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Wyke–Aycinena Treaty (1859)

Wyke-Aycinena Treaty (1859)

Wyke-Aycinena Treaty (1859), an agreement confirming British rights to Belize. The treaty was signed 30 April 1859 by Pedro de Aycinena, Guatemalan foreign minister, and Charles Lennox Wyke, British chargéd'affaires and plenipotentiary to Guatemala. The treaty has long been controversial. Article 7, added by the negotiators, ambiguously called for Guatemala and Great Britain to cooperate in erecting a transit way from Guatemala City to the Atlantic coast "near the settlement of Belize." Disputes over each government's expected contribution prevented the article's fulfillment. An additional convention of 1863 attempted to clarify Article 7, but lapsed because of Guatemala's failure to ratify it. Beyond the road issue, the treaty itself was subject to more fundamental disagreement. Guatemala held that it was a "disguised cession" of territory, possibly violating the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, for which the road was compensation. British governments saw it as a simple boundary agreement, defining the limits of previously held territory. Guatemala continued to contest the validity of the treaty, and thus British rights to Belize, into the late twentieth century.

See alsoAycinena, Pedro de; Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850).


R. A. Humphreys, The Diplomatic History of British Honduras, 1638–1901 (1961).

Wayne M. Clegern, British Honduras: Colonial Dead End, 1859–1900 (1967).

Additional Bibliography

Brown, Richmond F. "Charles Lennox Wyke and the Clayton-Bulwer Formula in Central America, 1852–1860." The Americas 47, no. 4 (April 1991): 411-445.

Brown, Richmond F. Juan Fermin De Aycinena: Central American Colonial Entrepreneur, 1729–1796. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.

                                  Richmond F. Brown

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