Belize is located in northeast Central America, near the Caribbean Sea. Covering an area of 22,970 square kilometers, it has a population of about 274,000, most of whom are Creole, with other large groups being Indians, Mayans, and others. Residents are Catholic and the official language is English, although nearly half of the residents speak Spanish or Creole. The currency is the Belize dollar and the capital is Belmopan.
Belize National Flag
The Belize flag contains two slim horizontal strips of red, separated by an expanse of blue. In the middle there is a white circle which contains 50 green leaves around an emblem. Blue symbolizes the sky and ocean, and red symbolizes victory and the sun. The 50 green leaves commemorate the country’ struggle for independence and its victory in 1950.
Belize was originally inhabited by the Maya, but at the beginning of the 16th century it was colonized by Spain. In 1658, the British invaded and officially declared it a British colony in 1862, renaming it British Honduras. In June 1975 the country changed its name to Belize and on September 21, 1981, declared independence, joining the Commonwealth.
Economy and Culture Overview
Belizes’s economy is dominated by agriculture, but is industrially underdeveloped. Most of the people’s livelihood is dependent on imported supplies. The forest area accounts for 70% of the total land area, enabling the production of mahogany, hematoxylin, genistein, and other precious timber. Coastal fisheries are a rich natural resource, with an abundance of lobster, swordfish, manatee, and corals. Belize also has the world’s only jaguar and red-footed booby protected areas.