St. George’s Caye Day
On September 10th in Belize, Belize celebrates an important event in its history. On this day, they celebrate St. George’s Caye Day—a holiday that commemorates a key naval battle. The Battle of St. George’s Cay occurred between September 3 and September 10th in 1798 off of the coast of Belize.
It was a battle during which the Baymen defeated the Spanish Navy, ending Spain’s final attempt to take over the country. It’s because of this victory that Belize is the only English-speaking country located in Central America. Although it was an important holiday, it wasn’t declared a national holiday until its 100-year-old anniversary.
The History Of St. George’s Caye Day
During the 16th century and beyond, Spain made a concerted effort to control the area that is now modern-day Belize. Although their aim was to control this part of the Yucatan Coast, they didn’t settle it because of their perception of hostile indigenous tribes in the area as well as a lack of natural resources.
The area was settled by British sailors, however, some of which were pirates and some of which were merely shipwrecked in the area. These Europeans, known as Baymen at this time, would settle the Belize area during the middle of the 17th century.
In the 18th century, the Spanish attempted to once again take control of the region. The Spanish attempted an assault on the area on September 3rd and this culminated in them launching one final assault on the area that featured 2,000 troops and over 30 ships. The Baymen and the Spanish fought this battle, and the Baymen would end up winning it. This ended Spain’s attempts to control the region from that point on. This day would be immortalized in a holiday in 1898 and has been celebrated ever since.
Observing St. George’s Caye Day
On September 9th every year, there are cultural exhibitions and fireworks displays that get every ready for the main celebration on the 10th of September. When the 10th does roll around, it’s celebrated with parades, floats, and plenty of music.