Flora of Belize
The flora of Belize is diverse by regional standards, given the country's small geographical extent. Situated on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America the flora and vegetation have been intimately intertwined with Belize's history; the nation itself grew out of British timber extraction activities from the 17th century onwards, at first for logwood and for mahogany, fondly called "red gold" because of its high cost and was much sought after by European aristocracy. Central America is thought to have gained much of it characteristic flora during the "Great American interchange" during which time South American elements migrated north after the geological closure of the isthmus of Panama. Few Amazonian elements penetrate as far north as Belize and in species composition the forests of Belize are most similar to the forests of the Petén and the Yucatán; the vegetation of Belize was first systematically surveyed in the 1930s. Recent mapping projects have employed the following principal terrestrial and coastal categories of native vegetation: lowland broad-leaved forest.
This is a diverse forest type in Belize, now reduced in extent by clearance for agricultural land. It includes such tropical tree species as Simarouba glauca, Calophyllum brasiliense, Terminalia amazonia and Pterocarpus officinalis. Lowland savanna; this is an important vegetation type in northern Belize, in which scattered trees occur in "short grass". Savanna is maintained as open vegetation by a combination of wet-season flooding, dry-season drought and fire. Typical trees include: Acoelorraphe wrightii, Quercus oleoides and madre de cacao Gliricidia sepium. Lowland pine forest or pine savanna (open forest composed of Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis with shrubs such as the rough-leaved "sandpaper tree". Submontane pine forest submontane broadleaved forest. Characteristic vegetation of the Maya Mountain massif above 500m. Typical species include Podocarpus guatemalensis, Swietenia macrophylla, Terminalia amazonia, Virola brachycarpa, the palm Astrocaryum mexicanum. Mangrove and littoral forest.
Ecologically important vegetation type of the coastal cayes. Several species of mangrove are involved including: black mangrove and white mangrove. In addition the buttonwood although not a true mangrove is associated with mangroves in littoral forest. See the section on mangroves below. Seagrass beds. Sandy bays have extensive mats of seagrass. There are several different types in Belize: turtle grass, manatee seagrass, duckweed seagrasses. Riparian shrubland; this is a mixed vegetation type, of shrubs and small trees with grasses and sedges, found along watercourses. Typical species include Ceiba pentandra. Loss of this habitat was one of the particular environmental concerns of building the Chalillo Dam on the Macal river. Although deforestation continues to be a threat to Belize's natural environment - and to the natural environment of all countries in Latin America - much of the native forest remains, facilitating a burgeoning ecotourism sector. National Parks System Act of 1981 declared numerous protected areas, the Belizean Government has been working with a prominent non-governmental organization, the Belize Audubon Society to promote nature conservation within the country.
Founded in 1969, the BAS assists the Forest Department of the Government of Belize to manage several important forest areas including: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary - established in 1990 as a result of the studies of the biology of the jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz. Although established for jaguar conservation it is important for plant conservation. Guanacaste National park - fifty acres of tropical forest reserve in the Cayo District of Belize; the signature tree of the reserve is the Guanacaste. Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve - a forest reserve of 6,750 acres, in the Maya Mountains with rugged relief and undisturbed subtropical moist forest. In addition to the above there are numerous other important forest reserves such as: Chiquibul Forest Reserve There are numerous conservation challenges in Belize. One is the extensive recent illegal cutting of the understorey palm's xate; this has a severe effect on the health and reproduction of these characteristic understorey components. A remote sensing study conducted by the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean and NASA, in collaboration with the Forest Department and the Land Information Centre of the Government of Belize's Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, published in August 2010 revealed that Belize's forest cover in early 2010 was 62.7%, down from 75.9% in late 1980.
A similar study by Belize Tropical Forest Studies and Conservation International revealed similar trends in terms of Belize's forest cover. Both studies indicate that each year, 0.6% of Belize's forest cover is lost, translating to the clearing of an average of 24,835 acres each year. The USAID-supported SERVIR study by CATHALAC, NASA, the MNRE showed that Belize's protected areas have been effective in protecting the country's forests. While some 6.4% of forests inside of declared protected areas were clea
Conservation in Belize
Since declaring independence in 1981, Belize has enacted many environmental protection laws aimed at the preservation of the country's natural and cultural heritage, as well as its wealth of natural resources. These acts have established a number of different types of protected areas, with each category having its own set of regulations dictating public access, resource extraction, land use and ownership. 26% of Belizean land and sea is preserved within a total of 95 reserves, which vary in their purpose and level of protection. This network of protected areas exists under a variety of management structures: 1,900,469 acres of terrestrial reserves, 392,970 acres of marine reserves, 317,615 acres protected through recognised private conservation initiatives. However, most of these protected areas are for the management of resource use and extraction, rather than for the preservation of the environment. Situated within the Mesoamerican hotspot, Belize has a high level of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.
It is home to more than 150 species of mammals, 540 of birds, 150 of amphibians and reptiles, nearly 600 species of freshwater and marine fish and 3,408 species of vascular plants. The country contains a vast array of ecosystems, many of which are critical habitats for threatened and endangered species; the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, stretching the full length of the country's coastline, is the largest unbroken coral reef complex in the Western Hemisphere. In Belize, the reef's rich diversity of corals and other marine life has qualified it to be designated a World Heritage Site, in recognition of its consequent global importance. Much of the mainland of Belize forms part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which comprises a network of protected areas linked by biological corridors, stretching from Mexico to Panamá. Belize has two large, blocks of intact virgin rainforest that are to be the last strongholds for species that require large, undisturbed areas for their long-term survival, such as the jaguar.
The number of species endemic to Belize is low, since Belize is a small country and does not have many habitats that are unique. Most of the few endemics are found in the lowland savannas of Belize. Up until the 1970s, Belize British Honduras, had relaxed environmental laws that went unenforced. However, with the formation of the Belize Audubon Society in 1969, public awareness of the value of conservation grew rapidly. After gaining independence in 1981, the government passed both the National Park System Act and the Wildlife Protection Act, designating an array of protected areas of different status, providing a codification for the protection of the immense biodiversity of life contained in the parks. Since governmental departments such as the Department of the Environment and the Forests Department, both under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, were established to research and regulate the issues and laws concerning the country's protected areas. Soon following was the Environmental Protection Act of 1992, which outlined the statutory powers of the Department of the Environment.
To ensure proper financial backing, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust was created in 1996. This trust is responsible for all funds raising, the allocation of funds to protected areas. Belize is party to a number of binding multilateral environmental agreements, many of which deal with proper management of the country's natural resources; these include, most notably, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention to Combat Desertification, Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since its ratification of the Ramsar Convention in 1998, Belize has had two sites designated as wetlands of international importance: Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, in 1998, Sarstoon-Temash National Park, in 2005. In October 2003, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment began developing a comprehensive "National Protected Areas Policy & System Plan", which focuses on establishing a balance between environmental conservation and the need for economic development, as well as on rationalising the allocation of financial funding and human resources across the protected areas system.
"Reflecting the current thrust in national development, the Work Plan is founded on the need to ensure that biodiversity conservation becomes an important and integral part of national social and economic development. The adopted guiding principle being that the potential contribution of the Protected Areas System to national development and poverty alleviation is maximised, thereby putting the system on a sound and rational footing." An evaluation compiled in 2005 identified a number of flaws in the system. These included a lack of government co-ordination with private landowners, an overall insufficience of data for reference and management, it criticised the unnecessarily large number of management units, many of which overlap and incongruously, suggested that it would be more efficient to create a single agency responsible for all areas of natural resource management. The analysis noted the need for stricter conservation methods in forest reserves, to encourage sustainable methods of resource extraction.
It stressed the need to further protect and maintain biological corridors in their entirety, which would require the co-operation and participation of private landowners. Another ecotype identified as lacking proper attention was the country's deep water ecosystems, which had received neit
Belizean Creole people
Belizean Creoles known as Kriols, are Creole descendants of Black Africans and brought to Belize by English and Scottish log cutters, who were known as the Baymen. Over the years they have intermarried with Miskito from Nicaragua and other West Indians and East Indians, who were brought to Belize as indentured laborers; these varied peoples have all mixed to create this ethnic group. The Belize Kriol language, developed among the Africans and Europeans, was spoken only by them; the Creoles constituted the majority of the population until the 1980s and became synonymous with the Belizean national identity. As a result, the use of the Kriol language has become more widespread and is now spoken by about 75% of Belizeans, including the many new immigrants since the late 20th century. In the 21st century, Creoles are found predominantly in urban areas, such as Belize City, in most coastal towns and villages; until the early 1980s, Belizean Creoles constituted close to 60% of the population of Belize.
But, the demographics of the country have changed markedly. Because of the combined effects of immigration to Belize of people from other Central American countries, emigration of an estimated 85,000 Creoles, most to the United States, in the early 21st century the Creoles make up about 25% of the population of Belize; as a result of centuries of mixed-race ancestry, persons identifying as Creole express a wide range of physical features ranging from dark skin and kinky hair, to fair skin and blonde hair, with many gradations in between. The term Creole denotes an ethnic culture rather than any narrow standard of physical appearance. In Belize, Creole is the standard term for any person of at least partial Black African descent, not Garinagu, or any person who speaks Kriol as a first or sole language. Thus, immigrants from Africa and the West Indies who have settled in Belize and intermarried with locals may identify as Creole; the concept of Creole as mixed race has embraced nearly any individual who has Afro-European ancestry combined with any other ethnicity, including Mestizo or Maya.
When the National Kriol Council began standardizing the orthography for Kriol, it decided to promote the spelling Kriol only for the language but to continue to use the spelling Creole to refer to the people in English. According to local research, the Belizean Creoles descended from unions between polyglot buccaneers and European settlers who developed the logwood trade in the 17th century, the sexual assault of African slaves they kidnapped to cut and ship the logwood; the National Kriol Council of Belize says that black slaves had been used as workers on the Central American coast from the 16th century and earlier, were working for the Spanish further down the coast. By 1724, the British too were acquiring slaves from Jamaica and elsewhere to cut logwood and mahogany; the earliest reference to African slaves in the British settlement of Belize appeared in a 1724 Spanish missionary's account, which stated that the British had been importing them from Jamaica and Bermuda. In the second half of the eighteenth century the slave population hovered around 3,000, making up about three-quarters of the total population.
Most slaves if they were brought through West Indian markets, were born in Africa from Ghana, around the Bight of Benin and Bight of Biafra. Other slaves were taken from the Wolof, Fula and Kongo peoples; the Igbo seem to have been numerous. At first, many slaves maintained cultural practices. However, they combined some of their cultures, as well as adapting to elements of Europeans ones in a process of creolization, creating a new, syncretic Creole culture. By most accounts, the slaves in Belize led a better life than most in the West Indies, but were still mistreated. Many formed small maroon settlements in the forest; these slaves reputedly assisted in the defense of the fledgling settlement for much of the late 18th century in the 1798 Battle of St. George's Caye; this history generates controversy in Belize. The Creoles settled in Belize Town and along the banks of the Belize River in the original logwood settlements including Burrell Boom, Bermudian Landing, Crooked Tree, Gracie Rock, Rancho Dolores, Flowers Bank, Belmopan.
There were substantial numbers in and around the plantations south of Belize City and Placencia. Many Creoles were involved in the trade in live sea turtles, other fisheries; as the 19th century progressed, they spread out to all the districts Dangriga and Monkey River, as the colony grew. Their sense of pride led to occasional clashes with authority, such as the 1894 currency devaluation riots, which foreshadowed greater conflicts to come. In the 20th century, the Creoles took the lead in organizing development of the settlement. Riots in 1919 and 1934, combined with terrible conditions resulting from a disastrous hurricane in 1931, led to development of Belize's first trade unions. From that organizing, they developed the People's United Party. Creoles continue to lead the nation in politics, but conditions in Belize City worsened after another major hurricane in 1961. Shortly thereafter large scale emigration began to the United States and England. From those countries, working individuals sent back money to assist families left behind.
Attempts to unite Creoles for development, such as the United Black Associatio
The Pre-Columbian Belize history is the period from initial indigenous presence, across millennia, to the first contacts with Europeans - the Pre-Columbian or before Columbus period - that occurred on the region of the Yucatán Peninsula, present day Belize. Belize's history begins with the Paleo-Indians, they were nomadic people that arrived in the Asia to the Americas migration across the frozen Bering Strait as early as 35,000 years ago. In the course of many millennia, their descendants settled in and adapted to different environments in the Americas, creating many cultures in North America, Central America, South America; the Mayan culture emerged in the lowland area of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands to the south, in what is now southeastern Mexico, western Honduras, Belize. Many aspects of this culture persist in the area despite nearly half a millennium of European domination. All evidence, whether from archaeology, ethnography, or linguistic studies, points to a cultural continuity in this region.
The descendants of the first settlers in the area have lived there for at least three millennia. Prior to about 2500 BC, some hunting and foraging bands settled in small farming villages. While hunting and foraging continued to play a part in their subsistence, these farmers domesticated crops such as corn, beans and chili peppers, which are still the basic foods in Central America. A profusion of languages and subcultures developed within the Mayan core culture. Between about 2500 BC and AD 250, the basic institutions of Mayan civilization emerged; the peak of this civilization occurred during the Classic Period, which began about AD 250. Farmers engaged in various types of agriculture, including labor-intensive irrigated and ridged-field systems and shifting slash-and-burn agriculture, their products fed the civilization's craft specialists, merchants and priest-astronomers, who coordinated agricultural and other seasonal activities with a cycle of rituals in ceremonial centers. These priests, who observed the movements of the sun, moon and stars, developed a complex mathematical and calendrical system to coordinate various cycles of time and to record specific events on carved stelae.
The earliest pottery found in Belize is in the western part of the country. Emerging information from western Belize suggests that ceramic-using populations may have been in place as early as ca. 1200 B. C. at Cahal Pech and elsewhere. While these complexes, termed "Cunil" at Cahal Pech and "Kanocha" at Blackman Eddy, remain to be broadly documented across the Belize River Valley, they are the earliest established ceramic technologies recorded in western Belize. At the northern sites, the pottery is now believed to have come somewhat later. > At the Cuello site, from as early as 1000 BC. jars and other dishes found there are among the oldest pottery unearthed in Mesoamerica. The site, five kilometers west of Orange Walk, includes platforms of buildings arranged around a small plaza, indicating a distinctly Mayan community; the presence of shell and jade shows that the Maya were trading over long distances as early as 1500 BC. The Mayan economy, was still subsistence, combining foraging and cultivation and fishing.
Cerros, a site on Chetumal Bay, was a flourishing trade and ceremonial center between about 300 BC and AD 100. It displays some distinguishing features of early Mayan civilization; the architecture of Mayan civilization included temples and palatial residences organized in groups around plazas. These structures were built of cut stone, covered with stucco, elaborately decorated and painted. Stylized carvings and paintings of people and gods, along with sculptured stelae and geometric patterns on buildings, constitute a developed style of art. Impressive two-meter-high masks decorate the temple platform at Cerros; these masks, situated on either side of the central stairway, represent a serpent god. The Maya were skilled at making pottery, carving jade, knapping flint, making elaborate costumes of feathers. One of the largest carved jade objects of Mayan civilization was found in a tomb at the classic period site of Altún Ha, thirty kilometers northwest of present-day Belize City. Stated to be the head of the sun god, Kinich Ahau, it is quite unlike this deity, save for the square and squinting eyes.
Settled at least as early as 200 BC, the Altún Ha area at its peak had an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 inhabitants. At the beginning of the second century AD, the inhabitants built their first major structure, a temple; the visitor today sees a group of temples, priests' residences, other buildings around two adjacent plazas. In the vicinity, there are hundreds of other structures; the Maya continued to rebuild some of the temples until the end of the ninth century. Excavations at Altún Ha have produced evidence suggesting that a revolt of peasants against the priestly class, contributed to the downfall of the civilization. People may have continued to live at or to visit the site in the postclassic period though the ceremonial centers were left to decay; some rubbish found at Altún Ha shows that people were at the site in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to reuse the old structures or undertake pilgrimages to the old religious center. The recorded history of the center and south is dominated by Caracol, where the inscriptions on their monuments was, as elsewhere, in the Lowland Maya aristocratic tongue Classic Ch'olti'an.
North of the Maya Mountains, the inscriptional language at Lamanai on Hill Bank Lagoon in Orange Walk District was Yucatecan as of 625 CE. Other Mayan
Tourism in Belize
Tourism in Belize has grown recently, it is now the second largest industry in the nation. Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow has stated his intention to use tourism to combat poverty throughout the country; the growth in tourism has positively affected the agricultural and finance industries, as well as the construction industry. The results for Belize's tourism-driven economy have been significant, with the nation welcoming one million tourists in a calendar year for the first time in its history in 2012. Prior to its independence in 1981, Belize was not regarded as a place to travel due to lack of infrastructure to cater to large-scale tourism. However, rapid expansion of the tourist industry over the last decade has made it the nation's second largest industry. Tourism: Belize has large array of diverse tourists, adventure tourists and eco-tourist attractions; the Belize Barrier Reef, over 450 offshore Cayes, excellent fishing, safe waters for windsurfing, cave rafting, paddleboarding, scuba diving, snorkelling, numerous rivers for rafting, kayaking, various jungle and wildlife reserves of fauna and flora, for hiking, bird watching, helicopter touring, as well as many Maya ruins—support the thriving tourism and ecotourism industry.
Of the hundreds of cave systems, Belize holds the largest cave system in Central America, 544 species of birds, well-preserved natural beauty. Despite all this, it is still among the least visited country in the region. Development costs are high, but the Government of Belize has designated tourism as its second development priority after agriculture. In 2012, tourist arrivals totalled tourist receipts amounted to over $1.3 billion. Tourism is the domain of the Ministry of Tourism, within which the Belize Tourism Board works as a link between the private and public sector; the tourism industry is an important part of the economy of Belize, in 2007 contributing to over 25% of all jobs, making up over 18% of the GDP. This constituted 590 million BZD, according to the Belize government, up 90 million BZD from the year before. Important tourist attractions in Belize include the natural attractions of land and sea, making the areas important in Ecotourism, as well as the historic ruins of Belize's Pre-Columbian Maya civilization.
Popular tourist destinations include San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker, both located about 70 km and 40 km east off the coast of Belize, both situation only a few miles from the Barrier Reef at any point. They have been regarded as a "tropical paradises" by the Los Angeles Times. Cruise ships have been docking in Belize City, average 850,000 tourists alone every year, some who partake in tours to nearby districts as well as the colonial city. Almond Beach, Hopkins Maya Beach, Placencia Sabal Beach, Punta Negra Sarteneja Orchid Bay, Corozal Monkey River Beach Cerros Beach Cucumber Beach, Mile 4, Western Highway Gales Point Lagoon Honey Camp Lagoon San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye Caye Caulker Coco Plum Island Half Moon Caye Laughing Bird Caye Goff's Caye St. George's Caye Tobacco Caye Blackadore Caye Caye Chapel Sapodilla Cayes Many run companies have cooperatives in Southern Belize that manage a rural and community-based tourism project, developed with support from the UNESCO. Tourism allows otherwise marginalized minorities such as the Maya and the Garifuna people to receive new opportunities in alternative markets, harvest crops and involve foreigners in their culture and diversify their income.
Many companies offer visitors the opportunity to visit a cacao, cashew farm, learn about Maya, Kriol or Garifuna craftsmanship, to stay overnight on a Maya, Kriol or Garifuna village and explore with a community guide. Eco-tourism aims to be ecologically and conscious, it focuses on local culture and adventure. Belize's eco-tourism is growing with every passing year, it boasts a number of eco-tourist tours and energy efficient hotels, with environmentally-conscious and renewable resources. Popular eco-tourism destinations in Belize include the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary, the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Antelope Falls in Mayflower Bocawina National Park Mayflower Bocawina Falls in Mayflower Bocawina National Park Big Rock Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of the Cayo District Butterfly Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of the Cayo District Five Sisters Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of the Cayo District Rio Blanco Falls Rio On Pools San Antonio Falls Thousand Foot Falls 150-foot in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of the Cayo District Before the arrival of Europeans in America, Belize lay in the heartland of the Maya civilisation, contains some of the earliest and most important Maya ruins.
Archaeological findings at Caracol, in the southern end of the country, have suggested that it formed the centre of political struggles in the southern Maya lowlands. The complex covered an area much larger than present-day Belize City and supported more than twice the modern city's population. Meanwhile, Lamanai, in the north, is known for being the longest continually-occupied site in Mesoamerica, settled during the early Preclassic era and continuously occupied up to and during the area's colonisation. While the majority of reserves under this category are related to the pre-colonial era, Serpon Sugar Mill and Yarborough Cemetery, both designated in 2009, only date from the 19th century and are alternatively described as historical reserves; the country's 15 archaeological sites are managed by the Institute of Archaeology, a
Constituencies of Belize
Belize's 6 districts are politically divided into 31 constituencies. Each constituency sends one representative to Belize's House of Representatives for 5-year terms; this election is known as the General Election. Each person votes for the candidate they would want to represent their constituency in Central Government; each political party nominates Standard Bearer for each constituency. The winner becomes the Area Representative of the constituency, while the loser remains the Standard Bearer of that constituency for his/her political party. Belize's constituencies are divided in such a way that their voting population be as equal as possible to each other ensuring, that resources are shared among the country's citizens, as required by the constitution. After the 2003 General Elections two additional constituencies were created from territory of existing constituencies in order to further ensure the equality of the voting populations among the constituencies. Coming out of January 2008, the most populous constituency had a voting population of 7,085 while the least populous constituency had a voting population of 3,195.
In Belize's 2003 General Elections, 29 constituencies voted in their Area Representatives for Belize's House of Representatives. Since it was noted that the difference in voting populations between the most and least populous constituencies was rather large. In 2004 a Task Force was appointed by Boundaries Commission to study the matter, their Final Report was submitted in October 2004. It is noted that the Elections and Boundaries Department has the right to reassess constituencies after the latest census or population estimate. Among several things that their report suggested, the expansion of the Cayo District's number of constituencies to six had the most impact; the following year the law was passed to create two additional constituencies within the boundaries of Cayo. The newly created constituencies are Belmopan, containing the capital city of that name, Cayo North East, centered on Spanish Lookout; these new constituencies held their first-ever election during the General Election in 2008.
Below are the Districts and their respective constituencies: Belize District Albert Belize Rural Central Belize Rural North Belize Rural South Caribbean Shores Collet Fort George Freetown Lake Independence Mesopotamia Pickstock Port Loyola Queen's Square Cayo District Belmopan Cayo Central Cayo North Cayo North East Cayo South Cayo West Corozal District Corozal Bay Corozal North Corozal South East Corozal South West Orange Walk District Orange Walk Central Orange Walk East Orange Walk North Orange Walk South Stann Creek District Dangriga Stann Creek West Toledo District Toledo East Toledo West Below is a list of the voting population by constituency as of March 2015, sorted out by districts for ease of reference. Note that these populations are for Belizean citizens who are eligible to vote and does not represent actual population; as of March 2015 the voting population of Belize is estimated at 148,026 while the total population is estimated at 301,300. The Voter Age Population, i.e. all persons over the age of eighteen, is 161,677, or 53.66% of the total population.
Of these, more than 91 percent are registered. Males outnumber females in the population, though the gap is noticeable in the larger urban areas such as Belize City, home to 10 constituencies. Below is the chronological order for the creation of Belize's current constituencies. 1954 The following were the nine original constituencies created for the British Honduras Legislative Assembly: Belize District: Belize North, Belize Rural, Belize South, Belize West Cayo District: Cayo Corozal District: Corozal Orange Walk District: Orange Walk Stann Creek District: Stann Creek Toledo District: Toledo 1961 In a major nationwide redistricting, all of the previous constituencies were abolished and replaced with the following, doubling the total number of constituencies to 18: Belize District: Albert, Belize Rural North, Belize Rural South, Fort George, Mesopotamia, Pickstock Cayo District: Cayo North, Cayo South Corozal District: Corozal North, Corozal South Orange Walk District: Orange Walk North, Orange Walk South Stann Creek District: Stann Creek Town, Stann Creek Rural Toledo District: Toledo North, Toledo South 1973 British Honduras renamed Belize.
The British Honduras Legislative Assembly becomes the Belize House of Representatives. 1979 The following were renamed: Stann Creek District: Stann Creek Town renamed Dangriga, Stann Creek Rural renamed Stann Creek West. 1984 The following constituencies were created: Belize District: Caribbean Shores, Lake Independence, Queen's Square, Port Loyola Cayo District: Cayo Central, Cayo West Corozal District: Corozal Bay Orange Walk District: Orange Walk Central, Orange Walk East The following were altered: Corozal District: Corozal South was split into Corozal South East and Corozal South West Toledo District: Toledo North and Toledo South were abolished, replaced by Toledo East and Toledo West 1993 The following constituency was created: Belize District: Belize Rural Central 2008 The following constituencies were created: Cayo District: Belmopan, Cayo North East Politics of Belize Districts of Belize Belize Elections & Boundaries Department's Map of Belize's Constituencies Government of Belize's Official Website Boundary Re-districting
Belize Defence Force
The Belize Defence Force is the military of Belize, is responsible for protecting the sovereignty of the country. The BDF is under the Ministry of Defence, headed by Hon. John Saldivar. In 2012, the Belizean government spent about $17 million on the military, constituting 1.08% of the country's gross domestic product. The military of Belize dates back to 1817, when the Prince Regent Royal Honduras Militia, a volunteer organization, was founded. Between 1817 and 1978, the military force in Belize has had ten different names: The Prince Regent's Royal Militia The Belize Volunteer Force The Belize Volunteer Corps The Belize Light Infantry Volunteer Force British Honduras Volunteers British Honduras Territorial Force British Honduras Defense Force British Honduras Home Guard British Honduras Volunteer Guard Belize Volunteer Guard The BDF was founded in 1978 following the disbanding of the Belize Volunteer Guard and the Police Special Force the year before. After Belize achieved independence in 1981 the United Kingdom maintained the deterrent British Forces Belize in the country to protect it from invasion by Guatemala.
During the 1980s this included a No. 1417 Flight RAF of Harriers. The main British force left in 1994, three years after Guatemala recognised Belizean independence, but the United Kingdom maintained a training presence via the British Army Training and Support Unit Belize and 25 Flight AAC until 2011 when the last British Forces left Ladyville Barracks, with the exception of seconded advisers; the BDF Maritime Wing became part of the Belize Coast Guard Service in November 2005. In October 2015, due to rising tensions between Belize and Guatemala and the British cutback on military bases worldwide to focus on the War On Terror in 2011, Belize asked the UK to bring BATSUB back; the BDF consists of: Three infantry battalions, each comprising three companies Three reserve companies One support group Air WingThe Belize Police Department is staffed by 1200 sworn officers and 700 civilian staff. The Belize Police Department and National Forensic Science Service report to the Minister of National Security.
As of 2012, there are 40 British Army personnel stationed in Belize. Mountain Pine Ridge Training Area - south of Belmopan used for jungle warfare by Belize, US, Dutch and British forces Price Barracks - Ladyville - Air Wing HQ and former British helicopter base; the Military Balance 2012. London: IISS. ISSN 0459-7222. Belize Defence Force This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html