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

ISSUE NUMBER:  003-2000                December,  2000
The Garinagu Struggles Continues
in Central America

Soon after arriving in Trujillo, some of the men began to explore the coast line as far as Belize in one direction and Nicaragua in the other. Logwood and mahogany were the major exports then, and the British woodcutters were pleased to give work to any Garinagu who would venture to Belize. The Miskito people (then called Sambos) who lived east of Trujillo in what is knownn as the Mosquitia, were allies of the British and bitter enemies of the Spanish. They were friendly to the Garinagu at first, and offered them advice and assistance. By 1807, the Garinagu had  become disgusted and disappointed with Spanish rule and many of them left Trujillo, settling in tiny villages on the "Costa Arriba", as far as the Patuca River, and perhaps beyond. Others moved north and west to what they called Labuga or La Boca-the mouth of the Rio Dulce(Livingston), as well as to Dangriga (then known as Stann Creek), where some of them had been working since 1799.

Woodcutting and smuggling were the main occupations of the British in Central America at that time, and the Garinagu soon became known for their skills in both activities. Their canoes were likely to be seen anywhere on the coast and it's many lagoons, and their small settlements dotted the entire shoreline wherever they work could be had.  They clustered about Omoa and Trujillo in Honduras, near San Felipe in the Gulf of Dulce and Livingston and Santo Tomas in Guatemala, as well as what the British came to call "Carib Town" in Belize. Once known as Stann Creek, it was renamed Dangriga to honor the Garifuna people in 1975. Woodcutting near Limon, Black River(now Palacios), Bruce and Caratasca Lagoons also drew Garinagu settlers. Not until the beginning of the fruit industry toward the end of the 19th century did they lived near La Ceiba and Tela. They always settled in villages where the women and children stayed while the men traveled as necessary to gain their livelihood, though in the early days the women sometimes went with the men into the bush camps.

The Spanish also frequently used Garinagu as soldiers, even after the independence of the Central American states in 1821. In 1832, however, the Garinagu backed the losing side in an effort to overthrow the president of the Central American Federation, Francisco Morazan, and they were forced to flee from their settled Central American areas. Most went to Belize or the far Mosquito shore. After that, their military activities were sharply reduced, although a few continued to serve in their respective national armies, even today.

from the Website

Copyright 1999 - 2000 by, All Rights Reserved