Bennett, Marshall (1775–1839)

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Bennett, Marshall (1775–1839)

Marshall Bennett (b. before 1775; d. 1839) Belize entrepreneur. Bennett was involved with every major enterprise in the Bay of Honduras. His foresight, enterprise, and success were unique for the time. A commanding figure in the oligarchy that ruled Belize, he was first elected magistrate in 1789 and served consecutively from 1813 to 1829. Besides being chief magistrate and the wealthiest merchant, Bennett was the senior judge of the Supreme Court, colonel commander in the militia, agent for Lloyds of London, a major shipowner, and the only Belize merchant to open a branch in Guatemala, where he spent most of his time after 1828.

The mahogany trade was Bennett's prime concern, and he had separate arrangements with Guatemalan chief of state Mariano Gálvez and Central American Federation President Francisco Morazán to control mahogany lumbering on the Caribbean coast. Although apparently trusted and respected by his many associates, he was accused of breaking up Gregor MacGregor's settlement at Black River, reneging on a colonization contract with Gálvez, and manipulating the Eastern Coast of Central America Company for his own purposes.

See alsoBelizexml .


Mario Rodríguez, A Palmerstonian Diplomat in Central America: Frederick Chatfield, Esq. (1964).

William Jay Griffith, Empires in the Wilderness: Foreign Colonization and Development in Guatemala, 1834–1844 (1965).

O. Nigel Bolland, The Formation of a Colonial Society: Belize from Conquest to Crown Colony (1977).

Robert A. Naylor, Penny Ante Imperialism: The Mosquito Shore and the Bay of Honduras, 1600–1914 (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Revels, Craig Stephen. "Concessions, Conflict, and the Rebirth of the Mahogany Trade." Journal of Latin American Geography 2: 1 (2003): 1-17.

                                    Robert A. Naylor

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Bennett, Marshall (1775–1839)

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