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Location: Belize is a small country, situated in the north of Central America, and the west Caribbean. Bounded in the North by Mexico, the west and south by Guatemala, and the east by the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean is my favorite Belize fact.
Area: Belize is only 8,866 sq. miles, or 22,966 sq. kilometers, including 266 sq. miles (689 sq. kilometers) of islands, called cayes.
Length is 174 miles (278 K) at itís longest point.
Width is 68 miles (109 K) at itís widest point.
Physical characteristics include, Coral reefs, the largest unbroken barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, and atolls, at 175 miles (280K) in length. Itís the 2nd longest in the world next to Australiaís Great Barrier Reef at about 2,000 miles (3,200 K). Belize has low coastal zones, dry coastal plains, and low mountains in the south with plenty of ravines, river gorges, and waterfalls. Highest point is Victoria Peak at 3,600 feet (1,160 metres). Belize is the only Central American country with no Pacific coast.
Economic activities include tourism, sugar, citrus, banana, marine products, and light industry. Interestingly, because Belize oranges are so sweet, some are shipped to Florida and California to be mixed with local oranges in the production of juice.
Natural resources include forestry (huge mahogany trees), fisheries (lobster, shrimp and many other species), and Belize land (used for various farming, and ranching).
Currency: The Belize dollar equals .50 US cents. You can do better at a currency exchange than at the banks or merchants. Tourism is the #1 foreign exchange earner.
Belize Facts on health care
Here's a Belize Fact of Life. The current exchange rate from Yahoo
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Belize Annual Rainfall
MORE BELIZE FACTS
Population at the most recent census was 273,700 with an estimate of 279,457 as of July 2005.The population of Belize is very young, with about 50% less than 18 years old. Immigrants from Central America have settled largely in the south and central part of the country, while expats from the US, Canada, and Great Britain have largely settled in the north and on Ambergris Caye. Density is about 30.9 per square mile (11.91 per sq. K)
The Capital city is Belmopan, population 12,300, and was established as an administration center in 1970. Belize City is the largest at 67,000, was the former capital, and is the main commercial center.
People are Mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Garifuna (Carib) 6.1% , Mayan 10.6%, European, Asian 9.7%, and have a life expectancy of 70 years.
The Official Language is English, a very important Belize fact for those of us from the US, Canada, and Great Britain, but many others are spoken, including, Spanish, Creole (Kriol), Maya, and Garifuna, with literacy at 94.1% overall. Areas such as Ambergris Caye have a literacy rate of nearly 100%. Here you can communicate with almost anybody in English.
Government is a parliamentary democracy with a cabinet headed by a Prime Minister, and a bi-cameral National Assembly. The House of Representatives is elected and the Senate is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. Belize has six political districts. They are, Toledo, Stann Creek, Cayo, Belize, Orange walk, Corozal. Ambergris Caye, and most of the other Cayes are in the Belize district.
Belizeans became independent (self governing), of Britain on September 21, 1981. However, Belize has a central bank so itís a moot point. A Belize fact which is one of the few negatives. National elections are held within 5 years, municipal elections every three years, and village elections every two years.
The British influence is very much present, just like all of North America, and Belize operates under English law. In the Supreme Court, the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.
The Belize Climate is sub-tropical, and Belize contains some wonderful unique features for such a small country. It contains, rain forests with heavy vegetation, active volcanoes, seasonal rainfalls, and gorgeous tropical islands protected by reef systems.
Rain is more plentiful in the south than the north. Starting in Punta Gorda in the south at over 160 inches per year to less than 70 inches at Corozal and Ambergris Caye in the north. Itís not as bad as it sounds. Rain is seasonal, and comes in the form of bursts from passing cells (storms), usually of short duration. When itís not raining, the sun is out, even in the rainy season. Not like Seattle, Vancouver or London, where it can be pretty dismal for months on end. In fact, itís very similar to south Florida, but, without as many hurricanes. If you like the weather in Key West, youíll love Belize weather. This is the Belize fact most important to me.
Agriculture and Belize land use is carefully thought out in Belize. A large area of Belize, about 40%, is grade 5 and is not capable of producing agricultural crops for a sustained period. Usually itís because the land is to steep, too wet, or the soil too poor. However, a lot of this land is coastal and very good for shrimp farming and tourism. About 14% of the land is classified as grades 1 and 2 and is suitable for vegetable and citrus growth. In between is great for cattle ranching and includes vast forests. Belize has about 30 sq. kmís of irrigated land. Agriculture accounts for about 17.7% of GDP.
Major fisheries include lobster, conch, shrimp and fin fish.
Merchant Marine total: 295 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,015,270 GRT/1,336,890 DWT
By Type: bulk carrier 25, cargo 207, chemical tanker 9, container 6, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 17, roll on/roll off 5
Foreign-owned: 142 (Australia 2, Belgium 1, China 50, Cuba 1, Cyprus 1, Estonia 9, Germany 4, Hong Kong 6, Indonesia 3, Italy 2, Japan 5, Latvia 4, Malaysia 1, Nigeria 1, Pakistan 1, Poland 2, Russia 23, Singapore 5, South Korea 6, Spain 3, Switzerland 1, Turkey 2, Ukraine 4, UAE 3, United States 2) (2005)
Belize has 43 airports. 5 are paved and 38 unpaved. Seems like a lot for a tiny country, but many people use light aircraft for transportation to and from remote ranches, farms, and resorts. In comparison, the US has over 17,000 airports and many more private strips.
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