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St. George's Caye

Engagement/Skirmish Name : St. George's Caye

Date(s) : 03 January 1798 - 10 January 1798

Part of : The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars , French War of the First Coalition ,


A Spanish fleet of 32 vessels operating in the West Indies repeatedly engaged an ad hoc force defending the British settlement at the mouth of the Belize River. The defenders consisted of HMS Merlin, sloop carrying 8 guns [18 pounders] and seven rafts locally constructed of tree trunks each carrying a nine pounder gun. The rafts were manned by freemen and slaves working together. This ad hoc defence force drove off the Spaniards. The engagement was significant because it gave rise to a legend that later helped to unified the embryo colony into British Honduras, granted independence as Belize in 1981.