Terra Incognita
Thesis by John Cater Everitt, 1967


This study is an introductory survey of some aspects of the cultural geography of British Honduras C.A. The problem which was investigated was twofold; firstly, how this enclave of the British Empire grew up to be Britain's only colony in Central America, despite the numerous and powerful pressures in existence to prevent such an occurrence. Secondly, to what extent the many cultural groups who go to make up the population of British Honduras have established distinctive cultural landscapes within the country, and how well integrated these separate cultural landscapes are into an overall British Honduran landscape.

I consulted relevant bibliographic material, in order to discover the historical conditions that have enabled the Colony to be founded, to survive, and to grow in size, population and importance. It was hypothesized that for British Honduras to survive, as a cultural anachronism within the context of Central America, there must have been a more powerful force at work than simply historical accident. Thus, secondly, a field examination of the country was conducted in order to reveal the personality, or personalities of British Honduras. Each district and the capital city were investigated in order to find evidence for the hypothesis. The backgrounds of the cultural groups were investigated wherever possible, and examination made of their group identities, and of the identity of the groups with the country as a whole. A selection of ethnographic studies of the surrounding culture areas of the Caribbean, the Western Caribbean, and of hispanic Central America, were investigated to see how far the Colony is part of any one of these areas.

It was concluded that there is indeed a strong nationalistic feeling within the Colony which, despite its changing nature over time, might have been a contributory factor in the survival and growth of the country. Although there is some evidence that there is a 'British Honduran' feeling within the Colony, there is also considerable evidence that the numerous cultural groups still strongly identify with themselves and with the landscapes with which they have contemporary and historical association. Since Hurricane Hattie in 1961, however, there is some evidence that these cultural groups are being broken up and spread out in a greater mixture throughout the Colony. This is partly the effect of the dislocation caused by the hurricane but also partly an effect of the present economic situation within British Honduras. It might also be a reflection of the changing values and attitudes of the members of the groups, as the country comes in greater contact with the industrial societies of the world.

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