The Diplomatic History of British Honduras, 1638-1901

The Diplomatic History of British Honduras, 1638-1901

The Diplomatic History of British Honduras, 1638-1901

The Diplomatic History of British Honduras, 1638-1901

Excerpt

The settlement of Belize, or, as it later became, the colony of British Honduras, was from the seventeenth to the twentieth century a centre of acute diplomatic controversy, first between Great Britain and Spain and later between Britain and Mexico and between Britain and Guatemala. The growth of a British settlement in Central America aroused also the opposition of the United States. The Anglo-Spanish dispute ended at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Anglo-Mexican dispute at its close, by which time also the United States had ceased to take an interest in the affairs of the colony. The Anglo- Guatemalan dispute, however, which seemed, in 1900, to be dying of inanition, revived in the 1930's, and, since then, no longer confining herself to the matters in dispute in the, 1860's, Guatemala has advanced a claim to the possession of the whole of British Honduras.

The following pages investigate the origin and growth of the colony and analyse the diplomatic controversies to which that growth, together with the overthrow of Spanish dominion in the New World, gave rise. The narrative ends in 1901 because at that date the Anglo-Guatemalan dispute ceased, for the next thirty years, to be active, and because its subsequent history contributes nothing fresh to the issues already raised in the nineteenth century.

I should like to express my gratitude to Mr. A. H. Anderson, the Archaeological Commissioner in British Honduras, who kindly examined on my behalf the Archives of Jamaica in Spanish Town and the records of the Belize Registry; to Mrs. H. L. Jenkyns, who prepared the maps; to my wife, who has made the index; and to Professor W. L. Burn and Dr. David Waddell, who have given me the benefit of their criticism and advice. I am most grateful also to Admiral Julio F. Guillén and Professor Lewis Hanke, both of whom have gone out of their way to help me. But my chief debt is to Miss Katharine Duff, whose assistance at every stage and more particularly in . . .

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