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Belize - Interesting Facts

Dec 13, 2012

Belize - Interesting Facts

Tucked in next to Guatemala on the west, Mexico to the north, and the Caribbean to the east, Belize is a constitutional monarchy that was originally called British Honduras. On September 21, 1981, Belize became independent but it took another ten years for Guatemala to recognize its sovereignty, during which time British troops stuck around to defend it. In fact, there are still British troops in Belize to this day, as border debates between the two countries persist.

Today, we have a list of a few other interesting facts about Belize:  

  • Belize was the location of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. Several major archaeological sites reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that time. Some of the more significant sites are Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha and Xunantunich. Today, these are popular sites to explore and learn more about the Mayans in Belize.

  • The capital city of Belize is Belmopan, in the Cayo region, and is the marriage of two words – Belize and Mopan. However, Belmopan wasn’t always the capital city. Belize City, located on a peninsula jutting into the Caribbean, was the original capital city of Belize. Unfortunately, in 1961 Hurricane Hattie completely destroyed the city, deeming it unsafe and shifting the capital into the interior of the country to Belmopan in 1970.

  •  The total population of Belize is 356,000, making it the least populated country in the world. Belize City is the largest city in the country with a population of 61,400.

  • Approximately 25% of the territories in Belize fall under a type of protected status – State or National parks, Wildlife Reserves, protected reefs, etc.

  • Belize has a national flower (black orchid), a national tree (mahogany tree), a national bird (keel billed toucan) and a national animal (Baird’s tapir).

  • The Belize Barrier Reef – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest barrier reef in the world (Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest).

  • It is estimated that only 10% of the Belize Barrier Reef’s species have been discovered, with 90% still needing to be researched. Currently, the reef is home to 70 hard coral and 36 soft coral species, 500 species of fish and hundreds of invertebrate species.

  • There are hundreds of cayes (pronounced keys) or islands off the coast of Belize. Some are extremely small and uninhabited while others are popular destinations for tourists or those seeking island residency. The most populated caye is Ambergris Caye with an approximate population of 18,000.

  • The least visited area of Belize is the region of Toledo in the southern most part of the country. Often referred to as “the forgotten land” by Toledans, it is sparsely populated and is blanketed with some of the most pristine rainforests in Belize.

  • Belize is home to the only Jaguar Preserve in the world. Declared in 1986, it is located in central Belize and is called the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Preserve.

  • Similar to other Central American countries, real estate agents in Belize are not licensed. If you’re considering a retirement or second home in Belize, it’s extremely important to work with someone with history and experience.

Yes, Belize has beautiful beaches and lush rainforests, but it also has an extensive history and a diverse culture. There is much to learn about this country if you’re not already familiar with it and hopefully we have helped enlighten you and broadened your horizons a little more then before you read this article. To experience these facts and others for yourself, why not visit Belize on your next vacation?!

To see how you can visit Belize on a Discovery Weekend, go HERE!

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