Today marks the observance of Baron Bliss Day, an annual national holiday in Belize that honors the generosity of the late British-born adventurer and philanthropist Baron Bliss.
Baron Bliss was a millionaire who unfortunately contracted polio around his early forties and became paralyzed from the waist down. Determined to prevent his condition from affecting his experience of other cultures, he decided to travel to the Caribbean on a yacht called the Sea King II in 1920.
He took quite a liking to the people and laid-back culture of the Caribbean, and ultimately spent six years living aboard the Sea King II offshore of Trinidad, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. After his health took a turn for the worse, he eventually made his way to the coast of British Honduras (present day Belize,) where he fell in love with the country’s culture and climate.
Although he never actually set foot on the mainland, he modified his will shortly before dying in 1926 to leave an equivalent of more than 2 million U.S dollars to benefit Belize and its citizens. As a result, the day of Baron Bliss’ death, March 9th, is now celebrated as Baron Bliss day in Belize!
By: Erik Keithley