- a country on the Caribbean coast of Central America; population 307,900 (est. 2009); languages, English (official), Creole, Spanish; capital, Belmopan. Former name (until 1973) British Honduras.
Proclaimed as a British Crown Colony in 1862, Belize became an independent Commonwealth state in 1981. Guatemala, which bounds it on the west and south, has always claimed the territory on the basis of old Spanish treaties, although in 1992 it agreed to recognize the existence of Belize
named after a river with a Mayan name meaning 'muddy water'