According to abbreviationfinder, BZ is the 2 letter abbreviation for the country of Belize. State of Isthmian Central America, independent since 21 September 1981 within the British Commonwealth, member of the United Nations and associated with the European Economic Community. The current name has been official since 1973, when it was chosen to replace the colonial one of British Honduras (v. XVIII, p. 556; App. II, i, p. 1189; III, i, p. 817; IV, ii, p. 137).
22,965 km 2 wide, the Belize borders to the north with Mexico, which lays claim to a small part of the territory, to the west and south with Guatemala, which claims it in full; to the east it overlooks the northern side of the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) with a low and partly marshy coast. The territory is completely flat in the North, while in the South rise heights that culminate at more than 1100 m, even if on the whole they are modest.
The population, which amounted to 145,353 residents at the date of the last census (1980), it had risen to 179,800, according to an estimate, in 1988; it is not very dense (7 residents per km 2) and is made up of more than 50% of blacks and mulattoes, almost 20% of Amerindians and the rest of mestizos, whites and Asian immigrants. The capital is the town of Belmopan (4500 residents); the only notable urban center is the port city of Belize (pop. 50,000). The official language is English, but Spanish and a Creole-English idiom are used fluently. Almost all of the population is Christian, predominantly Catholic. Overall, the Belize, due to the cultural and socio-economic influences exerted by the British domination and the administrative model inherited from it, constitutes a political-territorial reality somewhat foreign to Isthmian Central America and in many respects more similar to the countries of the Antilles.
The main resources come from the forest, which covers almost half of the territory and provides precious woods (cedar, mahogany, rosewood) and a latex used in the manufacture of chewing gum. Agriculture is less important, however it should be remembered for the cultivation of sugar cane and for the production of citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruits which are partly exported and partly feed local canning industries). In the continental shelf of the Gulf of Honduras, promising searches for hydrocarbons have been underway for years. Belize exports timber, latex, sugar, citrus fruits and fish. The trade balance is highly passive, the per capita income it remains very low and the country is still forced to rely heavily on British aid. Good opportunities seem to open up to tourism (arrivals were over 144,000 in 1988), for which a large promotional project is underway at the initiative of the United Nations.
Although almost 40% of the land is suitable for agriculture, only 6% of the land is cultivated land. Nevertheless, agriculture employs approx. 30% of the employed and contributed 15% of GDP. Agriculture represents close to 90% of export earnings. Most important agricultural products are citrus fruits, sugar and bananas. Sugarcane is grown on plantations around Corozal in the far north of the country. Citrus fruits, mostly grapefruit, are grown around Stann Creek. Cocoa, coconuts, peanuts and mangoes are also grown for export. For local consumption, corn, rice, beans, sweet potatoes, yams and vegetables are grown. Some livestock, especially cattle.
Almost 1/3 of the land is covered by forest and timber (mahogany, pine) is an important export. Most of the timber comes from the northern and western parts of the country and floats on the rivers down to the sawmills on the coast.
Fishing is carried out by lobster, shrimp and turtles. Exports of lobster and shrimp have slowed due to overfishing.
The industry is relatively modest and is mainly based on the processing of agricultural products and clothing. The industry employed 17% of the working population in 2000 and contributed 24% of the gross domestic product.
Tourism is the country’s second largest industry, and it is part of ecotourism. The country’s distinctive nature, beautiful beaches, good diving opportunities and Mayan ruins are important tourist attractions.
An important source of income is financial contributions sent by emigrated family members, especially in the United States.
Transport and Communications
Communications in the interior of the country are poorly developed. Some of the roads are only navigable during the dry season (Feb-May). River transport is of great importance. The main port city is Belize City, which can take seagoing ships. Belize City International Airport. There are close to 40 airstrips for local traffic. No railroad.
According to Countryaah, the trade balance with abroad is negative. The main export goods are sugar, citrus fruits, orange concentrate, bananas, textiles and confectionery. In particular, various industrial products, machinery, petroleum and foodstuffs are introduced. The United States, the United Kingdom and Mexico are the most important trading partners.