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Sep 7, 2016

The Battle of St. George’s Caye from the Spanish perspective

Dr. Angel Cal

A slightly different perspective on the Battle of St. George’s Caye was the subject of today’s annual National History Lecture in Belize City at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. A group of researchers discussed a large number of documents obtained from the Spanish archives in Seville, Spain, which by and large confirm the organization and plans of the Battle. It also shows the ugly retreat by the Spanish-Mexican fleet after being routed by a combination of British Baymen and black slaves. We hear more about the findings from History lecturer at the University of Belize, Doctor Angel Cal.

 

Dr. Angel Cal, History Lecturer, University of Belize

“It was very clear that the reefs played a major role – but that’s only geography and they knew that even before they came. They also know that the British would have put up a stout defence; what they did not know, was that even with their enslaved men, the British were able to get the support of many of these ex-slaves, many of these freed slaves, many of these slaves themselves, and others, who came on to man the gun flats that were sent out to St. George’s Caye, and played a major role in blocking the Spaniards from landing their troops, because if the Spaniards had landed their troops, more than likely they had enough metal power and enough man power to have probably taken over Belize.”

 

More than three thousand troops, both active and in reserve played a part in the nine-day battle which actually started on September first. The 1798 Battle was the last major confrontation between Britain and Spain over the Belizean settlement, and its significance was first observed one hundred years later.

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