Freedom8 Mesoamerica


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Belize
, formerly British Honduras, is a country in Central America. Once part of the Mayan and Spanish Empires, it was most recently affiliated with the British Empire, prior to gaining its independence in 1981. The country is bordered to the south and west by Guatemala, to the north by Mexico, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea.
Belize has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and speaking many languages. It is the only country in Central America where English is an official language, although Spanish and Kriol are also widely spoken. With 8,867 square miles (22,960 kmĀ²) of territory and 301,270 people,the population density is the lowest in the Central American region and one of the lowest in the world. The country's population growth rate, 2.21%, is the highest in the region and one of the highest in the western hemisphere. It remains a Commonwealth realm. Before the arrival of Europeans, Belize was part of the territory of the Maya. The Mopan Maya were the original inhabitants of Belize. The Maya civilization spread itself over Belize beginning around 1500 BC and flourished until about AD 900. In the late classic period of Maya civilization (before A.D. 1000), as many as 400,000 people may have lived in the area that is now Belize. Some lowland Maya still occupied the area when Europeans arrived in the 1500s. Spanish colonists tried to settle the inland areas of Belize, but they abandoned these efforts following the Maya rebellion against Spanish authority.


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