The Mayan ruins around Belize prove that Belize was heavily inhabited by around one million Maya, from between AD. 250 and 900. These Mayans were believed to have constructed a fishing camp on Moho Caye, a nearby island. Then in the 1600s, Belize City developed as a logging camp and export center for British logwood cutters, who were called Baymen, in the 1660s. These loggers relied on slave labor, and thus slave camps developed on the south side of Haulover Creek.  Mahogany exporting began around this time as well. At the time, the city was called Belize town.

Meanwhile these settlers were constantly under siege by neighboring Spanish settlements for at least 150 years. This began to subside in 1763, when the Treaty of Paris ruled that Spanish must allowed British settlers to engage in the logwood industry. British control over the settlement gradually amplified. Meanwhile, the city endured much misfortune, being ruined by in 1804, 1806 and 1856 and riddled by epidemics of yellow fever, smallpox and cholera throughout this time.

An important cornerstone in Belize history came in 1834, slaves were freed. In 1871, British Honduras (as Belize was called until 1973) was named a British colony and Belize City became the capital of British Honduras in 1884.  

In 1961, Belize City was devastated by Hurricane Hattie, with its brutal winds killing some and leaving many homeless. The damage was projected to be about at US$50 million. Belize countinues to reconstruct.


Belize gained full independence on September 21, 1981. Belize is now a member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, OAS and the Association of Caribbean States.