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St. George's Caye Day – September 10, 2023

Belize observes St. George’s Caye Day as a national holiday on September 10. This day honors a victory in a major war with the Spanish in 1798. Off the coast of British Honduras, the Battle of St. George’s Caye was a military conflict that occurred from September 3 to 10, 1798. The last battle, which took place on September 10, is the only one to which the holiday’s name is dedicated. The Spaniards had previously attempted to expel the colonists six times, the most recent time being in 1779. The final Spanish attempt to take control of the area occurred on September 10, 1798.

History of St. George's Caye Day

Belize honors a significant historical event on September 10. They celebrate St. George’s Caye Day on this day, a holiday commemorating a pivotal naval battle. The Battle of St. George’s Caye occurred off the coast of Belize between September 3 and September 10, 1798. During the 16th century, the Spanish tried to control the region of the Yucatan coast, which includes modern-day Belize. During the battle, the Baymen defeated the Spanish Navy. They couldn’t settle due to a lack of natural resources and hostile Indian tribes. The first Europeans to settle were British sailors, who were either shipwrecked or with the title ‘Pirate’ on their resume. These Europeans, known as Baymen at the time, began to colonize Belize in the middle of the 17th century.

Despite several treaties signed by the Spanish and British that were supposed to protect the rights of the Baymen, the conflict continued. In the 18th century, the Spanish attempted an assault on the area on September 3, resulting in a final attack involving 2,000 troops and over 30 ships, fought between the Spanish and the Baymen, and the Baymen won a clear victory, effectively ending Spanish interest in the region.

After discovering that they could make a living by cutting and exporting logwood back to Europe, Europeans settled in the Belize City area in the 1650s. Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America because of this victory. Britain formally declared the settlement a British Crown Colony subordinate to Jamaica in 1862, naming it British Honduras. St. George’s Caye Day was made a holiday in 1898, followed 11 days later by another significant holiday, Independence Day, which marked Belize’s independence from Britain in 1981.

St. George's Caye Day timeline

1862
Belize Gets Renamed

Belize, formerly a British crown colony, is now renamed British Honduras.

1930s
The Great Hurricane

Belize's economy is affected by the Great Depression, and a hurricane destroys Belize City.

1964
An Updated Constitution

The new constitution grants Belize complete autonomy and establishes a two-chamber parliament and universal adult suffrage.

1973
The New Name

British Honduras gets replaced with Belize as the official name of the nation.

St. George's Caye Day FAQs

Why did St George's Caye declare a historical community?

The early development of Belize got heavily influenced by St George’s Caye, which served as the country’s initial capital in the 1700s. Little has changed on the island in the past 200 years; it nevertheless serves as a reminder of early Belize’s significant history and is peppered with colonial structures from that era.

Does Belize have hurricane season?

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, overlaps with the Belize hurricane season. Tropical storm activity has historically been highest from the end of August to the middle of October. Although they rarely hit Belize, hurricanes can be very dangerous when they do hit.

Why did the Mayans leave Belize?

Around 800 A.D. or 900 A.D., the Mayan culture in Belize experienced a sharp decline for causes that are yet unknown. Theories include population growth, drought, and natural catastrophes. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, remnants of the Mayan monarchy were still in existence.

How to Observe St. George's Caye Day

  1. Visit Belize

    Make unforgettable memories with your loved ones while vacationing in Belize and enjoying the festive season. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, often known as the Great Mayan Reef, is located in Belize and is the second-largest barrier reef system in the world. Be sure to visit it.

  2. Watch the festivities

    Keep an eye out for the vibrant carnival parade with floats, fireworks, and cultural performances. Festivities unite people, and they come together for the sole purpose of celebration and happiness.

  3. Participate in the fiesta

    Engage in lively singing and dancing, carnivals, and tasty feasts of Belizean cuisine. We are sure you’ll have a blast.

5 Interesting Facts About Belize

  1. Their official language is English

    Belize is the only Central American country where English is the official language; however, many regional languages are recognized, including Kriol, Spanish, Garifuna, and Mayan.

  2. The Jaguar Reserve

    Belize is the only country with a nature sanctuary that includes the world's only Jaguar Reserve and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife, which is home to other great cats such as pumas.

  3. They use speedbumps

    Belize uses speed bumps rather than traffic lights to enforce speed limits in towns, villages, and near schools.

  4. The Great Blue Hole

    The Great Blue Hole is a one-of-a-kind diving site in the middle of an offshore coral atoll, regarded as one of the best in the world.

  5. The Maya temples sites

    Belize has around 900 Maya temple sites.

Why St. George's Caye Day is Important

  1. Belize has rich, diverse cultures

    Belize is a cultural melting pot where Latinos, Garifuna, Mestizos, Maya, and Mennonites coexist. These individuals together form a rich, varied culture. It provides the impression that the past is still present.

  2. It's a historical holiday

    Historical holidays are vital to creating strong bonds within families and society. They provide us with a sense of community and a way to communicate our values. They aid in our family celebrations and help us connect to our past.

  3. It’s a public holiday

    Public holidays are significant because they are days that have meaning in the history of a country, remind us of their significance, and teach future generations the morals and messages associated with them. Additionally, it's a day to celebrate with loved ones.

St. George's Caye Day dates

YearDateDay
2023September 10Sunday
2024September 10Tuesday
2025September 10Wednesday
2026September 10Thursday
2027September 10Friday

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