History Of Belize
The first people to develop Belize were the Maya around 1500 B.C.E. As shown in archaeological records, they established a number of settlements here. These include Caracol, Lamanai and Lubaantun. The first European contact with Belize occurred in 1502 when Christopher Columbus reached the area’s coast. In 1638, the first European settlement was established by England and for 150 years, many more English settlements were set up.
In 1840, Belize became a “Colony of British Honduras” and in 1862, it became a crown colony. For one hundred years after that, Belize was a representative government of England but in January 1964, full self-government with a ministerial system was granted. In 1973, the region’s name was changed from British Honduras to Belize and on September 21, 1981, full independence was achieved.
Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America, offers a unique combination of richly rewarding experiences that make it unlike any destination on the planet. Swim with exotic sea life along the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef. Explore the fascinating mysteries of the largest concentration of Maya sites in the region. Hike thousands of acres of unspoiled forest, including one of the only jaguar preserves in the world. Escape to any of the more than 400 tropical islands and three (3) of the Western Hemisphere’s four (4) coral atolls, surrounded by pristine turquoise waters. Discover the highest waterfall and the most extensive cave system in Central America, and dive the captivating Blue Hole.
Key Facts of Belize:
- Geographical Location: East Coast of Central America, bounded on the North by Mexico, on the South and West by Guatemala, and on the East by the Caribbean Sea.
- Land Area: 8,867 square miles or 22,923 square meters.
- Major Cities and Towns: Belize City, Belmopan City, San Ignacio Town, Corozal Town, Orange Walk Town, Dangirga Town, Punda Gorda Town, San Pedro Town on the Ambergris Caye, Placencia Peninsula.
- Climate: Sub Tropical (dry and wet season)
- Rainfall: Belize weather is characterized by two seasons: a rainy and a dry season. Belize annual rainfall: most of the year’s rainfall occurs during the period June to November, that is, the rainy season. It is noted that the transition from dry to the rainy is very sharp. Belize annual rainfall ranges from 60 inches (1524mm) in the north to 160 inches (4064mm) in the south. Except for the southern regions, the rainfall is variable from year to year.
- Population: 333,200 taken from the Statistical Institute of Belize June 2009 (166,500 Male and 166,700 Female)
- Languages: Official language is English and Criol. Spanish is widely spoken. Other ethnic languages include Garifuna, Maya, Chinese, Indian.
- Currency and Exchange Rate: US$1.00 = BZ$2.00
- Principle Exports: sugar, citrus, banana, fish products, garments, timber.
- Principle Imports: machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food and beverage, fuel, and construction materials
- Major Trading Partners: United States of America, United Kingdom, CARICOM countries, Mexico, and Canada
- Belize Electricity Limited
- Belize Water Services
- Belize Telemedia Limited or Smart Limited
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