Belize The Public Meeting and the Superintendent, pre-1854
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
The ambiguous status of British loggers who settled in Spanish territory hindered the early development of government institutions in the area. Informal meetings to address common security concerns, however, evolved into a rudimentary form of administration, the Public Meeting. Participation in the Public Meetings depended on race, wealth, and length of residency. In 1765 Rear Admiral Sir William Burnaby, commander in chief of Jamaica, compiled the settlement's common law in the Ancient Usages and Customs of the Settlement, or, "Burnaby's Code." Burnaby also recommended to the British government that a superintendent be appointed to oversee the settlement. Opposition from the settlers prevented the office of superintendent from being permanently established until 1796. The changing political, economic, and social climate of Central America and the Caribbean, including the emancipation of slaves throughout the British empire in the 1830s, contributed to a desire to regularize the status of the settlement. As early as 1840, British law displaced Burnaby's Code as the settlement's basic law, and in 1854, a Public Meeting and the British Parliament adopted a new constitution, which created institutions more like those of other British possessions (see Constitutional Developments, 1850-62, Ch , . 6). The Public Meeting thus ceased to operate.
Data as of January 1992
NOTE: The information regarding Belize on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belize The Public Meeting and the Superintendent, pre-1854 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belize The Public Meeting and the Superintendent, pre-1854 should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.