The Caribbean area had come to prominence during the 18th century after initial exploration by the Spanish and Portuguese. During the various wars with the French some of the islands changed hands a number of times, but the British were able to retain a number of key locations.
The British first appointed a superintendent for the British Settlement on the Bay of Honduras in 1783 when it was used as a place of refuge for British ships avoiding the Spanish. The settlement became a British Crown Colony in 1862 and was renamed British Honduras. This new Colony was administered from Jamaica.
British Honduras was essential manged by the British Honduras Company, later the Belize Estate and Produce Company. British Honduras was not used as a naval base and the commercial activities were limited. No modern costal batteries were built here, but there is evidence of smooth bore gun batteries.