The Central American nation of Belize encompasses an area of 22,800 square km. It has a population of inhabitants. It is Central America’s least densely populated region but has one of the highest population growth rates in the Western Hemisphere. The society of Belize is highly diverse with people of many cultures and languages residing there.
Ethnic Groups of Belize
The Mestizos are the dominant ethnic group in the country and account for about 52.9% of the entire population. The Creole and the Maya peoples comprise 25.9% and 11.3% of the population, respectively. Other ethnic groups like the East Indians, Mennonites, whites, etc., account for the remaining population of Belize.
Religions Practiced in Belize
Christianity is the religion of the majority in Belize with 74.3% of the population adhering to one of the Christian religions. Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Jehovah's Witness account for 40.4%, 31.8%, and 1.7% of the population of the country, respectively. Other religions practiced in the country include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Rastafarianism, etc. Believers in these other religions together account for 9.6% of the population of the country. A further 15.6% of the population are not affiliated to any religion.
As mentioned previously Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., are some of the other religions practiced in Belize. Followers of these beliefs account for only a small percentage of the population. For example, only about 0.2% of the population practice Islam. Hinduism is also practiced by 0.2% of the population. Most of these followers of other religions arrived in Belize as migrants in search of better opportunities or as indentured laborers during the colonial period.
Christianity in Belize
Roman Catholicism, the largest Christian sect in Belize, spread through the country in three periods. During the first period, missionaries accompanying the Spanish conquistadors introduced the religion in the country. The first phase happened between 1524 and 1707. In 1851, the first permanent residency of the Jesuits was established in Belize. The third phase witnessed the appointment of the first native as the bishop of the Church in the country.
Religious Freedom in Belize
Although Christianity is followed by the vast majority of the country’s people, the Constitution of Belize grants the freedom of religion. The laws and policies of the country also favor the right of people to practice their own religions. The government of the country also protects this right of the people against any abuse.