Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, is a small nation on the eastern coast of Central America on the Caribbean Sea bordered by ► Mexico to the northwest and ► Guatemala to the west and south. The country is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy which recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign. The name is shared by the Belize River, Belize's longest river, and Belize City, the former capital and largest city.
This map shows the Maya civilization compared with present states.
European contact began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus sails along the coast. The first recorded European settlement was begun by shipwrecked English seamen in 1638. Over the next 150 years, more English settlements are established. The area becomes formally a British colony as British Honduras in 1840. In 1862 British Honduras becomes administrative part of Jamaica, which it remains until 1884. Between 1954 and 1959 British Honduras has internal self-government. Between 1959 and 1961 the colony is under direct administration of the British government. In 1964 British Honduras achieves full internal self-government. Nine year later, in 1973, the colony is renamed Belize.
In 1981 Belize becomes an independent parliamentary democratic monarchy.
This section holds copies of original general maps more than 70 years old.
Map of Belize from 1787
Map of Belize from 1840
Map of Belize from 1855
Map of Belize from 1864
Map of Belize from 1888
Notes and references
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