The Battle of St. George’s Caye is a Belizean holiday celebrated every year on the 10th of September. It celebrates the British settlers, buccaneers, and slaves who defeated the Spaniards from occupying Belize. Today, Belizeans everywhere are very proud of our forefathers defending this small nation. Belize is now the only English-speaking country in Central America – and we honor this historical day.
The Battle of St. George’s Caye dates back to 1798. This battle took place from the 3rd to the 10th of September. The battling parties were the Spanish Navy and the British settlers. With the former undertaking a last-ditch effort to dislodge the British. However, the Baymen weren’t giving up their land that easily though. Alongside slaves, woodcutters and a small naval detachment from Jamaica they fought the Spaniards relentlessly. Nonetheless, on the final day, September 10, the Spaniards retreated as they were unable to properly navigate through the Belizean reef and were ravished by sickness. Later, the Baymen defeated the Spaniards and established the settlement to be a colony of Great Britain.
How Belizeans Celebrate
The Battle of St. George’s Caye Day is celebrated on 10 September each year as a national public and bank holiday. Parades are held throughout the country to commemorate the battle fought by our forefathers. There is also a special song, sung! Whilst, in previous years celebrations have included the crowning of Miss San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, a regatta at and Remembrance Ceremony St.George’s Caye, this year the celebrations are slightly more subdued due to COVID-19. However, proud Belizeans will still celebrate this day!
BBQs are synonymous with any Belizean celebration. They give us the chance to come together and celebrate over food and this day is no different. We may not be able to gather as before this 10th, but we can embody the spirit of celebrating with food! This Belizean BBQ recipe is a firm favorite. Pair the BBQ or other Belizean favorite – pibil tacos – with a locally loved rum punch! This rum punch recipe is sweet and refreshing and will have everyone feeling jolly. End the day on a sweet note with Belizean Caramel Cake, topped with positively indulgent dulce de leche!
For more information on September celebrations in Belize, browse these colorful photos and celebrate virtually.
Feature photo: © Casa Al Mar on St. George's Caye, Belize