Every September 10, the nation of Belize erupts in patriotic pride as they celebrate one of the most important events in their history. Commemorating a key naval battle, St. George’s Caye Day is commemorated with joyous street dances, parades, music, games, and an explosion of red, white, and blue (the national colors) everywhere you look.
Back in the early days of the European colonization of Central America, the royal Spanish forces consistently battled with renegade English privateers over control of the western Caribbean. Some of the earliest European settlers in what is now Belize were English loggers known as Baymen, drawn to the country’s pristine forests of valuable hardwoods like mahogany and logwood.
For more than a century, the Spanish clashed with English loggers and privateers, eventually demanding that all British subjects depart the area. On September 10, 1798, a band of intrepid Baymen with naval support from nearby Jamaica defeated a superior Spanish fleet off the water of St. George’s Caye. As a result of this historic victory, Belize became Britain’s sole overseas territory in Central America and the reason why English is still the official language of Belize today.
Today, the intrepid Baymen are honored on the national flag, and September 10 is celebrated as one of the most important patriotic holidays of the year. September 10 is also the unofficial start of two weeks of patriotic pride that culminates on September 21, Independence Day. St. George’s Caye is a small island just offshore of Belize City with very few residents, but every Belizean across the country enthusiastically celebrates the historic 1798 naval battle that forever changed the course of history.
September is also a month when many Belizeans working overseas return to visit friends and family, making September the perfect time to interact with locals. September is also a month when many beautiful plant species begin to flower, and the great weather is ideal for enjoying outdoor activities like snorkeling, sailing, fishing, snorkeling, horse back riding, nature tours, cave tubing, zip lining, and exploring ancient Maya sites like Caracol, Altun Ha, and the underground labyrinth of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, rated by the Discovery Channel as the #1 Sacred Cave in the world.