Friday, April 28, 2017

more Bay Islands history

Treaty Between Her Majesty And The Republic of Honduras Respecting The Bay Islands, The Mosquito Indians, And The Rights And Claims of British Subjects. This controversial* 1860 treaty ceded the Bay Islands to the recently independent (from Spain, 1821) Republic of Honduras. Queen Victoria was the British monarch at the time the agreement was negotiated and executed. Historians largely agree this surprisingly unconditional treaty resulted from formidable American pressure on Great Britain rooted in the United States' Monroe Doctrine and mainland Honduras' status -- at that time -- as a potential location for a trans-Central American isthmus railroad and/or shipping canal. The treaty is so shockingly unconditional that one wonders what quid pro quo arrangement the Americans made with the Brits for going through with it.

*Controversial because the British colonists of the Bay Islands were not consulted as to what arrangement they preferred. It is safe to assume -- had they been given voice in the matter -- English-speaking 19th Century Bay Islanders would have preferred to remain British subjects. To this day one can still find "older heads" of British ancestry who are still bitter about this unexpected turn of events that took place over 150 years ago. It is especially galling to some that the islands were turned over to the much disliked and distrusted "Spaniards" of mainland Honduras (recall that Spain had been Britain's archenemy on and off for centuries prior). Happily, younger generations of English-speaking Bay Islanders, for the most part, have had this historic bitterness diluted from their cultural DNA. 

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