Belize




Geography
The Country of Belize is located in Central America along the Eastern or Caribbean coast. The Country shares the northern and western border with Mexico and southern border with Guatemala. The Inner coastal waters are shallow and sheltered by a line of coral reefs, (at 180 miles the 2nd largest in the world), the country has over 200 islands, atolls, and islets called “Cayes”. Belize covers 8,866 miles of territory. The mainland is approximately 180 miles long and 68 miles wide. Although the mainland has a low coastal plain covered with mangrove wetlands, the land rises gradually towards the interior. The Southern sector of the country forms its backbone with the Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb range, with the highest point being 3,699 feet. The Cayo District, which is located in Western Belize, includes the Mountain Pine Ridge, which are 305 to 914 meters above sea level. The Northern districts contain many rivers, waterfalls, creeks, and lagoons. However, a large part of the mainland consists of tropical forest.

Areas and Cayes of Belize
Ambergris Caye is the largest of all the Cayes (islands) of Belize. It is twenty-five miles long and over four miles in width. Ambergris Caye has a town (San Pedro) within the island. This area is best known for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Caye Caulker is the second largest of Belize Cayes, which lies northeast of Belize City and south of Ambergris Caye. This island is four miles long and has a population of 1000 people. This island is best known as a fishing community.

Belize District is the largest city in Belize, but is no longer the nation’s capital. The population is over 60,000. The city has its own Tropical Education Center and Belize Zoo.

The Cayo District, the frontier of Belize, is also the new nations capital. Located here are the cowboys on horseback. In the Cayo District there are several towns, including Belmopan which is located 50 miles west of Belize City. San Ignacio is the largest city in Cayo with population of about 10,000.

The Stann Creek District is located in Southern Belize with an 11-mile strip of land. Stann Creek District is best known for its beaches, islands, jungles, and jaguars.

The Orange Walk District the agricultural center that produces dairy products, citrus fruits, sugar and beef, and process Belize’s famous rum. Within Orange Walk District, lies Belize most important nature reserve, the Rio Bravo Conversation and Management Area. This reserve is about 280,000 acres.

The Corozal District has a population of 9,000 people, consisting mostly of refugees fleeing from the civil war between the Mestizos and Mexico Indians. The town was built by these people and Spanish is the language spoken there.

The Toledo District is located 200 miles from Belize City in the southern sector of the country. The population is less than 4000 people, and within the town lies rich culture rather than luxury.
Environment
Belize is subtropical, and the average temperature is 80 degrees. However, the temperature varies from 50-95 degrees. Most of the year the winds cool the coastal areas and Cayes, with the exception of a few weeks in August or September. From November through May is the dry season, and the rainy season is from June through November. In the Northern Cayes of Belize, severe droughts can occur. Hurricane season is typically in August or September. The average rainfall for this country ranges from 60 inches in the North to 150 inches in the South. The water temperature averages between 79 and 83 degrees F.

Belize population is approximately 200,000 and a very diverse environment also. The ethnic groups consist of Creoles (African-European), Mestizo (Spanish-Indian), Garifuna (African-Indian), Mayan (Anglo-European), Middle Eastern, and Asian.

History of Belize – Prior to the 1900’s
For hundred of years Belize was heavily populated by the Maya Indians, whose relatively advanced civilization reached its height between AD 300 and 900. The Maya Indians built elaborate cites and temples, created advanced mathematics, astronomy, engineering, and art. Due to things like war, drought, rebellion, religious and cultural conflicts, the civilization began to collapse and many of the people migrated. In 1502, Columbus sailed into and named the Bay of Honduras but he did not actually visit the area later known as British Honduras.

Shipwrecked British sailors established the first recorded European settlement in 1683. These were later