Soon after the British gained a foothold on Belize in the mid 1600s, they introduced their technology to extract the riches from Belize’s forests. These settlers could not find willing workers to do the hard work of operating the technology to cut and haul logwood and mahogany to nearest rivers and floating these resources to the coast. To do this work, the British began forcing Africans to do their work.
Africans were first enslaved by the British in Belize around the early 1700s to perform logwood cutting work. The subsequent rise in importance of the mahogany industry in the 1770s saw enslavement of increasing numbers of people to service this business. Extraction of mahogany was much more labour intensive than logwood and large numbers of Africans were brought to do labour intensive tasks for the Europeans. The Africans were brought to do this work because they had developed considerable knowledge of agricultural technology in their original homeland.
Descendants of Africans who worked as slaves to the logwood and mahogany industries now account for 25% of Belize’s population. This group is also classified as Creole which takes into account the fact that there was considerable race mixing between the British Culture and the African Tradition. Recently, Africans from Nigeria have immigrated to Belize.