Formerly known as British Honduras, the sovereign nation of Belize is located on Central America’s eastern coast. The country is bordered by Mexico the north and Guatemala to the west and south. Belize encompasses an area of 22,800 square km and had an estimated population of 387,879 in 2016. The country has the lowest population density in Central America, but the second highest population growth rate (1.87% per year) in the region.
What Is the Capital of Belize and Where Is it Located?
The capital of Belize is Belmopan, which is the third largest city in the country. Belmopan is located 50 miles inland from the Caribbean coast, near the Belize River Valley, and is situated at an elevation of 76 m above sea level in Belize's Cayo District. The city experiences a tropical monsoon climate.
History of the Capital of Belize
Belmopan is one of the newest capital cities in the world. Belize City previously served as the country's capital, however in 1961 the low-lying coastal city was devastated by Hurricane Hattie, destroying nearly 75% of the buildings in the city. As a result, the government decided to relocate the capital to a newer and safer location further inland, where the effects of natural disasters would be less severe. In 1962, a site 82 km west of the former capital was chosen to serve to build the new city. Since Belize was a British colony at that time, financial aid for the project was requested from the British government. The name Belmopan was derived from the names of two rivers, Belize and Mopan. Work began in 1967 and by 1970 the city had been completed at a cost of about 12 million USD. When Belize gained independence from Britain in 1981, Belmopan remained the capital of the newly independent country Belize.
Present Role of the Capital of Belize
The majority of government buildings in the city are situated on or close to the main road of the city, known as the Ring Road. The National Assembly Building of the city resembles a Mayan temple from the pre-Columbian period. The surrounding buildings in the city also reflect this design. Public sector jobs in the administrative and technical departments of the central government offices are one of the biggest sources of employment in the city. Belmopan also houses about 589 businesses, five international banks, and several national and local financial institutions.