The battle took place between an invading force from Mexico, attempting to assert Spanish claims to present-day Belize, and a small force of resident woodcutters called Baymen, who fought for their livelihood assisted by black slaves. After the final two and a half-hour battle, ravaged by sickness, the Spaniards withdrew and the British declared themselves winners.
The territory that is now Belize was under dispute from as early as the mid-1750s by Great Britain and Spain. Although Spain never occupied Belize, she considered it part of her Central American territories, such as Mexico and Guatemala. The British had entered the territory as of 1638 to harvest logwood and later mahogany. Spain recognised this trade in the Treaty of Paris (signed in 1763) but did not undertake to draw boundaries (which would have suggested that Spain was giving up claims of sovereignty to the area), leading to further disputes. Indeed, from 1779 to 1782 the settlement was abandoned, its settlers, known as the Baymen, and their African slaves having been deported to Havana, Cuba following a Spanish attack.
From 3 to 5 September, the Spaniards tried to force their way through Montego Caye shoal, blocked by the defenders. The military commanders, Moss and Barrow, differed on where to put their resources for the next phase of the fight: Barrow thought they would go to the land phase, while Moss decided on defending St. George’s Caye. Moss arrived in time to stop the Spaniards, setting the stage for 10 September.
At 1:00 p.m. that afternoon, the Spaniards and British lined up off St. George’s Caye. The Spaniards stormed through the channel, and at 1:30 engaged the British in a two-hour fight which ended in defeat for the confused Spaniards. Moss reported no one killed and the Baymen in good spirits. Barrow was dispatched and arrived in time to see the end of the battle and prevent the slave men from boarding the enemy. The Spaniards were in full retreat by 13 September, and Barrow agreed to send vessels to further push the Spaniards back.
Article Courtesy of Wikipedia