It is a country on the northeastern
coast of Central America. It is the only
country in the area that has English as
the official language, though an
English creole (Kriol) and Spanish are
more commonly spoken. Belize is
bordered on the north by Mexico, to
the south and west by Guatemala, and
to the east by the Caribbean Sea. The
capital of Belize is Belmopan.
Land area: 8,867
Languages: English (official), others: Kriol, Spanish ...
Main cities: San Ignacio, Orange Walk, Belmopan ...
Monetary unit: Belize dollar
Neighbouring countries: Mexico to the north, south and west by
Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea.
Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II
2005 April - Rioting breaks out in the capital during a wave of
2006 April - Belize begins commercial exploitation of its oil
2011 September - Belize is added to US blacklist of countries
considered to be major producers or transit routes for illegal
Origins and history:
The Maya civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500
BCE and CE 200 and flourished until about CE 1200.
Belize City was founded (originally as "Belize Town") in 1638 by
British lumber harvesters. It had previously been a small Mayan
city called Holzuz.
Southwater Caye is a half mile long palm-fringed coral island sitting
right on top of the Barrier Reef with excellent snorkelling and
diving. A 40 minute boat ride from Dangriga, there are several
accommodation options including a deluxe dive resort - The Blue
Marlin Lodge - and several cottages and rooms to rent which are
owned by the Pelican Beach Hotel. The Southwater Caye Marine
Reserve has been designated a World Heritage Site.
The Turneffe Islands
There was a flourishing natural sponge fishery at the turn of
the century but disease and competition from synthetic
sponges brought this to an end in the late 1930s. Offshore, at
both the northern and southern end of the atoll, beautiful reefs
and dramatic walls offer incredible diving with great visibility.
- Each March 9th is Baron Bliss Day which celebrates the
contribution of a visitor who died while on vacation in Belize and
donated a fortune to help improve local institutions such as
schools and libraries.
- May 1st is Labour Day, marked by political speeches, parades and
-Another national holiday is St. George's Cay Day.
- Each September 21st, Belizeans celebrate Independence Day
The blending of traditions in Belize is also evident in the country's
cuisine; there really is no national dish. Belizean cooking borrows
from Britain, America, Mexico and the Caribbean. It is common to
eat rice and beans with a meat dish such as chicken, pork or beef.
Belizeans eat a lot of fish, fruit and vegetables. Coconuts and
plantains are popular flavors there.
Belize’s sports culture reflects the historical influences of Britain
(football and, to a lesser extent, cricket) and the United States
(basketball and softball). In 1986 Belize became a member of the
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Semiprofessional football teams from each of the country’s districts
compete with each other, and a women’s league was started in the
Interesting places to visit:
Belize Zoo: Set in a natural forest, 31 miles from Belize City, the
Belize Zoo is one of the finest zoos in the Americas. Many of the
animals in Belize Zoo are wild animals that were kept as pets by
individual collectors and the zoo tries to recondition such animals
for a return to the wild.