The Mennonite religion emerged in Holland during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. These Anabaptists (so called for the practice of baptizing adults) first moved to Germanic lands—many in Belize still speak Low German, which combines elements of German and Dutch—and then to Prussia, the United States (mainly Pennsylvania), and Manitoba, Canada. In the 1950s some 3,000 Mennonites emigrated to Belize, where they established communities in the Orange Walk and Cayo districts. Today there are an estimated 12,000 Mennonites in Belize.
The Blue Creek Mennonite community is predominantly progressive, which means the Mennonites accept modern conveniences such as automobiles and electricity. Near the Linda Vista shopping center is a small bed-and-breakfast where you can stay and learn a little about Mennonite life in Belize.
Both Little Belize and Shipyard are primarily farming areas, and have no hotels or tourist facilities, but the unexpected sight, on dusty rural roads, of pale-skin folks in old-fashioned dress—the women in long plaid dresses and the men with suspenders and straw hats—in horse-pulled buggies will remind you of how diverse Belizean culture really is.