Geography of Belize

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Belize is a small Central American nation, located at 17°15′ north of the equator and 88°45′ west of the Prime Meridian. It borders the Caribbean Sea to the east, with 386km of coastline. It has a total of 516km of land borders—Mexico to the north-northwest (250km) and Guatemala to the south-southwest (266km). Belize's total size is 22,960km,ē of which 22,800 kmē is land and 160kmē is water; this makes the country ten times larger than the Australian Capital Territory, about half the size of Nova Scotia, slightly larger than Wales, and slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America and the only one without a Pacific coastline. Many coral reefs, cays, and islands to the east—such as Lighthouse Reef, Glover Reef, and the Turneffe Islands—are part of Belize's territory; the country's largest river is the eponyomous Belize River.

Belize claims an exclusive economic zone of a 200 nautical miles and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles. 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

Belize's lowest elevation is at sea level. Its highest point is Doyle's Delight at 1,124m (3,688 feet). This conclusion was the result of a recent survey, showing Doyle's Delight is slightly higher than Victoria Peak at 1,120 m (3,675 feet), which has long been regarded as Belize's highest point. Natural hazards:

  • Frequent, devastating hurricanes (September to December) and coastal flooding (especially in south)

Environment - current issues:

Map of Belize in detail
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Map of Belize in detail
  • Deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid waste disposal

Environment - international agreements:

Geography - note:

  • Only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean.

Reference

Some of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000.

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