British Honduras was formerly a British Crown colony from 1783 until 1964, located south of Mexico on the eastern coast of Central America. It was renamed Belize in 1973 and was the last colony of the United Kingdom in the Americas.
Forestry is the key sector that fuels the economy of British Honduras, initially concentrating on logwood that is used in dye production. However, because of the price drop for logwood in the 1770s, British Honduras shifted toward mahogany logging. Labor requirement for logging of mahogany was much more exhaustive, the colony had to import African slaves from the British colonies in the Caribbean. Slave revolts were rampant due to the harsh working conditions until slavery was put to an end in 1838. Although slavery was abolished, the export of mahogany remained to be the nation’s economic lifeblood. The lack of economic diversity has made the colony vulnerable to the fluctuating market of mahogany.
There were four banknote series issued by the Government of British Honduras. The first set of notes was launched in 1894 in denominations of 1, 2,5, 10, 50, and 100 dollars. Printed by Thomas De La Rue, the paper bills bear geometric patterns watermark. These notes feature the national emblem that shows the motto “SUB UMBRA FLOREO” (Under the shade I flourish) on the obverse and guilloches on the reverse.
Between 1939 and 1942, the King George VI series was released, bearing the portrait of King George VI. From 1947 to 1952, banknotes similar to the previous issues were introduced but with revised color schemes. On the 1952-1973 issues, King George VI’s picture was replaced with a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing King George IV’s state diadem. These banknotes are uniform in size of 156 x 68 mm and have no security thread and watermark.