Belize

Belize (Listeni/bəˈliːz/) is a country on the northeastern coast of Central America.

It is the only country in the area that has English as its official language; Belizean Creole (Kriol) and Spanish are also commonly spoken. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its mainland is about 290 km (180 mi) long and 110 km (68 mi) wide.

With 22,800 square kilometres (8,800 sq mi) of land and a population of 338,597 (2013 est.),[1] Belize has the lowest population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.97% per year (2013) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Belize has a diverse society, with many cultures and languages. Originally part of the British Empire, it shares a common colonial history with other Anglophone Caribbean countries. From 1862 to 1973, its name was British Honduras. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1981, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

In general, Belize is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to the entire Latin American and Caribbean region. Belize is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Central American Integration System (SICA), the only country to hold full membership in all three regional organisations.

Belize is known for its September Celebrations, and is the birthplace of chewing gum and punta music.

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