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The Official Web Site of Utila, The Bay Islands, Honduras

Historic Utila

Utila in the 1970's

Researched in the early 1970's and published in 1975, this doctoral thesis by Dr David George Lord, an anthropologist, is entitled Money Order Economy: Remittances in the Island of Utila and analyses the impact on the culture and economics of Utila resulting from Utilian mariners working abroad in the merchant marine. Set in an historical context and before the days of Utila's current Scuba Diving Tourist Industry, this paper provides a detailed and fascinating in-sight into the events and environment which shaped the culture of Utila.

While Chapter 1 is an academic introduction, Chapter 2 provides a comprehensive and Concise History of Utila from 1502 to 1961 with some discussion of the pre-Columbian Indian inhabitants of Utila and continues up until 1961 when hurricane Anna decimated the remaining agricultural industry.

Chapter 3 introduces the geography of Utila, from the topology through the geology to the flora and fauna.

Chapter 4 reviews the economic history of Utila from 1835 until 1970, including a list of some 59 Utila Ships from 1875-1900 and their owners, while Chapter 5 discusses the social history of Utila and Chapter 6 addresses the political history of Utila with Chapter 7 providing the summary and conclusions of the study.

Appendix A-1 provides an English translation of the 1859 Treaty between Great Britain and the Government of Honduras ceding the Bay Islands and the British territory of the Mosquitia to the Republic of Honduras

Appendix A-2 provides an English translation of the 1861 Decree in which the Bay-Islands and territory of the Mosquitia are declared to be under the Dominion and Sovereignty of the Republic of Honduras

Appendix B-1 tabulates the population of the Bay Islands from 1881-1961 and appendix B-2 tabulates the population of Utila from 1958-1974

Archeological Investigations in the Bay Islands, Spanish Honduras

is a extract from a Smithsonian Report (Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections Volume 92, Number 14) published by the Anthropologist William Duncan Strong in 1935.

Strong and his team conducted an Archeological Survey of the Bay Islands in 1933, and I have created an extract of those sections which relate directly to Utila and/or provide historical information about Utila and the Bay Islands.

The Environmental Background section describes the flora and fauna of Utila and the Bay Islands in the 1930's and contains interesting references to manatee's, caimans and crocodiles.

The Historical and Ethnological section provides a detailed account of the History of the Bay Islands from 1502 - 1650 with much discussion about the original aboriginal inhabitants and a report of a Spanish census in 1629 which counted 22 aboriginal Indians still living in Utila.

The Explorations section provides and extremely detailed account of burial urns and skulls found at Black Rock Basin (now known as Rock Harbor), with an outline of findings in various caves around Utila.

The Roatan section has been included since covers additional Bay Islands history from 1639  - 1838 with a focus on Port Royal (the centre of Bay Islands buccaneer history) which in 1933 had a population of "one American and a scant handful of native Hondurans".

Transformation of Paradise

Researched in the summer of 2001 and published in December 2002, this 7 Chapter Masters Thesis paper by Frances Heyward Currin analyses the development of tourism in Utila and it's environmental and cultural impacts.

Utila Cemetery

Utila Cemetery - Click to enlarge.

Christening / Baptism Records 1852 - 1900

Weslyn Methodist Church Christening Records for Utila covering the period 1852 - 1900.

1898 Directory of Utila

An extract from the 1898 Honduras Directorio de las Cuidades, listing names of the people of Utila and their occupations, which may be of value to anybody with an interest in the genealogy of Utila.

Historical Books

Books relating specifically to the history of Utila, or historical events which took place in Utila. The books listed mention and discuss the families and genealogy of Utila.

Historical Photographs

A collection of over 100 Utila photographs (mostly black & white) contributed by current and past residents of Utila.

Utila Historical Links