Belize is situated in Central America, bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Belize is an independent nation with a parliamentary democracy and a population of approximately 330,000 (2010 est.). Prior to its independence from the United Kingdom in 1981, Belize was known as British Honduras. It is the only nation in Central America where English is the official language.
Belize compares favorably to other Central American nations in terms of social development indicators. Based upon the most recently available World Bank data, Belize is ranked as having the second highest adult literacy rate, third highest gross national product per capita and the third highest life expectancy among a group of Central American countries consisting of Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
Belize achieved full independence on September 21, 1981 and is now a member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, Organization of American States, and the Association of Caribbean States.
- Capital City: Belmopan
- Population: 334,297 (July 2013 est.)
- Chief of State: Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Colville Young, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow (since 8 February 2008)
- Religion: Roman Catholic 39.3%, Protestant 26.24% (Pentecostal 8.3%, Anglican 4.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.3%, Mennonite 3.7%, Methodist 2.8%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.6%), other 9.9%, none 15.2% (2010)
- Time Zone: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
- Climate: Tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
- Language: English, Spanish, Creole, Mayan dialects
- Country Code: 501
- Coastline: 386km
- Emergency numbers: In case of any emergency, dial 90 from anywhere in Belize.