August 26, 2015

1854 BELIZE - The Garifuna village of Hopkins

To distinguish the descendants of Caribs Indians and Black African slaves from the Caribs who had not intermarried with Africans, the British colonial administration of then British Honduras named on the first Black Carib and Garifuna, and the last ones Yellow and Red Carib. For a long time, all the black communities living on the Caribbean coast of Central America are commonly called Garifuna. They speak the Garifuna language, a member of the Arawakan languages family albeit an atypical one, containing an unusually high number of loanwords from European languages. The Garifuna language was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2008 along with Garifuna music and dance (here).

Hopkins, a village on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, surrounded by the Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range, is considered by some Belizeans to be the cultural center of the Garifuna population in  Belize. It was created in 1942 to replace the village of Newtown, which was devastated by a hurricane further up the coast. The village hosts its own national holiday, Hopkins Day, and welcomes people for their celebration on Garifuna Independence Day as well, they do this with drum ceremonies that can last till early hours in the morning. The village is separated into two parts; the Northside (Baila) and the Southside (False Sittee).

About the stamps
The stamps are part of the 2005 definitive series of twelve stamps featuring Ecological and Heritage Sites around the country, about which I wrote here.

Hopkins, Belize - Wikipedia
Hopkins - Official website
Garifuna - Native Planet

Sender: Joseph Koop (direct swap)
Sent from Spanish Lookout (Belize), on 01.07.2015
Photo: JC Cuellar / 2009

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