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Spanish Lookout is a settlement in the Cayo District of Belize in Central America. According to the 2010 census, Spanish Lookout has a population of 2,253 people in 482 households.[1] Spanish Lookout is a community of Mennonites in Belize.

The Mennonite community in Spanish Lookout is quite modern: they use cars and other modern conveniences and the overall impression of the settlement is rather like rural North America than Central America or the Caribbean. The citizens of this community speak Plautdietsch as their mothertongue. Most also speak English and Spanish. It is largely an agricultural community with some light industry, furniture making, prefabricated wood houses and the only oil field in production in Belize.

History

In 1958 Kleine Gemeinde Mennonites from Mexico moved to Belize, creating the Spanish Lookout settlement.[2] They objected to a new social welfare law in Mexico and arable land was more readily available in Belize. Over time, a number of families left for Manitoba and Nova Scotia, Canada. Nevertheless, the settlement's population of 1,108 in 1987 has more than doubled until 2010 has through natural growth. In the 1980s, refugees arrived from Guatemala and El Salvador finding employment and schooling for their children within the settlement.[2]

Location and geographic setting

Spanish Lookout is accessible via several roads, going north off the Western Highway. The main access to Spanish Lookout is via the Iguana Creek Bridge. The Central Farm entrance takes you across a river, via one of Belize’s two hand-cranked ferries equipped to transport vehicles. Several vehicles can fit on the ferry at once, while larger trucks may pass one or two at a time.

Climate

Spanish Lookout has a tropical climate, with little temperature difference between seasons, but a pronounced rainy season.

Climate data for Spanish Lookout, Belize (1973–2014)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C 22 23 24 25 27 27 26 26 26 25 23 23 24
Average rainfall mm 113 57 45 40 71 208 225 131 183 182 178 142 1,574
Daily mean °F 72 73 75 77 81 81 79 79 79 77 73 73 75
Average rainfall inches 4.45 2.24 1.77 1.57 2.8 8.19 8.86 5.16 7.2 7.17 7.01 5.59 61.97
Source: Weatherbase[3]
Hand-operated Ferry
The main drag at Spanish Lookout on a Sunday morning in 2007

Economy

Spanish Lookout specializes in auto parts and is the country's leader in tire hardware and steel imports. It is a major producer of dairy products, poultry, vegetables and cattle produce, supplying the majority of the country with these commodities. The producer of Belize’s most popular chicken brand, Quality Poultry Products, is located at Spanish Lookout. Western Dairies, Belize’s only commercial producer of milk, is also located in the town.[4] Country Foods is Belize's main supplier of eggs. As of 2006, Spanish Lookout has the only commercial oilfield within Belize.[5]

Literature

  • Heinrich Penner, John D. Reimer, Leonard M. Reimer: Spanish Lookout since 1958 - Progress in Action, Spanish Lookout 2008.

References

  1. ^ "Population Data – Census 2010". Statistical Institute of Belize. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Loewen, John B., Spanish Lookout Colony, Belize, retrieved 2009-03-28 
  3. ^ "Spanish Lookout, Belize". Weatherbase. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ Spanish Lookout Overview, retrieved 2009-03-28 
  5. ^ Simon, Romero (2006-02-21). "Touched by Oil and Hope in Belize". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-28.