Belize Battle of St George’s Caye Celebrates Freedom
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is calling on lovers of freedom the world over to join Belizeans in celebrating the little known but immensely important Battle of St George’s Caye – a colourful 18th century skirmish that continues to reverberate in regional politics today.
Recognised as the defining moment in the creation of the present day Belize, a popular Caribbean vacation spot, the 1778 battle saw a group of mostly British settlers and African slaves defeat a Spanish invasion at St George’s Caye, a small island off the coast of present day Belize City.
Chaa Creek owner and GM Lucy Fleming compared the victory with those that led to American independence in the United States.
“It’s to Belize’s history what the battles of Concord and Lexington are to America’s; when a small group of what could be called rag tag but highly motivated patriots stood up to a larger professional army and won.
“As one of those shining moments in history when people rejected tyranny and made enormous sacrifices to create a democratic nation, I think it’s something more people should know about. It really is part of our shared global democratic heritage,” she said.
The Battle of St George’s Caye is celebrated on September 10 as a national holiday in Belize, and is considered to be the start of Belize’s famous holiday season, which runs throughout September to the New Year.
Belizean Independence Day, the young nation’s biggest holiday, is celebrated on September 21 to commemorate the former British Honduras’ amicable independence from Great Britain on that date in 1981. Today Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language.
September 1981 also marked the official opening of the Lodge at Chaa Creek, when Mick and Lucy Fleming opened the first guest accommodation on their farm on the banks of Belize’s Macal River. Since then Chaa Creek has evolved onto Belize’s most well-known eco resort, with signature thatch roof accommodation, a natural History centre and other attractions set within a private 365 acre private rainforest nature reserve.
“It’s been amazing to see both Belize and Chaa Creek grow so much during the last three decades, and we’re honoured to have been part of that growth. If those outnumbered patriots fighting so valiantly at St George’s Caye over 200 years ago could see what their beloved British Honduras has become, and the quality of life their descendants are enjoying, I think they would be very happy indeed,” Ms Fleming said.
“And I think that lovers of freedom all over the world will join us in recognising and saluting the battle of St George’s cayes as an example of the sacrifices brave men and women the world over have made in the name of freedom,” she added.
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