|History of Belize|
Many ruins indicate that Belize was originally inhabited by the Maya Indians. Their civilization reached its height between 300 A.D. and 900 A.D., but thereafter collapsed and many of the people migrated.
Even though Columbus, in 1502, sailed near the region, the first recorded European settlement was established in 1638 by shipwrecked British sailors. Later came the lost British soldiers and sailors after the capture of Jamaica from Spain in 1655. The settlers, who became mainly logwood cutters, were the target of many attacks from neighbouring Spanish settlements as Spain had claimed ownership of almost all of the New World. Logwood mostly used to produce dye. It was only in 1763 that Spain, in the Treaty of Paris, allowed the British settlers to engage in the logwood industry. This was reaffirmed by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783 and the area of logwood concession was extended by the Convention of London in 1786. But Spanish attacks continued until a solid victory was won by settlers, with British naval support, in the Battle of St. George's Caye in 1798. After that, British control over the settlement gradually increased and in 1862 British Honduras was formally declared a British Colony.
You can find a comprehensive look at the history of Belize HERE.