Aerial views of Dangriga
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Monday June 17, 2013

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Dangriga river mouth, we use to call it Bar Mouth.

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Tony Rath
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Aerial views of Dangriga

This is where I live and work - beautiful Dangriga. In the top photo, to the back you can see the Stann Creek Valley denting the foothills of the Maya Mountains. The North Stann Creek River is just visible in the upper half of the right part of the photo. Chocolate brown Havana Creek in the middle of the photo is a flood channel full of fish, shrimp, turtles, birds and an occassional crocodile. The brown along the shore is shallow water - you are seeing the sandy bottom, not muddy water. The white caps are evidence of the NE Trades which blow 80% of the time.

The name "Dangriga" was adopted in 1975, however it has been a town since 1895 (Stann Creek Town). "Dangriga" means still water.

Brief history of the Dangriga (formerly Stann Creek Town as written in this report)

Metzgen, Monrad & Henry Cain: Handbook of British Honduras, 1925.

Situated on a projecting portion of the coast, 33 miles south of Belize, with a sea frontage of more than a mile, fully exposed to the beneficial influences of the trade winds, and having a mountain stream containing an abundance of pure water running through its midst built upon a dry quartz sand, the town of Stann Creek naturally offers especial advantages to those who desire pure air, wholesome water, and an enjoyable climate. The lands immediately aback of the town are exceedingly fertile, improving in quality westwards to the foot of the first range of hills some ten miles inland. Stann Creek was first settled early in the last century by a few hundred Caribs who fled from disturbances in Spanish Honduras. Finding the locality congenial, others of the tribe were attracted until successive waves of immigrants brought the number up to 2,500 in 1890. Since that date, organised immigration has ceased and the increases noted have been due mainly to natural reproduction. To-day, for reasons stated below, the population is showing a decline owing to the emigration in fairly large numbers of the male population Spanish Honduras to work for high wages on banana plantations. There are a number of Creoles (coloured) and a few Europeans residents in the town.

Stann Creek is the Capital of the District which bears its name, an as such the resident town of the District Commissioner. It is also a Port of Entry and a shorelight station. The principal Government buildings are the District Commissioner's Quarters, the District Medical Officer's Quarters, the Court House including the Government Offices, and the Hospital—all erected on the sea front ; the last two conspicuously situated on the beach near the mouth of the river. The Police Station, with District Gaol adjoining, is centrally situated on the main street, while the Slaughter House and Market are conveniently located on the bank of the estuary of the river. The town contains three churches (Roman Catholic, Wesleyan, and Anglican), with a Government aided school attached to each. The Salvation Army has also recently established a station in the town.

Owing to its proximity to the river, the town is subject to severe inundations due to the flooding of the river during the rainy season. The inhabitants suffer considerable hardships during this season.

At the date of preparing this publication, steps are being taken by the Central Government to improve these conditions.

The failure of the Stann Creek Railway owing to the spread of the Panama banana disease, has been strikingly reflected on the town, which has greatly declined in prosperity during the last five years. Many of the inhabitants have left for the Republics and other parts of the Colony ; store's and shops have been closed ; dwellings vacated, and generally there is little evidence of the throbbing, busy little town of a decade ago when the banana industry was a thriving one. Nevertheless, the town has not completely lost its usefulness. Principally through the industrious womenfolk, a large amount of starch, ground provisions and catch crops are grown for the local and Belize markets, and there is every reason to hope that in the near future a measure of its wonted prosperity will, owing to development of a new timber industry in the district, return to the Railway, in which event the prosperity of the town will also almost certainly be restored.

There is a regular weekly coastal service for mails and cargo between Belize and Stann Creek and other points south of the Colony and including Puerto Barrios in Guatemala. In addition to this small crafts ply regularly to and fro transporting passengers and cargo.

Photographs by Tony Rath

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