Belize is located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Its territory is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea where you can find it’s extensive barrier reef, and on the south and west by Guatemala. Belize has a very diverse society that is composed of many cultures and languages that reflect it’s rich history.
Trips to Belize:
Before becoming a British colony, Belize was home to the Maya civilization, which flourished until about the 1200. Several Maya ruin sites reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period. Many aspects of this culture persist in the area despite nearly 500 years of European domination. Spanish conquistadors and missionaries made the first recorded European incursions in the region in the 16th century, who nevertheless failed to establish colonial rule. European settlement was begun by English settlers in 1638. The 18th century in Belize was marked by frequent conflict between Britain and Spain and the arrival of African slaves to British plantations. In 1862 Belize was formally named “Colony of British Honduras” to later become a “Crown Colony” in 1871.
British Honduras faced two obstacles to independence: British reluctance until the early 1960s and Guatemala’s long-standing claim to the entire territory. By 1961, Britain was willing to let the colony become independent but continued to control only British Honduran defense, foreign affairs, internal security, and the terms and conditions of the public service. In 1973 the colony’s name was changed to Belize in anticipation of independence. Finally, in November 1980, with Guatemala completely isolated from the Latin American governments support, the UN passed a resolution that demanded the independence of Belize, achieved on 1981.
The undulating courses of two rivers, the Hondo and the Sarstoon River, define much of the course of the Belize’s northern and southern boundaries. The western border follows no natural features and runs north-south through lowland forest and highland plateau. The north of Belize consists mostly of flat, swampy coastal plains, in places heavily forested. The flora is highly diverse considering the small geographical area. The south contains the low mountain range of the Maya Mountains.
The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays,mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites illustrate the evolutionary history of reef development and are a significant habitat for threatened species, including marine turtles, manatees and the American marine crocodile.