Features — 08 September 2018 — by Courtney Menzies
Exploring the reasons behind the name “Crooked Tree” Village

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Sept. 4, 2018–  A person hearing the last names “Tillett,” “Gillett,” and “Crawford,” would instinctively associate the persons carrying those names with the village of Crooked Tree. This is because those names were those of the first English and Scottish settlers of the village when they arrived with their African slaves. Crooked Tree was settled almost 300 years ago and was discovered by these settlers while they were going up the Belize River in search of logwood.

The village is essentially an island, being bordered by the Revenge Lagoon, Western Lagoon, and Spanish Creek. It was not until a 3.5-mile causeway from the Philip Goldson Highway was built in 1984 that the village became accessible by land.

So how did this village get its name? Many websites agree that the answer is straightforward: an abundance of “crooked” trees.

According to Lonelyplanet.com, the early settlers went up the Belize River and Black Creek until they got to a giant lagoon which was marked by a tree that “seemingly grew in every direction.” These “Crooked trees,” or logwood trees, still grow in abundance around the lagoon.

Another website also states that the name could have been given to the village due to the multitude of cashew trees, which have a crooked, multi-branch appearance.

There are many crooked logwood trees which still line the shore of this village.

According to Tilletvillage.com, Crooked Tree is the best place to experience the good old-fashioned Creole village life.

“Be it native dug-out dory, hand line fishing or wood cooking on a fire hearth or the annual cashew harvest and festival, or coconut/palm oil making, a cricket match, a village dance or simply picking fruits to eat from someone’s backyard, one is enriched with the simplicity of village-style living,” the website says.

Crooked Tree is also home to the Chau Hiix Maya Site and the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. In 1984, the sanctuary was designated to preserve the wetlands, which serve as a refuge for water birds, including the spectacular Jabiru stork, during the dry season. The area encompasses about 16,400 acres of lagoons, creeks, logwood swamps, broadleaf forests and pine savannahs.

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