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From Colonial Roots to Contemporary Craft: The Hyde Family’s Journey Through Belizean History

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The Hyde family, intertwined with Belize's rich history, showcases a narrative of transformation and resilience. This HYDESMAN blog post delves into the Hyde family legacy, tracing its roots to colonial times with figures such as James Hyde and evolving through contemporary efforts to enrich Belizean society and reconcile an identity shaped by the trauma, exploits, and autocracies of colonization.





James Hyde played a significant role in early colonial ventures in present-day Belize, originally British Honduras. He and his descendants were pivotal in the economic and social development of the region, especially in the mahogany and sugar trade. The Hyde family's lineage, beginning with James Hyde, is entwined with Belize's history, reflecting the challenges and contributions of the colonial and post-colonial periods. The family's legacy, characterized by both controversy and achievement, spans generations and influences Belize's political, economic, and cultural landscapes.


Colonial Beginnings and Maya Interactions


Our story begins in the colonial era, marked by British settlers' arrival, including James Hyde. This period featured complex interactions between the settlers and the indigenous Maya people, as detailed by Belizean historian Asad Shoman in his book "13 Chapters of Belizean History." It highlights the Maya's resilience and the impact of colonialism, setting the stage for the multifaceted legacy of the Hyde family and others.





A Legacy of Development and Transformation


From colonization to independence, the Hydes have significantly influenced Belize's development, politics, media, activism, and entrepreneurship. This influence underscores a journey from navigating colonial challenges to pioneering economic and cultural initiatives.





Notably, Hon. Cordel Hyde, a descendant of our colonial lineage, serves as Belize's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, exemplifying the family's enduring impact on national leadership and governance.





The Personal Journey of Reconciliation


Central to this narrative is my journey as a designer of color, wrestling with a legacy overshadowed by slavery, colonial exploitation, and later criminal activities by some descendants. Through fashion, I aim to address the conflict of inheriting a history associated with the Hyde, Hodge & Co (later changed name to the British Honduras Company and later became the Belize Estate and Produce company). involvement in slavery, colonial enterprises, the complex legacy of colonialism's impact on indigenous peoples across the Americas, and some in the family's reputation linked to criminal activity in the past decades. This effort is to preserve the family's positive legacy in Belize's history post James Hyde returning to Great Britain with his wealth joining its high society.





Embracing Atonement Through Design


Acknowledging this painful past, I direct my efforts into the Sylvian Hyde brand as a form of atonement. Inspired by the double-headed serpent, a symbol of Aztec and Maya civilizations, the brand honors the rich cultures and histories of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the Caribbean. This endeavor transcends fashion; it's a commitment to honor, remember, and celebrate the contributions of historically marginalized civilizations and peoples.





Fashion as a Catalyst for Change


The Sylvian Hyde brand embarks on a mission to transform negative historical legacies and the stigma of criminal activity by some into narratives of empowerment and respect, through the medium of fashion. Based in the vibrant setting of New York, the brand seeks to redefine the family’s legacy, emphasizing cultural appreciation and healing historical wounds not unique to Belize but the entire "new world."





A New Chapter for the Hyde Legacy


This blog post, weaving through the Hyde family's historical tapestry to my reflections and motivations, invites contemplation on the power of heritage, art, and personal agency in addressing historical injustices and reconciling with my family's legacy. The Sylvian Hyde brand stands as a testament to the possibility of evolution and change, from colonial roots to contemporary craft, aiming to forge a new legacy that honors the diverse fabric of "The New World." It's a journey of acknowledging the past, embracing the present, and crafting a healed future of prosperity, and atonement.


A Black Family Owned Heritage Brand.

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