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Facts About Belize For Kids

Belize is a country located on the north eastern coast of Central America and it is the only country in the area where English is the official language, although Kriol and Spanish are more commonly spoken. Its mainland is about 180 mi long and 68 mi wide.

  • The country’s population growth rate of 2.21%, however, is the highest in the region and one of the highest in the western hemisphere.
  • Belize’s abundance of terrestrial and marine species, and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place within the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
  • It is the only nation in the region with a British colonial heritage, but as a part of the Western Caribbean Zone, it also shares a common heritage with the Caribbeanportions of other Central American countries.
  • By then the primary inhabitants were the Mopan branch of the Yucatec Maya.
  • Spanish conquistadors explored the land and declared it a Spanish colony but chose not to settle due to the lack of resources such as gold and the strong defence of the Yucatán by the Maya.
  • Prior to that time, the British government did not initially recognize the settlement in Belize as a colony for fear of provoking a Spanish attack.
  • The battle took place between an invading force from what would become Mexico, attempting to wrest Belize for Spain, and a small force of resident woodcutters called Baymen, who fought for their livelihood assisted by black slaves.
  • When Belize finally attained full independence on 21 September 1981, Guatemalarefused to recognise the new nation.
  • With Price at the helm, the PUP won all elections until 1984.
  • British soldiers were withdrawn in 1994, but the United Kingdom left behind a military training unit to assist with the newly formed Belize Defence Force.
  • Guatemala’s claim to Belizean territory rests, in part, on the terms Clause VII of the Anglo-Guatemalan Treaty of 1859 which obligated the British to build a road between Belize City and Guatemala.
  • At various times the issue has required mediation by the United Kingdom, CaribbeanCommunity heads of Government, the Organization of American States, Mexico, and the United States.
  • To the east in the Caribbean Sea, the second-longest barrier reef in the world flanks much of the 386 kilometres (240 mi) of predominantly marshy coastline.
  • The area of the country totals 22,960 square kilometres (8,865 sq mi), an area slightly larger than El Salvador or Massachusetts.
  • Recent (July 2010) information from the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations of Belize (APAMO) indicates that some 36% of Belize’s land territory falls under some form of official protected status, giving Belize one of the most extensive systems of terrestrial protected areas in the Americas.
  • In 1931 an unnamed hurricane destroyed over two-thirds of the buildings in BelizeCity and killed more than 1,000 people.
  • BEL is approximately 70% owned by Fortis Inc., a Canadian investor-owned distribution utility.
  • Colonization, slavery, and immigration have played major roles in affecting the ethnic composition of the population and as a result, Belize is a country with numerous cultures, languages, and ethnic groups.