Baron Bliss Lighthouse
The Baron Bliss Lighthouse is a tribute to one of Belize’s greatest benefactors – Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss. Bliss was a baron of Portugal, born in Britain. He sailed into the Belize harbor in 1926 aboard his yacht, the ‘Sea King.’ During his time in Belizean waters, Baron Bliss was ill, supposedly from contracting severe food poisoning from previous travels. He was able to see the coastline from his deck on the days he felt well enough to surface. Even though he never set foot on Belizean soil, he came in contact with Belizean fishermen, harbor officials and entertainers who came aboard his yacht during the several months that he was in harbor. He fell in love with Belize from his temporary residence on the Caribbean Sea.
Before his death, he established a trust of about $2 million for the benefit of the Belizean people. The interest from the trust is used to fund several ongoing projects, including the establishment of the Bliss Lighthouse, the Bliss Institute, the Bliss School of Nursing, and the Bliss Promenade. March 9, the day of his death, has been set as a public and bank holiday in honor of his memory. An annual regatta is held in the harbor, as per his wishes. Sailboats of all classes enter the race. The Lighthouse marks his tomb and memorial.
The lighthouse was erected in the historic Fort George area, which was once an island. A high seawall creates what is called “Fort Point” by boatmen. Families often sit on the seawall on weekend evenings to enjoy the cool sea breeze and the view. Children play in the small park just across the narrow street. Around the corner, also facing the sea is Memorial Park, honoring the Belizeans killed in World War I.