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Belize City
City of Belize
Left to right from top: St. John's Cathedral, the Government House, the CARICOM Flag Monument, the Bliss Institute, an Aerial of Belize City, Princess Hotel and Casino, the Central Bank of Belize, High Court Building and the Swing Bridge
Left to right from top: St. John's Cathedral, the Government House, the CARICOM Flag Monument, the Bliss Institute, an Aerial of Belize City, Princess Hotel and Casino, the Central Bank of Belize, High Court Building and the Swing Bridge
Flag of Belize City
Flag
Nicknames: 
The Old Capital, Belize
Belize City is located in Belize
Belize City
Belize City
Location on map of Belize
Coordinates: 17°29′55″N 88°11′19″W / 17.49861°N 88.18861°W / 17.49861; -88.18861Coordinates: 17°29′55″N 88°11′19″W / 17.49861°N 88.18861°W / 17.49861; -88.18861[1]
Belize City is the largest city in Belize and was once the capital of the former British Honduras. According to the 2010 census, Belize City has a population of 57,169 people in 16,162 households.[3] It is at the mouth of the Haulover Creek, which is a distributary of the Belize River. The Belize River empties into the Caribbean Sea five miles from Belize City on the Philip Goldson Highway on the coast of the Caribbean. The city is the country's principal port and its financial and industrial hub. Cruise ships drop anchor outside the port and are tendered by local citizens. The city was almost entirely destroyed in October 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore. It was the capital of British Honduras (as Belize was then named) until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970.[6]

History

Belize City was founded as "Belize Town" in 1638[2] by English lumber harvesters. It had been a small Maya city called Holzuz. Belize Town was ideal for the English as a central post because it was on the sea and a natural outlet for local rivers and creeks down which the British shipped logwood and mahogany. Belize Town also became the home of the thousands of African slaves brought in by the English (later the British, beginning in 1707) to toil in the forest industry. It was the coordination site for the 1798 Battle of St. George's Caye, won by the British against would-be invaders, and the home of the local courts and government officials up to the 1970s. For this reason, historians often say that "the capital was the colony", because the center of British control was here.[7][8]

This sentiment remains true today. Even though people like Antonio Soberanis, George Price and Evan X Hyde all lobbied to take their movements outside, and other ethnic groups such as the Garifuna and Mestizos sprang up elsewhere in the country, people looked to Belize Town for guidance.[7][8]

Natural disasters

Belize City has been directly struck by two hurricanes since 1900, the 1931 hurricane and 1961's Hurricane Hattie, and at various times areas of the city have burnt down, the most recent being fires in the 1999 and 2004. The city was also hit hard by Hurricane Richard in 2010 and by the 2016 Hurricane Earl. Fires on the Northside and Southside have burnt out great stretches of housing, but the fire department was able to quench most of these. The city is also susceptible to flooding in the rainy season.

Location and geographic setting

Belize population density and low elevation coastal zones. Belize City is especially vulnerable to sea level rise.

Belize City spreads out Mile 6 on the Western Highway and Mile 5 on the Northern Highway, at the Haulover Bridge. The city proper is usually divided into two areas: Northside, bounded by Haulover Creek and ending in the east at the Fort George area, and Southside, extending to the outskirts of the city and the port area including downtown. Politically, it is divided into ten constituencies.

Cityscape

Belize City, c.1914

Freetown, the westernmost constituency on Northside, is home to the Belama, Coral Grove, Buttonwood Bay and Vista Del Mar suburbs. Within the city proper it extends up to around the former Belize Technical College area.

Caribbean Shores includes Kings' Park, a small suburb north and west of Freetown Road, West Landivar, home to two of the University of Belize's three city campuses, and residential University Heights.

Pickstock inhabits the banks of the Haulover Creek extending to Barrack Road. St. John's Cathed

Belize City was founded as "Belize Town" in 1638[2] by English lumber harvesters. It had been a small Maya city called Holzuz. Belize Town was ideal for the English as a central post because it was on the sea and a natural outlet for local rivers and creeks down which the British shipped logwood and mahogany. Belize Town also became the home of the thousands of African slaves brought in by the English (later the British, beginning in 1707) to toil in the forest industry. It was the coordination site for the 1798 Battle of St. George's Caye, won by the British against would-be invaders, and the home of the local courts and government officials up to the 1970s. For this reason, historians often say that "the capital was the colony", because the center of British control was here.[7][8]

This sentiment remains true today. Even though people like Antonio Soberanis, George Price and Evan X Hyde all lobbied to take their movements outside, and other ethnic groups such as the Garifuna and Mestizos sprang up elsewhere in the country, people looked to Belize Town for guidance.[7][8]

Natural disasters

Belize City has been directly struck by two hurricanes since 1900, the 1931 hurricane and 1961's Hurricane Hattie, and at various times areas of the city have burnt down, the most recent being fires in the 1999 and 2004. The city was also hit hard by Hurricane Richard in 2010 and by the 2016 Hurricane Earl. Fires on the Northside and Southside have burnt out great stretches of housing, but the fire department was able to quench most of these. The city is also susceptible to flooding in the rainy season.

Location and geographic setting