In 1862, the territory of British Honduras was officially created, even though it had been ruled by the British Crown since 1798. The average Belizean had few rights and a very low living standard. Political unrest grew in a stifled atmosphere. Even when a contingent of Belizean soldiers traveled to Europe to fight for the British in World War I, the black men were scorned. But when these men returned from abroad, the pot of change began to boil. Over the next 50 years, the country struggled through power plays, another world war, and economic crises. But always the seed was there—the desire to be independent. The colonial system had been falling apart around the world, and when India gained its freedom in 1947, the pattern was set. Many small, undeveloped countries began to gain independence and started to rely on their own ingenuity to build an economy that would benefit their people.
Even though Belize was self-governing by 1964, it was still dominated by outside influences until September 1981, when it gained its independence from the British Crown. In September 1981, the Belizean flag was raised for the first time—the birth of a new country. Belize joined the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement. The infant country’s first parliamentary elections were held in 1984. You can see that original Belizean flag at the George Price Centre in Belmopan.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition