St. George’s Caye Day

On September 10th, Belize celebrates an important event in its history: St. George’s Caye Day—a holiday that commemorates a key naval battle. The Battle of St. George’s Caye occurred between September 3 and September 10, 1798, off 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. Because of this victory, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. Although it was an important holiday, it was not declared a national holiday until its 100-year 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 did not 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, some of whom were pirates and others who were merely shipwrecked in the area. These Europeans, known as Baymen at that time, settled 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 launched an assault on the area on September 3rd, which culminated in them launching one final assault that featured 2,000 troops and over 30 ships. The Baymen and the Spanish fought this battle, and the Baymen ended up winning. This ended Spain’s attempts to control the region from that point on. This day was immortalized as 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 everyone ready for the main celebration on September 10th. When the 10th rolls around, it is celebrated with parades, floats, and plenty of music.

Where is it celebrated?
Belize (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 10 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
September 10 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
September 10 Sunday