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Belize is a small state in Central America located on the Yucatan Peninsula between Mexico and Guatemala.

Much of Belize is covered by tropical rainforest, which is rich in wildlife. The coastline is characterized by mangrove forest. To the north is a low and swampy limestone area, while the densely forested Maya Mountains to the southwest rise just over 1100 m.

The official language is English, which is also spoken in more or less creolized form. Belize is dominated by Spanish speakers; with Spanish teaching in primary and lower secondary school, active efforts have been made to achieve Spanish-English bilingualism on a national basis.

The Mayans, whose civilization reached its peak in the ninth century, still lived in present-day Belize when the Spaniards arrived in the 800th century and gained supremacy over the area, albeit becoming more formal than real. In the 1500s, English colonists settled in Belize and were legally, militarily and financially supported by England.


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