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#349985 - 09/02/09 09:57 AM St. George's Caye Declared A Historic Site
Marty Online   happy

It doesn’t have the lure of the other top tourist island destinations like San Pedro and Caye Caulker – there are no high rise hotels, cobblestone streets, or happy hour bars. But what Saint George’s Caye doesn’t have in attractions – it has in history. 211 years of it to be precise which is where the historic 2 and a half hour battle played out in 1798. And today the battle over the battle ended – or so it seems as the island finally got its symbolic, state sanctioned respect. 7News was on the island for it. Keith Swift has the story.

Keith Swift Reporting,
It may look like just another island paradise but it is not. This is St. George’s Caye – a small island 8 miles east of Belize City with two hundred years of Belizean history. Hardline patriots say St. George’s Caye was the cradle of Belize.

Sharon Pitts, Nationalist
“St. George’s Caye to my mind is one of the most historic places within the country of Belize. It was the victory of our ancestors, the Baymen, the white man, the master, the slave, the freed black men including the Flower’s Bank 14 who came down by canoe to the public meeting on 1st of June 1797 and decided that rather than evacuate the territory, after being warned about the pending invasion of the Spanish forces, the imperial Spanish forces, they decided to stay and defend the homeland, this territory.

As well the victory at St. George’s Caye was the first independence of Belize and it ensured that after that there was consolidation of territory. Never again did the invading forces come. No history is greater, no battle could ever supersede or compare to the battle of Saint George’s Caye.”

Geraldine Tillett, Chairman of St. George’s Caye Day Society
“It is at St. George’s Caye that history, the whole history of the battle took place.”

John Searle Jr. still lives on the island.

John Searle, Chairman – St. George’s Caye Council
“As residents of the island, we have always known that this place was important historically and it is just nice that it gets some official recognition at this time.”

Strictly speaking – archaeologist Jaime Awe say a battle did occur because the history doesn’t lie.

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director of Archaeology
“We went to the archives, we’ve looked in historical documents that are located outside of Belize. We’ve also done some excavations right here on the island and one of the things that we have found out is that there could be no doubt that a decision was made by the first Belizeans to stay in our country and defend this country, to fight for this country. That decision to stay and fight is of incredible significance to us because had that not happened, you and I would not be here in Belize. We would be either part of Guatemala or part of Mexico and you can’t get more significant than that. That gave birth to our nation.”

And that’s why it was fitting this afternoon for Minister of Culture Manuel Heredia Jr. to officially declare Saint George’s Caye a historical site.

[Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.: As Minister responsible for culture, I hereby declare St. George’s Caye a national historical landmark in honour of past, present, and future generations.]

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Culture
“Historical accounts of the intensity and significance of the battle differ but what is indisputable is that during the first few days of September, culminating on the tenth, the Spaniards were never allowed to land on St. George’s Caye because of the fortitude and determination of Baymen and soldiers, masters and slaves.”

Dianne Haylock, NICH President
“It is a historical site. A battle was fought here that basically to my mind started the process for this part of the world to become a nation called Belize.”

Geraldine Tillett,
“Declaring this site as a historical site sends a message that whether or not you believe that there was a battle, we in our hearts know that something took place and it determined the course of our country, of our nation.”

And that is evident now more than ever as this Belizean flag now proudly flies on the historic island.

So what now that it is officially a historically site? Well NICH President Dianne Haylock says they will now be seeking funds to conduct research and delve deeper into the island’s history. There are 200 registered voters in Saint George’s Caye but only 6 people actually live there. An interesting note is that today’s ceremony was held on top of the island’s cemetery.

Channel 7

#349991 - 09/02/09 10:37 AM Re: St. George's Caye Declared A Historic Site [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
Our Heritage :-)
"It was the victory of our ancestors, the Baymen, the white man, the master, the slave, the freed black men including the Flower’s Bank 14 "
Would it be fair/accurate to say our heritage is a mixed group of ethnic rich and poor fighting for a common ground?
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#349993 - 09/02/09 10:43 AM Re: St. George's Caye Declared A Historic Site [Re: elbert]
elbert Offline
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#350554 - 09/06/09 11:51 AM Re: St. George's Caye Declared A Historic Site [Re: elbert]
Marty Online   happy
Belize has hundreds of cayes offshore, but the one that stands out for its historical significance is St. George’s Caye – said to be the country’s first capital and the fort from which the Baymen, in the late 18th century, forced the Spaniards to desist from attempts to remove the land now known as Belize from the grips of British pirates and buccaneers. Belize eventually became a British colony and later an independent country.
Recitals of these historical highlights flood the annual September celebrations, and this year, organizers took things one step further, by formally declaring that St. George’s Caye, also once known as Kitchen Caye (or Cosina Cayo) is a “national historical landmark.”
The declaration was made by chairman of the September Celebrations Committee, Manuel Heredia, Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, at the opening ceremonies for the annual September celebrations, held for the first time on the island, which the minister said had been used by logwood cutters.
Guests to the event arrived via a 150-passenger catamaran, Betty M, and the Reef Rocket; and the event was held on what was once the island’s cemetery – a 19th century memorial tombstone was visible near the tents that accommodated the visitors.
Among the guests were Governor-General, Sir Colville Young; Commissioner of Police, Crispin Jeffries, Sr.; Minister of State in the Ministry of Works, Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro, as well as Queen of the Bay, Karima Card, and the 10 delegates who will compete for her crown in the pageant to be held at the Belize City Center this coming Saturday.
In presenting the welcome address, John Searle, Jr., resident of the island and chairman of the Community Council of St. George’s Caye, commended organizers for the recognition of the location said to be the country’s first capital (spanning the era of 1650 to the 1780’s).
Minister Heredia presented Searle with an oversized plaque, courtesy of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Institute of Archaeology, declaring St. George’s Caye a “national historical landmark.”
The minister said that this year’s celebration is especially meaningful and rewarding, because of the bestowment to St. George’s Caye of the status of historical landmark – a long overdue recognition, he said.
Dr. James Garber, professor in anthropology at the Texas State University (San Marcos), and Dr. Jaime Awe, director of the Institute of Archaeology in Belize, made presentations on the historical significance of St. George’s Caye.
According to Dr. Awe, 128 men met in Old Belize Town to decide the fate of Belize, and by a 14-vote majority, they chose to stay and defend the territory. A year, three months and ten days later came the Battle of St. George’s Caye, Awe added.
He called the battle a “defining moment in the history of Belize,” which “should never be erased by historical revisionism.”
The one incontrovertible aftermath is that the Spanish never attempted to reclaim the territory again, said Awe, adding that that decision bequeathed the land as ours.
Garber agreed that while the Battle of St. George’s Caye of 1798 has been portrayed in many different ways, the 2 ½-hour long battle over 200 years ago was the Spaniards’ last attempt to challenge British possession of the settlement.
He noted that a 1764 map of the crescent-shaped landmark island is printed on Belize’s $5 bill (the reverse side).
Burnaby’s Code – which had 12 points and a preamble – was signed on the island in 1765 and could be considered Belize’s first constitution, said Garber, adding that the code began to be supplanted by English law around 1840. (According to Heredia, the code prevailed until Belize became a colony of Britain in 1862.)
Speaking of the location of the ceremonies, Garber said the majority of Belizeans are related either by blood or by marriage to those buried beneath the surface of the old cemetery. He pointed to names such as Eve Broaster - a woman who was brought from Africa and who seemingly retained her traditional spiritual rites and never converted to Christianity.
After the formalities were over, there were cultural presentations by Richard Pitts, Jr., on saxophone, Bea Armstrong – the winner of this year’s patriotic song competition, and Francis Reneau and his ensemble of instrumentalists.
At the opening ceremonies, Zelda Wade Hill of Roaring Creek received $1,000 for winning the theme competition, and submitting the top pick of 75 entries.
Hill is credited as the author of this year’s theme: “Diverse origins, common aspirations – together we celebrate as Belizeans.”
Co-chair of the September Celebrations Committee, Diane Haylock, president of NICH, unveiled the new logo, which she said would form the template for each year’s celebrations, as well as the full-color playbill for the celebrations, listing events to take place over the next 21 days in all 9 municipalities, and a wall calendar of the September celebrations.
According to Haylock, the idea is to continue to use St. George’s Caye as the site for the launch of the annual September celebrations.
Heredia noted that the intention is to spread the official ceremonies across all three historic capitals: starting on September 1 with the inaugural ceremony on the former island capital of St. George’s Caye; moving next with the official 10th of September ceremonies to coastal metropolis of Belize City, said to be the second capital; and then to the current inland capital – Belmopan, where the national Independence Day ceremonies are due to be held, commemorating the 28th anniversary of Belize’s independence from Britain.
This year marks the 211th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye.


#350999 - 09/10/09 12:18 PM Re: St. George's Caye Declared A Historic Site [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

September 09, 2009

The month of September is a time of festivity here in Belize, when all Belizeans join together in celebration of two important occasions that took place in our history. One of those events is the Battle of St Georges Caye Day. And even though some people still have doubts about what really took place on that day, Historian Fred Hunter says, there was a battle. He stopped by Love News studios this morning to talk a bit on the tenth of September.

Fred Hunter: Historian

“I remember as a child, working at Brodies around 1945 and the feeling of preparing for the tenth of September Celebration. It was something big and everybody, there were no parties then. Everybody used to celebrate it; there was no was there a battle or wasn’t there a battle. From Corozal to Punta Gorda used to celebrate it. All the business houses used to have big floats, all the ministries had big floats at it was a stiff competition because some ministries would hide their floats so the other ministries would not see what they are doing. It was big; you had ten, twelve, fourteen floats; big beautiful floats. I think politics broke it up; politics is killing the country. “All ah we dah one” but we are still fighting that thing. I am so glad that this present government is reviving it and bringing it back in full force. This is the way it was before we had politics and all of us, if we did not have the Battle of St. George’s Caye, would not have been here today and independent Belizeans. This nonsense about whether or not there was a battle is pure politics. There was definitely a battle because the archives in Jamaica, London, Spain and Mexico all have a record of the Battle of St. George’s Caye.”

Tomorrow at eight-15 the official Battle of St. George’s Caye Day Ceremony will be held at the Memorial Park.



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