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Belize Geography 1996

    • Location:
      Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico

    • Map references:
      Central America and the Caribbean

    • Area:

        total area:
        22,960 sq km

        land area:
        22,800 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly larger than Massachusetts

    • Land boundaries:
      total 516 km, Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km

    • Coastline:
      386 km

    • Maritime claims:

        exclusive economic zone:
        200 nm

        territorial sea:
        12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 miles; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for the negotiation of a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala

    • International disputes:
      Border with Guatemala in dispute; talks to resolve the dispute are stalled.
      (Followig received from Melanie Quigley, a student in the Master's Program in International Relations at the University of San Diego, <"br>Dispute with Guatemala is not due to our borders but the entire territory of Belize.
      Guatemala is claiming the entire territory of Belize as hers, arguing that she inherited the territory of Belize from Spain in 1821 (date of Central American independence from Spain).
      Because of this territorial claim, Guatemala does not recognize the independence of Belize."

    • Climate:
      tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to February)

    • Terrain:
      flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south

    • Natural resources:
      arable land potential, timber, fish

    • Land use:

        arable land:

        permanent crops:

        meadows and pastures:

        forest and woodland:


    • Irrigated land:
      20 sq km (1989 est.)

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff

        natural hazards:
        frequent, devastating hurricanes (September to December) and coastal flooding (especially in south)

        international agreements:
        party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping

    • Note:
      national capital moved 80 km inland from Belize City to Belmopan because of hurricanes; only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

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