History of Belize
The early inhabitants of Belize were the Maya civilization, who were established in the region by about 1500 BCE. The Mayas were an advanced civilization who left behind many artifacts that include cultural effects like carvings and sculptures, as well as religious sites including temples and stelae. The civilization thrived, lasting until the 10th century, when it began to decline and eventually collapsed. By the time European explorers arrived in the 16th century, much of the Maya civilization were already gone, though some remained in the lowlands, as the Mopan people.
The Spanish were the first explorers to arrive in the Yucatan, even claiming it as a Spanish colony. However, the Spanish did not settle or develop the area, possibly because of the strong Mayans who remained. By the 17th century, the English arrived, followed by the Scottish in the following century, who began to establish the region as an important trade post, though they were granted rights by the Spanish who controlled it. Those who settled on the peninsula were known as Baymen, who began their work in Belize in 1683. The colony was focused on logging, and to assist with the task, facilitated slaves as part of the transatlantic slave trade.
When the British began to assert ownership over Belize, war broke out between the Spanish and the British. Despite the best efforts of the Spanish, the Baymen were able to retain control over the region and name it for Britain. Belize became a British Crown Colony in 1862 as British Honduras. After Britain faced difficulties in its homeland, including the Great Depression and the World Wars, its hold on the colony began to weaken. The colony of British Honduras became self-governing in 1964, and was renamed Belize in 1973. Belize gained full independence in 1981, and since then has faced various political unrest, as well as neighboring Guatemala's proclamation of ownership over the Belize as part of Guatemala.
Neighboring Countries :
Belize is situated between Mexico and Guatemala, with coastline along the Caribbean Sea.
Major Cities :
Belize is a Central American country with coastline along the Caribbean. Along its coasts is the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest of its kind on Earth, stretching 386 kilometers (240 miles) along the country.
The main rivers in Belize include the Hondo and Sarstoon rivers, which are located along the northern and southern borders respectively. Most of the terrain of Belize features flatland and forests, with swampy regions along the coast. The Maya Mountains are located in southern Belize, and are home to Doyle's Delight, the highest peak in Belize with an elevation of 1,124 meters (3,688 feet).
Points of Interest :
One of the most popular attractions in Belize are the remnants of the fascinating Maya Civilization, which include ruins, such as Xunantunich, which features a pyramid and stelae. There are more pyramids and stelae at Altun Ha and Lamanai in the north, or El Pilar, the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal, and the largest ruins at Caracol.
Aside from these ruins, the top destinations in Belize are the beaches, with resorts, water activities like scuba diving and fishing, and other natural outdoor adventures like exploring the caves.
The main airport in Belize is the Goldson International Airport, near Belize City, which serves many destinations across the Americas. Belize City Airport is the smaller airport located in Belize's largest city, and can be the better option for domestic flights. Domestic flights are often available and inexpensive, and can be a great way to get across the country, as well as to some of the islands.
Traveling by car and bus are other options for getting around the country, and into it from Mexico or Guatemala, though some of the roads can be tough terrain, and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. There is a network of main highways across the country that is fairly well maintained.
Another way of getting around Belize is by boat, with cruises frequently stopping by, as well as speed boats and water taxis.
Last Updated : July 17th, 2018