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Belize (/bəˈlz/ (About this soundlisten)) is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 419,199 (2020). Its mainland is about 290 km (180 mi) long and 110 km (68 mi) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2018 estimate) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

The Maya Civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BC and AD 300 and flourished until about 1200. European contact began in 1492 when Christopher Columbus sailed along the Gulf of Honduras. European exploration was begun by English settlers in 1638. This period was also marked by Spain and Britain both laying claim to the land until Britain defeated the Spanish in the Battle of St. George's Caye (1798). It became a British colony in 1840, known as British Honduras, and a Crown colony in 1862. Independence was achieved from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1981.

Belize has a diverse society that is composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history. 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. Over half the population is multilingual, with Spanish being the second most common spoken language. It is known for its September Celebrations, its extensive barrier reef coral reefs, and punta music.

Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. It is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to both the American and Caribbean regions. 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. Belize is the only continental Central American country which is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state, represented by a Governor General (currently, Sir Colville Young). (Full article...)

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Satellite image of Belize in March 31, 2002.jpg

The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (980 ft) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300-kilometer (190 mi) long section of the 900-kilometer (560 mi) Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is continuous from Cancún on the north-eastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula through the Riviera Maya and down to Honduras, making it the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is Belize's top tourist destination, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling and attracting almost half of its 260,000 visitors. It is also vital to the country's fishing industry.

Charles Darwin described it as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842. (Full article...)

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Belize news

25 February 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Belize, Lineage B.1.1.7
Belize reports their first case of the Lineage B.1.1.7 variant in a member of the British Army Training Support Unit Belize who has been infected with this variant. (Breaking Belize News)
22 January 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Belize
The number of recoveries in Belize surpasses 11,000. (Breaking Belize News)
14 November 2020 – 2020 Atlantic hurricane season
Tropical Storm Iota strengthens in the Caribbean Sea and is expected to intensify in the coming hours, threatening many parts of Central America, including Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. The storm is expected to grow into a hurricane. (CNN)
12 November 2020 – 2020 Belizean general election
The People's United Party wins Belize's latest general election, ending the United Democratic Party's rule after 12 years. Johnny Briceño will be sworn in as the next Prime Minister of Belize. (BBC)
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