With 22,800 square kilometres of land and a population of 338,597, Belize has the lowest population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.97% per year 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, with many cultures and languages. Originally part of the British Empire, it shares a common colonial history with other Anglophone Caribbean countries. From 1862 to 1973, its name was British Honduras. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1981, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
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