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Belize Timeline
A chronology of key historical events in Belize.
1100s - 1400s Maya civilization dominated Belize
1123 Yucatec Maya overthrew the Itza-Maya
1487 Aztec sent spies to Belize for trade and political information
1508 First Spanish excursions occurred, Maya resisted Spanish attempts to control
16-17th centuries The Spanish arrive, but fail to convert the indigenous Maya to Christianity.
1600s The area of present-day Belize becomes part of Spain's possessions in Central America and the Caribbean; British buccaneers and woodcutters begin to settle around the Belize river.
1763 & 1783 Spain signs treaties granting British subjects the privilege of wood-cutting, but retains sovereignty.
1798 Spain tries to remove British settlers from the area by force but fails.
1847-1853 Several thousand Spanish-speaking refugees settle in northern Belize and Maya communities relocate to the north and west following the Caste War in Yucatan.
1859 Britain and Guatemala sign treaty defining border with Belize.
BRITISH RULE
1862 Belize formally declared a British crown colony and named British Honduras.
1893 Mexico renounces claim to Belizean territory.
1930s Belizean economy hit by Great Depression; Belize City largely destroyed by hurricane.
1950 Formation of People's United Party (PUP). Minimum age for women voters lowered from 30 to 21.
FIRST PUP ADMINISTRATION OF GEORGE PRICE
1954 Constitutional reforms give Belize limited autonomy; general elections of 28 April 1954 won by People's United Party (PUP), led by George Price. PUP wins 8 of 9 seats.
1957 Mar PUP retains office winning 8 of 9 seats following general elections.
1958 Formation of National Independence Party (NIP) as first political opposition to PUP.
1961 Mar George Price continues as First Minister following a clean sweep of all 18 seats in the general election
1961 Hurricane Hattie kills more than 260 people.
1964 New constitution gives Belize full autonomy and introduces universal adult suffrage and a two-chamber parliament.
1965 Mar PUP retains office following general elections with 16 of 18 seats in the House of Representatives.
1969 Dec PUP retains office following general elections with 17 of 18 seats in the House of Representatives.
1970 Belmopan replaces Belize City as capital.
1973 The country changes its name from British Honduras to Belize. Formation of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
1974 Oct PUP retains office following general elections with 12 of 18 seats in the House of Representatives.
1979 Nov PUP retains office following general elections with 13 of 18 seats in the House of Representatives.
INDEPENDENCE
1981 Sep Belize becomes independent on 21 September 1981 with George Price as Prime Minister and Dame Elmira Minita Gordon as Governor-General, Guatemala refuses to recognise independent Belizei. About 1,500 British troops remain to defend the country against Guatemalan territorial claims.
FIRST UDP ADMINISTRATION OF MANUEL ESQUIVEL
1984 Dec Manuel Esquivel of the centre-right United Democratic Party (UDP) becomes Prime Minister after defeating Price's PUP in the general elections. UDP wins 21 of 28 seats in the House of Representatives
SECOND PUP ADMINISTRATION OF GEORGE PRICE
1989 Sep PUP returns to office winning 15 of 28 seats in the House of Representatives. George Cadle Price becomes Prime Minister.
1992 Guatemala recognises Belize as a sovereign and independent state.
SECOND UDP ADMINISTRATION OF MANUEL ESQUIVEL
1993 Jun Manuel Esquival becomes Prime Minister after his UDP defeats PUP in general elections; Britain says it will withdraw troops by 1994 after Guatemala recognises Belize; Esquival suspends agreement reached with Guatemala while Price was premier, claiming it made too many concessions in return for recognition.
1993 Nov Sir Coville Young becomes the second Governor-General of Belize.
PUP ADMINISTRATION OF SAID MUSA
1998 Aug Said Musa becomes Prime Minister after the PUP wins a landslide election victory with .26 of 29 seats in the House of Representatives
2000 Oct Hurricane Keith causes widespread devastation.
2001 Oct Towns flattened, thousands left homeless after Hurricane Iris hits.
2002 Sep Belize, Guatemala agree on a draft settlement to their long-standing border dispute at talks brokered by the Organisation of American States (OAS). The deal, which proposed referendums in both countries, is rejected by Guatemala in 2003.
2003 Mar Said Musa is elected for a second term as Prime Minister. PUP wins 21 of 29 seats in the House of Representatives
2004 Jan Britain's Privy Council dismisses an appeal to overturn the Belize government's approval of the proposed Chalillo dam. Campaigners say the dam threatens rare species and communities downstream.
2006 Apr Belize begins commercial exploitation of its oil reserves.
2007 Nov Organisation of American States (OAS) recommends that border dispute with Guatemala be referred to International Court of Justice (ICJ).
PUP ADMINISTRATION OF DEAN BARROW
2008 Feb Dean Barrow becomes Prime Minister after the United Democratic Party (UDP) wins a landslide election victory with 25 of 31 seats in House of Representatives.
2010 May Government says it will stop sending appeals cases to British Privy Council starting 1 June.
2011 Sep Belize is added to US blacklist of countries considered to be major producers or transit routes for illegal drugs.
2011 Sep George Cadle Price dies on 19 September 2011, aged 92.
2012 Mar United Democratic Party (UDP) wins second consecutive term in office with 17 of 31 seats in the House of Representatives.
2015 Nov United Democratic Party (UDP) wins third consecutive term in office with 19 of 31 seats in the House of Representatives.
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Key
PUP = People's United Party; UDP=United Democratic Party; IND = Inpendent candidate; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources
Elections & Boundaries Department, Government of Belize
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