Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Globe Troting 世界走透透 -- Belize 貝里斯

Crude oil storage tanks in Big Creek, Belize. 貝里斯大溪港的原油儲槽.(照片:歐新社)

PHOTO: EPA

Formerly a British colony known as British Honduras, this little nation on the Central American coast has been independent for twenty-five years now, and boasts one of the most diverse cultures in the world. Read on to learn more about this beautiful country still forming its own dynamic identity.

位於中美洲海岸的蕞薾小國貝里斯,前身為英國殖民地的英屬宏都拉斯,至今已獨立二十五年,可說是世上最多元樣貌的國家之一。往下讀,深入了解這個美麗國度如何形塑自我的動態認同。

A closer look 說古論今

Originally inhabited by the Mayan people, Belize saw its first European settlers around 1638. The area, first named the British Honduras, was colonized by the British, which explains why it is the only English-speaking country in Central America.

The UK’s last colony on the American mainland, Belize was led to independence by a man named George Price in September of 1981. Yet despite proclaiming freedom from the Brits, the country still has to deal with neighbor Guatemala ‘s claims that it owns part of Belize. Disputes over the two nations’ borders continue to go on today.

Belize is a good chunk of land to fight over, however — it is home to three rivers, a heavily-forested northern coast, the Maya Mountains (whose Victoria peak is Belize’s highest point at 1,120km) and the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. Their economy is based primarily on agriculture and merchandising, although the tropical climate and small islands off the coast attract many tourists as well.

Belizeans consider themselves to culturally be both Caribbean and Central American. Despite having English as an official language, most Belizeans speak Belize Creole, a colorful English-based language. The population, forty percent of which is under the age of 15, is mostly made up of Mestizos from Mexico and Guatemala, and Creoles.

About Belize 國家概況

Size: 22,966 km2

Location: Eastern coast of Central America

Border countries: Mexico and Guatemala

Capital: Belmopan

Population: about 300,000

Languages: English

Government: Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy

Currency: NT$1 is equal to about 6 Belizean dollars (BZD)

面積:兩萬兩千九百六十六平方公里

位置:中美洲東海岸

鄰國:墨西哥和瓜地馬拉

首都:貝爾墨邦

人口:約三十萬人

語言:英語

政府:國會民主與君主憲政

貨幣:新台幣一元約等於貝里斯幣六元


貝里斯原住民為馬雅人,首批歐洲移民在一六三八年前後遷移於此。貝里斯原名英屬宏都拉斯,是英國殖民地,也是中美洲唯一英語系國家。

貝里斯是英國在美洲大陸最後一塊殖民地,一九八一年九月在喬治.普萊斯的領導下邁向獨立,不過雖然從英國人手中奪回自由,貝里斯仍得與鄰國瓜地馬拉交涉,瓜地馬拉聲稱擁有貝里斯部分國土,至今兩國仍不斷有邊界紛爭。

貝里斯不愧是各方逐鹿的沃土,境內有三條河流、森林密佈的北海岸、馬雅山脈(其海拔一千一百二十公尺的維多利亞峰是全境最高點)和西半球最長的堡礁。農作和商業是兩大經濟支柱,不過熱帶氣候和離岸小島亦吸引許多觀光客。

貝里斯人認為他們兼具加勒比海和中美洲文化。儘管官方語言為英語,多數貝里斯人也說一種較花俏的英語—貝里斯克里奧歐語。人口多半由來自墨西哥、瓜地馬拉和克里歐人的混血麥斯蒂索人組成,十五歲以下人口占總人口的40%。

(翻譯:鄭湘儀)

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