Belize is a small nation on the eastern coast of Central America, on the Caribbean Sea bordered by Mexico to the northwest, Guatemala to the west and south, and Honduras 75 km away (47 miles) across the Gulf of Honduras to the east. The country is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy which recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign. The name is derived from the Belize River, after which Belize City, the former capital and largest city, is also named.
The only English-speaking country in Central America, Belize was a British colony for more than a century and was known as British Honduras until 1973. It became an independent nation in 1981. Belize is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana (SICA) and considers itself to be culturally both Caribbean and Central American.