Independence Day in Belize
On the 21st of September every year since 1981, Belize has celebrated Independence Day. This holiday commemorates the country’s independence from Great Britain. Although it’s currently an independent country, it still maintains its members in the Commonwealth.
This day is a public holiday in the country that’s observed with parties, carnivals, and other spectacular public events. It’s also a day off for the general population, and many businesses, government offices, and schools are closed for the day.
It’s a day for the 400,000+ people of this country to come together and enjoy their shared culture and independence.
The History Of Independence Day In Belize
From 250 to 900 A.D., Belize was the centerpiece of the Mayan Empire. Although it would remain an important part of this empire until the 16th century, over the centuries it began to enter a period of decline. This period of decline was accelerated when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.
These Europeans brought epidemics of yellow fever and smallpox, for which the Mayans didn’t have natural immunity. Of course, the Spanish wouldn’t stay long in Belize either. British pirates used the islands as their base and harassed Spanish ships.
These pirates, as well as British settlers, would end up defeating the Spanish and keeping them from occupying the area. On September 3rd, 1798, Spanish and British forces would collide at the Battle of St. George’s Caye, and the Spanish navy was soundly defeated.
Belize would become the only Central American country with English as its official language and it would become a colony known as British Honduras. In 1862, it then became a British Crown Colony. It would remain so until it gained the right to its own government in 1964. In 1973, British Honduras was renamed Belize, and in 1981, it became an independent country.
Observing Independence Day In Belize
This holiday is celebrated with concerts, colorful parades, cultural activities, and other special events. It’s also a holiday that’s attended by tourists from all over the world eager to take part in all of the colorful festivities.