1638

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The Caribbean Superpower of Belize

The Mayans have lived in Belize since the time of Moses, but the first European landing occurs this year when a shipwrecked group of British loggers build a few huts near the Old River now known as the Belize River. This is the bare beginnings of the City of Belize and the colony of British Honduras on the Yucatan Peninsula. (Spanish Honduras is further south.) Belize will soon become a base for British privateers (otherwise known as pirates). Legend has it that the name "Belize" comes from a particularly successful Scottish pirate that the Spanish called "Bellise," but records of this time are unreliable. (Apparently, pirates are not good record keepers.) By the 1680s regular English colonists will establish British Honduras and log the trees to be made into dyes for wool. Later they will harvest mahogany and eventually plant sugar cane. The name will change from British Honduras to Belize in 1973 and the country will achieve full independence from Great Britain in 1981. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the 1st Gulf War, President Bush (the Elder) emphasized that Belize was contributing troops to the war effort. It wasn't very many troops but it was a proportional contribution based on its population size. However, President Bush devoted so much time to the subject that it became embarrassing. I began substituting in my mind, "The Caribbean Superpower of Belize" every time he mentioned it. It is an English-speaking country and it attained independence from England around the time of the Gulf War. Maybe that was why the President was so delighted to welcome them into the family of nations, so to speak. I've seen the commercials inviting US citizens to visit Belize. It sure looks pretty, but as John McAfee of McAfee Antivirus found, Belize has its problems. It is called a 3rd world country for a reason. [6] [7]

What It Means to be 'True Blue' *

There has always been tension between the Church of Scotland (actually, Scottish Presbyterians) and the Anglican Church, but King James managed to come to a compromise and avoid a revolution. His son, King Charles the 1st, has changed all that with a new prayerbook. It's not much different than the Common Book of Prayer that everyone is familiar with but he and the Scottish Bishops produced this new liturgy in secret and foisted it upon the unsuspecting public last year. Riots ensued. If King Charles was going to have it his way then the Scots would have it their own way and they give the bishops the boot this year. As both sides square off for what is looking like a civil war, the Presbyterians make a covenant with each other to remain true to their faith. In any fight, they must fly their colors. Since the English flag is generally red, the Presbyterians choose blue. "True blue" has a nice ring to it. Eventually "true blue" comes to mean those who are loyal and dependable. [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
How does one fight a civil war when everyone is wearing virtually the same uniform? Military uniforms as we think of them in the modern day were not common in the 17th century. We think of the English as being "The Red Coats" but that was late in the 18th century. In the 17th century, uniforms were just coming into being. And like modern campaign slogans and Red, White and Blue banners, the people of the time put a lot of stock in colors and phrases like "true blue" as if following a color meant they were true and faithful to God. This is why certain religious laws were called "blue laws". They were passed to ensure a "true blue" populous. Although we can look back and smile at some of the antics of our ancestors, our modern day flag waving serves to manipulate our emotions today. That is why Presidential candidates give speeches in front of a line of American flags. These symbols still hold sway over us. Knowing this about our fundamental nature is the first step toward sane, rational thought. The second step is to hear the message beyond the stirring music and cheering crowds. It's tough at times. Really tough. But necessary.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1638, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Buccaneer - definition of buccaneer (2015). Retrieved on 2 September 2015. “A pirate, especially one of the freebooters who plundered Spanish shipping in the West Indies during the 17th century.”
  2. History of Belize - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 September 2015. “Early in the 17th century, in southeastern Mexico and on the Yucatán Peninsula, English buccaneers began cutting logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum), which was used in the production of a textile dye. According to legend, one of these buccaneers, Peter Wallace, called 'Ballis' by the Spanish, settled near and gave his name to the Belize River as early as 1638. English buccaneers began using the coastline as a base from which to attack Spanish ships.”
  3. British Honduras - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 September 2015. “British Honduras was the name of a territory on the east coast of Central America, south of Mexico, after it became a British crown colony in 1862. In 1964 it became a self-governing colony. The colony was renamed Belize in June 1973[3] and gained full independence in September 1981. British Honduras was the last continental possession of the United Kingdom in the Americas.”
  4. Camille, Michael (2000). "The Effects of Timber Haulage Improvements on Mahogany Extraction in Belize: An Historical Geography". Yearbook Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (University of Texas Press) 26: 103-115. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25765890. 
  5. (December 8, 1959) Doubtful Locality Records in British Honduras. Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League, 227-233. 
  6. My Warning To Expatriates. Coast to Coast Radio (YouTube) (October 29, 2013). Retrieved on 3 September 2015.
  7. John McAfee - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 September 2015. “On April 30, 2012, McAfee's property in Orange Walk Town, Belize, was raided by the Gang Suppression Unit of the Belizean Police Department. McAfee was in bed with his girlfriend at that time who McAfee said was scared by the incident. A GSU press release stated that McAfee was arrested for unlicensed drug manufacturing and possession of an unlicensed weapon. He was released without charge.”
  8. Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “From 1638 onward, England was quarreling its way toward a civil war between James's successor, Charles I, and Parliament. The Scotch Presbyterians, at that time, joined together, swearing to covenants to fight unitedly for their religion. They were the "Covenanters." They chose blue as their color.” 
  9. Covenanter - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 September 2015. “In 1637, Scotland was in a state of turmoil. King Charles I and William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, met with a reverse in their efforts to impose a new liturgy on the Scots. The new liturgy had been devised by a panel of Scottish bishops, including Archbishop Spottiswoode of St. Andrews, but a riot against its use was orchestrated in St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, ostensibly started by Jenny Geddes.”

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