Belize is a country in Central America, located on the Yucatan Peninsula - the ancient land of the Maya Indians. It shares the borders with Mexico to the north, with Guatemala to the south -west. The eastern coast is washed by the Caribbean Sea. The capital is the city of Belmopan.
Belize is a parliamentary democracy.
The population of Belize is Multi-ethnic: the Mestizo (Spanish-Indian origin) - 48,7%, the Creole (English-African descents) - 24,9%, the Maya - 10,6%, The Garinagu (singular Garifuna) -(African-Indian origin) - 6,1%, other (white , Indians, Chinese and others) - 9,7%
Belize - the only country in Central America having a British colonial heritage. More than a half the population speaks the local dialect of English, Spanish is also widely used. Indians have preserved their native languages. About 62% of the Belize population are Catholics, 28% - Protestants. Others profess Islam and Hinduism.
From the north to the south of the country, lowland jungles turn into fertile mountain valleys and chains of ridges. To the south stretches the Maya Mountains; the highest point - Victoria Peak (1120 m). Cascades of mountain rivers, green coastal islands and long sandy beaches give a special beauty to the nature of Belize. About a half of the country is covered by tropical rain forests with valuable tropical tree species (the rubber tree, the mahogany tree, etc.). Mangroves thickets stretch along the coast.
The climate of Belize is tropical with pronounced wet and dry seasons. Average monthly temperature is about 26° C. A dry season lasts from February to May. Hurricanes from the Caribbean Sea, accompanied by heavy rain and flooding, make a severe damage to the country.
The fauna of Belize is diverse. New World monkeys, jaguars, armadillos, iguanas and other large animals are found here. There are a great number of birds, including parrots and hummingbirds. Coastal waters are rich in fish, crustaceans and turtles. In Belize there are world's second largest barrier reef (about 500 species of tropical fish) and the world's only jaguar reserve. Small coastal islands ("Cayes ") - are favorite places for diving.
Before European conquest, Belize was populated by the Maya Indians. The coast of Belize, was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502. The first European settlement in the mouth of the Belize river was founded by British sailors in 1638. In the XVIII century. Spain and the UK struggled for domination over Belize in the XVIII th century. In 1862 the country was officially declared a British colony (British Honduras). In 1964 the colony gained internal self-government. September 21, 1981- Belize has gained an independence.
Culture of Belize dates back to the great civilization of the Mayans. Largest centers of the Maya, survived until our days are in Xunantunich (on the border with Guatemala), Altun Ha, Caracol, Cuello), Ламанай and others. In the capital of Belize – the Belmopan city is the University of Belize, bank’s buildings of interesting architecture, numerous monuments, Art-Box exhibition, the City Museum, and many beautiful parks. The former capital of the country – the Belize City is also rich in sights. In the Museum of Belize, located in a building of a former colonial prison of the middle of the XVIII th century one can learn about the Mayan pottery. The Maritime Museum tells about a development of navigation and the Coastal Zonal museum represents the exhibition devoted to reef ecology. The city also has the National Center of handicrafts. The Cathedral of St. John - the oldest Anglican church of Central America is located in the northern part of the city.