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Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Guatemala and Belize plan to hold a simultaneous referendum to determine if this dispute will go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague, though they have not yet set a date. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, high crime rates, and one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in Central America.


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Transportation

Airports World Ranking: 99
43 (2012)

Airports - with paved runways
Total 6
2,438 to 3,047 m 1
914 to 1,523 m 2
Under 914 m 3 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways
Total 37
2,438 to 3,047 m 1
914 to 1,523 m 10
Under 914 m 26 (2012)

Roadways World Ranking: 166
Total 3,007 km
Paved 575 km
Unpaved 2,432 km (2006)

Waterways World Ranking: 71
825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2011)

Merchant marine World Ranking: 33
Total 247
By type
Barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 33, cargo 156, chemical tanker 2, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 30, roll on/roll off 10, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned
152 (Bulgaria 1, China 61, Croatia 1, Estonia 1, Greece 2, Iceland 1, Italy 3, Latvia 9, Lithuania 1, Netherlands 1, Norway 2, Russia 30, Singapore 4, Switzerland 1, Syria 4, Thailand 1, Turkey 16, UAE 3, UK 4, Ukraine 6) (2010)

Ports and terminals
Belize City, Big Creek


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  Belize (Belmopan):


  GPS points from Belize (Belmopan)

Caves Branch Cayo District

Santa Elena Toledo District

Cerros Corozal District

Shag Cay Belize District

Riachuelo Chanchich Belize (general)

White Horse Orange Walk District

Ciudad Toledo District

Pusila Belize (general)




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