Monday, October 27, 2008
Belize--the Real Melting Pot
BELIZE CITY--Before our trip I had read all about the rich ethnic diversity here. Even though I knew what to expect, actually seeing so many people of unique backgrounds come together in a small country of about 300,000 was so refreshing and unlike any other Central American country.
photos by jeremy
Belizeans are mostly made up of: Mestizos, who are people of mixed Spanish and Indian blood. Most of them were refugees from the Caste War of Yucatan in Mexico; Creoles, who are descendants of African slaves who came to Belize to work in the mahogany wood industry; all kinds of different Mayan tribes; the Garifuna, who are also descendants of African slaves mixed with Amerindians of the eastern Caribbean islands
Other notable ethnic groups are the German-speaking Mennonites, who immigrated from Mexico in the late 50s. The Mennonite presence is strong throughout the country, especially in Northern Belize where many of them sell handmade furniture in their stores. Chinese immigrants also began arriving in Belize in the 60s. Their presence is also felt throughout the country. Many of them have become a major part of the economy opening Chinese restaurants and grocery stores.
Walking down the streets of Belize you can easily hear English, Spanish or Creole being spoken. English is the official language, although Spanish is also taught in schools.
When we asked a local guide how all these groups get along, he said "Oh, everyone here is mixed. We don't care what you look like."
Posted by Nancy at 11:30 AM