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English is the official language of Belize, followed by Spanish. The north of Belize consists mostly of flat wetlands and coastal plains, in places heavily forested.
The flora is highly diverse considering the small geographical area. The south contains the mountain range of the Maya Mountains.
They total about square kilometers sq. Three of only four coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere are located off the coast of Belize.
One of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Blue Hole is located here. Many writers have tried to capture the essence of Belize, what it is and who are the people of Belize.
For those shipwrecked on the shoals of life, Belize offers a new beginning. Belize draws the eccentric, the madcap, and the downright mad.
As the preeminent Belize Digital Media Company, we provide content and Belize Intelligence for locals, expats and tourists. Map showing Belize in relation to Central America.
Footer Our Partners Belize. Our clients are few and select. During the s, a large influx of East Indians who spent brief periods in Jamaica and American Civil War veterans from Louisiana and other Southern states established Confederate settlements in British Honduras and introduced commercial sugar cane production to the colony, establishing 11 settlements in the interior.
Said Musa , the son of an immigrant from Palestine , was the Prime Minister of Belize from to Creoles and other ethnic groups are emigrating mostly to the United States, but also to the United Kingdom and other developed nations for better opportunities.
Based on the latest US Census , the number of Belizeans in the United States is approximately , including 70, legal residents and naturalized citizens , consisting mainly of Creoles and Garinagu.
Because of conflicts in neighbouring Central American nations, Mestizo refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have fled to Belize in significant numbers during the s, and have been significantly adding to this group.
These two events have been changing the demographics of the nation for the last 30 years. English is the official language of Belize. This stems from the country being a former British colony.
Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language. Also, English is the primary language of public education, government and most media outlets.
Although English is widely used, Kriol is spoken in all situations whether informal, formal, social or interethnic dialogue, even in meetings of the House of Representatives.
When a Creole language exists alongside its lexifier language, as is the case in Belize, a continuum forms between the Creole and the lexifier language.
It is therefore difficult to substantiate or differentiate the number of Belize Creole speakers compared to English speakers. Kriol might best be described as the lingua franca of the nation.
Over half the population is multilingual. Belize is also home to three Maya languages : Q'eqchi' , Mopan an endangered language , and Yucatec Maya.
According to the census,  The percentage of Roman Catholics in the population has been decreasing in the past few decades due to the growth of Protestant churches, other religions and non-religious people.
In addition to Catholics, there has always been a large accompanying Protestant minority. From the beginning, it was largely Anglican and Mennonite in nature.
The Protestant community in Belize experienced a large Pentecostal and Seventh-Day Adventist influx tied to the recent spread of various Evangelical Protestant denominations throughout Latin America.
Geographically speaking, German Mennonites live mostly in the rural districts of Cayo and Orange Walk. Muslims claim that there have been Muslims in Belize since the 16th century having been brought over from Africa as slaves, but there are no sources for that claim.
Belize has a high prevalence of communicable diseases such as respiratory diseases and intestinal illnesses. A number of kindergartens, secondary, and tertiary schools in Belize provide quality education for students—mostly funded by the government.
Belize has about a dozen tertiary level institutions , the most prominent of which is the University of Belize , which evolved out of the University College of Belize founded in Before that St.
John's College , founded in , dominated the tertiary education field. The government of Belize contributes financially to the UWI.
Education in Belize is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 14 years. As of [update] , the literacy rate in Belize was estimated at The educational policy is currently following the "Education Sector Strategy —", which sets three objectives for the years to come: Improving access, quality, and governance of the education system by providing technical and vocational education and training.
Belize has relatively high rates of violent crime. In , murders were recorded in Belize, giving the country a homicide rate of 36 murders per , inhabitants, one of the highest in the world, but lower than the neighbouring countries of Honduras and El Salvador.
In , there were 40 reported cases of rape, robberies, burglaries, and cases of theft. The Belize Police Department has implemented many protective measures in hopes of decreasing the high number of crimes.
These measures include adding more patrols to "hot spots" in the city, obtaining more resources to deal with the predicament, creating the "Do the Right Thing for Youths at Risk" program, creating the Crime Information Hotline, creating the Yabra Citizen Development Committee, an organization that helps youth, and many other initiatives.
The Belize Police Department began an Anti-Crime Christmas campaign targeting criminals; as a result, the crime rates dropped in that month.
Belize's social structure is marked by enduring differences in the distribution of wealth, power, and prestige. Because of the small size of Belize's population and the intimate scale of social relations, the social distance between the rich and the poor, while significant, is nowhere as vast as in other Caribbean and Central American societies, such as Jamaica and El Salvador.
Belize lacks the violent class and racial conflict that has figured so prominently in the social life of its Central American neighbours.
Political and economic power remain vested in the hands of the local elite. The sizeable middle group is composed of peoples of different ethnic backgrounds.
This middle group does not constitute a unified social class , but rather a number of middle-class and working-class groups, loosely oriented around shared dispositions toward education, cultural respectability, and possibilities for upward social mobility.
These beliefs, and the social practices they engender, help distinguish the middle group from the grass roots majority of the Belizean people. Of all the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Belize ranked 3rd from last and had the lowest female-to-male ratio for primary school enrolment.
As of [update] , Besides Independence Day and St. George's Caye Day, Belizeans also celebrate Carnival during September, which typically includes several events spread across multiple days, with the main event being the Carnival Road March, usually held the Saturday before the 10th of September.
In some areas of Belize, however, Carnival is celebrated at the traditional time before Lent in February.
Belizean cuisine is an amalgamation of all ethnicities in the nation, and their respectively wide variety of foods. All immigrant communities add to the diversity of Belizean food including the Indian and Chinese Communities.
Belizean diet is very modern and traditional. There are no rules. Breakfast typically consists of bread, flour tortillas , or fry jacks that are often homemade.
Fry jacks are eaten with various cheeses, "fry" beans, various forms of eggs or cereal, along with powdered milk, coffee, or tea.
Tacos made from corn or flour tortillas and meat pies can also be consumed for a hearty breakfast from a street vendor.
Midday meals are the main meals for Belizeans, usually called "dinner". They vary, from foods such as rice and beans with or without coconut milk, tamales fried maize shells with beans or fish , "panades" , meat pies, escabeche onion soup , chimole soup , caldo , stewed chicken and garnaches fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and sauce to various constituted dinners featuring some type of rice and beans, meat and salad or coleslaw.
Fried "fry" chicken is also consumed at this time. In rural areas, meals are typically more simple than in cities. The Maya use maize , beans , or squash for most meals, and the Garifuna are fond of seafood, cassava particularly made into cassava bread or Ereba and vegetables.
The nation abounds with restaurants and fast food establishments selling fairly cheaply. Local fruits are quite common, but raw vegetables from the markets less so.
Mealtime is a communion for families and schools and some businesses close at midday for lunch, reopening later in the afternoon.
Steak is also common. Punta is a popular genre of Garifuna music and has become one of the most popular kinds of music in Belize. It is distinctly Afro-Caribbean, and is sometimes said to be ready for international popularization like similarly-descended styles reggae , calypso , merengue.
Brukdown is a modern style of Belizean music related to calypso. It evolved out of the music and dance of loggers, especially a form called buru.
Reggae , dance hall , and soca imported from Jamaica and the rest of the West Indies , rap , hip-hop , heavy metal and rock music from the United States, are also popular among the youth of Belize.
The major sports in Belize are football , basketball , volleyball and cycling , with smaller followings of boat racing , athletics , softball , cricket , rugby and netball.
Fishing is also popular in coastal areas of Belize. This one-day sports event is meant for amateur cyclists but has also gained worldwide popularity.
The people from this village used to cover long distances on their bicycles to attend the weekly game of cricket. He improvised on this observation by creating a sporting event on the difficult terrain of the Western Highway , which was then poorly built.
On Easter day, citizens of Dangriga participate in a yearly fishing tournament. First, second, and third prize are awarded based on a scoring combination of size, species, and number.
The tournament is broadcast over local radio stations, and prize money is awarded to the winners. The Belize national basketball team is the only national team that has achieved major victories internationally.
The national team finished seventh of eight teams after winning only 1 game despite playing close all the way. Shortly thereafter, Belize moved to the Central American region and won the Central American Games championship in The team has failed to duplicate this success, most recently finishing with a 2 and 4 record in the COCABA championship.
A tough win over Cuba set Belize in position to advance, but they fell to Puerto Rico in their final match and failed to qualify.
Simone Biles , the winner of four gold medals in the Rio Summer Olympics is a dual citizen of the United States and of Belize,  which she considers her second home.
The national flower of Belize is the black orchid Prosthechea cochleata , also known as Encyclia cochleata. The national tree is the mahogany tree Swietenia macrophylla , which inspired the national motto Sub Umbra Floreo , which means "Under the shade I flourish".
The national animal is the Baird's tapir and the national bird is the keel-billed toucan Ramphastos sulphuratus. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about the country in Central America. For other uses, see Belize disambiguation. Country on the Caribbean coast of Central America.
Main article: History of Belize. Main article: Pre-Columbian Belize. Further information: History of Belize — and Colony of Jamaica.
Main article: British Honduras. Main article: Politics of Belize. See also: Government of Belize. Main article: Foreign relations of Belize.
Main article: Military of Belize. Main article: Belizean—Guatemalan territorial dispute. Main article: Geography of Belize. Main article: List of protected areas of Belize.
Main article: Belize Barrier Reef. Main article: Economy of Belize. This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.
January Main article: Tourism in Belize. Further information: Transport in Belize. Main articles: Demographics of Belize and Belizean people.
Main articles: Belizean Creole people and Baymen. Main article: Garifuna people. Main articles: Hispanic Belizean and Mestizo. Main article: Mennonites in Belize.
Languages in Belize Languages percent English. Main article: Languages of Belize. See also: List of municipalities in Belize. Main article: Religion in Belize.
Further information: Healthcare in Belize. Main article: Education in Belize. Further information: Belizean society. Main article: Culture of Belize.
Main article: Cuisine of Belize. Main article: Music of Belize. Main article: Sport in Belize. Belize portal. Statistical Institute of Belize.
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