Belize

Capital: Belmopan
Currency: Belize dollar
National Anthem :O. Land of the Free
Official language: English Language
Continent: Americas, North America
Government: Constitutional monarchy, Parliamentary system

Country Name :

  • Conventional short form: Belize
  • Former: British Honduras

History :

  • The Mayans inhabited the region between 1500 BC and 300 AD.
  • The Mayan civilization flourished in the region till 1200.
  • The land was discovered by the Europeans when Columbus landed there in 1502.
  • European colonization began in 1638.
  • The region was a popular haunt among pirates and logging was common.
  • Conflicts between Spaniards and the native Indians took place for over 150 years.
  • The English and the Spanish fought over the newly discovered land.
  • Britain defeated the Spanish in the battle of St. George's Cay in 1798.
  • Belize became a British colony in 1840.
  • The British named the colony British Honduras.
  • It became a Crown colony in 1862.
  • Full internal self-government was granted in January 1964.
  • In 1973, the country transformed its name to Belize.
  • In 1981. Sept. 21, Belize became an independent country
  • Guatemala refused to recognize Belize as an independent country.
  • Belize was defended by British troops until Guatemala recognized Belize's sovereignty in Sept. 1991.
  • Guatemala still claims more than half of Belize’s territory.

Demographics :

  • The present demographic composition of Belize is a result of colonization, slavery, and immigration.
  • The three Maya groups in Belize are Mopans, Yucatecs, and Kekchi.
  • The white population comprises of Spanish, English and Scottish.
  • The African slaves were brought from the Caribbean and there descendants form a considerable part of the population.
  • Marriages between different ethnic groups created the Belizean Kriol people ethnic group.
  • The Mestizo people are a mix of African, Arawak, and Carib ancestry.
  • Asian settlers from mainland India, China, Taiwan, Korea, Syria, and Lebanon arrived in the 1900s.
  • Belize is home to a large number of Central American, American and African emigrants.
  • Kriols and Garinagu form the majority of the Belizean Diaspora.
  • Other minority groups include Mennonite German farmers, Chinese, East Indians, and other Central Americans.

Belize Flag

The ethnic distribution of the population is as follows:

  • Mestizos - 49%
  • Kriols - 25%
  • Indigenous Mayan - 11%
  • Garinagu- 6%
    • English is the only official language of Belize.
    • Majority of the population speaks Belize Kriol.
    • Spanish is spoken by the Mestizo and Central American settlers.
    • Ancient Maya dialects like the Garifuna and the Plautdietsch are spoken rarely.
    • Belize is a predominantly Christian society.
    • 49.6% of Belizeans are Roman Catholic and 27% are Protestant.
    • Other religions include Hinduism, Islam and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Government and Politics :

  • Belize is ruled by a parliamentary democracy.
  • Administrative divisions include six districts namely: Belize, Cayo, Corozal, , Cayo , Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Toledo.
  • Independence day (21 September 1981) is observed as a national holiday.
  • The Constitution was founded on 21 September 1981.
  • The legal system is based on English law.
  • Belize has not recognized compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
  • Queen Elizabeth II is the chief of state.
  • Prime Minister is the head of government.
  • The Cabinet is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.
  • The governor general is appointed by the monarch.
  • The leader of the majority party or coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general following legislative elections.
  • The prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister.
  • The legislative branch is represented by a bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • The judicial branch is represented by Supreme Court of Judicature and the Court of Appeal.

Culture :

  • Belizean culture is a blend of Kriol, Maya, Garinagu, Mestizo, Mennonites, Chinese and Lebanese cultures.
  • Courtesy and social interaction is an important part of Belizean culture.
  • The concept of the mystical healing and Obeah is widely followed.
  • Many Belizeans also believe in the evil shaman practices.
  • Most families in Belize are single-parent families.
  • Many people choose to live with their parents till late in life.
  • Belizean cuisine consists of a wide variety of food and diverse preparations.
  • The Maya use corn or maize for most of their meals.
  • Seafood is very popular among the Garifuna.
  • Mealtime is a communion for families.
  • It is considered impolite to talk during mealtimes.
  • The most popular sports are soccer and basketball.
  • Punta is the most popular genre of Garifuna music.
  • Paranda is a popular form of slow music.
  • Brukdown is a modern form of Belizean music that evolved from the buru.
  • Reggae, Dancehall, Soca ,Rap, Hip-Hop, heavy metal and rock music are also popular with the youth.
  • Theater is also an important part of Belizean culture.

Economy :

  • Belizean economy is largely dependant on private enterprise.
  • Tourism is the most important and revenue generating industry.
  • The country also exports large quantities of products like marine products, citrus, sugar cane, bananas and clothes.
  • Oil discoveries in 2006 have also fueled economic growth in recent years.
  • The GDP (purchasing power parity) as calculated in 2007 was $2.444 billion.
  • Agricultural produce includes bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber and garments.
  • The main industries are garment production, , tourism, food processing, construction and oil.
  • Export commodities include sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses and wood.
  • Import commodities include machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages and tobacco.

Airports in Belize :

Belmopan Airport Corozal Airport Matthew Spain Airport Philip S W Goldson International Airport Santa Cruz Airport
Big Creek Airport Dangriga Airport Melinda Airport Placencia Airport Sartaneja Airport
Caye Caulker Airport Independence Airport Municipal Airport Punta Gorda Airport Silver Creek Airport
Caye Chapel Airport Manatee Airport Orange Walk Airport San Pedro Airport  

Infrastructure :

  • Telecommunication systems are above average in the country.
  • Mobile cellular usage is becoming increasingly popular.
  • There are 17 radio broadcast stations and 5 television broadcast stations.
  • Internet Services are readily available.
  • Belize has 44 airports of which 4 have paved runways.
  • Roadways span over a distance of 2,872 km.
  • Waterways are 825 km long and navigable by small crafts.
  • The merchant marines are equipped with 261 ships.
  • The main ports and terminals are located at Belize City and Big Creek.

Education :

  • Education in Belize is compulsory between the ages of 5 to 14.
  • The tuition fee is funded by the government.
  • 80% of the population is literate.

Neighbour Counries :

  • Guatemala (south and west)
  • Mexico (north)
  • Caribbean Sea (east)

Geographical Settings :

  • Belize is located in Central America.
  • Its geographical coordinates are 17 15 N, 88 45 W.
  • The country covers a total area of 22,966 sq km.
  • The coastline is 386 km long.
  • The climate is tropical with a hot and humid rainy season during May to November and a dry season from February to May.
  • The terrain is mostly flat with swampy coastal plains and low mountains in the south.
  • The highest point is Doyle's Delight standing at 1,160 m.
  • Natural resources include arable land potential, timber, fish and hydropower.
  • 3.05% of the land is arable.
  • Devastating hurricanes and coastal flooding are very common in the south.
  • Deforestation and water pollution are the major environmental concerns.

Freedom :

  • Belize gained complete independence from Britain on 21 September 1981.

Notable People in the Country :

  • Jamaal Barow " Shyne" (rapper)
  • Andy Palacio
  • Herman "Chico" Ramos
  • "Mohobub" Flores
  • Adrian "The Doc" Martinez
  • Lindsford "Supa G" Martinez
  • Aurelio Martinez
  • Paul Nabor
  • Wilfred Peters
  • Gerald "Lord" Rhaburn
  • Leela Vernon

Famous for :

  • Belize is famous for its multicultural and multilingual culture.
  • The country has a number of historical ruins of the Mayan civilization.

Total Population :

  • According to a 2008 census, the total population of the country was estimated to be 301,270.
  • The annual population growth rate is 2.207% (2008 est.)
  • Birth rate: 27.84 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
  • Death rate: .77 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Belize Related Topics:

» Colleges and Universities in Belize » Sports in Belize » Belize Airports » Belize Maps

Belize Tourist Attractions:

  • Ambergris Caye
  • Great Blue Hole
  • Museum of Belize
  • Caye Caulker
  • Caracol
  • Cayo Espanto
  • Xunantunich
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal
  • Cuello
  • Belize Barrier Reef
  • Belize Zoo
  • Lamanai
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve