Story of Belize

Kelsey Gillenwater, P-2

History

Starting out, Belize was a Mayan civilization. The Mayan spread into Belize between 1500BC to 1200BC. Many sites (for example, Lubaantun) show that they were there. In 1638, a recorded shipwreck from seamen was found. More English came, settling into Belize. Belize original name actually wasn't Belize (to the English), it was the Colony of British Honduras. It was named officially this in 1840. The name finally changed to Belize in June, 1973. Full independence was granted on Sep. 21, 1981.

Environment and Climate

Belize can be described as sub-tropical. The humidity high, its most noticeable along the coast. The humidity is 83%, but usually it's masked by sea breeze. The coastal area is exposed to southeast trade winds. The temp. in Belize is 50 F to 95 F, the annual mean being 79 F. It's dotted with many islands. Has forests (36% are under some form of protection). Some examples of Belize animals are the ocelot, moray eel, the jaguar, and the manatee. It has many sharks as well.

Organizations

Belize's exports give them $633 million dollars. They export bananas, sugar, clothing, citrus, fish products, molasses, crude oil, and wood. United States is their main partner. Agriculture is the number one industry, while tourism is second one. Tourism has mainly good effects considering it being the second industry. Main crops are citrus, sugar, and bananas. New ones are coming in although and those are papayas, grains, and legumes. Their schools are based on British education. The major religion in Belize is Roman Catholicism, it being 49.6% of the country.

Culture and Entertainment

Belize culture is a mix of Spanish and Native American. The Mayan being one of the people that effected this. It has many other cultures as well, like Chinese and Lebanese. A holiday they celebrate is "Fiesta de Carnival", which is in February. During the Fiesta de Carnival, they fly the freak flag (a freak flag is a characteristic, appearance, or mannerism of a person, either overt or subtle which implies positive thinking). I wouldn't wear your finest clothes, they're bound to get covered in either paint or flour (most likely both). The best place to visit in Belize is ironically Belize City. You can go zip-lining and snorkeling there. A traditional food there is Belize rice and beans with potato salad. They can have beef with the rice as well.

Geography

Major cities include- Belize City, San Ignacio, Orange Walk, and Belmopan. These cities all have a population under 70 thousand. A landmark in Belize is Xunantunich. Xunantunich is an ancient Mayan archaeological site in west Brazil. A mountain range in Brazil is called the "Maya Mountains," rightfully so, considering they were the first ones there. The Maya Mountains contain quite a number of Mayan ruins. Belize is also known for it's jungles, where they can get timber and food from. They also have white sandy beaches that tourists can enjoy. A downside is though, Belize is very exposed to natural disasters. They're exposed to things such as tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, and lastly drought. These affect the country on a regular basis.

Politics

Dean Barrow has been the Prime Minister of Belize since 2008. Dean Barrow is 65 years old and his wife's name is Kim Simpliss. The university he has been to is the University of the West Indies and the University of Miami. The government types of Belize are constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system. Our relationship with Belize has been close and cordial. We are the main source of their investment funds. Belize benefits from us heavily, but it is the only country in Central America that has never received from an American president. Healthcare is low, but since Barrow has become the Prime Minister, he has made many plans to fix this.