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Belize (/bəˈlz/ (About this soundlisten)) is a Caribbean Sovereign state located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 408,487 (2019). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2018 estimate) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

The Maya Civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 300 and flourished until about 1200. European contact began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus sailed along the Gulf of Honduras. European exploration was begun by English settlers in 1638. This period was also marked by Spain and Britain both laying claim to the land until Britain defeated the Spanish in the Battle of St. George's Caye (1798). It became a British colony in 1840, known as British Honduras, and a Crown colony in 1862. Independence was achieved from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1981.

Belize has a diverse society that is composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history. English is the official language of Belize, while Belizean Creole is the most widely spoken national language, being the native language of over a third of the population. Over half the population is multilingual, with Spanish being the second most common spoken language. It is known for its September Celebrations, its extensive barrier reef coral reefs and punta music.

Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. It is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to both the American and Caribbean regions. It is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Central American Integration System (SICA), the only country to hold full membership in all three regional organisations. Belize is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state.

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The 1942 Belize hurricane was the only known hurricane to strike Belize in the month of November. The thirteenth observed tropical cyclone, eleventh tropical storm, and fourth hurricane of the 1942 Atlantic hurricane season, this storm was detected in the vicinity of Turks and Caicos Islands on November 5. Initially a tropical storm, it strengthened slowly while moving westward and then south-southwestward across the Bahamas. On November 6, the storm became a Category 1 hurricane on the modern day Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. Later that day, it made landfall in Cayo Romano, Camagüey Province, Cuba. Impact in Cuba and the Bahamas was limited to lower barometric pressure readings and strong winds. While crossing Cuba, the system weakened to a tropical storm early on November 7, shortly before emerging into the Caribbean Sea. The storm re-strengthened into a hurricane later that day and headed southwestward.

Late on November 8, this system curved westward and intensified into a Category 2 hurricane. Six hours later, it peaked with winds of 110 mph (175 km/h). Early on November 9, the storm struck Caye Caulker and northern Belize District. Rapidly weakening, the system fell to tropical storm status within 12 hours of landfall. By early on November 10, it emerged into the Bay of Campeche. The storm meandered erratically until striking the Yucatán Peninsula on November 11 and dissipating hours later. Strong winds were observed in Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Severe damage was reported in the former. About 90% of structures in San Pedro Town were destroyed, while Newtown was completely obliterated, causing its residents to relocate and establish the village of Hopkins. Trees and crops such as coconuts also suffered heavy losses. Overall, nine deaths and approximately $4 million (1942 USD) in damage were reported. Read more...
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