Belize

Flag of Belize

Capital - Belmopan
Area - 22,965 sq km
Population - 301,000
Time Zone - GMT -06:00
Currency - Belizean Dollar (BZ$)
Life Expectancy – 68 years

Trade

Exports include sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, crude oil.

Imports include machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco.

GDP per capita (PPP) – $8200 (in 2011)

Cultural aspects/religion

Religion - Predominantly Christian; the Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination comprising around half the population, but there are also many Protestant and Evangelical churches. Small groups practice Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Bahai.

Languages - Officially English, however, around half the population claim Spanish as a first language and Creole is also widely spoken. There are a number of indigenous languages, such as Garifuna, Mopan and Ketchi Mayan.

Biosphere

Terrain - Flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south.

Mountains - The highest point is Doyle's Delight at 1160 m.

Ecology/Wildlife - The country's savannas and lowlands are home to rare waterfowl, its forests provide a refuge for tapirs, pumas and numerous tropical birds, while the mountainous regions ensure a niche for elusive jaguars and other cats.

Natural resources - Arable land potential, timber, fish and hydropower.

Natural hazards – Frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south).

Sport

Main sports – Football and basketball.

Key historic events

Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981.

Connections with Britain

It formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854.

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