In the country of Belize, on the 9th of March, Baron Bliss day is celebrated.  He is known as the largest benefactor to the Belizens, having bequeathed almost 2 million dollars in his will in 1927 ($23,244,583.38 in today’s dollars according to The Inflation Calculator)

Baron Bliss, Henry Edward Ernest Bliss, was born in England in 1869.  There seems to be little information on his early life and the sources I found disagree on some of the details.  One thing I believe can be said is he was married and that he made a significant amount of money on his own.  Baron Bliss seems to have been disinherited from his family though his title is supposedly from a connection to Sir John Moore and he styled himself as the Fourth Baron of the former Portugal Kingdom.  Another fact that seems constant is he was a very ill man and is one of the reasons that he left Great Britain.  He spent about five years in the Bahamas before tiring of the life there and moving on, eventually ending up in Belize then known as British Honduras.  He was there for only two months before he passed away but in that time changed his will to leave the vast majority of his estate to the people of Belize.  This was to be used for the betterment of the people there for whom he is said to have grown very fond of even though he never set foot on the soil there.  The will was very precise in the use of the money, both in what to use it for and what not to use it for.  Along with that he instructed that no American be on the board of trustees or work for the trust.  I have to assume that this means United States citizen and not just some one from America.  This provision was included with no reason and nothing I have found suggests one.  This is one of the great mysteries of the will.

Shortly after his death, March 9th was declared a national holiday, Belize City celebrating with a regalia, part of which is funded from the trust.  In smaller villages toy boats are sometimes made to hold miniature regalia’s as well.  He is still fondly remembered for his incredible generosity and has parks as well as a lighthouse named in his honor.  Beneath the light house are where his remains are buried, so that he is over looking the harbor where he spent his last days and caused him to give so much to the people of Belize.

Links:

Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Bliss

General

 http://sanpedrosun.net/old/98-91.html

http://www.mayabelize.ca/belize/baron-bliss-day.shtml

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15969399

http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/bliss.html

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