Belize in the Early 1600s

1630 – The earliest possible report of a British settlement in Belize referred to the “Cockscomb Coast”, which may be a reference to a location in Belize. (B)

1631 – Nearly one hundred British Puritans, formed as the Providence Company, settle Providence Island off the coast of Nicaragua. This is the same group that sent the Mayflower to North America. (H:18)

1633 – The Providence Company settled Roatan, Honduras with several hundred colonists from North America. (H:22)

1635 – The Providence Company established a fortification at Cape Gracias a Dios in the area where present-day Honduras and Nicaragua meet on the Caribbean coast. (H:26)

1638 or 1640 – Reported first settlement of Capt. Wallace (or Willis), a British buccaneer, in the Belize River area. (B) There is some doubt as to the validity of the claim because the event is not mentioned before 1827, and then the reference occurs in Jamaica. (F) However, it is known that British privateers were active along the Belize and Miskito coasts from the late 1500′s. (H) (S) A 1798 map of Belize City marks Haulover Creek as “R. Wallix”. This name appears quite similar to Wallace and precedes the Jamaican report by 29 years. However, a 1705 report mentions “River of Bullys”, referring to the Belize River, which suggests that the river was called Belize before Wallix. (F) The change of name may have been to commemorate the founder or it was part of the building of the legend.

1638 – As early as 1638, it is known that settlers along the Miskito Coast had trading and marital relations with the Miskito Indians, known in Belize as waika. The Miskito were the dominant tribal group in the Caribbean coastal area of Nicaragua. They hated the Spanish and frequently joined the bucaneers in raids on Spanish settlements. (H:31,36-39)

1641 – Spanish forces destroy the Providence Island colony and rout settlers from Roatan. However, it is believed that settlers had already spread out along the coast from Belize to Nicaragua. (H:28-32)

1650 approx. – An ex-buccaneer turned logwood cutter, Bartholomew Sharpe, came in contact with a Spanish priest, Padre Jose Delgado, in the Mullins River area of Belize. Padre Delgado was making his way from Guatemala to Mexico. (M:17) Whenever the first British settlers arrived in Belize, the first shipments of logwood started coming out of Belize around 1650. (B)

1642 to1685 – British buccaneers make numerous raids on Spanish settlements throughout Central America. In 1665, one group of British bucaneers who had been cutting logwood in the Bay of Campeche, sailed down the coast possibly stopping in Belize on the way to attach Granada, Nicaragua. (H:32)