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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | Geography Education |

"BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Belize has a much higher Human Development Index ranking that its Central American neighbors such as Guatemala.  That fact alone makes Belize a likely destination for migrants.  Given that Belize was 'British Honduras' during colonial times, English is (still) the official language, but that is changing as increasingly Spanish-speaking immigrants are changing the cultural profile of Belize.      

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, April 16, 4:26 PM

I find it really interesting that so many immigrants are so welcomed by politicians, who actually pay immigration fees just to gain votes.  It's also intriguing that politicians "give away" land, and that so many people are moving away from cities, while the rest of Central America is moving into the cities. this is kind of an odd tactic, atleast from the view point of an America, because if an American politician did these things for immigrants, most Americans wold absolutely refuse to vote for them.  However the issue of immigration and locals being "too proud" to get governmental help, whereas immigrants will "stand in line", seems to fall right into place with how many view immigration in America, so it's relatable.

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 23, 2:18 PM

It's interesting to compare and contrast the reaction of Belize's English-speaking population to an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants with that of the United States. I enjoyed reading that the welcoming of immigrants by the ruling political system has done much to lessen racial tensions, with the various ethnic groups scattered along the political spectrum. This contrasts sharping with the American political spectrum, where there is a clear racial divide between conservatives and liberals. Americans could learn a lot from Belize in this regard, although the transition has been far from smooth in the nation. Although Spanish is now taught in schools as a result of the reality of the immigration wave in the country, there is some push-back from English speaking groups. Many employees of service industries are losing their jobs to those who can offer bilingual services, as well as some other economic changes as a result of the influx of new immigrants. However, the degree of this tension is a lot lower there than it is in the United States. It will be interesting to see how this debate shapes up in the future; it could very well serve as a helpful model for American politicians.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, October 4, 11:49 AM

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I'm hilarious.

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