British Honduras

British Honduras was the only Colony in Latin America, British, Spanish, Portuguese or French, that wasn’t set up to extract silver or gold or produce the eighteenth and nineteenth century agricultural equivalent, sugar. British Honduras was an extractive colony of a different kind-it was set up to harvest timber. Some of the finest trees in the world, especially mahogany, grow there and the British had received economic rights to the Colony as early as 1783. British Honduras then was run as a massive timber camp, with slave labor of course, though timber is less labor intensive than sugar and required a smaller population. The population of British Honduras never exceeded 30,000 and the ratio of slave and Indian to white was about ten to one. This has made legitimately used British Honduras stamps of the nineteenth and early twentieth century among the most difficult to find in our hobby. The stamps are well produced and have many elusive high values and have the added interest of being the only classic British Colonial stamps to be denominated in dollars. There were a series of currency crisis in the late Nineteenth Century in the United States and Europe relating to the backing of currency by gold or silver. Most of British Honduras’s exports were to the US so the decision was made to use currency tied to the US dollar instead of the British system used by the rest of the British Empire.

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