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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 :
- 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 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.
- 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:
Belize Tourist Attractions:
- Ambergris Caye
- Great Blue Hole
- Museum of Belize
- Caye Caulker
- Cayo Espanto
- Actun Tunichil Muknal
- Belize Barrier Reef
- Belize Zoo
- Hol Chan Marine Reserve