March 9, Baron Bliss Day
On March 9, 1926, Baron Bliss passed away so blissfully in Belize that he decided to bequeath his estate to the country. Baron Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss was a professional traveler, born to a wealthy British family. Early in his life, however, his family disinherited him for keeping a hansom cab waiting. Henry Edward Ernest, etc. showed his stuffy parents what was up and he made his fortune speculating in the oil market. After traveling the Caribbean, he changed his last name from Barretts to Bliss and adopted the title of Baron.
Unfortunately trouble hit Henry on the high seas; the Baron fell ill and contracted polio. He decided to continue his voyage on The Sea King, staying aboard on a wheelchair. When the ship dropped anchor in Belize Harbor on January 14, the Baron felt better, fell in love, and accredited the regional climate. And although he never actually set foot on Belizean soil and died less than two months after setting anchor, he still willed the country the better part of his fortune. He donated nearly $2 million dollars in a meticulously stipulated will; his money wasn't to be used for churches, dance halls, or schools, but other than that, he didn't really mind.
To celebrate Baron Bliss's unexpected and unprecedented generosity, Belize takes the day off to celebrate its greatest benefactor.