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 Title Page
 Title Page

A Postal history of Belize
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095455/00001
 Material Information
Title: A Postal history of Belize
Added title page title: Brief postal history of Belize
Physical Description: 58 p., 31 p. of plates : facsims. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: King, E. W ( Eric W )
Publisher: Belize Postal Service
Place of Publication: Belize
Publication Date: 1981
Subjects / Keywords: Postal service -- History -- Belize   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Belize
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Cover title.
Statement of Responsibility: E.W. King.
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Source Institution: Belize National Library Service and Information System
Holding Location: Belize National Library Service and Information System
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 09466631
System ID: UF00095455:00001


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
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    Title Page
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Full Text










Belize Post Office taken over by Postmaster
General, London 12
Incidents with the Packet Ships 12
Appointment of Postmaster 13
Modified Packet Route 13
Post Office Hours 13
Guatemalan Mail 13
The Postmaster Bound Over 13
Irregularity of Mail Ships 14
Steam Packets 14
Another Change 14
More About Irregular Sailings 15
The Guatemalan Mail 16
Belize Jamaican Link 16
The "Esk" Saga 16
G.P.O. Questionnaire 17
Guatemalan/Belize Steam Link 17
Prepayment Compulsory 17
British Stamps on Sale 18
Appointment of Postmaster 18
References 19

THE PERIOD 1860/1900
Local Control 21
Changeover to Colonial Post Office 21
Belize a Colony 21
Corozal Post Office 21
Postage Stamps Finance 21
Mail Conveyance Contracts 21
Designs for Stamps 22
The First Stamp Invoice 22
Printing 23
Exhibition Highlight 23
Belize Stamps on Sale 24
Inland Courier Service 24
Overseas Mail 24
New Contracts via New Orleans 24
Postage Stamps 25
Crown Agents 25
Threepenny Stamp 25
U.P.U. 25
Postal Rates and New Colours 26



Currency Change Surcharges
Inland Posts
District Post Offices
Overseas and Inland Mails
Start of Weekly Mails
Southern Mail Service
Dispatch of Mails
Late Fee
Mails for Central America
Northern Inland Mails
Belize City Deliveries
Passenger Rates
Freight Rates
Local Agent
Mail Route
Other Shipping Lines
District Post Offices
Inland Mail Services
The St. George's Caye Service
W.G. Aikman

THE PERIOD 1900/1980

Expansion of Mail Service
Northern Mail Service
Belize River Mail Service
El Cayo and Benque Viejo
Loss of Mail
New Contract
Demise of the Belize River
The Southern Mail Service
Contracts Awarded
More on Postage Stamps
Further Issues of Stamps

Mail Service


Overseas Mail

First Dispatches North
First Dispatches South
Internal Airmail








Post Offices Belize -
Establishment, Etc.

Postal Stationery

Postmasters Belize

Postal Cancellations and
Handstamps 1800 to 1900

Censored Mail

Definitive Issues
(Simplified List)

Commemorative Stamp Issues











These short notes on the postal history of
Belize have been compiled for easy reading rather
than as a reference work. Much information has
been omitted, especially with regard to the present
Century. The Belize Stamp Advisory Committee has
been a constant source of help and stimulus, whilst
the erstwhile and present Custodians of the Belize
Archives have been most helpful. References to
source material are given but special mention must
be made of the Robson Lowe Encyclopedia of British
Empire Postage Stamps,Vol. V, North America, which
proved invaluable. Finally, my grateful thanks to
Mrs. Lydia Waight, who freely gave of her time to
edit and type the final draft.

September 1981



The small population of Belize during the 17th and 18th
Centuries, together with a likely low level of literacy, prob-
ably accounts for the great scarcity of Covers and letters from
this period. Letters to and from Belize would have been car-
ried by any available ship, most likely to Jamaica, and from
thence to the ultimate destination. Jamaica was linked to Bri-
tain by the Dummer Packets (1701/1711) and later by the Fal-
mouth Packets (1755/1840).

Throughout this early period there were no postal services
of any sort so far as Belize was concerned. Of the few Covers
known to have originated in Belize prior to 1800, none bear any
distinctive Belize liandstamp.

THE PERIOD 1800/1841

Around 1800 a straight-line Ilandstamp 'BELIZE' in black
came into use. Since no Post Office existed at this time, it
is probable that the handstamp was used by a shipping agent,
conceivably Marshall Bennett, a prominent merchant and magis-
trate of Belize at this time, and later one of the recognized
Forwarding Agents for mail in Belize.

Shipping to and from the West Indies, North and Central
America was considerably affected by the Napoleonic Wars up to
1815. Indeed, for much of this period, a convoy system for
ships was in force.2 At the same time Belize began to develop
as a locally important centre for transhipment of European and
American goods to Central America, with an outward shipment of
lumber and such articles as cochineal, sarsaparilla, vanilla,
indigo, salve and specie.

This growth in trade, together with the difficulties of
communications under wartime conditions, resulted in a growing
demand for the establishment of postal services.

An Attempt to Regulate Receipt of Incoming Mail

The first move in this direction came in August 1805,a
when a meeting of Magistrates decided that all incoming mail

must be handed over to the Clerk of the Courts by ships' cap-
tains before they were allowed entry into Belize, that each
ship's captain must declare on oath that he had made over all
letters entrusted to him, with a penalty of five pounds for each
and every infringement which could be proved against any ship's

Persons claiming any letters could obtain same on the pay-
ment of Ten Pence for each letter. The office hours of the Clerk
of Courts were fixed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with his office in
the Courthouse.4

This, then, is the rudimentary beginning of an official
postal service in Belize, with the unknown Clerk of Courts as
the first postal official, albeit part time.

First Resolution on Post Office

To what extent the procedure laid down was followed is not
clear, but, whatever happened, the demand for postal services
still continued and in 1809 a Public Meeting resolved to estab-
lish a Post Office.5 This resolution was either not put into
effect or, if so, was very short lived, as nothing further is
heard concerning a Post Office until 1830.


In June 1810, the Magistrates, perturbed by the lack of con-
trol on contraband goods, including, presumably, undeclared let-
ters, gave instructions that great care was to be taken in ad-
ministering the oath to masters of vessels on entry, and agreed
to appoint a boarding officer or searcher to enforce compliance
with the contraband laws, and to be paid at $10 for each day em-

Duplication of Mails

The uncertainty as to whether any mail sent would reach its
destination led to the practice in many parts of the world of
duplicating letters and sending copies by different ships, in the
hope that one at least would arrive at its destination. Belize
was no exception, and in September 1810, one notes the Magis-
trates resolving7 to send one copy of a letter to John Inglis,
Esq., London, by the ship 'Neva' then in port and another copy
by the ship 'Minerva'.

Early Mention of one of the Forwarding Agents

Although resolutions had been passed that a proper postal
service should be started, nothing of a permanent nature seems
to have happened, and there is no reference to the conveyance of
mail from 1810 until 1826. An event in 1820, however, is not
without significance to the postal history ofBelize.8 In Feb-
ruary 1820, the Magistrates protested to the Superintendent about
the action of the Spanish authorities in seizing a vessel, the
property of Mr. Chas. Evans, in the Gulf of Dulce, where it had
proceeded to trade according to established custom. Mail and
goods to and from Guatemala and El Salvador used the Rio Dulce as
the Atlantic seaboard communicating link with the outside world
via Belize. Mr. Chas. Evans is another of the known Forwarding
Agents for mail in Belize, and it is established that mail util-
ised this route long before it was regularised in 1836. It is of
interest to note that the Magistrates also protested against the
Guatemalan Captain General's decision that the Superintendent of
the Settlement, being an inferior officer dependent on Jamaica,
was not qualified to correspond with the superior Government of

Procedure on Ships' Arrival in Port

The system of receipt of mail established by the Magistrates
in 1805 had apparently completely broken down, making it neces-
sary for the Superintendent to issue a proclamation in July 18269
forbidding anybody to visit ships arriving in the harbour, prior
to the Port Officer's visit,"because there is no branch of the
General Post Office in the Settlement and many irregularities
have arisen from persons boarding vessels as they arrive and im-
properly demanding letters therefrom."

Colonial Office Query on Establishment of Postal Service

In December 1827,10 a Colonial Office circular was sent to
Belize, seeking information as to what revenue may be derived
by the Colony from the conveyance of letters to and from Great
Britain. In his reply dated 10th July, 1828, the Superintendent
enclosed a letter from the Magistrates, requesting the establish-
ment of a regular mail service to Jamaica. The Superintendent
ends his letter by writing, "As regards the remuneration from
Her Majesty's Government, I feel it my duty to apprise you that

it would much facilitate their receipt, as despatches not unfre-
quently remain in Jamaica for months, waiting for a conveyance
to this Colony."

The start of the Packet Service to Belize

A G.P.O. London Notice dated 18th November, 1829, stated:1
"On the third Wednesday in every month, commencing with the 16th
December, a bag of letters will be made up here for Honduras, to
be conveyed by the Mexican Packet. The rate of postage will be
the same for letters to Mexico and must be paid in this country."

Postal rates thus established for letters from Britain.to
Belize were: Single 2s. Id., Double 4s. 2d., Treble 6s. 3d.,
and 1 ounce 8s. 4d., plus the inland rate to Falmouth.

The First Postmaster

Meanwhile in Belize, the Superintendent, in a memorandum12
to the Magistrates dated 7th January, 1830, informed them of the
extension of the British Mexican Packet Service to take in Belize
on its passage from Jamaica to Veracruz, and that "under these
circumstances and with a view to the prompt and safe conducting
of the important Duties which will hereafter attach to the Post-
master at Belize, I have appointed Captain Moriaty of the 2nd
West India Regiment .. ." The Superintendent went on to re-
quest "such pecuniary remuneration to Capt. Moriaty as may be
considered due."

On that same day, at a Special Public Meeting, it was re-
solved that the Postmaster receive a postage of 5 pence on each
single letter, 10 pence on each double letter or newspaper, and
in the event of such postage not amounting to L200 p.a., the de-
ficiency to be made good from Public Funds.

There would thus seem no doubt that Capt. Moriaty was the
first Postmaster of Belize and that the 7th January, 1830, saw
the real beginning of the Post Office in Belize.

Superintendent Exceeded his Authority

The Superintendent of the Colony was reminded by the Under
Secretary of State to the Colonies in a despatch dated 17th June,

1830, "that the appointment of a Postmaster is a matter for the
Postmaster General" and directing the Superintendent to submit a
separate despatch on the subject.

So far as can be ascertained, Capt. Moriaty continued as
Postmaster until 1832, when Captain J. Allen was appointed.

The Mail Packets

The regular mail service proved to be anything but: the
Packets were British naval vessels dependent on sail, and thus
very subject to delays due to weather conditions. Almost from
the inception of the service, complaints became commonplace con-
cerning the irregularities of the Packet ships and the lack of
time given for mail to be answered before the Packet sailed
again. This latter was a very sore point, since failure to catch
the mail meant at least another month's delay.

The possibility that the Packet ship connection to Belize
would be stopped led to memorials being submitted13 to the Sec-
retary of State in 1832: one in July, the other in August. The
latter, in stating that a great hardship would result if the
connection was stopped, also points out that "the facility of the
Packet ship is available to our countrymen at Cartagena, Veracruz
and various other places all over the world,"pleading equal facil
ities for Belize. In the event the service continued.

In 1833, the Superintendent declared the office hours14 for
Postmaster J. Allen as 9.30 to 10.00 a.m. every day, except

Mails Irregular

Later the same year, the Superintendent complained to the
Postmaster General'5 in London about the present inconvenience
caused by there being no regular mail between Jamaica and Belize.
The letter requested the Postmaster General to instruct the Post-
master in Kingston "to make up Post Office bags for Honduras,
not only by the regular Packets, but by such other favourable
opportunities as may from time to time occur."

Throughout this period and indeed up to 1842, no distinct-
ive Belize Handstamps were in use, except the straight-line BELIZE
at the turn of the century, mentioned earlier.

Guatemalan Mail

A letter from Guatemala to France sent in 1833 exists, en-
dorsed "Per Belice de Honduras".16 This would have come by the
accepted overland route to Izabal and thence by boat down the
Rio Dulce to the Gulf of Honduras to Belize, and then by the
Packet or any other available ship to Europe.

Miller Mission

In 1834, Mr. Thomas Miller, the Clerk of Courts and Keeper
of Records in Belize, was sent to Britain 7 to make represen-
tations to H.M.G. on several matters, including long delays in
mails occasioned by the Jamaica Post Office, and that "great in-
convenience is felt at Honduras arising from the impossibility
of transmitting letters through the Post Office from Belize by
way of England, in consequence of the postage to be paid in Eng-
land." Mr. Miller requested some method whereby the full post-
age could be paid at the time of posting in Honduras.

Appointment of Postmaster

On the 24th May, 1834,18 Captain Andrew Halfhide was ap-
pointed as Postmaster at a salary of b143, less L35 p.a. for his
deputy. He was a Captain in the West India Regiment, but his
pay as Postmaster was paid by the Settlement.

Change of Dispatch Time and Route

From June 1835,19 the bag of mail for Honduras was dis-
patched on the 15th of each month rather than the third Wednes-
day of each month. Considering the long delays experienced in
Belize in the arrivals of mail, this change was of little moment.
Of much more importance was the cessation of the direct mail com-
munication with Jamaica in April 1835, since as the Superintend-
ent wrote "the loss of direct communication with that island to
the Settlement will be sadly felt."20

Guatemala Trade and Mail

During this year, Guatemala threatened penal duties against
Belize for non-adherence to the 1786 Treaty limits.21 The ar-
rival of British warships in Belize removed the threat,22 and
allowed trade to be renewed as well as the carriage of mail.

The next year saw the start of a regular mail service by
boat between Belize and Izabal in Guatemala prior to this, no
definite arrangements had existed. Mail carriers left Guatemala
City each Saturday to Zacapa, Chiquimula, Gualan and Izabal.23
Letters to Guatemala via Belize had to prepay the postage between
Belize and Izabal. The rate per half ounce letters was two
reals24 if it was sent by the regular mail ship, and one real
if sent by commercial ship. In August 1836,25 Frederick Chatfield
of the British Legation in San Salvador, then the headquarters
of the Central American Republic, wrote to the Superintendent of
Belize stating inter alia that he had recommended that ship mas-
ters should be paid $2.00 for taking care of the mails, and sta-
ted, 'I would suggest to you the expediency of charging for the
benefit of the Belize Post Office a high rate of postage on all
letters conveyed clandestinely, which may fall into the posses-
sion of the Post Office. The Post Office in Belize, of course,
will now be a little more on the alert than it used to be, and
will take every precaution that vessels shall not clear out from
the Port without taking letters which may be awaiting a convey-
ance to foreign parts or to England."

Forwarding Agents

The latter indicates the rather casual manner in which the
postal service, such as it was, was run. The mail service to
Guatemala, in fact, proved to be irregular, and the raising of
postal charges by Belize on intransit letters, a sore point with
Guatemala. The payment was effected through Forwarding Agents,
who became responsible for looking after mail in transit forthe
Guatemalan authorities and other persons and firms. The earli-
est known Covers bearing evidence of passing through Forwarding
Agents26 are for 1839, the Agents being Marshall Bennett and
Charles Evans, both of whom have already been mentioned in this
article. August 1836 saw the appointment of Captain John James
Peck as Postmaster.27

G.P.O. Rates

A General Post Office London notice of the 26th January,
1837, stated that28 "On letters to Honduras by Cross Posts to
Falmouth, the full Inland Postage to Falmouth, plus the Packet
Letter Rate, must be paid."

Appointment of Postmaster

In 1839, William E. Hampshire took over as Postmaster.29
He was, among other things, an official interpreter of languages.

Delays in Mails

The situation as to the transport of mails to and from Bel-
ize was still far from satisfactory. The branch Packets be-
tween Belize and Havana were sailing ships. They arrived often
behind schedule, frequently missed the connection at Cuba for
England, and even more annoying to the residents of Belize, be-
cause of delays and falling behind schedule, the mail Packets
would often make arapid turn around in Belize, giving residents
no time to reply to any of the incoming mail. Use was frequently
made of any ships, including naval vessels, to carry mail. In
December 1841,3 the Superintendent wrote to the Colonial Office
complaining that, although he was supposed to communicate with
them via the Governor of Jamaica, he had only been able to send
mail there twice in the preceding six months, once by sendinghis
Private Secretary to Havana to catch a passage to Jamaica, and
the second time by sending the small Government Schooner.


On 13th November, 1841, a crowned circle 'PAID AT BELIZE'
Handstamp31 was registered at the General Post Office London.
This, together with a seriffed 'double arc' type Date Stamp,
came into use in 1842. (Illustrations 1 and 2.)


PERIOD 1800/1841

1. Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps Vol. V,
N. America, p. 666
2. Burdon, AZ1, MMB 22.2.1813, Belize Archives
3. Burdon, MM4 pp. 2-3, 26.8.1805, Belize Archives
4. Burdon, AZ8, MM 27.8.1805, Belize Archives
5. Burdon, AZ1, 31.10.1809, Belize Archives
6. Burdon, AZ1, MMB 6.6.1810, Belize Archives
7. Burdon, MMB 12.9.1810, Belize Archives
8. Records 2, Burdon AZ2 14.2.1820, Belize Archives
9. Honduras Gazette and Commercial Advertiser 1826 1 5
(29th July) supplement, Belize Archives
10. Records 6a, pp. 72-73, 10.7.1828, Belize Archives
11. Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol. V,
N. America, p. 661

12. Records 8b, pp. 6-8, 7.1.1839, Belize Archives
13. Burdon, A26,15.7.1832. Records 6d, 20.8.1832
14. Records 8b, p. 33
15. Records 8c, p. 44, Belize Archives
16. Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps,Vol. V,
N. America, p. 658
17. Records 11, pp. 247-248, Belize Archives
18. Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps,Vol. V,
N. America, p. 657
19. The Stamp Magazine, Nov. 1970. p. 54
20. Burdon, AZ3, 25.5.1835, Records 11, Belize Archives
21. Burdon, AZ2, p. 42, Jan. 1835, Belize Archives
22. Burdon, AZ3, 25.5.1835, Records 11, Belize Archives

23. Guatemala Postal History Vol. I (Robson Lowe Ltd.) p. 17
24. Guatemala Postal History Vol. I (Robson Lowe Ltd.) p. 17
25. Records 10, pp. 82-86, 19.8.1836, Belize Archives
26. Guatemala Postal History, Vol. I (Robson Lowe Ltd.) p. 20
27. Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol. V,
N. America, p. .657
28. The Stamp Magazine, Nov. 1970, p. 54
29. Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps,Vol. V,
N. America, p. 657
30. Records 14b,. p. 75, Belize Archives
31. Stamp Collecting, Vol. 86, No. 19, p. 563

THE PERIOD 1842/1859

New Mail Arrangements

Beginning the 1st January, 1842,1 the arrangements for con-
veying the West India mail were changed, a contract being signed
with the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, which provided for the
mails to be made up in London on the 1st and 15th of each month,
sent to Falmouth, and then by steamer as far as Savannah-la-Mar,
Jamaica. The contract stated, "that immediately on arrival at
Savannah-la-Mar of the said mails from England, a sailing vessel
shall proceed with the mails to Trinidad de Cuba, and from
Trinidad de Cuba to Belize in Honduras, and after remaining there
48 hours, shall make the best of her way back direct to Trinidad
de Cuba and thence to Savannah-la-Mar." Postage was levied at
one shilling per half ounce. In September, the service was cut
from twice monthly to a single monthly mail to be made up on the
first of each month.

Appointment of Postmaster

During this same year (1842), a Stuart Thompson was appointed
Postmaster and an Act of 6th August, 1842, fixed his salary at
b200 per annum.2

Handstamps in Use

The Crown Circle 'PAID AT BELIZE' and the double-arc Date
Stamp were brought into use.3

Complaints about Postmaster

Complaints from the public concerning the appointment of
Mr. Stuart Thomson, a merchant and agent for the Royal Mail
Steam Packet Company, as Postmaster, led to the Superintendent
writing the Secretary of State in December 1843 asking whether
Mr. Thomson, whose appointment was contrary to Colonial Instruc-
tions, should be retained in office and suggesting that if the
Secretary of State sent out a Postmaster from England, this
would be most welcomed, and that the Public Meeting would con-
tinue the present grant of b120 p.a. to supplement his salary.
The Secretary of State in his reply asked the Superintendent to
submit the name of an inhabitant for the appointment of Post-
master, certifying that the person is entirely unconnected with
any mercantile house.5

Appointment of Postmaster

There is some uncertainty as to who was put forward, but a
person called Forester is said to have been Postmaster in 1844,
succeeded by J.H. Faber in April 1845, and he, in turn, by G.
Berkeley in July 1845.6

Prepayment Optional

Prepayment of letters was made optional in July 1845, and
during that same month, the Legislative Council petitioned that
the Post Office at Belize be placed on the same footing as that
of other British Colonies.

Belize Post Office taken over by Postmaster General London

The long delays in the conveyance of mails between the
United Kingdom, Jamaica and Belize, particularly the last leg,
is evidenced here by the fact that, as early as May 1845, the
Secretary of State had written to the Governor of Jamaica, in-
forming him that the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury had
approved the control of the Belize Post Office being taken over
by the Postmaster General.

In a further despatch, dated 15th August, 1845, the Secre-
tary of State instructed the Governor of Jamaica to acquaint
Colonel Fancourt (the Superintendent of Belize) that the Lords
Commissioners of the Treasury have signified their approval of
the arrangements . for carrying to the General Post Office
the whole of the postage revenues received in Honduras, and
that they authorised the payment to the Postmaster of the Set-
tlement a salary of b150 per annum from the 5th ultimo, from
which it can be concluded that the General Post Office effect-
ively took over the Belize Post Office on 5th August, 1845, the
date on which payment to the Postmaster took effect.7

Incidents with the Packet Ships

Many complaints continued to be made concerning the erratic
arrival and departure of the Branch Packet of the Royal Mail
Steam Packet Company. The behaviour of the Master of the Con-
tract Packet 'Lee', a Lieutenant Grieves, seems to have partic-
ularly incensed the Superintendent8 (Colonel Charles St. John

Fancourt). Grieves was subsequently convicted of smuggling at
Honduras (Belize) and dismissed by the Royal Mail Steam Packet
Company. The Contract Packet 'Lee' eventually foundered near
Belize towards the end of 1848.9

Appointment of Postmaster

In October 1846, Mr. William McKay took over as Postmaster
from Mr. George Berkeley, who had performed the duties of the
post from July 1845.10

Modified Packet Route

The Packet route was modified in 1846 and a minute, dated
1st July, states, "One schooner from Havana to Belize, starting
at noon on the 36th day after the Out Mails leave Southampton on
the 2nd of each month. The schooner to stop at Belize two days
and at Havana seven days. The distance from Havana to Belize,
500 miles; estimated speed 2 knots; hence approximate time for
journey 10l days."11

Post Office Hours

In 1847, the Post Office hours are given as 7 to 8 a.m. and
2 to 3 p.m. Longer hours were worked on mail packet arrival and
departure days.12

Guatemalan Mail

March 1847 saw an old problem13 come up again. Letters
from Great Britain and other British territories for Guatemala
came in via Belize, and in April of that year, Guatemala ex-
pressed dissatisfaction to the Belize Authorities who were still
refusing to send along those letters on which the postage be-
tween Belize and Izabal had not been prepaid. This state of
affairs was not to be satisfactorily resolved for another four

The Postmaster Bound Over

In late 1847 and early 1848, a long correspondence14 was
carried on between a Mr. George Nicholson and the Colonial Sec-
retary, Mr. George Berkeley, and eventually to the Superinten-
dent, concerning the belief by Mr. Nicholson that Mr. W. McKay

was deliberately withholding mail from him. This correspondence
throws some useful light on the then operation of the Post Of-
fice, in particular that unclaimed mail was listed and adver-
tised, and a revised list posted daily in front of the Court
House. Both Mr. Nicholson and Mr. McKay, the Postmaster, were
bound over to keep the peace, following a fracas in the Court,
of which McKay was also the Clerk. In the event, Mr. McKay con-
tinued as Postmaster until 1859.

Irregularity of Mail Ships

The uncertain arrival and departure of the mail ships was
a constant cause.of complaint. Sailing ships were still used
on the Belize-Havana leg and subject to delays. The Royal Mail
Steam Packet Company, for its part, tried to maintain a regular
service, as evidenced by a letter from the Secretary of the Com-
pany to Mr. Shepherd of the Brig 'Zebra', at Havana, dated 1st
October, 1849.15

"Sir, I wrote on 1st August on departure from your instruc-
tions whilst employed in charge of mails between Havana and Hon-
duras, delaying departure . the risk of entailing further
disruption . Mails being left behind at Havana because ship
overstayed two days . Instruct rigidly adhere instructions
S. I am also to remind you that neither Col. Fancourt nor any
other person in the Settlement have the authority to detain the
Packets beyond the time prescribed by the printed plan of mail

Steam Packets

September 1850 saw the first steam packets in service on
the Belize run. Table 1 gives the arrival and departure dates
for the Royal Mail Packet Company vessels from January 1850 to
February 1852.16

The steamers operated between St. Thomas (Virgin Islands)
and Belize,17 calling at Puerto Rico, Jacmel (Haiti), Jamaica,
and Havana, each way, with a stop of five days at Belize. The
vessel was expected to reach Belize 28 days after the Packet left
Another Change

A Post Office announcement in the Press of 27th July, 1850,

stated, "Mails for Havanna, Honduras, Nassau and Jacmel will be
forwarded only by the Packet leaving on the 17th of each.month."18


Year Arrival

1850 8th Jan.
7th Feb.
llth Mar
4th Apr.
10th May
5th June
1st July
31st July
14th Sept.
16th Oct.
15th Nov.
20th Dec.
1851 15th Jan
19th Feb.
21st Mar.
20th Apr.
17th May
15th June
17th July
16th Aug.
18th Sept
17th Oct.
19th Nov.
21st Dec.
1852 20th Jan
22nd Feb.

Name of Vessel

Brig 'Zebra', Sailing vessel
Barque 'Kingfisher', Sailing vessel
Schooner 'West Lothian'
Steamer 'Conway'
Steamer 'Derwent'
Steamer 'Conway'
Steamer 'Dee'


10th Aug.

More about Irregular Sailings

As can be seen from Table] tne steamer service was still
irregular and led to a complaint by the Superintendent of the
Settlement in 1851, stating: "Packets not once arrived at the
appointed time, on four occasions two days late, once four days,
five times five days, and twice six days, and once eight days
late . only once has there been the allotted stoppage of five
days . sometimes departing on day of arrival . affects
not only the correspondence with Europe, but also shipment of

produce.""19 He goes on to say that the fault lies with the
vessels not being suitable for the work.

The Guatemalan Mail

Even so, the average time for mail from the United Kingdom
to Belize had been reduced from 36 to 28 days and this quicken-
ing spurred the demand for a more reliable onward service from
Belize to Guatemala, the previous service having lapsed into a
catch as catch can basis. On the 25th March, 1851,20 Frederick
Chatfield, the British Minister in Guatemala, proposed that Gua-
temala make arrangements for a ship to make connections with the
monthly steamer which linked Belize with England, so that mail
and passengers might travel without extra delays in either di-
rection. He also suggested that extra messengers be used between
Izabal and the Capital whenever there was too much mail for the
regular weekly courier to carry. This suggestion was accepted
and on 1st May, 1851, a Guatemalan Presidential Decree ordered
the establishment of a monthly schooner service between Izabal
and Belize. (Illustrations 3 and 4.)

Belize Jamaican Link

In 1852, a further alteration in the mail service,21 pro-
viding for communication between Belize and Jamaica, was intro-
duced. A notice of the 8th May, 1852, stated: "The Jamaican
Steamer will not proceed to Honduras as at present, but a branch
steamer will be employed specially to perform the Honduras mail
service to and from Jamaica."

The distance of 660 miles, covered at an estimated speed of
8 knots, took approximately 31 days. A stop of eight days was
made at Belize and mail should reach there 23. days after leav-
ing Southampton.

The "Esk" Saga

The plan was sound, the operation something else. A memor-
ial from merchants and others dated 17th May, 1853,22 addressed
to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty through H.M. Super-
intendent represented the unsatisfactory state of affairs aris-
ing out of the indifferent manner in which the chartered company
of the Royal West India Line of Mail Steamers had been performing

the service. The memorial referred to irregularity and inter-
ruption to which their European correspondence has been subjec-
ted. It was stated that the vessel 'Esk' was too small and that
an 800 ton steamer was required for the monthly Jamaica Service.

The memorial was of no avail, for two years later, the Su-
perintendent complained to the Governor of Jamaica as follows:
"Last mails forwarded-from Kingston by the 'Esk' under a per-
emptory order from the Director in England, which had been given
with the full knowledge that the vessel was not equal to the ser-
vice. When she left Kingston, it was accepted that she would
not be able to make the return passage against the Trade Winds
in the appointed time and, accordingly, instead of returning in
8 days, requiring the speed of 4 miles per hour, she took up 16
days without any severe weather."23 The view was again expres-
sed that the 'Esk' did not fit the task.

G.P.O. Questionnaire

Replying to the General Post Office questionnaire on the
postal services, the Superintendent informed the Governor of
Jamaica on the 16th July, 1855, "that there is no inland post in
the Settlement, nor is it possible that such accommodation is
needed, or could be easily arranged."24

Guatemalan/Belize Steam Link

The Belize/Guatemalan mail link changed over to steamships
when, on the 28th August, 1855, the Guatemalan Government25signed
a four year contract with Francisco Camoyano & Company of Belize
to provide, beginning no later than 1st July, 1856, a monthly
service between that port and Izabal, touching also at Living-
ston and Santo Tomas, with a steamer of 80 to 100 tons capacity.
The contract provided for the possibility of extending the ser-
vice to Havana. A yearly subsidy of 4,500 pesos and freedom
from port dues was assured. Previously, a subsidy of 120 pesos
monthly had been provided for the sailing ship service.

Prepayment Compulsory

The year 1857 saw prepayment of postal dues made compul-
sory. A sanserif BELIZE Date Stamp was sent out from London on
8th June, 1857.26

British Stamps on Sale

In May 1858, British stamps were put on sale at the Belize
Post Office. These stamps consisted of the Id. 'Stars', Large
Crown, Perf. 14, together with 4d., 6d. and 1/- surface print-
ed, without check letters in the corners. Belize also received
from London27 the large and small A06 Handstamps and these Hand-
stamps enable British stamps used in Belize to be identified. 28
(Illustration 5.)

Appointment of Postmaster

In 1859, Mr. William J. McKinney took over as Postmaster
from Mr. William McKay, who had held the post for thirteen


PERIOD 1842/1859

1. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 54
2. Encyclopedia British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol. V
N. America, p. 657
3. Stamp Collecting, Vol. 86, No. 19, p. 563
4. Records 10, p. 501, 16.12.1843, Belize Archives
5. do. 15/5 1844, do.
6. do. 25, p. 145, 17.10.1846, do.
7. do. 24, pp. 101-102, Records 15/8, 17.10.1845, Belize
8. Records 24, pp. 150-153, Records 25, pp. 82, 89, Belize
9. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 54
10. Records 25, p. 145, 17.10.1846, Belize Archives
11. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 54
12. Records 28, p. 91, Belize Archives
13. Guatemala Postal History, Vol. I (Robson Lowe Ltd.), p. 17
14. Records 28, pp. 91-93, 95, 97, 98, Jan. 1848 et. seq., Belize
15. Records 29, p. 378, 1.10.1849, Belize Archives
16. Records 39, p. 195, 1850/52, Belize Archives
17. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 54
18. Ibid.
19. Records 38, pp. 22, 32, Belize Archives
20. Guatemala Postal History, Vol. I (Robson Lowe Ltd.), p. 17
21. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 54
22. Records 47, 17.5.1853, Belize Archives
23. Records 43, pp. 133-4, 9.5.1855, Belize Archives

24. The West End Philatelist,. Vol. 48, No. 470, p. 59
25. Guatemala Postal History, Vol. I (Robson Lowe Ltd.)., p. 22
26. Stamp Collecting, Vol. 87, No. 18,.p. 574
27. Stamp Collecting, Vol. 86, No. 19, p. 563
28. The West End Philatelist, Vol. 48, No. 470, p. 59
29. Encyclopedia British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol. V,
N. America, p. 657

THE PERIOD 1860/1900

Local Control

On the 23rd January, 1860, the Superintendent informed the
Assembly1 of a despatch from the Secretary of State to the ef-
fect that the Post Office of the Settlement would be handed over
to local control on the 1st April, 1860.

Changeover to Colonial Post Office

On the 31st March, 1860, Mr. W.J. McKinney became the first
Colonial Postmaster, whilst on the 30th April, 1860, the use of
British stamps was stopped, and prepayment of postage by cash re-
introduced. A 'BELIZE PAID' circular Date Stamp was sent from
London on the 30th April, and was used on prepaid letters dur-
ing the interval between the withdrawal of British stamps and
the introduction of British Honduras stamps.

Belize a Colony

On the 12th May, 1862, Belize became a British colony under

Corozal Post Office

In the same year, a Branch Post Office was opened in Coro-
zal Town, with Mr. H.D. Hall as Postmaster,2 with aweeklycour-
ier service to and from Belize City. This service was discon-
tinued in a short time, whilst Mr. Hall's resignation in 1864as
Postmaster seems to have been the end for the time being of the
Corozal Post Office.

Postage Stamps Finance

The following year, 1863, the House of Assembly, on the 28th
March,3 approved the expenditure of $500 Mexican for a supply of
postage stamps to the Colony. Almost three years were to pass
before the stamps arrived in Belize.

Mail Conveyance Contracts

Difficulties over the conveyance of overseas mail continued,

in particular the sharing of the heavy cost by Belize. The con-
tract with the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company expired in 18634
but was extended by a supplementary contract by the General Post
Office, subject to three months' notice of termination. The con-
tract terms were not acceptable to Belize and the service was
discontinued. In 1865, a contract5 was entered into with the
West Indian and Pacific Steamship Company, but this service was
given up by the Company early in 1866. In the intervening per-
iods, mails were again carried by any ships available, includ-
ing warships. A significant factor, apart from costs, in these
searching for a suitable overseas mail service, was the con-
flict between the merchants of Belize, who preferred the mail to
routed via New Orleans, and the United Kingdom Government, who
wished to route the mail via Jamaica or Cuba rather than the
United States a hang-over, as it were, from the United States
Civil War, which ended in 1865.

Designs for Stamps

Meanwhile, the London Agent of Belize, Edward Sheldon and
Company, of 34 Lime Street, London, had been pursuing the matter
of postage stamps for the Colony.6 In July 1863, the Agent re-
ceived from Perkins Bacon and Company designs for the proposed
stamp issue for Belize, together with a cost estimate. The de-
sign consisted of the head of Queen Victoria, wearing the Gothic
crown; the head was .printed and the frames hand drawn in black:
two designs, both for the ld., and a third with the head only.

The designs were not acceptable, but it is thought that
they were shown to De La Rue and Company, who were next approached
to design stamps for Belize. This supposition is based on the
fact that the stamps eventually produced for Belize were the
only ones made by De La Rue with the Gothic crown. (Illustra-
tion 6.)

The accepted design common to the ld., 6d. and 1/- was the
bust of Queen Victoria wearing the Gothic crown, based on the
1861 5/- stamp of New South Wales (S.G. 174) which in turn was
inspired by William Wyon's great masterpiece of coinage, the Go-
thic crown of 1847. The adaptation and engraving was done by
F. Joubert de la Ferte.7

The First Stamp Invoice
These three values, ld., 6d., and 1/-, printed on unwater-

marked paper by De La Rue and Company, were, then, the first post-
age stamps for Belize.

The invoice from De La Rue, dated 11th October, 1865, is as

Preparing 3 hardened steel dies to L225.00
denote Postage duties One penny, Six-
pence and One Shilling and printing
plates containing respectively 120
Multiples duty One Penny, 60 Multi-
ples duty Sixpence, and 60 Multiples
duty One Shilling
Printing 235 for 200 sheets (containing 1.00
each 120 Penny stamps in Blue,
60 Sixpenny in Pink, 60 Shilling in
Green, in fugitive Printing Ink)
Perforating 56,4000 for 48,000 Stamps
Case tin lined and Boxes for dies 10.00


The printing was made in sheets of 240 stamps in four panes
of sixty (6 x 10): the two upper panes being the ld., the lower
left 1/-, and the lower right 6d. 9 This method of printing dif-
ferent values and colours on the same sheet was, at the time,
unique, and was probably occasioned by the small quantities
needed. It has resulted in a few blocks of se-tenant stamps (Id.
se-tenant with 1/- and 6d. se-tenant with 1/-) surviving, which
today are exceedingly valuable. (Illustration 7.)

Exhibition Highlight

Indeed, as late as 1935, it is reported that one of the most
surprising and interesting items shown at the recent Royal Jubi-
lee Exhibition at the rooms of the Royal Philatelic Society was
a block of the first 'no watermark' issue of British Honduras,
showing the 6d. rose se-tenant with the 1/- green.10

Belize Stamps on Sale

The stamps were received in Belize on the 28th November,
1865, and went on sale at the Belize Post Office in December
1865.1 These stamps were normally cancelled with the 'A06' Hand-

Inland Courier Service

August 1865 also saw the re-introduction of the weekly cour-
ier service to the north (Corozal) and the start of one to the
west (The Cayo).12

Overseas Mail

Reverting to the saga of the overseas mails, a Notice of
9th April, 1866,13 announced that: "In future, Mails for Hondu-
ras may be sent by Private Ship (Ship Letter Rate 3d. per oz.).
If addressed 'via Jamaica', they will be -sent by the Packet to
Jamaica (Packet Letter Rate 1/- per 1 oz.) and then onwards by
the first opportunity."

Later that year, arrangements were made whereby letters
could be sent twice monthly from the U.K. by the regular Packet to
Havana14 from where they were conveyed to Belize by a schooner
provided by the Belize Government.

New Contracts via New Orleans

In 1867,15 the master of the S.S. 'Trade Wind' offered to
carry mail for twelve months from Belize to New Orleans under
contract for $20,000. The S.S. 'Trade Wind', later replaced by
the S.S. 'Grange', carried the mail to New Orleans until 1871,
when the contract was taken up again by the Royal Mail Steamship
Company, via Jamaica,16 and held by them until 1879. In that
year, Captain Leitch, of New Orleans, obtained the contract to
carry on a service once every three weeks betweenBelize and New
Orleans. In 1881,17 it was altered to a fortnightly service,
and again altered in 1882, the steamer then sailing every ninth
and twelfth day alternately.

This contract expired in 1884, and on the 1st October18 of
that year a new'contract was entered into with Captain Leitch.
The contract was for a period of five years for a mail service

between Belize and New Orleans, every ninth and twelfth aay al-
ternately, for a yearly subsidy of $20,000.

Postage Stamps

The original importation of British Honduras stamps occurred
in late 1865, as already mentioned, and consisted of 28,200 at
ld., 14,100 at 6d., and 14,100 at 1/-. Two more orders were
placed by Edward Sheldon and Company on behalf of Belize:19 on
31st May, 1869, for 12,000 at ld., and for 24,000 at ld. on 6th
May, 1871. These were charged for at shillings 4/3 per 1,000.

Crown Agents

Immediately after this last order had been filled, on 27th
May, 1871, the dies were handed over to the custody of the Crown
Agents,20 who were then to look after the supplying of stamps to
British Honduras/Belize until 1979.

The first printings by De La Rue, on instructions from the
Crown Agents, for British Honduras were invoiced on the 14th
June, 1872, and comprised 24,600 at ld., 12,480 at 1/-. The
price21 for printing the 120 multiple plates was s.2/8 per 1,000
and for the 60 multiple plates s.4/- per 1,000. These stamps,
unlike the earlier printings, were on CC watermarked paper.

Threepenny Stamp

On .15th July, 1872, a requisition for a Threepenny stamp was
forwarded by the Crown Agents. The colour stipulated was22 'dark
chocolate', and the Colonial Government also asked if it would
be economical to remove the word 'six' from half of the print-
ing plate of 120 multiples for the sixpence stamps and substi-
tute 'three'. De La Rue pointed out that this was impossible,
and quoted for a new 120 multiple plate. This was accepted on
17th July, and the die and plate, together with 9,120 stamps,
were invoiced on 14th August, 1872.


These four values, ld., 3d., 6d., and 1/-., were the only
ones in use in Belize prior to joining the Universal Postal Union
on the 1st January, 1879.

Postal Rates and New Colours

This involved, inter alia, a change in postal rates to let-
ters: 6d. per half ounce; postcards 3d. each; newspapers not ex-
ceeding 4 ounces, ld. each; other printed papers and23 patterns,
2d. per 2 ounces; together with changes in the colour of stamps,
so that stamps of equivalent values had the same colour world-

The new rates became effective in Belize on 1st July, 1879,
and with the foreign letter rate being reduced to 4d.,24 a stamp
of this value was issued in July 1879.

Subsequent printings of stamps were made on CA watermarked
paper, the 4d. in July 1882, and with colour changes25 Id. rose
in 1884, 6d. yellow in 1885, and 1/- grey in 1887.

Currency Change Surcharges

The decree changing the currency from sterling to the dol-
lar came into force on the 1st January, 1888. To meet the need
for stamps in the new currency26 locally held stocks were sur-
charged with values expressed in cents, to the values 2 cents,
3 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents. The 1 cent stamp was
made by cutting the 2 cents stamp diagonally across. Surcharg-
ing, both by De La Rue and locally, continued until 1891, and
included further surcharging on stamps already surcharged. (Il-
lustration 8.)

From 1891 to the end of the century, the first definitive
set from 1 cent to $5 was issued, using the standard key plate
designs with white paper, watermarked Crown over CA.

Postcards were also placed on sale by the Post Office in
December 1879, and subsequently were surcharged in cents before
new printings were made.27 (Illustrations 21 to 24.1

Inland Posts

In the meantime, the internal postal service was develop-
ing. A notice of 18th March, 1875, stated: "Each time the Gov-
ernment steam launch 'Pioneer' leaves Belize for the north, a
mail will be made up at the Post Office for Corozal and Orange

Walk at 4 p.m. the previous day.28 A mail will be forwarded from
Corozal to Orange Walk and one from Orange Walk to Corozal, and
thence to Belize on the return trip. The correspondence will be
conveyed free of postage. The -letter bags at Corozal and Orange
Walk will be placed in the Police Court, under the charge of the
Senior Police Officer, to whom all letters, etc. should be sent."

District Post Offices

The year 1879 saw the establishment of District Post Offi-
ces at Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Punta Gorda.29 (I-
lustration 9.)

The General Post Office,.Belize by notice dated 19th Septem-
ber,. 1882, advised that the30 following arrangements had been
made with a view to facilitating the exchange of mails between
Belize and Orange Walk, viz., "A mounted scout will leave Coro-
zal with a mail for Orange Walk every Thursday at 4 a.m. and an-
other scout will leave Orange Walk with a mail for Corozal at
the same time. They will exchange mails at Douglas on the Rio

Overseas and Inland Mails

The start of regular boat runs, both to the north and south,
is linked to the overseas mail contracts, to which we now re-
turn. In February 1888, Mr. Herningham went to New Orleans and
saw Messrs. Macheca Brothers on the subject of a weekly mail ser-
vice. His efforts were successful and on the 20th June, 1888,a
new contract was entered into with Captain Leitch, who for the
yearly subsidy of $24,000, undertook to carry on a weekly mail
service between Belize and New Orleans. The following mail time-
table was provided for under the weekly contract:-

Leave Belize every Friday at 3 p.m.
Due at New Orleans every Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Due in London every Friday at 8 p.m.
Leave London every Thursday
& Friday at 8 p.m.
Leave New Orleans every Thursday at 8 a.m.
Due at Belize every Monday at 8 a.m.

Start of Weekly Mails

The new contract came into force on the 12th July, but be-
cause of quarantine restrictions prevailing at New Orleans, the
weekly mail service did not start until much later, the first
weekly mail arriving in Belize on the 8th October, 1888.

The contract provided, inter alia, that whenever quaran-
tine restrictions prevented the landing of passengers by the mail
steamers from Belize to New Orleans, Captain Leitch would, if
required by the Government, substitute in lieu of the weekly
mail service, a mail service between Belize and New York and
vice versa, at least once a month, the hours and dates of the
sailing of the mail steamers to be fixed whenever such occasions

Southern Mail Service

"Further, should less than three vessels be employed in ful-
filling the contract, they will not proceed further south than
Livingston; and each mail steamer after arriving in Belize and
before returning to New Orleans, calls, for the purposeof land-
ing and embarking mails and passengers, and of taking in fruit,
etc., at the following places within the Colony, and except where
otherwise mentioned, both going and returning, viz., Mullins
River, Stann Creek, All Pines (going only), Sittee River (re-
turning only), Monkey River and Punta Gorda."

Dispatch of Mails

The system for the dispatch of mails was that mails for
abroad were made up at the General Post Office, Belize, at 9 a.m.
on the day the steamer left for New Orleans, should she arrive
from the South in time to depart at the contract time. Notice
of the hour of the closing of the mail, should the steamer be
late, was available at the General Post Office. Letters could
be registered up to 9 a.m. on the day of the sailing of the reg-
ular Packet.

Late Fee

Late letters could be posted up to one hour after the clos-
ing of the mail for a fee of ten cents in addition to the postage.

It was also stated that the mails would be made up and dis-
patched whenever an opportunity occurred.

Mails for Central America

At the same period, 1888, it was also stated that mails for
Guatemala and Spanish Honduras would be made up at the General
Post Office, Belize,31 at 3 p.m. on the day after the mail from
London and New Orleans was due in Belize.

Northern Inland Mails

Under a contract negotiated in 1887, Captain Leitch had agreed
to provide a regular mail service with both the Northern and the
Southern Districts of the Colony. Before this contract had be-
come effective, the foreign mail contract of 1888, providing for
a weekly mail service including the Southern Districts, had been
signed. A revised contract to take account of this was signed
on the 25th June, 1888,32 whereby Captain Leitch undertook to
provide a regular mail service with the Northern Districts. The
steamer 'Freddie M.' was used for this contract, leaving Belize
for Corozal and Orange Walk every Monday at 8 a.m. and returning
in time to catch the outgoing mail.

Belize City Deliveries

The General Post Office, Belize, also dispatched mails to
the District Post Offices at every available opportunity (1890)
and in Belize City, letters were delivered by a postman twice a
day, at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.33

Passenger Rates

The contracts with Capt. James Leitch also provided that
rates of passage-money and freights should not exceed:34


Cabin Deck
Belize to or from Mullins River 2.00 1.00
Belize to or from Stann Creek 2.50 1.00
Belize to or from All Pines 3.00 1.00
Belize to or from Sittee River 3.00 1.00
Belize to or from Monkey River 4.00 1.50
Belize to or from Punta Gorda 5.00 2.00

Cabin Deck

Belize to or from Corozal 4.00 2.00
Belize to or from Orange Walk 6.00 3.00
Corozal to or from Orange Walk 2.00 1.00
All passengers to be embarked and disembarked
at steamer's expense

Freight Rates


Bananas, per bunch 84
Plantains, per hundred 84

Local Agent

The Local Agent for Captain Leitch (Macheca) was Mr. John
Hunter, Belize City.35

Mail Route

At this time (1888), mail took from 18 to 21 days from Lon-
don to Belize the normal route being London to Liverpool by
train; Liverpool to New York by one of the many transatlantic
lines; from New York to New Orleans by train, and from New Orleans
to Belize by the contract mail steamers.36

Other Shipping Lines

In addition to the mail contract with Captain James Leitch
(Macheca Brothers) for mail conveyance to and from New Orleans,
there was the London Line, with steamers leaving the West India
Dock, London, about every five weeks, calling at Nassau and oc-
casionally at Port Royal, Jamaica, for Belize.37 This line was
under contract to the United Kingdom Government for the Parcel
post between the United Kingdom and Belize.

The Harrison Line of steamers also left Liverpool about
once a month, calling at Belize en route to Veracruz or New Or-
leans. The Honduras and Central American Steamship Company pro-
vided the only link with Jamaica en route to New York, and were
under contract to the Belize Government to provide such a ser-
vice at least once a month carrying mails.

District Post Offices

The distribution of mails was further enhanced by the open-
ing of Post Offices at Mullins River in 1887, and at Monkey Ri-
ver, All Pines and San Estevan in 1888.38 Cayo Post Office was
opened around 1892; no definite date has been found, but a cir-
cular Date Stamp 'THE CAYO' for use in the Post Office was sent
from London on 26th July, 1893. (Illustration 10.)

Inland Mail Services

The Northern mail service continued under contract to Captain
Leitch, through the end of the century, whilst the Southern mail
service was maintained as an integral part of the New Orleans -
Belize mail contract. The first contract to carry mail from Be-
lize City to Cayo was called for on the 30th June, 1892.39

The St. George's Caye Service

Cuthbert Bros. (Partner Sydney Cuthbert) of Queen Street and
North Front Street, Belize City, were fairly well-to-do General
Merchants and are listed as such in the 1890 Handbook of the Bri-
tish Honduras Advertiser. In keeping with several of the more
affluent traders, Mr. Cuthbert'lived on Saint George's Caye and
commuted to and from Belize City by a steam yacht, the first of
its kind in Belize. With increasing frequency, Cuthbert found

himself being asked to carry mail to and from St. George's Caye.
He decided to make a charge and produced a typewritten stamp, as


This stamp, together with a straight-line cancellation,
'CUTHBERT BROS' in blue or mauve, is to be found on Covers car-
ried by this service. They are now are and have a high market
value. One Cover dated 27th September, 1895, bearing regular
postage stamps in addition to Cuthbert's Caye Service stamp, is
in the Royal Stamp Collection. At the time of writing (1981),
a daughter of Mr. Sydney Cuthbert is still living in Belize City.

W.G. Aikman

William George Aikman, described as a General Merchant and
Commission Agent of North Front Street, Belize, in the 1890 Hand-
book of the British Honduras Advertiser, took a keen interest in
stamps, and especially in the financial possibilities which they

He was friendly with the then Postmaster, Mr. W.F. McKinney,
and in all probability the Postal Clerk, Carl Metzgen. At the
time of the changeover from sterling to dollars (1888), with the
overprinting of the sterling stamps with cents, and the provision
of 1 cent stamps by diagonally bisecting the 2 cents stamp, Mr.
Aikman realized the philatelic opportunities and41 mailed to him-
self and close relatives hundreds of bisected stamps on covers,
as well as errors in the overprints and other overprints not
properly released. His very prolificity in this exercise ensured
that in his day, at any rate, such covers would not greatly ap-
preciate in value. Even today, Aikman covers are not highly re-
garded, though some have by now attained a considerable value.
The Postal Clerk, Carl Metzgen, overdid things and was subsequent-
ly convicted and dismissed for selling overprinted stamps to the
Scott Stamp and Coin Company, which had not been authorised fo-
issue. (Illustrations 11 and 12.)


PERIOD 1860/1900

1. The West End Philatelist, Vol. 48, No. 470, p. 59
2. Records 82, p. 411, Belize Archives
3. The West End Philatelist, Vol. 48, No. 470, p. 59
4. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 54
5. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 55
6. Encyclopedia British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol. V,
N. America, p. 670
7. Stamp Collecting, 28th Dec. 1978, p. 701
8. The De La Rue History, John Eastman, p. 267
9. Ibid.
10. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XXVIII, 1935, p. 8
11. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XXIV, p. 15
12. Postal History International, March 1974, pp. 104-5
13. The Stamp Magazine, November 1970, p. 55
14. Ibid.
15. Handbook of British Honduras Advertiser (1890), p. 69
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Ibid.
19. The De La Rue History, John Eastman, p. 267
20. Ibid, pp. 267-268
21. Ibid, p. 268
22. Ibid., p. 300
23. Handbook of British Honduras Advertiser (1890), p. 68
24. Ibid.
25. The De La Rue History, John Eastman, pp. 378-395

26. Handbook of British Honduras Advertiser (1890), p. 69
27. Ibid.
28. Postal History International, March 1974, p. 104
29. Handbook of British Honduras Advertiser (1890), p. 68
30. Postal History International, March 1974, p. 105
31. Handbook of British Honduras A p. 70
32. Ibid.
33. Ibid.
34. Ibid., p. 245
35. Ibid., p. 241
36. Ibid., p. 244
37. Ibid., p. 68
38. Ibid.
39. Postal History International, March 1974, p. 105
40. Encyclopedia Brit. Empire Postage Stamps, Vol. V,
N. America, p. 661
41. Ibid., pp. 675-676, and William George Aikman, by Barnstone
and Bob Ritchter

THE PERIOD .1900/1980

Expansion of Mail Service

This period saw a steady growth in the postal services to
meet the needs of an expanding population, increased literacy,
quickening and improved communications. The mail service to
and from New Orleans was taken over by the United Fruit Company
with its famous 'Great White Fleet'. The number of Post Offi-
ces had increased from 10 in 1895 to 15 by 1903, and 26 by 1910.2

Northern Mail Service

The Northern mail service remained wih the Leitch family
when, in 1905, the contract was awarded to Mrs. Kathleen Alice
Leitch for $5,400 per annum.3 In the following year the con-
tract was taken by Mrs. Burke, shipowner, and in 1907, by the Bri-
tish Honduras Mail Steamship Company, at $5,400 per annum. This
company had constructed in that same year the 'City of Belize',
a boat which they had had built in the U.S.A., specially for the
Northern run. The contract stipulated a 40 ton vessel to run
once a week for five years at $5,400 per annum. The 'City of
Belize' left the capital at 11.00 a.m. on Mondays, returning at
8.00 a.m. on Wednesdays, and plying between Belize, Corozal and
Orange Walk. The 'City of Belize' was destroyed by fire in 1911,
and the contract passed in 1912 to Mr. Joseph Lewis for a week-
ly service at $8,000 per annum, the vessel used being the M.V.


Meanwhile, the Western mail service was developing,but was
a much more hazardous venture, because of rapids and falls in
the Belize River. In 1906, a contract was entered into6 with
Charles Frederick Stuart of Belize, butcher, and John James Usher
of Belize, blacksmith, to carry mail between Belize City and El
Cayo. The service was required to call at Boom, Bakers, Little
Falls, Double Head Cabbage, Big Falls, Rock Dondo, Orange Walk
(Belize River) and Spanish Lookout, en route to El Cayo, and on
the return at Orange Walk, Double Head Cabbage, Bakers and Boom.7

Belize River Mail Service

In 1909, the contract was awarded to Alvaro Jorge Habet,
merchant, of El Cayo, for a weekly mail and passenger service,
and a payment of $100 per month.8 The contract passed in 1910
to Isaiah Garrett, of Belize City.9

El Cayo and Benque Viejo

Mails between El Cayo and Benque Viejo were by courier, be-
ing timed to link with the river service on a weekly basis.

Loss of Mail

In 1918, the Motorboat 'Cairo' sank near Mount Hopexo in
the Cayo District. A reward of $250 was offered for the recov-
ery of Registered Mail and $100 offered to anyone giving infor-
mation leading to the arrest of any persons concerningthe rifl-
ing or stealing of the contents of the 'Cairo'.

New Contract

S.M. Gomez and Sons agreed to operate the Belize River Mail,
Freight and Passenger Service under the Name 'The Western Mail
Service'. The service was to be weekly from the contract date,
27th September, 1924, for $1,000 per annum. The boats used were
the M.V. 'Nameless' and the M.V. 'Tireless'.11

Demise of the Belize River Mail Service

With the gradual opening up of trails and roads through to
El Cayo and the decline in the lumber industry, which reduced
the importance of many of the riverside settlements, more and
more goods, and eventually mails, were carried by motorised
transport through to El Cayo. The final end of the Belize River
Service as an important communication occurred shortly after the
end of World War II,

The Southern Mail Service

The United Fruit Company contract for the Southern Service
expired in 1917 and was not renewed.12

Contracts Awarded

Tenders were invited for the Southern route to call at Mul-
lins River, Stann Creek, All Pines, Riversdale, Monkey River and
Punta Gorda. In 1923, the contract was held by Folgarait and
Loria,13 operating the'M.V. 'Neptune', leaving Belize City on
Wednesday at 8.00 a.m. to Punta Gorda and back,with intermedi-
ate stops, the round trip taking some 72 hours. In late 1927,
the contract was awarded to Edwin Forrest Ricketts, of Belize
City, using the M.V. 'Lowrie', for an annual payment of $6,500.14


In 1935, the contract was awarded to Aubrey James Hunter,
of Belize City, using the M.V. 'Heron H', with an annual subsi-
dy of $3,380. The contract provided for a weekly service be-
tween Belize City, Stann Creek, All Pines, Seine Bight, Monkey
River, Punta Gorda, and Puerto Barrios in Guatemala. Mr. Hunter
and the 'Heron H' were to carry on this service for over thirty
years, when both the opening up of a road to Punta Gorda and the
establishment of daily air services brought about the end of the
Southern Coastal Service.15

More on Postage Stamps

At the end of the Nineteenth Century, the Governor direct-
ed that stamps in use for postal purposes should be used 'or the
payment of certain fees, when such stamps had been overprinted
with the word 'REVENUE'. The stamps of value 5, 10, 25, and 50
cents were locally overprinted.16 Some of these overprinted
stamps were used for postal purposes. Subsequent printing of
stamps bore the legend 'POSTAGE AND REVENUE', thus obviating any
need for further overprinting.

Further Issues of Stamps

Details of stamp issues are readily available in the many
stamp catalogues and philatelic literature. Reference is made
here only to the stamp booklets issued in 1920, consisting of a
booklet containing one hundred 2 cent scarlet stamps17 and an-
other containing one hundred 3.cent orange stamps. Each booklet
contained ten strips of ten stamps each (four horizontal by two
vertical) with wax interleaves and wire stitched between col-
oured covers pink for the 2 cent and grey-blue for the 3 cent.

A further printing was made in 1923 with. 2 cent brown
stamps, and again in 1926 with 2 cent red stamps.

Since then, no further printings or issues of stamp book-
lets have occurred.


PERIOD 1900/1980

1. 'The Great White Fleet', Capt. Grant
2. P.O. Admin. Report, 1920, M.P. 2014-21
3. Postal History International, March 1974, p. 104
4. Annual Report of Post Office, 1908
7. )
8. )
10. ) Postal History International, March 1974, pp. 104-6
11. )
12. )
13. )
14. )
15. )
16. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XVIII No. 2, July 1925, pp. 33-4
17. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XVIII No. 2, Jan. 1926, p. 237


Overseas Mail

Colonel Charles Lindbergh, in a Ryan monoplane 'The Spirit
of St. Louis', arrived in Belize from Guatemala City on the 30th
December, 1927, and left on the 1st January, 1928,1 for San Sal-
vador. This was the first land plane to land at Belize. Whilst
no mail was carried on this flight, it was the precursor of an
air service between the U.S.A. and Central America. On the 4th
February, 1929, Col. Lindbergh inaugurated the Pan American
Airways Central American service, known as F.A.M. No. 5, between
Miami, Florida, and Cristobal, Canal Zone (2074 miles),-with a
return service on 10th February, 1929. The U.S. Post Office Dept.
stated that "Mails will be carried only between the terminal
points of Miami and Cristobal."2

A further notice of 9th May, 1929, announced that "deliver-
ies of airmail dispatches will be made at Belize, British Hon-
duras; Tela C.A." effective with the flight from Miami, Tuesday,
21st May, 1929. The rates to British Honduras were 15 cents US
per half ounce.3

The British Honduras Gazette of 18th May, 1929, underNotice
No. 266, announced the inauguration of an airmail service be-
tween Belize and certain countries, to commence on or about the
20th May, 1929, and that the airmail fee would be 25 cents for
each half ounce or fraction thereof.

The first mail carrying flight from Miami to Belize took
place on the 21st May, 1929, when a total of 3781 letters were
carried, each marked with a special cachet.4 (Illustration 13.)

On the same date, the inaugural flight from Cristobal,s
Canal Zone to Cuba, via Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize, took
place. The flight from Cristobal arrived in Belize on the fol-
lowing day, the 22nd May, 1929, and letters are Backstamped ac-
cordingly. (Illustration 14.)

On the 23rd May, airmail letters were dispatched from Be-
lize to Miami via Havana, Cuba, and on the 24th May, 1929, to
Cristobal, Canal Zone. Details as follows:

First Dispatches North (Illustration 15,)

23rd May, 1929, to Havana, Cuba, and Miami, Fla., postmarked
3.00 p.m. 22nd May, 1929.7

Letters Weight

To Havana, Cuba 26 1 lb.
To Miami, Fla. 697 9 Ibs.

First Dispatches South (Illustration 16.)

24th May, 1929, to Honduras, Nicaragua and Canal Zone post-
marked 11 a.m. 23rd May, 1929.8

Letters Weight

To Tela, Honduras 33 1 lb. 13 oz.
To Managua, Nicaragua 25 1 lb. 12 oz.
To Cristobal, Canal Zone 60 2 lbs.

The Belize Post Office paid the Pan American Airways ten
dollars a pound (reckoned on the combined weight of the mail and
the bag), from which the Company paid the fees of the United States
Post Office Department to secure air treatment beyond Miami,Flo-

Other airmail routes were opened up, some of which were very
short lived, e.g. Belize-Cozumel (Mexico) on 29thOctober, 1929.10

23rd January, 1930, saw the first airmail from Belize to El
Salvador, and on 17th March, from Belize to Guatemala City. In
1931, an airmail from Belize to Payo Obispo (5th December) and
Merida was started. Only five Covers (Illustration 17) were
carried. On the same day, a flight was made from Belize to Puerto
Barrios, Guatemala. (Illustration 18.)

Internal Airmail

The first internal airmail service occurred on 17th August,
1937, between Belize City and El Cayo and return. This weekly
service12 was provided by TACA; 129 letters were carried to El
Cayo and 91 letters on the return journey. (Illustration 19.)

15th March, 1939, saw the first internal airmail service be-
tween Belize and Punta Gorda started. The outbreak of World War II
brought13 to a halt the development of internal airmail servi-
ces. Subsequent to the War, airmail services were developed to
all Districts on a daily or frequent basis, with oddly enough -
the exception of San Ignacio (El Cayo), the first District to be
so served.

Belize has never issued any airmail stamps, although" it
was officially reported in December 1929 that a 25 cent airmail
stamp was in preparation. Airletter forms were first issued in
1953, with a 10 cent King George VI stamp.



1. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XXII, January 1930
2. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XXII, September 1929, p. 98
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XXII, November 1929, p. 172
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. The Aerofield, August/September 1952, p. 150
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.
14. The Stamp Lover, Vol. XXII, March 1930, p. 322



Year Location

1830 Belize City

1842 ditto . . . . . . .

1845 ditto . .

1857 ditto . . . . . . .

1858 ditto . . . . . .

1860 ditto .


Appointment of first known
Handstamp "Crowned Circle'
and Date Stamp

. . . Post Office taken over by
G.P.O. London

Sanserif Date Stamp came
into use
British Stamps on sale "A06"

S Colonial Post Office

1862 Corozal . . . . . .

1864 ditto .

Corozal Post Office short

. . . . . Postmaster resigned -office

1879 Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann
Creek, Punta Gorda
1887 Mullins River
1888 Mullins River, All Pines, San


Cayo (The Cayo)
Bakers, Caye Caulker,
Northern River. Wellsport

1907 Banana Bank, Big Falls, Boom,
Double Head Cabbage, Isabella
Bank, Spanish Lookout

1908 New River service (llandstamp),
Commerce Bight, Gales Point,
Orange Walk (Belize River),
Progresso, Lowry's Bight

Year Location

1909 Rock Dondo. San Pedro
(Ambergris Caye)


Caledonia, Guinea Grass
Gracie Rock
Railway Station, Middlesex
Farm, Riversdale,
Coquericot, Benque Viejo

NOTE: Some of these offices were ephemeral,
opening up to meet a need which did not per-
sist, or surviving so long as there was a person
able and willing to perform as Postmaster in the
locality. The same position exists today.

1938 The following post offices were in operation:-

Belize District
G.P.O. Belize City
Caye Caulker
Gracie Rock

Corozal District

Orange Walk District
Orange Walk
San Estevan
Guinea Grass

Cayo District
Benque Viejo
Duck Run
Banana Bank

Gales Point
Double Head Cabbage
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)


Stann Creek District
Stann Creek
Stann Creek Valley
Agriculture Station

Toledo District
Punta Gorda
Monkey River

1960 The position was:-

Belize District
Add Rockstone Pond

Cayo District
Add Baking Pot

Corozal District
Add Louisville

Stann Creek District
Add Hopkins
Mango Creek

Orange Walk District
Add Crooked Tree

Toledo District
Add Barranco

Mullins River
All Pines
Commerce Bight
Seine Bight


Delete Bomba

Delete Duck Run
Banana Bank

Delete Pomona
Agriculture Station


1981 The number of Post Offices had grown to 58,

The Belize City Post Office

The Belize City Post Office has had a chequered history,
particularly as regards disastrous fires. The Post Office origi-
nally seems to have been housed in the Court House, but was la-
ter to be located on Regent Street, where in 1909 it was com-
pletely destroyed by fire, along with all the postal records.
Stocks of postage stamps were held at the Treasury and were
thus saved. The Post Office was then set up in the Council
Chamber in the Public Buildings. On the evening of Saturday,
17th August, 1918, a disastrous fire broke out between the Gen-
eral Post Office and the District Commissioner's Office. It
spread rapidly to the Court House and adjoining buildings; the
fire raged throughout the night. The General Post Office and
all its equipment was completely destroyed, along with the stamp
stocks in the Post Office. The Post Office was then temporarily
located in Albert Street, and in fact was to remain there until
the new Post Office was erected as part of the Public Buildings
in the 1930's.

Following on the 1918 fire, a temporary Date Stamp was put
into use by the Post Office until the metal dies could be re-
placed. (Illustration 20.)

The Post Office moved to its present site, in the Paslow
Building, in the 1940's.







Postcards were first issued in 1879, and went
through the usual gamut of overprints follow-
ing on the currency change in 1888. In 1891/
1892, a reply card was introduced. Postcards
continue to be available to the present day.

Registered envelopes were first introduced in
1912 with an embossed King George V head.

Newspaper wrappers were introduced in 1920.

Airletters were introduced in 1953,








2nd West
2nd West
2nd West
2nd West


Capt. Moriaty
Capt. J. Allen
Capt. A. Halfhide
Capt. J.J. Peek
William E. Hampshire
Stuart Thomson
J.H. Faber
George Berkeley
William McKay
William H. McKinney
W.B. Gutteron
G.L. Hulse
G.S.W. Smith

H.W. Beaumont

Later Colonial

First Colonial



Appointed Colonial Treasurer
1st April, 1923
Appointed temporarily on 1st
April, 1923

F.C.P. Bowen
P.M. Ewing
C.B. Hyde
E. Godfrey

India Regiment
India Regiment
India Regiment
India Regiment
and Shipping Agent



1800 Around 1800, a straight-line Handstamp, undated 'BELIZE'
came into use. Origin and user unknown.

1841 13th Nov., a crowned circle 'PAID AT BELIZE' registered
at the General Post Office, London. This Handstamp, to-
gether with a serifed 'double arc' BELIZE Date Stamp,
came into use in 1842. The latter is shown on Illustra-
tions 1 and 2.

1857 8th June, a sanserif 'double arc' BELIZE Date Stamp sent
from London.

1858 Two 'A06' Handstamps were sent from London in April, the
one with smaller print being dispatched first. See Il-
lustration 5.

1869 A 'BELIZE PAID' circular Date Stamp was sent in April
1860 and used in the period following the withdrawal of
British stamps and the advent of BritishHonduras stamps.
The 'strike' was normally in red. At the same time, a
circular Date Stamp was brought into use, as well as a
straight-line 'SHIP LETTER'.

1880's The 'C' and '0' obliterators (see Illustrations 9. 21
and 27), are of uncertain origin and introductory date
but were definitely in use in the 1890's. A dumb can-
cellation was also introduced around this time, see Il-
lustration 12.

A circular BELIZE date stamp with letter came into use
in the 1880's. Illustration 21 shows one with letter
'C; dated 8th May, 1889; Illustrations 25 and 26 let-
ter 'A' dated 18th April, 1896, and 3rd July, 1896,

1894 The K65 obliteration (2) came into use, see Illustra-
tions 24 and 26 (sent from London 21st December, 1893).

1890's The late 1890's saw the introduction of District circu-
lar stamps, see Illustration 10 for 'THE CAYO'.

The first circular Date Stamp BELIZE, BRITISH HONDURAS,
as distinct from BELIZE, came into use, see Illustra-
tion 8 dated 1st May, 1896.



During World Wars I and II, there was considerable enemy
submarine activity in the Caribbean and Mexican Gulf area. Cen-
sorship of mail was carried out in Belize to ensure that useful
information did not fall into enemy hands and in particular data
concerning the movement of ships and troops. The dates when cen-
sorship started are not yet certain and information is especial-
ly scant concerning World War I.

Illustration~ 28 shows a censored letter of the World' War I
period. Censorship was apparently carried out in New Orleans in
December 1918, whilst World War I ended on the llth November,

Illustrations 29 and 30 show Covers bearing World War IIcen-
sorship labels.

For further details see -

Trevor S. Bates, "West Indian Censorship Devices"
Roses Caribbean Philatelic Handbook No. 2.



1865 (Dec.)






ld, 6d, Is. No Watermark. Queen Victoria.
Id, 3d, 4d, 6d, Is. Watermark. Crown CC.
ld, 4d, 6d, Is. Watermark. Crown CA.
24 on 6d )
34 on 3d )
10* on 4d )
24 on d )
204 on 6d )
504 on Is. )
'Two' on 504 on Is.
) Surcharges
14 on Id )
24 on d )
34 on 3d )
104 on 4d )
204 on 6d )
504 on Is. )
64 on 10 on 4d )
54 on 34 on 3d )
1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 24, 25, 504, $1, $2, $5 -
Queen Victoria
5, 10, 25, 504 overprinted "Revenue"
1, 2, 5, 204 King Edward VII
1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 504, $1, $2, $5 King Edward.
Watermark Mult. Crown CA
1, 2, 5, 204 King Edward VII. Colour change.
1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 25, 504, $1, $2, $5 King George V
1, 2, 54 Violet Moire. Overprint. )War Issues
1, 34 variously overprinted 'WAR' )
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 25, 504, $1, $2, $5 Watermark
Mult. Script CA

1921/23 25 and $5 Mult. Crown CA
1938/47 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50, $1, $2, $5 King
George VI
1953/57 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50, $1, $2, $5 Queen
Elizabeth II
1962/67 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50*, $1, $2, $5 Queen
Elizabeth II. Birds.
1968/73 L, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50t, $1, $2, $5 -
Queen Elizabeth II. Fishes and Animals.
1973 as 1968/73 overprinted 'BELIZE. )
Queen Elizabeth II. )
1974 as 1968/73 with Belize as country name.
Queen Elizabeth II.
) Belize
1974 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 16, 25, 26, 50 ,, )
$1, $2, $5, $10 Queen Elizabeth II. )
Butterflies. )



1921 28th April
1922 4th Jan.

1932 2nd May




6th May
12th May
9th Sept
1st Oct.
10th Jan.

10th Oct.
16th Feb.

2nd June
1st July
1st March

1962 15th Jan.

1963 2nd Sept.
1964 Mar./April

1965 17th May

1965 25th Oct.

Peace Commemoration
Same design as above with
'Peace' omitted
Belize Relief Fund. Defi-
nitive issue surcharged with
with equivalent value
Silver Jubilee
Royal Silver Wedding
150th Anniversary of Battle
of St. George's Caye
75th Anniversary U.P.U.
Inauguration of B.W.I.
University College
Post Office Centenary
New Constitution (Defini-
tives overprinted)
Hurricane 'Hattie' Relief
Fund (Definitives over-
Red Cross Centenary
New Constitution (Defini-
tives overprinted)
International Telecommuni
cations Union Centenary
International Cooperation


1, 2, 3, 4, 5$

3, 4, 5, 25
3, 4, 5$
3, 5$
4t, $5
1, 3, 4, 5,
10, 15$
4, 5, 10, 25t
3, 104

10, 15s

3, 10, 15$
10, 25, 50$,

4, 22$
1, 3, 4, 10,
2, 50#

1, 22$





1971 30th Jan.

1971 27th March

1971 14th June



1972 21st Aug.

1972 20th Nov.
1973 9th March

24th Jan.
1st July

1st Oct.
1st Dec.
16th April

15th July
9th April
1st Sept.
1st Nov.
2nd Feb.

2nd April
7th Nov.

Churchill Commemoration
Dedication of New Capital
Site (Definitives over-
Stamp Centenary
International Tourist Year
20th Anniversary of Economic
Commission for Latin
Human Rights Year
Orchids of Belize
Indigenous Hardwoods
Population Census (Defini-
tives overprintedj
Orchids of Belize

Establishment of New
Capital, Belmopan

Racial Equality Year (Defi-
nitives overprinted)
Indigenous Hardwoods
Bridges of the World
Mayan Artefacts

Indigenous Hardwoods

Royal Silver Wedding
Festivals of Belize

10, 22,
10, 22,
10, 22,

22, 50
5, 10, 22,
5, 10, 22,
5, 15, 22,
5, 10, 15,

5, 10, 22, 25
1, 5, 10, 15,
22, 50*
5, 10, 15, 22,
25, 50
1, 5, 10, 15,
22, 25
10, 504

5, 15, 26, 50t
2, 5, 26, 50t
6, 15, 26, 50*
3, 6, 16, 26,
3, 5, 16, 26,
26, 50*
3, 10, 26, 50*

1, 4, 22, 25
1, 3, 4, 10,


1973 11th June

1973 14th Nov.
1974 1st May

1974 30th Nov.

1975 2nd June

1975 17th Nov.
1976 29th Mar.

1976 17th July
1976 18th Oct.

1977 7th Feb.
1977 3rd Sept.

1977 2nd Dec.

1978 15th Feb.

1978 21st April










Definitive set overprinted

Royal Wedding
Mayan Artefacts

Birth Centenary Sir Winston
Mayan Artefacts

Bicentenary of American
Olympic Games, Montreal
West Indian Victory in
World Cricket Cup
Silver Jubilee
Birds of Belize

75th Anniversary of Pan
American Health Organisa-
Establishment of Belize
Defence Force (Definitives
25th Anniversary of Coro-
nation (sheetlet of three
Birds of Belize

Christmas Wild Flowers and
Centenary of U.P.U. Member-

i, 1- 2, 3, 4,
5, 10, 15, 25,
504, $1,- $2* $5
26, 504
3, 6, 16, 26,
504, $1

3, 6, 16, 26,
6, 26, 504, $1
10, 354, $1

35, 454, $1
354, $1

10, 35, $2
8, 10, 25, 35,
454, $1
354, $1

10, 354

75, 75, 754

10, 25, 35,
45, 504, $1
10, 15, 35,
45, 504, $1
5, 10, 35,
45, 504, $2

1979 16th April Birds of Belize

1979 31st May

1979 30th July

25th Anniversary of Corona-

Death Centenary of Sir
Rowland Hill and 75th
Anniversary of Internation-
al Civil Aviation

10, 25, 35,
45, 50, $1
25, 50, 75,
$1, $2, $3,
$4, $5
4, 25, 50,
75, $1, $1.50,
$2, $3, $4

e- I-/-e e1 'I

This wrapper shows the Belize Double Arc Date Stamp
llth May, 1849. The wrapper is addressed to Bristol,
England, with postal charge of 1/- in manuscript.
The red Handstamp is the London Transit Stamp 22nd
June, 1849, and superimposed the Bristol Double Arc
Date Stamp 22nd June, 1849.

Illustration 1

t.. .4' It

.- r--.
~ a/
7.,' O~p
~ V
-~'U~ ~r'


~ N

'i,~ I ro y^
/ i-- >

- / r^


Two Covers posted in Belize in 1851 addressed to
Bristol, in England. Note the Belize Double Arc
Date Stamp. Both Covers rated 1/- on face for
postal charges. Mail taking approximately one
month between Belize and England.

Illustration 2



., I.

Face of entire from Guatemala City to Paris via Belize
letter written 29th March, 1851, and carried by courier
from Guatemala City to Izabal on the Rio Dulce.

Illustration 3

<^\ <1*' N\
r..\ -, I
t -
t ~ -." ; .
'' ""

Reverse of Illustration 3 showing the in transit Belize
Double Arc Date Stamp 20th April, 1851. The letter ar-
riving in Paris 24th May, 1851. This letter was writ-
ten just four days after the then British Minister in
Guatemala, Frederick Chatfield, proposed to the Guate-
malan Government 25th March, 1851 a regular ship sail-
ing between Izabal and Belize. The proposal was accept-
ed and on 1st May, 1851, a Guatemalan Presidential Decree
ordered the establishment of a monthly schooner service
between Izabal and Belize.



The top three stamps show the use of the "A06"
Handstamp on British stamps postally used in
Belize. That on the top right being the smal-
ler "A06" Handstamp. The two lower stamps are
British Honduras stamps cancelled by the larger
"A06" Handstamp. This Handstamp continued in
use for many years.

Illustration 5



1865 Essays for the first issue of Bri-
tish Honduras stamps. These designs were
not accepted and are unique. The illus-
trations are taken from Stanley Gibbons's
Philatelic Rarities of the World 1978
Auction Catalogue.

Illustration 6

One Shilling and Sixpence stamps se-
tenant from the first printing of
British Honduras stamps in October
1865. Printers De La Rue and Company.
These se-tenant stamps are now rare,
and highly valued. This illustra-
tion is from a 1968 auction catalogue
issued by H.R. Harmer, Ltd., London.

Illustration 7

The Post Office Registered Cover to Toronto, Canada, bears a Threepenny
stamp originally surcharged 6 cents and subsequently further surcharged
15 cents. Such surcharging provided philatelist Mr. W.G. Aikman of Belize
with opportunities to obtain supplies of printing errors in surcharging.
Note also the circular date stamp Belize, British Honduras. Earlier date
stamps bore the name Belize but not British Honduras.

Illustration 8



.4:- /

S* J

r ij ,' 'i

ti ^/?^ Y^





These two Covers were posted in Corozal: the upper in
1896, the lower in 1897. Both Covers show the use of
the 'C' obliterator on the stamps, the use of this ob-
literator being confined to Corozal. The Covers also
bear the Belize City handstamp. The upper Cover car-
ries only 5 cents in stamp against the correct postage
of 10 cents as carried by the lower Cover. The upper
Cover carries the 'T' and '5DI which was impressed in
London to ensure that the recipient made good the post-
al deficiency.

Illustration 9


--' -~

~i7.'..... ~- -.L~ .- lr- -. --

( q~LI 'I

~~u-yrr~rr I aC
\J jJ

- i 1

- l-
'f"I^L^P ^^X.* /a***. ">,,*. *'


Registered Cover showing the single circle Date
Stamp typical of most of the early District Post
Offices. Postmarked 'THE CAYO' (present day San
Ignacio) 3rd January, 1899, and Backstamped Belize
7th January, 1899, having travelled no doubt by

Illustration 10







W q,. 'A *




Two Aikman Covers with bisected 2 cent stamps.
Note the single circle Belize Date Stamp and
on the lower Cover the "0" obliterator.

Illustration 11





Four more Aikman

w I '4 I r

Covers, all with the Dumb obliterator.
Illustration 12


- --~- -,,,,~-, ---- .-.~-- _-,- - ;

---- r..r--. .-- -- - --- - -- -

This Cover was one of 3781 carried on the first Pan American mail carrying
flight from Miami to Panama via Belize, 21st May, 1929. Received Belize
6 p.m. 21st May. 1929.

Illustration 13

i. -


Remitente: --
37., c^-e__
ke^-^^^^/ dL

a 12


Direccl6n del destinatario:

A Cover from Cristobal (Canal Zone) to Belize carried on the
inaugural flight Cristobal-Cuba via Nicaragua, Honduras and
Belize, 23rd May, 1929.

Illustration 14

w* '-l w w.


Dr. Walter Hese,


t0*4"aA 14~
B C U. -* f^ -
rG rc i( ^r< t* ^y.^ ^ ^ ^^ ^j

A Cover from the first north
23rd May, 1929, Date Stamped
were carried to Miami.

flight Belize-Miami on
22nd May. 697 Covers

Illustration 15



Sr. G. C. Green,

% U. S. Cons~l.


iJL _~-~_-.7--

A Cover carried on the first airmail flight
Belize-Cristobal, Panama, on 24th May, 1929.
60 Covers carried to Cristobal. Cover Back-
stamped Cristobal, 25th May, 1929. San Jose,
Costa Rica, 30th May. 1929.

Illustration 16


[j .

- -r~-- .. 7 -------rrr -~-~- -'-1-r-- -~

.y Air "ail
i^.ir \A"ion

; r. .iwr C. Cantroll,

a/c Arbiinistrador de .orreos,

. erida, :e;xico.


A Cover carried on the first airmail flight
Belize Payo Obispo -Merida. 5th December,
1931. 5 Covers carried.

Illustration 17



A Cover carried on the first airmail flight
Belize-Puerto Barrios-Miami. 86 Covers to

Illustration 18

- ~eUl63

~L~ -




4p IRegent t. W!
asize, Hon4
17TH. AUGUST, 1937

i I

17th August, 1937, Belize-Cayo and return inauguration
of weekly internal airmail service by Transportes Aeros
Centro-Americanos (TACA). 129 items carried on the out-
flight and 91 items on the return flight.

Illustration 19

^ *V -^- 7 ^---;

The Belize City Post Office was completely destroyed by
fire during the late hours of Saturday, 17th, and early
hours of Sunday, 18thAugust, 1918. All the Date Stamps,
Registration Etiquettes and postal equipment were lost.
A temporary Date Stamp was brought into use. The Cover
illustrated was posted on the 22nd August, 1918, and
shows the temporary Date Stamp. It will also be noted
that it was the 55th registered article costed since
the fire four days previously.

Illustration 20




A postal stationery card, written by Carl Metzgen
for Postmaster, shows the barred "0" obliterator
and the circular Belize Date Stamp, 8th May, 1889.

Illustration 21


a Hermann Meyer
wutscher Ganzsachen-
Sammler Verein.
Dmitz a. d. Elbe.

A L ii..pom1 1


Two postal stationery cards. The upper, posted
on 10th November, 1903, is double, with the an-
nexed card for 'a reply'. The lower card, pos-
ted on 16th August, 1907, bears a Date Stamp
with smaller printing than the one above.

Illustration 22




iHerrn Hermamn Meyqr
Deutscher Ganzsachen-
Samnler Vert'in.
S^.-. Domitz ai i~ Bae

J.'.. - Germany


'. F

The upper postal stationery card shows the
three cents surcharged 2 cents. The lower
shows the three cents unsurcharged.

Illust rat ion 2.

.. .... . r- -


The postal stationery card bears a Penny Halfpenny
stamp with a clear K65 cancellation, a neat Belize
circular Date Stamp, 18th October, 1894 and the
registration R in an oval.

Illustration 24


A clear Belize single circle Date Stamp 'A',
18th April, 1896.

Illustration 25

V .

( ~'s

00 1-F
Zs ^-



\/^^ Qcr

This Cover shows the "K65" obliterator
on the 5 cent stamp and the single cir-
cle Date Stamp 3rd July, 1896.

Illustration 2(


` BELIZ]I:--

g -




bJ> Cn

- i

Cover with barred 'O' obliterator and
circular Date Stamp, 19th August, 1892.

Illustration 27

2 "h


ktc~nn ~--~A'C



Censored Cover of World War I, posted Corozal (note postmark)
18th December, 1918. Reverse bears temporary Date Stamp Belize
City, 20th December, 1918, and New Orleans Handstamp, 26th De-
cember, 1918, where the letter was subject to censor although
World War I ended on the llth November of that year.

Illustration 28






IWm Ak a m m *hM. mAk

Censored Cover of World War II posted in Belize City,
1st January, 1941.
Illustration 29






L (I

Censored Cover of World War II, posted 7th September, 1943,
censored 8th September, Examiner J/8174. The English lang-
uage Handstamp is to facilitate censorship.
Illustration 30

Belize, British Honduras

f 7 P194 3
rb b i y111

The DiVision Accountant,
The United fruit t Co.,
Puerto .arcioe,

w4 i.v



ir -i

-- rr


James A.R.Lryden

Poste Restante,



This Cover was posted in Edinburgh, Scotland, on
10th October, 1929, and arrived in Belize City on
22nd October, 1929, having travelled by rail, sea
and air. The Postal Authorities in the U.K. an-
nounced that mails sent on the 12th October, 1929,
per "SS. AQUITANIA" to British Honduras and other
destinations in Central and South America could
be sent by air from New York, thus saving 5 10
days in transit. The air fee was 1/- extra. 38
Covers were carried to Belize.

V1 ,14 I 4 -


l ?,^j -- 3 G.J.Payminond
SH D P.O.Box 35143
Houston 35,TEXS(U.S.A.)

A" WA" AW "W

Figure 3

Located high in the mountains near the Guatemala
border, GALLON JUG was a very isolated lumber-camp, in
the Orange Walk District. In 1960, the village had
532 people, but no sub-post office was opened until -
October 22, 1963, with Mr. Roy Gardiner, Postmaster. O
The datestamp was a large oval rubberstamp, as above, /
with no dates, normally written in by hand. A
torturous 23-mile narrow gauge logging railway twisted \
down the mountains to Hill Bank, where logs were
dumped to float out by river. Mail arrived weekly by _
light plane. Lumbering operations went broke in 1964,
the sub-post office closed December 5. 1963. A steel
datestamp (Figure 4) is known used in late 1964, but Figure 4
is scarcer then the T.R.D. This is a striking example
of a cover sent down by a collector, of a postmark
which might never have survived or been recorded,
otherwise. Official records have never included it --

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