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Belize Geography

    Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico

    Geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 45 W

    Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

    Area:
    total: 22,960 sq km
    land: 22,800 sq km
    water: 160 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Massachusetts

    Land boundaries:
    total: 516 km
    border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km

    Coastline: 386 km

    Maritime claims:
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note—from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for the negotiation of a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala

    Climate: tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to February)

    Terrain: flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m

    Natural resources: arable land potential, timber, fish

    Land use:
    arable land: 2%
    permanent crops: 1%
    permanent pastures: 2%
    forests and woodland: 92%
    other: 3% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: frequent, devastating hurricanes (September to December) and coastal flooding (especially in south)

    Environment—current issues: deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; Hurricane Mitch damage

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertication, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Marine Dumping, Ship Pollution, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

    Geography—note: national capital moved 80 km inland from Belize City to Belmopan because of hurricanes; only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)