March 9, 2010

Baron Bliss Day – Belize

On this date in 1926, a wealthy British man named Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss died on his yacht in a harbor in the Caribbean land then known as British Honduras and now known as Belize.

He left more than two million U.S. dollars in a trust fund for the citizens of Belize!

According to his will, the interest earned by the money (but not the principle) was to be spent on projects for the people of Belize. He specified that the money was not to be used
on churches or schools, except for agricultural or vocational schools, and that no American was to be a trustee or an employee of a trustee (no explanation given on that one!).

So far, the money has been
used for the Bliss Institute (a performing arts center), a lighthouse, the Bliss School of Nursing, and several health centers and libraries.

Bliss called himself the “Fourth Baron Bliss of the Kingdom of Portugal,” although some sources claim that the title is uncertain. It has said that his wealthy family disinherited him for a trivial reason (for keeping a hansom cab waiting? really? – that sounds like an apocryphal story to me!), but apparently Baron Bliss went on to make his own fortune.

In 1911 Baron Bliss was afflicted by polio and decided to travel to places that were warm and beautiful. In 1920 he sailed to the Bahamas, Trinidad, and Jamaica, but when he arrived in Belize in 1926, he declared that he liked the climate and the local people. He never set foot on Belizean soil, but two months after his arrival, he died, and his generous gift to the people of Belize was made known.

Bliss is buried at the Baron Bliss Lighthouse Monument in Belize City. He is remembered and thanked every year on this day, and as per his wishes, there is regatta, or series of boat races, in the harbor. Other Belizean towns celebrate the day with small boat races and parties.

Break a Code, Learn about Belize

Break the substitution code to finish the numbered statements and to read the message below:
1.Although Kriol and Spanish are spoken by many people, Belize is the only country in Central America whose official language is ALKQORM.

2.Along with the rest of Central America, Belize is part of the continent of LJTCM America.

3.An important native culture from Belize's past is the BEZE.

4.Belize was colonized by KTAEC Britain.

5.Tourists in Belize are especially drawn to the world's second longest barrier TAAP.

You should ETTELKA a vacation to Belize the next time you have E ROLKQA week PTAA! It's generally warm there, not MJC, and the idea that visitors get horrible tropical diseases is mostly just a BZCM.

ANSWERS: 1. ENGLISH 2.NORTH 3.MAYA 4.GREAT 5.REEF Message: You should arrange a vacation to Belize the next time you have a single week free. It's generally warm there, not hot, and the idea that visitors get horrible tropical diseases is mostly just a myth.

Cave Raves!

Belize is home to the largest cave system in Central America, and tourists are able to float entire rivers seven miles underground enjoying cave formations such as stalactites and stalagmites, underground waterfalls, and even a “crystal cathedral” sacred to the Maya. See some photos here.

Learn about the Mayan culture

The Maya had a complex civilization that lasted more than a thousand years, until it was conquered by Spaniards. Aside from arts and architecture, religion and legends, the Maya had a writing system, arithmetic, and an early form of astronomy, among other things.

The Mayan Kids website is a cool place to start learning about the Maya.
Be sure to check out the “bug tacos” page from the People section (pages are underlined words at the top of each section). Yummy!...Dog lovers might like to learn about "hairless dogs."

Here are three games from the same website.

Another interesting website is “Mysterious Mayas for Kids.”

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