Globe Troting 世界走透透 -- Belize 貝里斯

Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 14

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.


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.