The People of Belize
Belize is a small country with only around 360,000 inhabitants, but the country has one of the most diverse populations of any country on the planet. A truly harmonious melting pot society, the disparate ethnic and cultural groups in Belize each have their own unique culture and story of how they came to settle in Belize.
Sometimes spelled “Kriol”, the Creole are the largest ethnic group in Belize. Primarily descended from enslaved Africans, the Creole can be found in every district of the country.
When enslaved Africans intermarried with Caribbean islanders on British-run sugar plantations, they developed the unique Garifuna culture. After rebelling against the British, the Garifuna fled westward, eventually arriving in Belize approximately 200 years ago. Officially, the people are called Garinagu while the adjectival form is Garifuna.
From a Spanish term meaning “mixed”, the Mestizos emigrated to Belize in the early 19th century to escape an ongoing civil war in Mexico. The Mestizos speak Spanish as their native tongue and have contributed many culinary delights to Belizean cuisine. Most Mestizos live either in the north or west.
The original inhabitants of the area, today the Maya are divided into three sub-groups: the Kekchi Maya, Nopan Maya, and Yucatec Maya. Some of these groups were originally from other regions of the Maya empire but emigrated following the Spanish conquest. The Maya tend to be found in the north, west, and south of the country.
Still largely speaking an archaic version of German (called Plattdeutsch), the Mennonites emigrated from Europe in the first wave and from North America in a second wave of immigration. The Mennonites of Belize are known for their furniture making, dairy production, and self-reliance.
Originally brought to Belize as contract laborers in the 1860s, the Chinese population quickly acclimated to the country. Due to laws prohibiting them from farming, many Chinese moved to Belize Town (now Belize City) to set up small shops and laundries. Today, the native Chinese population makes up 2% of the people in Belize.
Following the American Civil War (1860-1865), some Confederate soldiers emigrated to southern Belize near the town of Punta Gorda. In more recent years, American expats have begun to increase in numbers, particularly in Corozal District in the north.
Once slavery was abolished in Belize in the 1870s, many people from British colonies in the Indian subcontinent began to emigrate to Belize. Today, they can be found particularly in Belize City and the southern Toledo District.
Black Orchid Resort
The Black Orchid Resort is the perfect jungle resort to stay for your Belize vacation.
This eco-friendly, modern, jungle resort is located only 30 minutes outside of Belize City and 15 minutes from the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, a perfect base for you to access the mainland and islands. Enjoy world-class luxury in a natural setting with gorgeous suites, elegantly-appointed air-conditioned rooms, and quiet beauty.
This is an excellent alternative to Belize City and the perfect getaway to explore Belize. Launch your daily adventure from here, whether it’s bird watching, scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, tours to top destinations on the mainland, rainforests, waterfalls, caves, or ancient Maya ruins.
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