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1. Area: 22,966 square kilometers*

2. Population: The population of approximately 273,700 people consists of a mixture of Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Spanish, Maya, English, Mennonite, Lebanese, Chinese, and Eastern Indian.*

3. Capital: Belmopan, Cayo District*

4. Language: English is the official language and the language    of instruction in the schools. Spanish is also widely spoken. It is taught in primary and secondary schools in order to further develop bi-lingualism.
   In certain areas of the country, such as the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts in the north and the Cayo District in the west, Spanish is spoken as a mother tongue by the majority of the people.
   In the southern Districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, there are people whose first language is Garifuna or Maya.
   Nearly everyone speaks English dialect, or Creole patois, the vernacular of the country.

5. Date of OAS membership: 1991*

7. Description of Belize*:
    Belize (former British Honduras until the name of the country was changed in 1972) lies on the eastern or Caribbean Coast of Central America, bounded on the north and part of the west by Mexico, and on the south and the remainder of the west by Guatemala. The inner coastal waters are shallow and are sheltered by a line of coral reefs, dotted with islets called 'cayes' extending almost the entire length of the country.

     There is a low coastal plain, much of it covered with mangrove swamp, but the land rises gradually towards the interior. The Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range from the backbone of the southern half of the country, the highest point being Victoria Peak (3,699 feet) in the Cockscomb Range. The Cayo District in the west includes the Mountain Pine Ridge, ranging from 305 to around 914 meters above sea level. The northern districts contain considerable areas of tableland. There are many rivers, some of them navigable for short distances by shallow-draught vessels. A large part of the mainland is forest.

    The area of the mainland and cayes is 8,867 square miles. The country's greatest length from north to south is 280 kilometers and its greatest width is 109 kilometers.

8. Climate*:
     The climate is sub-tropical, tempered by trade winds. Temperatures in coastal districts ranges from about 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) to about 35.6 degrees C (96 degrees F); inland the range is greater. Rainfalls varies from an average of 1,295 millimeters in the north to 4,445 millimeters in the extreme south. The dry season usually extends from February to May and there is sometimes a dry spell in August.

9. Government*

10. History*

11. Education and Culture*

. Economy*

13. Agriculture*

14. National Heroes: Rt. Hon. George Price*

15. Festival, Events, and Holydays*

16. Photographs

* Source: Permanent Mission of Belize to the OAS.
* Source: "Belize, The Visitor Guide" , published by The Belize Tourism Board, January 2004. Information provided by the Permanent Mission of Belize to the OAS.



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