Hispanic Belizean

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Hispanic Belizean
Fort George's Caye kids.jpg
Fort George's Caye kids
Total population
Hispanic Belizeans
'approx. 180,000
Regions with significant populations
Mainly in the Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo Districts, in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye) and Caye Caulker
Spanish · English · Kriol · "Kitchen Spanish"[2]
Predominantly Roman Catholic, but also includes Protestantism, Rastafarianism and non-religious
Related ethnic groups
Mexicans  · Guatemalans  · Hondurans  · Salvadorans

A Hispanic Belizean, Belizean Mestizo or Mestizo-lizean is a Belizean of Hispanic origin. Currently, they comprise 50% of Belize's population.

Most of Hispanics of Belize are self-identified mestizos. Most Mestizos speak Spanish, Kriol and English fluently.[3]


First occupations and Spanish expeditions in Belize[edit]

In 1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed, claiming that the entire western New World belonged to Spain, including what is now Belize. Later, in the mid-16th century, the Spanish conquistadors explored this territory, declaring it a Spanish colony [4] incorporated into the Captaincy General of Guatemala on December 27, 1527, when it was founded. [5] This is integrated in the second half of that century, the government of Yucatan in Viceroyalty of New Spain. [6] Thus, while in 1530 the conqueror Francisco de Montejo, after attacking the Nachankan Maya and Belize, failed in their attempt to subdue the Maya to Spanish rule,[7] The area remained under Spanish rule. So, is recorded in 1544 when the first written documents about the Spanish presence in Belize. These early settlers were established in the Mayan city of Lamanai, city where a Spanish colonial church was built in 1570. This city that absorbed the largest European influences in Belize. [8] On the other hand, the first Spanish missionaries arrived in the territory in Belize in 1550 and evangelized the area's population of Ch'ol people (a language group belonging to ethnic group Q'eqchi' people), reaching the Amatique Bay (present Province Verapaz, in the southern half of the current Belize). [5]

However, few Spanish settled in the area because of the lack of resources important to them, such as gold and the strong defense of the Maya people for the Yucatan Peninsula. [4] Thus, the Spanish colonists living in Belize often fought against the Maya, who also were affected by slavery and disease carried by the Spanish.[8]

However, after the mid-16th century, there is little evidence of Spanish exploration in Belize, although not outreaches: in 1618 the region was evangelized Pucté, now in northern Belize, and, in 1621, it was the region Tipúes the Mopanes and, in the central part of the territory. [5]

The only exception of Spanish exploration in Belize after the mid-16th century is found in a journey undertaken by a Dominican priest, Father Jose Delgado, in 1677. Delgado traveled to Belize along towards the town of Bacalar, in the Mexican state Quintana Roo. However, he could not continue his journey because, before reaching the Mexican municipality was captured and stripped by some English in any area near Rio de Texoc - probably the present-Mullins River. [2]

Moreover, between 1638 and 1695, the Mayans residing in Tipu enjoyed autonomy from Spanish rule. But in 1696, Spanish soldiers used Tipu as a base from which to pacify the area and would support missionary activities. In 1697 the Spanish conquered the Itzá, and in 1707, the Spanish forcibly resettled the inhabitants of Tipu in an area near the Lake Petén Itzá. [9]

The struggle between Spain and Britain over control of Belize[edit]

In 1717, after the British settlement in Belize between the sixteenth and the seventeenth and away to foreigners in the area, the army led by Marshal Antonio Silva Figueroa and Lazo, governor of the Yucatan Peninsula, expelled the English Belize River. [5] [10] Still, over time, the British ended up returning, so this expedition developed a series of Spanish incurciones to expel at various times.

Later, on 20 January 1783 Britain and Spain sign peace sign and shortly after the Treaty of Versailles, in which Spain ceded to Britain now a small part of Belize, about 1.482 km [10] - or 4.804 - located between the Hondo and Belize rivers. [5] In addition, because the request British settlers, they get more territory for greater area of action, as the territory ceded to them was very limited, also signed the London Convention of 1786 by which Spain ceded other Belize 1.883 km (reaching the Sibun River or Manate Laguna, south of the Belize River).

However, sometime between 1786 and 1796, a Spanish official who visited the Yucatan to report on the activities of Baymen said the Baymen were dangerously expanding its borders to cut logwood also Campeche, near a town of Spanish population. Spain therefore issued orders for the immediate and effective removal of the settlers who occupied Belize. This triggered a war between Britain and Spain on the coast of Belize in September 1798, war was called The Battle of St. George's Caye and ended with the Spanish defeat. Because of that, the British were able to stay in Belizean territory - and throughout the mainland of Central - and can freely exercise their dominance in the area, although the territory remained officially Spanish. [10]

19th and 20th centuries[edit]

Around the 1840s, Spanish settlers, mestizos and thousands of Yucatan from Mexico began to settle in northern Belize due to the Caste War from Yucatan (1847-1901), [2] [11] settling predominantly in the Corozal, Orange Walk Town, and much of the Cayo District, as well as in the city of San Pedro in Ambergris Caye.[12] In total, emigrated to Belize about of 7,000 Mexican mestizos in this years.[13] In the 1870s-1880s, the Kekchi ran from Verapaz, Guatemala, where their lands were being stolen for coffee plantations, which then enslaved them. They settled villages in the Toledo District. Living near rivers and streams, their lifestyle is self-reliant. The Mopans were originated in Belize, but most were driven out to Guatemala after the British assumed control from Belize to late 18th century, after of the Battle of St. George's Caye. They returned to Belize in 1886, running from enslavement and taxation in Petén.

After 1958, Mennonite groups in Mexico and Canada emigrated to Belize also, settling in the north and west of Belize City.[14] Between 1980 and 1990 migrated thousands of undocumented refugees living along the border with Guatemala, to legalize their status. In this decade, the country received approximately 40,000 refugees Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans.[15] Some 25,000 were from El Salvador and Guatemala.[14] It immigration dramatically increased the number of Hispanics in Belize, which joined the population growth of the Hispanic population. This caused a feeling of threat from some sectors of Belizean society, creating a rejection towards them and alarm over the rapid growth of the Spanish language in an English-speaking country officially.[16]


According to a 2000 survey, 52.1% of the Belizean population is Hispanic. According to the 2000 census, Belize has 106, 795 Hispanic people. In this figure be can add another 21,848 people who can speak Spanish as not mother tongue. In total, there are 128,243 people who speak Spanish in Belize. Although English is the official language, Spanish is spoken by most of the Belize´s population. [14]So, according the 2000 census, about of 50% of la Belizean population is declared Catholics. [13]

They are mainly concentrated in areas bordering Mexico and Guatemala. That is, Corozal, Orange Walk, and much of the Cayo District, as well as San Pedro town in Ambergris Caye.[16] Both the people of Corozal, as people from Orange Walk, descended from the Yucatans who found refuge in Belizean soil fleeing the Caste War in the 1840s, while people of Cayo, descends from Guatemalans and Salvadorans people, mostly. The remaining districts also have Spanish-speaking population, although to a lesser extent. So, in Belize City, the most populated urban area in the country, it is common to use the Spanish language, next to Belizean Creole and in San Pedro, part of the Belize District, has a predominantly Spanish-speaking population. In addition, the Mopan indigenous live now in the Cayo district and San Antonio (Toledo district)). Some of the Kekchi and Mopan have mixed. However, this groups are not strictly Hispanic because they speak their own Maya dialects, but they do come from Hispanic countries.[14] On the other hand, bilingualism in Spanish is encouraged, as the nation is surrounded by Spanish speaking countries.[16]

According to the 2000 Population Census, the people from Guatemala make up the largest group (42.9%) of the immigrant population in Belize, followed by nationals of El Salvador and Honduras.[17]

Main Hispanic and Latino immigrants by national origin (2000 Belize Census)
Hispanic Group Population % (in relation to the total immigrant community)
Guatemala Guatemalan 14,693 42.9
El Salvador Salvadoran 6,045 17.6
Honduras Honduran 4,961 14.5
Mexico Mexican 2,351 6.9
Total 28,050 81.9


  1. ^ Censo de Belice (2000) Page 32 from the Demografía de la Lengua española (in Spanish:Demographics of the Spanish language)
  2. ^ a b c "Northern Belize Caste War History; Location". Retrieved 14 February 2008. 
  3. ^ "Mestizo location in Belize; Location". Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Melissa A. (October 2003). "The Making of Race and Place in Nineteenth-Century British Honduras". Environmental History 8 (4): 598-617.
  5. ^ a b c d e III. Belice, otra cuña británica en iberoamérica (in Spanish: BELIZE, another british wedge Iberian America
  6. ^ BELICE - Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación
  7. ^ History | Your Guide to Belize Travel | Moon Travel
  8. ^ a b Historia de Belice (in spanish: Belize´s history). Consultado el 28 de noviembre de 2012.
  9. ^ Bolland, Nigel. "Belize: Historical Setting". In A Country Study: Belize (In English: A Country Study: Belize. Tim Merrill, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (January 1992). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ a b c Battle of Saint George's Caye: English Settlers and Spanish Invasion in Belizean Foil. Retrieved on December 1, 2012, at 18:22 pm
  11. ^ My Belize adventure: People of Belize. Accessed February 14, 2008.
  12. ^ "Belize 2000 Housing and Population Census". Belize Central Statistical Office. 2000. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  13. ^ a b belice - Prolades.com
  14. ^ a b c d Belice - Icex www.icex.es/staticFiles/Belice_6779_.pdf
  15. ^ BELIZE. Retrieved April 03, 2013, to 2:56 pm.
  16. ^ a b c El Español en Belice (in Spanish: The Spanish in Belize). Writing by Christina Mudarra Sánchez.
  17. ^ a b Indeim: instituto de estudios y divulgación sobre Migración, A.C. (in Spanish. Indeim: Institute of Studies and disclosure on Migration, A.C.): Table "Hispanic or Latino Origin Population by Type: 2000" April 2013

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