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British Honduras



FIRST STAMPS Britain 1858-May 1860 (oblit. A06 at Belize).

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED January 1866.


CURRENCY

1866, sterling.
1888, 100 cents = 1 dollar.



British settlements began in 1638 after shipwreck, and were followed by a regular colony in 1662, which was established from Jamaica to exploit the mahogany and timber industry. The area was disputed by Spain and the rights to the area were only accepted in 1763, though the Spanish insisted on the destruction of all fortifications. The settlement was seized by Spain in 1779, but was returned to Britain in 1783. Although it was recognized internationally in 1786, with the area as well as the town known as Belize from 1788, it was again attacked by Spain during the revolutionary wars, but on this occasion the colonials defeated the invaders.


Letters via Jamaica are known from 1786. The first local P0 was established on 31 October 1809 but a hand-stamp reading 'Belize' was used on foreign mail as early as 1800. The first regular packet service ('Mexican Packet') called on the run from Jamaica to Vera Cruz in 1829. A branch P0 directly under London was opened in 1857. The colony took over the posts on 1 April 1860. From 1860-66 used only handstamps.


British Honduras was declared a colony in 1862 under Jamaica and a Crown Colony in 1871. Became independent of Jamaica in 1884. In 1933 Guatemala repudiated a long-standing treaty of friendship and has since threatened to invade. A small British force supported by a Field P0 has been in operations since the 1960s.


British Honduras changed its name on 1 June 1973 to Belize (see below), and became self-governing within the Commonwealth on 1 January 1984.



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