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: 240,204 (2000C); 302,000 (2006E).

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 November 2, 2007: 1.95 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: Said MUSA (People’s United Party); sworn in on August 28, 1998, in succession to Manuel A. ESQUIVEL (United Democratic Party), following legislative election of August 27; formed new government on September 1, 1998; reinvested on March 7, 2003, following election of March ...

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