Belize is a nation-state on the eastern coast of Central America. It is the only country in Central America whose official language is English, though Belizean Creole (Kriol) and Spanish are also commonly spoken. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its mainland is about 290 km long and 110 km wide.
With 22 800 km2 of land and a population of 340,844, Belize has the lowest population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.97% per year (2013) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
Belize has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history. Originally part of the British Empire, it shares a common colonial history with other Anglophone Caribbean countries. From 1862 to 1973 the area went by the name of British Honduras. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1981, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
Belize is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to both the Latin American and Caribbean region. It is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Central American Integration System (SICA), the only country to hold full membership in all three regional organisations.
Belize is known for its September Celebrations, and is the birthplace of chewing gum and punta music.