Where is Belize?

Located in Central America, Belize has a 542.00 km border with Guatemala (266 km) and Mexico (276 km). It has a 386.00 km coastline. Guatemala persists in its territorial claim to approximately half of the country of Belize.

The capital of Belize is Belmopan, and it was founded as a planned settlement after the destruction of the then-capital Belize City. Its location further inland and its higher elevation makes it relatively safer from the hurricanes that plague the country. Tourists visiting the city are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do or places to see as they experience the caves, jungle and rich history of the area. With a population of 20,000, it is the fastest growing settlement in the country as people move to escape the congestion, crime and poor infrastructure of Belize City. It is the third largest settlement in the country. It is made up of some local ethnic groups as well as some immigrants. It has a tropical monsoon climate which means it is wet for most of the year.

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Belize is a North American country covering 22,966.00 km2 of which 0.70% is water and 22,806.00 km2 is land. This makes it the 48th smallest country in the world and slightly smaller than Massachusetts. Its geographic coordinates are 17 15 N, 88 45 W and Belmopan is the capital city.

The country is said to be named for the Belize River, which itself derives from the Maya word "belix" meaning "muddy-watered".

Its ISO code is BZ.

Geography

Belize has a mean elevation of 173 m above sea level.

It has a tropical climate with a very hot and humid rainy season from may to November and a dry season from February to May. Its terrain consists of flat, swampland and low mountains.

Population

Belize has a population of 353,858 making it the 176th largest in the world. Over half of the population lives in rural areas.

English is the official language; Spanish and Creole are also widely spoken. The major ethnic group reported was mestizo, followed by Creole and Maya. The religious groups in the country are mostly Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian.

The official language of Belize is English, though over half of the population is bilingual while another large majority are multilingual. It is not uncommon for locals to speak both English and Kriol. The Kriol consists of European languages mixed with certain words of the African dialect. Spanish is the second most popular language in Belize. There are other indigenous languages such as Mayan, German, Garífuna and other languages unique to Belize, though a small percentage of the population speak such languages. There are no unique phrases used in Belize, but rather a mix of English-based Kriol and Creole and Spanish referred to as “Kitchen Spanish.” The government of Belize is sensitive to the various cultures and so tries to keep and teach various languages. This sensitivity to multiculturalism has ensured that most people in Belize can speak various dialects.

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The dialing code for the country is 501.

Government

Belize is an independent country. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. Its constitution was last ratified in 1981.

The government of Belize is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional Monarchy, governed by a governor general as Queen’s representative together with a cabinet and parliament. Sir. Colville Young Sr., the current governor general, appoints the prime minister who in turn appoints a cabinet from the majority party in parliament to form the government. Since the relocation of the capital city from Belize to Belmopan in 1970 after Hurricane Hattie, the legislative and government have since remained in Belmopan. Legislature is comprised of two houses: the House of Representative and the Senate. The term of representation is limited to five years.

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Economy

Factoring in Purchasing Power Parity, Belize's GDP is $3,088,000,000.00 (USD) with $8,200.00 (USD) per capita. This makes it the 186th largest economy and its citizens the 144th richest in the world. The currency of Belize is the Dollar (BZD).

The major export partners are the United Kingdom, United States, and Nigeria. Its main exports are sugar, bananas, citrus, and clothing. Its major import partners are the United States, Mexico, and Cuba. Its major imports include machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, and fuels.

Flag

The flag of Belize is blue with two red stripes on top and the bottom, plus the coat of arm in the middle on a white patch. The flag was adopted in 1981 after independence, and there was a competition held whereby the winning flag was selected. The white, red, and blue colors on the flag represent unity. The flag is one of the few with human figures on its coat of arms. The flag has a motto which means “under the shade I flourish”. It is the only accepted flag in the country which represented the two political parties. Before independence, the country used the unofficial flag which was blue with a white disc in the middle, and had the coat of arms. The unofficial flag was adopted in 1950, and it was the national flag until 1981 when the country gained independence.

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This page was last modified on January 17th, 2018