St. John's Cathedral
St. John’s Cathedral stands attractively upon its well-manicured lawn on the southern end of Albert Street. St. John’s is the oldest Anglican Church in Central America, and one of the oldest buildings in Belize. The orange bricks came to Belize aboard British ships as ballast. Construction began in 1812, and the church was completed in 1820.
St. John’s is the only Anglican cathedral in the world outside of England where the crowning of kings took place. Between 1815 and 1845, four kings of the Mosquito Coast were crowned in Belize amid ceremonial splendor. The Mosquito Coast refers to an area along the east coast of present day Honduras and Nicaragua, which were inhabited by the Mosquito or Miskito Indians, indigenous to the region. Because of the British’s interest in logwood in the area, they established the protective kingdom in the 1600s. Because of poor relations between the Miskitos and the Spanish, and because of the British interest in the area, a formal treaty of Friendship and Alliance was concluded in the 1700s.
Subsequently, the British were forced to relinquish formal protectorate over the coast, but still maintained an unofficial protectorate. In addition to the coronations that took place at St. John’s Cathedral, members of the royal family were educated in Belize, and their children baptized in the church, all in an effort to avoid Spanish colonial rule. The Republic of Nicaragua, the successor state after Spain, ceased to recognize the Mosquito Kingdom in the late 1800’s. Later, the so-called kingdom was split, and the north incorporated into the Republic of Honduras, and the south into the Republic of Nicaragua.
The church still offers regular services to those practicing Anglican residents, and is arguably the most beautiful old church in the country.