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The Great Epidemic In San Pedro

Take a good look at these bones as they could be those of one of your ancestors if your great grand parents lived in San Pedro before 1918.  You see right after World War I there was an epidemic which started in the war trenches and it soon it infected people from Great Britain, Germany, France and Spain. But how did this killer flu known as the Spanish Influenza reach Belize?  Well, Belizean soldiers who fought in World War I brought the deadly virus to Belize and soon it spread around the country.  It is thought that one or two merchants who went to Corozal in the mainland brought the virus to San Pedro and it killed villagers at the rate of three or four persons per day.  Soon there was no lumber to build coffins and corpses were buried in their own yards mostly at night so as not to alarm the villagers. Thus the finding of these bones at various construction sites around the town.

Danny Vasquez, a Sanpedrano, wrote his memoirs telling us that when the flu arrived in San Pedro the men squeezed the lime juice and mixed it with rum and took that as medicine. He jokingly remarked that one day he and three men drank one bucketful of rum mixed with lime juice. The first one to die as a result of the flu was one Manuela Villanueva. Then there were two Sansorez followed by one Julio Tolosa.  About half of the population died during this epidemic.

Spanish Influenza in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

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