Artifacts found at ancient Mayan sites on the Caye provide evidence that the Mayans used this exact location between 300 B.C. and 1200 A.D. After the decline in the Maya civilization, the early Spanish explorers used the bays, lagoons, and reefs to repair their boats, fish, and collect freshwater.
In the early 17th century, the island became a haven for pirates and buccaneers, notably Black Beard and Captain Morgan. These buccaneers looted Spanish, French and American trading ships and then retreated behind the reefs. Large ships could not follow. Subsequently, the buccaneers settled in the area, most of British decent became known as Baymen. They found that selling lumber paid more and was less dangerous so they settled the area along with the Mayans and free slaves of the area.
In 1798 the Baymen and the slaves fought off the Spanish in the battle of St. George's Cay, which led to the recognition of Belize as the Colony of British Honduras in 1862. By 1866 many Confederate Exiles were moving to Belize to create the "Old South". One of these the Reverend B.R. Duval of Virginia settled the area of New Richmond near the present day San Pedro.
Today the island has a mix of Mayans, Brits, Mexican Indians, Americans, Canadians and others lured by the beauty and grandeur of the waters and reefs. The laid back lifestyle of Ambergris Caye is the perfect place to unwind and discuss the history of this beautiful country.