Postage stamp showing the Tower Hill Sugar Factory, 1992
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Postage stamp showing the Tower Hill Sugar Factory, 1992

The most successful Confederate settlement in northern British Honduras was near Orange Walk, a village of some 1,200 creole woodcutters and mestizo farmers on the left bank of the New River. A contemporary report described the citizens as “indifferent to British rule.” The new settlement, called Tower Hill, was four miles from the town. Its leader was John Wallace Price, war veteran and sugarcane farmer from Louisiana. Many emigrants had hoped to replicate the cotton agriculture of the South, but cotton was never grown successfully, and Price quickly demonstrated the profitability of sugarcane.

All of the country’s sugar production, around a million tons per year, now comes from the Tower Hill Sugar Factory near Orange Walk. And descendants of John Wallace Price still live in now-independent Belize.

Travelers from Mexico today can easily reach Orange Walk, about an hour’s drive south of Chetumal. The town’s nickname is “Sugar City,” and the Tower Hill Sugar Factory is an impressive sight. Trucks loaded to overflowing with sugarcane can form lines stretching for miles during harvest season. The factory produces molasses and rum as well as sugar for export.

The sites of two colonial-era forts, Mundy and Cairns, are near the center of Orange Walk Town, although there are few remains and little interpretation.

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