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Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1862. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, high crime rates, and one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Central America.


Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico

Natural Resources

arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower

Population - distribution

approximately 25% to 30% of the population lives in the former capital, Belize City; over half of the overall population is rural; population density is slightly higher in the north and east

English 62.9% (official), Spanish 56.6%, Creole 44.6%, Maya 10.5%, German 3.2%, Garifuna 2.9%, other 1.8%, unknown 0.3%, none 0.2% (cannot speak)
BELMOPAN (capital) 17,000 (2014)
Conventional long form
Conventional short form
Local long form
Local short form
parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Geographic coordinates
17 15 N, 88 46 W
Time difference
UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy, followed by exports of sugar, bananas, citrus, marine products, and crude oil.
External debt stocks
US$ 1,329,852,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -174,735,548
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 1,204,422,350
Exports of goods and services
US$ 1,004,017,650
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 59,119,224
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 468,157,180
bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber
garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil
sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, crude oil
UK 31.1%, US 18.9%, Nigeria 6.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.8%, Ireland 4.3%, Jamaica 4.2% (2015)
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
US 26.9%, Mexico 11.9%, Cuba 10.3%, Guatemala 8.1%, China 7.6%, Trinidad and Tobago 5.7% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
Business Climate Rating

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