Cubola Productions, the leading publisher of books on Belize in Belize, released its latest publication on Thursday in Belize City. Titled “British Honduras: The Invention of a Colonial Territory, Mapping and Spatial Knowledge in the 19th Century,” it is a collection of maps from various sources in Great Britain, France and Spain and closer to home that traces the geographic history of Belize from its genesis as the colony of British Honduras.
It is written by Dr. Odile Hoffmann, a researcher and geographer with the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD).
Publisher Montse Casademunt explains that each map tells its own story, and collectively, they trace the development of a logging camp populated by the castoffs of British society, that grew to become the multi-cultural Jewel known as Belize by the sea.
“What this book does is analyses maps, how maps tell the story, and it depends on who commissions the maps. You read one story or a different story. So the research was done at different archives, in the UK, Spain, also in France, and in Mexico. So you have different sources for the maps, and I think you are actually reading the history of Belize from a map perspective, and that is what is new in this book.”
Free copies of the book were distributed to attendees on behalf of schools and libraries around the country, including the Belize National Library Service and Information System.
The featured foreword is written by Dr. Assad Shoman, known for his history of Belize, and the book itself draws on other standard texts about Belizean history.
Montse Casademunt describes the process of putting the book together.
“A few years ago, I was contacted by Odile Hoffmann, the author of the book, and she had been doing research in Belize about land, interpreting maps in the nineteenth century, eighteenth century. She had this publication and she approached Cubola to see if it would join with this institution to publish the book, and it was really a privilege to work with them. They are very thorough, very professional and of course she is a great academic. We ended up with a very nice publication, in color, something that we could never afford on our own. So we are very grateful to her, because it was a good example of cooperation between a developed country and Belize.”
The book goes on sale shortly for 40 dollars at your nearest retail outlet.