Belize, Education

Where in the world is… Belize

Pull out a globe if you have one. Today you will learn how to read a globe and how to find Belize. There are imaginary lines on globes and maps, they are called lines of Latitude and Longitude and they tell a pilot or ship’s captain exactly where in the world certain places are located. Latitude lines, also called Parallels; are the horizontal lines on your map or globe. Longitude, also called the Meridians; are the vertical lines on your map or globe that run from the North to the South Poles. The mapping system is written in degrees and uses the Degree °, minute and second symbols. Locate the eight-pointed star on the globe. This is called a compass and helps you determine which direction to go when measuring between locations. Note that the “N” represents “North,” the “E” represents “East,” the “S” represents “South” and the “W” represents “West. Remember the points on the compass by using them as an anagram for “Never Eat Soggy Waffles.”

Get ready to travel… Pull out your globes and look for the coordinates 17°15’N 88°46’W , you will find the nation of Belize.

Belize (pronounced bəˈliːz listen) is a small nation in Central America, bordered to the North by Mexico, to the West and South by Guatemala and to the East by the Caribbean sea. Belize’s mainland is about 180 miles long and 68 miles wide and is slightly larger than Massachusetts. Belize is culturally unique among its Central American neighbors; it is the only nation in the region with a British colonial heritage. As a part of the Western Caribbean Zone, however, it also shares a common heritage with the Caribbean portions of other Central American countries. In general, Belize is considered to be a Central American nation with strong ties to both the Caribbean and Latin America. Although Belize has beautiful beaches and Cayes, it also has lush mountains and rain forests inland. The highest mountain in Belize, Victoria Peak at 3,675 feet. Belize gained its independence from England in 1981 from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1981. The origin of the name Belize is unclear, but one idea is that the name is from the native Maya word be’lix, meaning “muddy water“, applied to the Belize River. Others have suggested that it is derived from a Spanish pronunciation of the name of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, which was applied to an early settlement along the Belize River and to the river itself. The main source of income in Belize is Tourism followed by agriculture. The main industries are sugar, citrus, fisheries and bananas. Sugar accounts for more than 50% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

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