Texas Garifuna/Belizeans Community
Published for the Garifuna & Belizean Community of  Killeen/Texas

ISSUE NUMBER:  003-2000                December,  2000

!! History of Dangriga !!

By: Joseph R. Flores

 Dangriga Village was discovered and settled by a Garifuna from Cristales Village in the Republic of Honduras, Alejo “Benni” Satuye, so named by his mother, who was a Samba Indian, with very little knowledge of the Garifuna language,  It was her way of saying “Alejo, come”, which stuck.

In 1832, he led a group of Black Caribs from Honduras, in a mass exodus to escape reprisals against the Caribs by the Revolutionary Government of the emerging Republic. Labeled as traitors for allying themselves with the Colonial Spaniards, the Ladinos, as the new rulers were called, promised national reprisal against the entire Carib population as punishment for their treachery. Alejo Benni’s father, Sandoval Satuye was a General in the Colonial Spanish military; who was killed and beheaded in Mexico City in 1824.   Alejo joined the Spaniards, taking up his father’s mantle, and vowing to avenge his death.  This promise made him the prime prey. So Alejo Benni with two dories-load of people fled, crossing the Gulf of Honduras, into the country of Belize, then known as British Honduras, the only British colony in Central America.

As a young fellow, Alejo Benni had made numerous trips to British Honduras.  Indeed, there were already Garifuna People residing in Belize, in a settlement along the Sibun River, a few nautical miles from the City, where they were not allowed to be after dark, to avoid them from mingling with and inciting the slaves.  So Alejo considered there a safe place to move his entire family and close associates away from the Ladinos, and; despite their long history of enmity, were welcomed by the then Governor, with permission to go South and locate themselves wherever they pleased.  This they did

After traveling along the coast for two days, they came upon a small stream, where they stopped for water.  The crystal clear spring, gurgling peacefully out of the forest that came clear to the sandy beach, mesmerized them after the very first taste.  As one, they agreed to go no further, choosing to settle along its banks. They called their new home “Danreugeu Grigeu”, which means  - a river that stands - translated “Standing Creek”.  For years it was known by that name, spelt “Stann Creek”, until independence threatened and originality was demanded by the Government and its population.

It is said that 28 adults with a dozen children comprised the Settlement’s first group.  A large lean-to was built to accommodate them all for mutual security.  Within a year, there were a hundred huts to house scores of families, who had fled the atrocities still occurring in Honduras. The village encompassed 2000 yards, with individual plots to cultivate their staple foods.

From the start of their journey, Alejo was the accepted leader of the group, and continued to in their new home.  He was known as the Galidi. His second in command was one Bartholomew “Yurumei” Cacho.

Alejo Benni’s mother and two women, both mothers of his children made up his household. Alejo Benni died 15 years after the establishment of Dangriga; still a handsome, well-proportioned man in his 40's, killed in a freak tree-cutting accident.

(It is popularly believed that Thomas Vincent "T. V" Ramos is a direct decendant of Alejo Benni)

Excerpted  from the book: The History of the Writing of Garifuna in our Time:
by: Don Justo Flores

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