Isaiah Emmanuel Morter

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Morter's statue near the St John's Cathedral in Belize City

Isaiah Emmanuel Morter (sometimes spelled Isiah) (1860 – 7 April 1924) was born in 1860 in the Freetown district of Belize. He was of Igbo descent (some say his parents were Ashanti royalty)[1] coming from a line of slaves brought to America from Nigeria. Marcus Garvey wrote that "Morter grew up fighting the oppositions and difficulties generally surrounding one born to his condition, until he lifted himself to the highest pinnacle of service to his race and to his country."[2]

By planting and growing bananas and coconuts, Morter built a fortune and is widely regarded as Belize's first coloured millionaire. His nicknames included "the Coconut King" and "Guinea Sigar"[3] and he owned Caye Chapel[4] and other plantations. For his achievements he was honoured with the award of Knight Commander of Distinguished Service Order of Ethiopia.[5] He was also a strong supporter of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association.[5]

Morter died on 7 April 1924.

A statue of Morter can be found at the end of Albert Street, near St. John's Cathedral , in Belize City. He is not widely known today by the public in Belize.[6]


  1. ^ Peter David Ashdown, Garveyism in Belize, 1990, p. 22.
  2. ^ Garvey, Marcus, "A tribute to the late Sir Isaiah Morter", Philosophy and opinions of March Garvey, vol. 2, Amy Jacques Garvey, 1977, p. 90.
  3. ^ The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Volume ... by Robert A. Hill, John Dixon, Mariela Haro Rodriguez, Anthony Yuen, 2011, p. 639.
  4. ^ vicky (2013-08-30). "Ashcroft sells Caye Chapel for US$30 mil | Amandala Newspaper". Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  5. ^ a b "Sie-Isaiah-Emmanuel-Morter". Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  6. ^ "Few Remember Old Isiah Morter". 7 News Belize. 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2014-07-11.