Belize Country Profile
Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize was the UK's last colony on the American mainland and still maintains strong ties with Britain. Belize attained its independence in 1981, when it became a Commonwealth realm with the British monarch as its head of state. English is still the official language, although Spanish is the most commonly spoken first language. Although Belize is distinguished from its neighbours in being the only country in the region with a British colonial heritage, it also has strong ties to Latin America as well as to the Caribbean.
Full name: Belize
Population: 312,900 (UN, 2010)
Area: 22,965 sq km (8,867 sq miles)
Major languages: English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 79 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Belizean dollar = 100 cents
Main exports: Sugar, bananas, citrus fruits, oil, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
GNI per capita: US$3,740 (World Bank, 2009)
Internet domain: .bz
International dialling code: +501
Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor
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