Belize Collection

The Belize Collection presents issues of Caribbean-wide interest from a Belize perspective. The collection includes new editions of important books now out of print, as well as current essays and academic papers on sociology, history, education, economy and other areas of academic research. The books in this collection will contribute to the understanding of Belize’s past and its unique perspective as a new nation with links to both Central American and Caribbean regions.

The Economic History of Belize

The Economic History of Belize, from the 17th Century to Post-Independence

Author: Barbara Bulmer-Thomas and Victor Bulmer-Thomas

Paperback – 214 pages
1st Edition – April, 2012
ISBN: 978-976-8161-39-0

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This is the first economic history of Belize covering the period from the 17th century to post-independence. The book begins with the myth of Peter Wallace, who was widely believed to have been the first British settler, however this is shown to be false. It then explores the economic system established by the first settlers in the late 17th century that was almost exclusively centred on the export of logwood. This logwood economy operated outside the British imperial system until the Treaty of Paris in 1763, when Belize became a British settlement. In the next century the economy became more diversified through both the export of mahogany as well as the entrepot trade with Central America. When Belize became a British colony in 1862, it coincided with the decline of the entrepot trade and a crisis in the world mahogany industry. This led to an attempt by the British authorities to introduce agricultural exports. The Belize Botanic Station was founded in 1892 to promote economic diversification and agricultural exports, which tried various ways to end the colony’s total dependence on forestry. However, these efforts were insufficient and the economy went into serious decline before devaluation at the end of 1949. By the time of independence in 1981, the economy had become much more diversified, but Belize’s position still compared unfavourably with the rest of the Caribbean. The performance of the economy since independence has been very volatile with periods of boom followed by slumps leading to high unemployment and a deterioration in income distribution. The reasons for this are examined in detail, while the authors conclude with a series of policy recommendations designed to improve Belize’s long-run economic performance.

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Like Bush Fire: Male social participation and violence in urban Belize

Male social participation and violence in urban Belize
Authors -Herbert Gayle
Virginia Hampton
Nelma Mortis

Paperback 254 pages
1st Edition- June 2016
ISBN- 978-976-8161-47-5
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This book is based on the study “Male Social Participation and Violence in Urban Belize”, which was completed in 2010, Belize’s first comprehensive study of social violence. Born out of the Mayflower Street grenade attack on May 21, 2008, the study was designed to focus on urban violence. The 2,210 persons interviewed included school children, community members, police officers, government officials–and even members of the Crips, Bloods and MS13 gangs. The study utilized a cocktail of qualitative, quantitative, participatory and integrated methods to create a research base that could inform policy changes necessary to secure the social order needed to take Belize through its post-independence transition. Six years later it becomes inevitable that this book would also critically assess the changes that have been effected in Belize by the Report. Clearly the energy that created the study remained high for a couple years; nonetheless, since then things have become worse, with Belize jumping from a top ten position to being among the top five most violent countries in the world. Five years later data from the Living Standards Measurement Survey (2015) suggest that the standard of living is not becoming better in Belize, with 50 percent of children and 43 percent of youth living below the poverty line. The book is a response to the need for society to focus on social violence as a direct result of scarce resources being shared poorly, where youth are forced to violently compete for scraps. This is the context that forces the book to embrace a “wake up” writing mood. Throughout the study youth scream that there must be a change in attitude towards them, urging families and communities to invest heavily in their welfare while they are alive.

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The Garifuna: A Nation Across Borders

The Garifuna: A Nation Across Borders
Essays in Social Anthropology

Authors: Alfonso Arrivillaga, E. Roy Cayetano, Marion Cayetano, Byron Foster, Francesca Gargallo, Oliver Greene Jr., Peter Hulme, Gabriel Izard, Mark Moberg, and Joseph O. Palacio
Editor: Joseph O. Palacio

Paperback – 207 pages
2nd Edition – 2009 (1st edition, January 2005)
ISBN: 978-976-816-113-0

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This overview of the state of Garifuna Studies at the beginning of the 21st century is an impressive collection of essays written by Garifuna and non-Garifuna scholars from throughout the region, with a foreword contributed by renowned social anthropologist, Nigel Bolland., the book covers both historic and contemporary issues including oral history, the origins of the Garinagu, accounts by 16th century French colonizers, spirituality, gender relations, cultural identity, aesthetics, musical traditions and the background leading to UNESCO’s 2001 Proclamation of Garifuna Language, dance and music as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. This is the first comprehensive collection of essays on the history and culture of the Garinagu.

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Taking Stock: Belize at 25 years of Independence

Taking Stock: Belize at 25 years of Independence
Editors: Barbara S. Balboni and Joseph O. Palacio

Paperback 344 pages
1st Edition – September 2007
ISBN: 978-976-816-118-5

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In this collection of essays, distinguished economists, conservationists, lawyers, sociologists, and other scholars – all longtime observers of Belize and its people – take stock. In most cases they present, for the first time ever, essays that focus on Belize, a country that is once deceptively uncomplicated yet surprisingly complex. The essays, which reflect on what brought Belize to this point, are eminently readable but provocative and challenging. The authors analyse and evaluate data, politics, laws, and practices from the economic, environmental, societal, and cultural sectors. The essays are a bid for independence -independent thinking, analysis, and evaluation.

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Family and People all Well…

Family and People all Well…
Account of the Occurrences in the Business of Mahogany and Logwood Cutting in the Bay of Honduras in 1789

Author: Roy Murray

Paperback – 118 pages
1st Edition – December 2006
ISBN: 976-8161-15-9

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Colonel James Lawrie was one of the most significant mahogany and logwood cutters in Belize during the last quarter of the 19th century. The Journal upon which this book is based forms part of a private collection of Lawrie Papers held at the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh. As far as we know, it is one of the only day to day accounts of the activities of timber slaves involved in the extraction of mahogany and logwood in Belize during a logging season, that has survived and as such, is a valuable insight into the nature of slavery in a colony that remained on the periphery of the sugar plantation economies of the British West Indies until well after emancipation in 1834.

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Colonialism and Resistance in Belize

Colonialism and Resistance in Belize, Essays in Historical Sociology
Author: O. Nigel Bolland

Paperback – 238 pages
2nd Edition – 2004 (revised June 2003)
ISBN: 978-968-623-304-9

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This revised collection of essays focuses on topics of importance to the history and people of Belize, during three centuries of colonialism. It examines the early British settlement, the nature of slavery in Belize and the development of Creole culture, as well as relations between the Maya and the British in the 19th century and systems of labour control after Emancipation, ending with contemporary issues of ethnicity and politics.

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