Belize: A Reading List

Ping Wing Juk Me
Reading Time: 5 mins

I’m writing this post to share a few books to read on Belize. These books are great to read while in Belize or before you visit. You can find them at most Belizean bookstores and gift shops, and some can be bought online. Enjoy

For those who love stories:

If Di Pin Neva Ben

This Belizean Writers Series captures the essence of Belizean oral tradition reflecting the fascinating cultural diversity of Belize. These stories of supernatural occurrences, entertaining tricksters and mythical animals have roots that extend centuries back into Africa, the ancient Maya kingdom, and Europe.

Ping Wing Juk Me

This collection contains a remarkable cross-section of Belizean life. The works range from the humorous to the tragic, are based on myth and in real life, and have been created by some of the country’s best known writers, artists and performers.

For those who love to cook Belizean food:

Aaah …… Belizean Rum Recipes

The recipes in this book range from the simple and traditional to the exotic and exravagant, and have been contributed by chefs and bartenders who have devoted much time incorporating recipes from far and near into Belize’s new cuisine. Our chefs have demonstrated their creativity in cooking and bartending as they blend Belizean fruits and vegetables into world favourites.

Mmmm … A Taste of Belizean Cooking

A collection of recipes that take Belize’s national cuisine far beyond the traditional rice and beans. Chefs from restaurants and hotels across the country contributed their latest creations, making use of fresh, local ingredients in creative new ways.

Food of the Gods: Vegetarian Cooking in Belize

Whatever the meal, the recipes in this wonderful new cookbook will show you how to blend Belizean vegetables, grains, fruits, and spices in innovative ways to create healthy and appetizing dishes to suit every occasion and satisfy every taste bud. Arvigo has collected these recipes over a lifetime of experimental and conscientious eating. They take into account the importance of healthy eating as well as the need to satisfy our yearning for delicious foods that stimulate our senses and nourish our bodies and our spirits.

For those who love Belize’s natural beauty:

A Rainbow of Colours: A Guide to the Flowers of Belize

A guide to the Flowers of Belize especially for those who appreciate the beauty of Belize’s flora. Along with the stunning images, this charming book provides a detailed description of each flower to help you make a positive identification. In addition, there is interesting information on the origin of many of the flowers, names, and on their powers to heal the body-and sometimes the spirit.

A Guide to the Orchids of Belize

This definitive illustrated guide to the orchids of Belize was published for the Belize Botanic Gardens. The garden was established in 1997 and its mission is “to protect the floral biodiversity of Belize and to serve as an information resource for the local and international community, government, industry and the scientific community.”

For those who love history:

British Honduras: The Invention of a Spatial Territory; Mapping & Spatial Knowledge in the 19th Century

Until the 17th century, the area currently occupied by Belize appeared in maps as a portion of space in the American world with no particular attribute other than being at the confines of a territory poorly known to Europeans, some of whom stopped there without making any political or social commitment before the area became coveted, delimited, and negotiated between empires. In the 18th Century it was integrated into a colonial structure as a territory to be controlled and administered by Great Britain in the 19th Century. The purpose of this monograph is not to retrace the genesis of a nation, but more modestly, to recount the invention of a colonial territory. No territory exists on its own; only social, political, symbolic and emotional constructions grant it substance and reality. Through descriptions, narratives, and maps, this monograph brings the territory into existence and displays the articulation between the imaginary, the subjectivities, and the spatial practices of the social and political actors political authorities, residents, cartographers who interacted in Belize s territorial construction.

The Economic History of Belize

This is the first economic history of Belize covering the period from the 17th century to post-independence. The book begins with the myth of Peter Wallace, who was widely believed to have been the first British settler, however this is shown to be false. It then explores the economic system established by the first settlers in the late 17th century that was almost exclusively centred on the export of logwood. This logwood economy operated outside the British imperial system until the Treaty of Paris in 1763, when Belize became a British settlement. In the next century the economy became more diversified through both the export of mahogany as well as the entrepot trade with Central America. When Belize became a British colony in 1862, it coincided with the decline of the entrepot trade and a crisis in the world mahogany industry. This led to an attempt by the British authorities to introduce agricultural exports. The Belize Botanic Station was founded in 1892 to promote economic diversification and agricultural exports, which tried various ways to end the colony’s total dependence on forestry. However, these efforts were insufficient and the economy went into serious decline before devaluation at the end of 1949. By the time of independence in 1981, the economy had become much more diversified, but Belize’s position still compared unfavourably with the rest of the Caribbean. The performance of the economy since independence has been very volatile with periods of boom followed by slumps leading to high unemployment and a deterioration in income distribution. The reasons for this are examined in detail, while the authors conclude with a series of policy recommendations designed to improve Belize’s long-run economic performance.

Family and People all Well…

Colonel James Lawrie was one of the most significant mahogany and logwood cutters in Belize during the last quarter of the 19th century. The Journal upon which this book is based forms part of a private collection of Lawrie Papers held at the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh. As far as we know, it is one of the only day to day accounts of the activities of timber slaves involved in the extraction of mahogany and logwood in Belize during a logging season, that has survived and as such, is a valuable insight into the nature of slavery in a colony that remained on the periphery of the sugar plantation economies of the British West Indies until well after emancipation in 1834.

Taking Stock: Belize at 25 Years of Independence

In this collection of essays, distinguished economists, conservationists, lawyers, sociologists, and other scholars – all longtime observers of Belize and its people – take stock. In most cases they present, for the first time ever, essays that focus on Belize, a country that is once deceptively uncomplicated yet surprisingly complex. The essays, which reflect on what brought Belize to this point, are eminently readable but provocative and challenging. The authors analyse and evaluate data, politics, laws, and practices from the economic, environmental, societal, and cultural sectors. The essays are a bid for independence -independent thinking, analysis, and evaluation.

Maya Cities and Sacred Caves: A Guide to the Maya Sites in Belize

An up-to-date guide to the Maya sites of Belize. Written by Dr. Jaime Awe, director of the Institute of Archeology. The beautifully illustrated book is full of historical and cultural insights into the Maya, The remains of their amazing civilization can be seen in the pyramid temples, hieroglyphics carved in stone and ritual caves, dating from 2000 BC. This book reveals the latest archeological research and stunning photographs of the sites and the sacred objects found within tombs, chambers and caves.

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If you are in the USA and would like free-shipping, contact Barbara Balboni at OR call 508-807-1704.



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