In the late classical period of Mayan civilization (towards the end of the 1st millennium AD), approx. 400 thousand people. At the beginning of the 16th century, when Europeans landed here, some Mayan tribes still lived on the coastal lowlands. The Spaniards tried to penetrate into the internal regions of Belize, but were forced to abandon these intentions, having met with strong opposition from the Mayans. In 1638, English pirates attacking Spanish ships settled on the coast of Belize. Later, British settlers engaged in the harvesting of campus wood, from which the substance used in the manufacture of dyes for fabrics and which was of great importance for the wool-spinning industry in Europe was extracted. The Spaniards allowed settlers to occupy this territory and conduct logging, demanding in exchange assistance in the fight against piracy. In historical documents of the early 17th century. it is noted that at that time Negro slaves began to be brought from Jamaica to work on logging. By 1800, Africans were four times as numerous as settlers of European descent. By this time, the main export item was mahogany, pushing sandalwood to second place (this situation remained until the 1950s). Fearing to provoke an attack by the Spaniards, the British government did not initially recognize these settlements as its colony, which allowed the settlers to establish their own laws and form an independent government from England. During this period, the central legislative body, the People’s Assembly, was controlled by the few wealthy colonists who owned most of the forests and lands. In 1786, the British government first appointed its official representative, the Superintendent, to Belize. At the beginning of the 19th century Great Britain tried to establish tighter administrative control over settlements in Belize, demanding, in particular, threatening to suspend the activities of the National Assembly to comply with the instructions of the British government to abolish slavery. Officially, slavery was abolished in 1838. In 1862, Belize was officially declared a British colony and renamed British Honduras, and the vice-governor was appointed instead of the superintendent at the head of the administration. During the economic crisis of the 1930s, the colony’s economy was on the verge of collapse as a result of a sharp drop in timber demand in the UK. To the disasters caused by mass unemployment, the consequences of the devastating hurricane of 1931 were added. In 1934, a wave of demonstrations and speeches swept across the country, marking the beginning of the independence movement. In response, the British authorities abolished criminal liability for violation of the working conditions of the labor contract and legalized trade unions. The economic situation of the colony improved during World War II, however, after the war the economy of the colony was again in a state of stagnation. In 1964, Great Britain granted British Honduras internal self-government, and in 1973 the colony was called Belize. Belize is a member of the UN since 1981, the Organization of American States since 1991, is a member of the Caribbean Community.
Despite its small size, Belize impresses with the diversity of its natural landscape – dense selva and fertile valleys, mountains and water cascades, green islands in the Caribbean and countless sandy beaches along the entire coast. Belize is known for the second largest barrier reef in the world (it disputes the championship with the Mexican reef off the island of Contoy, Cancun), which is inhabited by about 1,500 species of tropical fish. Also of interest are the national parks and reserves of the country, among which the world’s only jaguar reserve. Reefs are a two hundred and ninety-kilometer chain of resort islands, the most famous of which are Kay Kolker, Ambergris Kay, Blue Hole and Half Moon Kay. Lamanai – excavations of a complex of structures that made up the ancient Mayan city. It is believed that the age of some (of the local) buildings is thousands of years old. About a quarter of the population of the whole country lives in the boiling activity and energy of Belize City. Most houses in the city stand at the very edge of the water and organically fit into the surrounding landscape, giving the city a unique charm. There are several museums and art galleries in Belize City, many shops and shopping centers, a traditional market with a wide variety of products by local craftsmen, figurines from the famous Belize campaign tree, fresh seafood and a variety of tropical fruits, two airports, one of which is international, and the other serves the internal lines and connects the mainland with the islands. The largest city in the country is of interest St. John’s Cathedral, Battlefield Park, Paslow Post Office, Bliss Institute and the Art Gallery. The capital of Belize is Belmopan, the construction of which was begun in 1970 after the hurricane caused significant damage to the former capital, Belize City.