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It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 408,487 (2019).
European settlement and genocide of indigenous peoples was begun by English settlers in 1638.
Before then the British government had not recognized the settlement as a colony for fear of provoking a Spanish attack.
The delay in government oversight allowed the settlers to establish their own laws and forms of government.
The Maya Civilization emerged at least three millennia ago in the lowland area of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands to the south, in the area of present-day southeastern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and western Honduras.
Delgado recorded the names of three major rivers that he crossed while travelling north along the Caribbean coast: Rio Soyte, Rio Xibum and Rio Balis.
The names of these waterways, which correspond to the Sittee River, Sibun River and Belize River, were provided to Delgado by his translator.
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 a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state.