Asian Indians in Belize
|7,000-8,000 (January 2016, est.)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Toledo District · Corozal District · Belize City|
|Caribbean Hindustani · Kriol · English · Spanish|
|Hinduism · Islam · Christianity|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Indo-Jamaican · Indo-Caribbean · Indian diaspora · Kriols|
Asian Indians began arriving in Belize in the 1880s. Initially coming in as indentured, many of them stayed on to work the sugar plantations and were joined by other Indian immigrants. Indians are spread out over many villages and towns primarily in the Corozal and Toledo districts and live in reasonably compact rural communities. They are fairly well integrated into the Belizean population through intermarriage. However, they are still identifiable through their physiognomy and are known as 'Hindus'.
A more recent migration ensued in the 1950s, when Belize was still a British colony. Some Indians came to work or do business and subsequently invited their relatives and employees from India to join them. This community is composed almost entirely of Sindhis. They are mostly retail traders and have little interest in local politics, but their economic strength assures them an influential position in Belize and Guatemala.
The recent arrivals maintain frequently visited friends and relatives in India, and hence has strong relations to their ancestral home. Some visit to procure marriage partners for their children. Indian music and Hindi films are popular here and have been instrumental in nurturing friendly relations with other Belizeans.
In 1907, the Canadian Government made an unsuccessful attempt to transfer Indian independence activists residing in the province of British Columbia to Belize (then known as British Honduras). A Canadian delegation led by the chief clerk of the Canadian Ministry of the Interior Harkin, and a small Indian delegation including Teja Singh traveled to British Honduras in November 1907 to determine if conditions were suitable for the move. Upon his return to Canada, Teja Singh stated that Indians were being sent to Honduras for slave-labour and claimed that Canadian officials had attempted to bribe the Indian delegation to secure a positive report. The Canadian government blamed Teja Singh's statements for the failure of the proposed transfer.
- George Singh, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Belize
- Lutchman Sooknandan, twice Director of Public Prosecutions, a native of Guyana born to a father from Kolkata
- "India - Belize Relations" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs. January 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
- Andrew, Christopher M.; Noakes, Jeremy. Intelligence and International Relations, 1900-1945. University of Exeter Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780859892438. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Chief and two new justices sworn in". News 5 Belize. 1998-02-02. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- Ramos, Adele (2011-09-25). "Book Review: From Bengal to Bushlot to Belize". Kaieteur News. Retrieved 2012-04-20.