With the rise in travel around the world, it is important to note that Black people are all across the world. Have you ever heard of the Belizean Kriol people? Many people may not have. Many people may not even know much about the country of Belize.
Belize City is the largest city in the country of Belize. It is a port city located in Central America. In 2016, Belize City had a population of 61,762. Belize City was originally names Holzuz by the Mayans, but English colonizers renamed it "Belize Town" in 1638. Belize Town's port made it an active location for African slaves to be bought and sold.
Slaves in Belize Town
By 1724, Jamaicans were being imported by the English to cut mahogany wood. These slaves were nicknamed "Baymen". The Baymen descendants are now the Belizean Kriol group. They make up 21 percent of Belize City's population, and 75 percent of the country's population.
English is Belize's official language, but the Belizean Kriol people are Black & Bilingual. Belizean Kriols speak a patois languages that is English-based, but influenced by African syntax and Spanish phrases. The language is said to sound similar to Jamaican patois.
Belizean Kriol Culture
Belizean Kriol culture is a branch of Black culture worldwide. Music plays a large role in the culture. Brukdown is the Belizean Kriol traditional genre of music. it incorporated African rhythms and call and response. Popular instruments found in Brukdown music are banjos, drums, and a donkey's jawbone.
Belizean Kriol Food
A popular Belizean Kriol dish is Bile Up. Bile Up (or boil up) is comprised of boiled eggs, fish or pig tails, with cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, and plantains served with tomato sauce.
Other popular foods include baked chicken, boiled chicken, stewed pork, conch, lobster, and iguana. Another branch of Black culture in Belizean Kriol food is Johnny-Cakes. Johnny-Cakes are a staple across the African Diaspora, and there are different variations of the dish. However, it all contains some form of cornmeal or dough. Belizean Kriol Johnny-Cakes are typically made with flour and coconut milk, and served at breakfast time.
The Belizean Kriol people have also adopted traditional "Spanish" dishes such as tortillas.
Belizean Kriol People and the Black Diaspora
The Belizean Kriol people have many similarities of Black people everywhere. It is seen in their language, music, and food. These similarities show that although we are in different places, with distinct differences, Black people are all the same worldwide. Marvel's box office smash hit, Black Panther, gave this strong message to the Black Diaspora. While we are diverse, we are still one people. Black & Bilingual's purpose is to showcase the commonalities and linguistic diversity of Black people worldwide. I do believe there is a oneness brewing in the African Diaspora globally. Exposure to our people worldwide is key to breakdown divisive lenses given to us by colonizers for centuries. If we do not know and understand our common story, we will not be able to move forward. Therefore, this post is dedicated to the Belizean Kriol people of Belize - one strong part of the Black Diaspora worldwide.