Belize: History

  1. 1638

    The first recorded European settlement is established by shipwrecked English seamen, although the area had been claimed by Spain. Over the next 150 years, more English settlements are built.

  2. 1798

    Spain is unsuccessful in its attempts to remove the British settlers from Belize.

  3. 1862

    Belize is officially declared a crown colony called British Honduras.

  4. 1964

    A new constitution gives Belize full internal self-government. Universal adult suffrage and a two-chamber parliament is established.

  5. 1973

    The country changes its name from British Honduras to Belize.

  6. 1981

    Belize declares complete independence from Britain.

  7. 2005

    Anti-government protests turn into riots in Belmopan over proposed tax increases.

  8. 2006

    Belize begins to drill for oil.

  9. 2012

    Belize is categorized in “selective” default, one step below a full default by ratings agency Standard and Poor’s.


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