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mahogany tree

The Mahogany is a very large tree which can be found in many tropical areas around the world, from as far north as South Florida and as far south as Brazil. There are even some species of Mahogany that grows in the forests of Africa. However, the Mahogany tree that grows in Belize is known as the Honduran Mahogany. The Mahogany Tree is the National Tree of Belize and is featured as the tree seen in the Belize Coat Of Arms on the Belize Flag. 

Historical records show the once great trade of logging for furniture and dyes is what made Belize a very profitable possession of the British Empire. Large slave run plantations for logging Mahogany were common sights in what was then known British Honduras. Despite a very heavy opposition by the Spanish, the British settlers in the region continued to harvest the precious resource.

Mahogany was then, as it is today, a very expensive wood. After a short war between Spain and England, in 1763, a treaty was signed called The Treaty of Paris that allowed the English to finally be able to log undisturbed. As time went on railroads were built to help better transport Mahogany. Though none of the railroads are still in use today, those such as the Gallon Jug and Hillbank Logging Railway were very influential in getting logs to port for faster and cheaper shipping around the world.

 Mahogany trees are highly prized for their natural red to deep burgundy color tones and are used to make everything from bowls and spoons to exquisite pianos and furniture. Belizean woodworkers are great masters at making some of the best and finest Mahogany products in the world today. Many upscale hotels, restaurants, resorts, condos and apartments in Belize often use domestically made Mahogany products to furnish their establishments.

One can find smaller Mahogany carved products in markets all over Belize. Handcrafted Mahogany figurines are something unique to every single Belizean woodcarving craftsman; no two carvings are exactly alike. Mahogany figurines are one of the best souvenirs that one can buy to take home and show off to your friends and family. Mahogany product prices are always more reasonable in Belize compared to other countries that have to import the wood for carving.

When shopping in Belize for these beautiful keepsakes never forget to ask for the vendors 'best price.' Always remember that as long as you put the figurines in your checked baggage at the airport you should be good to go and should have no problems with security.   Anthony Benjamin

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