Found on the Caribbean side the Central American isthmus it is bordered on the north by Mexico and Guatemala on the west and south. The only English speaking country in the region. Once Spanish colonial territory, it became a haven for English speaking pirates and settlers. In a treaty to reduce piracy against Spanish ships the territory was leased as a concession for logging. It later became a British Protectorate called British Honduras. It became self-governing in 1964, took the name Belize in 1973 and finally became independent in 1981, although it is still part of the Commonwealth.
Despite its smallness Belize is home to a great diversity of flora and fauna. Still thickly forested, it has the Maya mountains, wetlands, mangroves and savannahs. As a country, Belize takes protection of its natural resources seriously. It is also the location of the second longest barrier reef in the world, which stretches for 300 kilometres and harbours over 700 coral species.
Hampered in its development by natural disasters in the form of hurricanes, its capital was moved to Belmopan after Belize City had been destroyed twice in thirty years. One of its main industries is tourism. There are seven main ethnic groups and eight languages, although there are other diverse minority groups. The majority of the population are Creole, Maya or Garinagu. With its sanctuaries and reef system these is plenty to see and do for outdoor enthusiasts. The cuisine is a mixture of Latin American and Caribbean
The capital is Belmopan, but the largest city is Belize City. Less than 400,000 live there. The climate is tropical. English is the official language. It has a parliamentary system. The currency is the Belizean dollar. Its main exports are: sugar and bananas. Phone code 501