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General Information
Belize, formerly known as British Honduras (officially named in 1973), lies on the eastern coastline of Central
America, bordered on the north by Mexico, on the west and south by Guatemala, and on the east by the
Caribbean Sea.  Approximately 8,866 square miles, its mainland measures 180 miles long and 68 miles wide
at its longest and widest points. Belize also consists of over 200 cayes (islands), ranging in size from a few
hundred feet to 25 miles long and four miles wide; most of which are located inside its 200 mile Barrier Reef.  

Belize's Barrier Reef, second only to Australia's, is the foundation for a thriving ecosystem, which features the
beautiful coral waters, and various species of trees and flowers where numerous birds make their habitat.  Its
diverse flora consists of over 4,000 flowering plants, some 250 species of orchids, and 700 or so different trees.
In addition, there are many other natural resources that are a part of this beautiful country.  The rainforest (home
for several wild cats and other animals), the Maya ruins namely -- Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, La Milpa, and
Lamanai -- each unique in itself, revealing varying characteristics of their empire, and blue holes and caves.  

Belize became an independent nation in 1981.  It is divided into six districts, Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, Cayo,
Stan Creek and Toledo each offering something splendid for you to see and enjoy.  The capital city, Belmopan,
is located in the Cayo District.  Belize's population of approximately 300,000 is made up of a very diverse ethnic
background, which includes Creoles (African-European), Mestizo (Spanish-Indian), Mennonite, Garifuna
(African-Indian), Mayan, Anglo-European, Middle Eastern and Asian.  The official language is English; however,
Spanish is widely spoken in addition to other languages and dialects such as Kriol (Creole), German, Mayan
and Garifuna.