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.*
Belmopan, Cayo District*
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*:
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
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.
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.
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.
Education and Culture*
14. National Heroes: Rt. Hon.
Festival, Events, and Holydays*
* 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.