Timeline Garifuna History Belize
By The Founder on August 13, 2008
1635 - Two Spanish ships wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent - West African slaves escape to the island, where they found the Yellow Caribs, a group that emerged from the intermarriages between the Venezuelan Caribs and the island Arawaks.
1675 - Another shipwreck brought another wave of Africans to St. Vincent. Also, African slaves who had escaped nearby slave plantations from places like Jamaica found their way to the island.
1750 - The new race of people - today called the GARIFUNA or Black Caribs, which emerged on the island of St. Vincent through the integration of 3 peoples - the Arawaks, the Yellow Caribs and the Africans - are said to have grown strong and prosperous on the island.
1763 - British colonizers established presence on the island; French had already partially colonized the territory. British and French were fighting for territorial control. The Garifuna sided with the French, with whom they had developed a trading relationship after an informal war truce/peace pact.
1763-1795: 32-year conflict between the Caribs and the Europeans, particularly the British. There was some intermarriage also between the Caribs and the Europeans, resulting in the so-called Red Carib race, known from the island of Dominica.
1795: On March 14, Paramount Chief of the Black Caribs, Joseph Chatoyer, died in battle.
1796: The French surrendered to the British; but the Caribs kept up the fight. They were famed as being "belligerent."
To subdue them, the British - who were after the land they had cultivated - torched their possessions. There were two major wars: the Caribs won the first in 1795, and the British won the second sometime in 1796.
It is reported that Chatoyer's daughter, Gulisi, was one of the first to settle in Belize. At the age of 24, she reportedly came to Belize from Honduras, with 5 sons.
1797: About 5,000 Garinagu were said to have "survived" the wars. In March, the British launched a manhunt for the Garinagu. They wanted to use those who had survived the bloody wars to help them fight the Spaniards. They were expecting a war, which came in 1798 - the historical Battle of St. George's Caye - and had uniforms made for the Garifuna men.
One year before the Battle of St. George's Caye, the British packed up the Garinagu into ships, reportedly with the intent of sending them to Belize. The popular traditional accounts say that they were "deported" from St. Vincent to Roatan, Honduras, then a Spanish colony. Perhaps the Garinagu refused to fight!
The Garifuna people were transported from Balliceaux, near Bequia, St. Vincent, to Roatan, Honduras, and half of them reportedly perished from the scourges of disease, starvation and harsh treatment by colonial powers. They were reportedly sent off with three months' food supply, and some allege their deportation was a deliberate attempt at genocide.
1799: First reported contact with Belize.
1801: On March 25, Garinagu arrive at Belize City, spotted many white buildings near the sea, and called it by the name YARBURA - which later became Yarborough. They were only allowed to stay temporarily for 2 days.
1802: 150 Caribs settled in Belize at Yarborough. Some surnames of the settlers include: Avaloy, Avila, Beni, Blanco, Cayetano, Ciego, Diego, Ellis, Enriquez, Guerrero, Lambey, Lewis, Martinez, Moguel, Noguera, Nunez, Rhys, Reyes and Serano. One of the prominent leaders at the time was Benito Beni.
1802: Village of Red Cliff - present day Barranco - established.
Today, Barranco, one of the first Garifuna communities in Belize, is one of the last havens where the Garifuna culture is preserved in one of its most dynamic
1823: 375 Garinagu recorded at Yarborough in Belize City.
On March 31, Elejo Beni, Romauldo Lewis, Elias Martinez, Alejo Lambey and Alejo Beni's cousin, Benito Beni, their interpreter, approached Sup. Major-General Edward Codd 1823-1829) for permission for Garinagu to migrate from Honduras.
1823: On Wednesday, November 19, 500 Garinagu settled in Belize. This was the largest recorded exodus of Garifuna to Belize.
300 Dangriga (then Stann Creek Town). 125 Punta Gorda (Toledo). 28 Seine Bight. 15 Jonathon Point. 8 Newtown (desolated by hurricane)
1941 - First celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize, called Carib Disembarkation Day. Founded by Thomas Vincent Ramos.
1943 - Ramos lobbied for a public and bank holiday and succeeded two years after celebrations began. Granted only for Stann Creek.
1944: Holiday extended to the Toledo District, where the third largest concentration of Garifuna lived.
1977: Carib Settlement Day becomes a national holiday, and name changed to
Garifuna Settlement Day.
2001: On November 15, UNESCO made a public proclamation of the Garifuna culture as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity.
2002: Chief Chatoyer celebrated as the first National Hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. His stalwart struggle against the British won him this acclaim 207 years after his death, when the country celebrated its first National Heroes Day on March 14, this year.
2002: On November 13, the Order of Belize bestowed posthumously upon T. V.
Ramos, now recognized as one of Belize's true patriots.
Contributed by Adele Ramos. Editor's Note. Ms. Ramos is a Garifuna nationalist.