13/12, p.A7)

2013        May 13, Belize authorities said a construction company has essentially destroyed the Nohmul complex, one of the country’s largest Mayan pyramids, with backhoes and bulldozers to extract crushed rock for a road-building project. The ceremonial center dated back at least 2,300 years.
    (AP, 5/14/13)

2014        Mar 24, The EU approved sanctions and said it will no longer import any fish caught by vessels from Cambodia, Belize and Guinea, accusing their governments of failing to cooperate in fighting illegal fishing.
    (AP, 3/24/14)

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