[103], Belize Creole English or Kriol developed during the time of slavery, and historically was only spoken by former slaves. Creoles, also known as Kriols, make up roughly 21% of the Belizean population and about 75% of the diaspora. Belize Barrier Reef, coral reef that is second in size after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and is the largest of its kind in the Northern and Western hemispheres. [18] It is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Central American Integration System (SICA), the only country to hold full membership in all three regional organizations. [41], Throughout Belize's history, Guatemala has claimed sovereignty over all or part of Belizean territory. Belize is located less than two hours from the United States, with several daily flights to and from major hubs such as Miami, Florida, Houston and Dallas, Texas … Its mainland is about 290 km (180 mi) long and 110 km (68 mi) wide. It is known for its September Celebrations, its extensive barrier reef coral reefs, and punta music.[15][16]. Belize is located in Central America, which is also part of North America. The Belize Police Department began an Anti-Crime Christmas campaign targeting criminals; as a result, the crime rates dropped in that month. "Kitchen Spanish" is an intermediate form of Spanish mixed with Belize Creole, spoken in the northern towns such as Corozal and San Pedro. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title Queen of Belize. Before that St. John's College, founded in 1877, dominated the tertiary education field. Belize is located on the Caribbean coast of Central America. In 1931, an unnamed hurricane destroyed over two-thirds of the buildings in Belize City and killed more than 1,000 people. According to famed diver Jacques Cousteau, the Great Blue Hole of Belize is one of the most spectacular dive sites on earth. As of 2010[update], the literacy rate in Belize was estimated at 79.7%,[6] one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Belize has a small, mostly private enterprise economy that is based primarily on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction recently assuming greater importance. A remote sensing study conducted by the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) and NASA, in collaboration with the Forest Department and the Land Information Centre (LIC) of the government of Belize's Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MNRE), and published in August 2010 revealed that Belize's forest cover in early 2010 was approximately 62.7%, down from 75.9% in late 1980. It is the only Central American country where English is the official language, while Belizean Creole is the most widely spoken national language, being the native language of over a third of the population. The sizeable middle group is composed of peoples of different ethnic backgrounds. The Spanish granted the British settlers the right to occupy the area and cut logwood in exchange for their help suppressing piracy.[12]. Their estimates suggest this is the highest proportion of Baháʼís in any country. Belize is located in northern Central America, bordered by the Caribean Sea to the East, Mexico to the North, and Guatemala to the South and West. However, also due to its location, it is currently becoming known in the global arena for attracting many drug trafficking entities in North America. [55][56], The exact ramifications of these cases need to be examined. [136] In 2011, the government established a truce among many major gangs, lowering the murder rate. In 1978, Hurricane Greta caused more than US$25 million in damages along the southern coast. [124] Their data also states that the Baháʼí Faith is the second most common religion in Belize, followed by Judaism. [116][117][118] Another major annual sporting event in Belize is the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, a 4-day canoe marathon held each year in March. Belize is in Central America. Between about 2500 BC and 250 AD, the basic institutions of Maya civilization emerged. Blessed with many natural wonders, Belize contains rainforest-cloaked mountains, hidden river gorges, Mayan ruins, numerous wildlife preserves, some of the largest cave systems in the world, and the world’s second longest coral barrier reef. 1. On 11 November 2020, the People's United Party (PUP), led by Johnny Briceño, defeated the United Democratic Party (UDP) for the first time since 2003, having won 26 seats out of 31 to form the new government of Belize. [79] The country is also a producer of industrial minerals,[91] crude oil, and petroleum. Punta is a popular genre of Garifuna music and has become one of the most popular kinds of music in Belize. Belize , formerly known as British Honduras, is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America. [98], Belize's population is estimated to be 360,346 in 2017,[99] and estimated at 408,487 in 2019. [27], In 1836, after the emancipation of Central America from Spanish rule, the British claimed the right to administer the region. Throughout the 18th century, the Spanish attacked Belize every time war broke out with Britain. On 14 June 2011, the government of Belize nationalized the ownership interest of Fortis Inc. in Belize Electricity Ltd. Belize has a long coastline on the Caribbean Sea. Constitutional safeguards include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association. 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. Dances performed at village fiestas include the Hog-Head, Zapateados, the Mestizada, Paso Doble and many more. Midday meals are the main meals for Belizeans, usually called "dinner". [114] Being a small, multiethnic state, surrounded by Spanish-speaking nations, multilingualism is strongly encouraged. This yielded a valuable fixing agent for clothing dyes,[28] and was one of the first ways to achieve a fast black before the advent of artificial dyes. [17] It is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to both the American and Caribbean regions. It encompasses 8,800 square miles of land and has a 240-mile long coastline. [27], However, the end of slavery did little to change the former slaves' working conditions if they stayed at their trade. In the 2003 elections the PUP maintained its majority, and Musa continued as prime minister. The two prevailing theories are that, in 1635, they were either the survivors of two recorded shipwrecks or somehow took over the ship they came on.[105]. First, second, and third prize are awarded based on a scoring combination of size, species, and number. The People's Committee's successor, the People's United Party (PUP), sought constitutional reforms that expanded voting rights to all adults. The majority of the Mennonite population comprises so-called Russian Mennonites of German descent who settled in the Russian Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries. Former "extra special" mahogany or logwood cutters undergirded the early ascription of the capacities (and consequently the limitations) of people of African descent in the colony. The most recent hurricane to affect the nation was Hurricane Nana in 2020. 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. Belize is also a leader in protecting biodiversity and natural resources. The team won the 1998 CARICOM Men's Basketball Championship, held at the Civic Centre in Belize City, and subsequently participated in the 1999 Centrobasquet Tournament in Havana. [85][86] In December 2015, Belize banned offshore oil drilling within 1 km (0.6 mi) of the Barrier Reef and all of its seven World Heritage Sites. The utility encountered serious financial problems after the country's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 2008 "disallowed the recovery of previously incurred fuel and purchased power costs in customer rates and set customer rates at a level that does not allow BEL to earn a fair and reasonable return", Fortis said in a June 2011 statement. [76] The Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site and is the second-largest barrier reef in the world, behind Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Because Roatán was too small and infertile to support their population, the Garinagu petitioned the Spanish authorities of Honduras to be allowed to settle on the mainland coast. Placencia is a small peninsula measuring about 1 mile across and 16 miles north and south attached to the southeastern corner of Stann Creek District in southeastern Belize. Central America is the narrow piece of land bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the West and the Caribbean Sea on the East, and connects North America to South America. Kriol might best be described as the lingua franca of the nation. The British first appointed a superintendent over the Belize area in 1786. The team finished second in the 2009 COCABA tournament in Cancun, Mexico where it went 3–0 in group play. No. Belize is Central American country located on the Caribbean coast. Temperatures are slightly higher inland, except for the southern highland plateaus, such as the Mountain Pine Ridge, where it is noticeably cooler year round. 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