Country Listing

Belize Table of Contents


Chapter 7. Belize: The Society and Its Environment


Ixchel, Mayan goddess of medicine and childbirth

BELIZE IS A CULTURAL ANOMALY in Central America, with a society oriented more to Britain, the English-speaking Caribbean countries, and North America, than to neighboring Spanish-speaking republics. During the 1980s, efforts to forge a common national identity among a small, multiethnic population challenged the colonial orientations of Belizean society. Regional conflicts, migration, and intensified relationships with the United States also posed challenges.

The deepening of social, economic, and political ties to the United States during the 1980s prompted critics in Belize and abroad to complain that the country merely exchanged one colonial master for another. In addition, emigration of Belizeans to the United States and of Central Americans to Belize further challenged Belizean society, which was already deeply divided by differences of ethnicity, race, and class.

Data as of January 1992