Mélange Travel & Lifestyle Magazine January 2019 - Page 120
The Ethnic Groups
The Mestizo people are those of European
(Spanish) and Mayan ancestry. Escaping
from the Caste War of the Yucatan in the
mid-19th century, they arrived in Belize
around 1847 and now represent 48% of the
Belizean population. They live primarily in
the northern districts of Corozal and Orange
Walk. Although the Mestizo speak English,
they often communicate in Spanish. The Maya were the first people to live in
Belize from about 250AD. Today, there are
three groups living throughout the country.
The Yucatec Maya, the Mopan Maya and the
Kekchi Maya. Their communities are built
in somewhat close proximity to the ancient
Maya settlements. They represent about
11% of the population.
The Belizean population consist of about
25% Creole who today live primarily in Belize
City. Creoles are a mixture of African slaves
(who were brought to Belize in the 18th
century), and their European owners. The Garifuna, also known as Garinagu
originated from the Caribbean island of
St. Vincent and first came to Belize on
November 19, 1802. They were also known
as the black Caribs. This day is a national
holiday in Belize which celebrates their
arrival. The oldest Garifuna settlement is
Barranco located in the south.
Indians arrived as indentured servants in
1838 after the abolition of slavery. They
comprise about 3% of Belize’s population.
Today, they live primarily in communities in
the Toledo district. Asians arrived in Belize in 1865 as
indentured servants. Comprising 0.7% of
the population they now live mainly in the
Mennonite Central American
Around 1958, the Mennonites arrived in
Belize. They now comprise 3.6 % of the
population and live within their own
Mennonite communities with their own
schools, churches and financial institutions.
From since 1860, Central Americans have
been arriving in Belize. They come from the
neighbouring contries of Guatemala, El
Salvador and Nicaragua.
Covering 45 acres of old cattle pasture, the Belize Botanic
Gardens allow visitors the opportunity to see not only over
2000 species of Belize’s local plants, including displays in
the Orchid House and the Mayan House, but also catch
glimpses of some of the bird life from the nearby jungle.
Visitors can take leisurely self-guided tours around the
garden to learn more about the local vegetation.