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Sunday 22nd October
Belize Facts
The highest point in Belize is Doyle's Delight (1,160 m).

Belize has one of the longest barrier reefs in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1996.

Ambergris Caye is the largest of the two hundred offshore cays belonging to Belize.

The Blue Hole, in the centre of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, is a circular hole one thousand feet in diameter and over four hundred feet deep. The Hole, visible from outer space, is a famous dive site.

Early inhabitants of Belize were the Maya, an advanced civilization dating back as far as 2000 BC.

Caracol is the largest known Maya centre in Belize. One of the pyramids is one hundred and forty feet high.

Cerros is another Maya centre. The tallest structure is seventy-two feet.

The Maya also lived in southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Present-day Belize became part of Spain's empire in the Americas in the 1600s.

At the Battle of St. George's Caye (1798) Spain was defeated by a band of British settlers, African slaves, and two hundred Colonial troops.

St John's Cathedral, built by slaves in the 1800s, is the oldest Colonial building in Belize.

The Emancipation Act of 1833 led to the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire.

Belize became a British Colony in 1862.

During its time as a British Colony, Belize was known as British Honduras.

Mexico renounced a claim to Belizean territory in 1893.

In 1926 Baron Bliss, an Englishman, left a large sum of money to Belize. The Baron is remembered every year on 9 March (Baron Bliss Day).

A hurricane in 1931 killed over a thousand people and destroyed much of Belize City.

At the end of October 1961 two hundred and sixty-four people lost their lives when Hurricane Hattie hit Belize.

The country changed its name from British Honduras to Belize in 1973.

Belize became an independent country in 1981.

Belize is a member of the Commonwealth.

Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala continued after independence.

In October 2000 Hurricane Keith hit Belize causing devastation. A year later Hurricane Iris left many homeless.

Belize began the commercial exploitation of its oil reserves in April 2006.

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