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Political Status: Former British dependency; became independent member of the Commonwealth on September 21, 1981.

Area: 8,867 sq. mi. (22,965 sq. km.).

Population: 327,264 (2012E—UN); 327,719 (2012E—U.S. Census).

Major Urban Centers (2005E): BELMOPAN (13,600), Belize City (62,300).

Official Language: English. Spanish is the country's second language, and a form of English creole is widely spoken.

Monetary Unit: Belize Dollar (official rate October 2011: 1.99 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Sir Colville YOUNG; sworn in November 17, 1993, following the resignation of Dame Minita Elvira GORDON.

Prime Minister: Dean BARROW (United Democratic Party); sworn in on February 8, 2008, succeeding Said MUSA (People's United Party), following legislative election of February 7.

The Country

Located on the Caribbean coast of Central America, bordered by Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on the north and by Guatemala ...

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