|इस लेख को हिन्दी में अनूदित करने की आवश्यकता है।
यह लेख हिन्दी के अतिरिक्त अन्य भाषा में लिखा है। यदि यह लेख उस भाषा के समुदाय के लिए बनाया गया है, इसका योगदान उस भाषा के विकिपीडिया में किया जाना चाहिए। विकिपेडियाओं की सूची देखें।
The small, essentially private enterprise economy is based primarily on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction assuming greater importance. Sugar, the chief crop, accounts for nearly half of exports, while the banana industry is the country's largest employer. Citrus production has become a major industry along the Hummingbird Highway. More recently, discoveries of petroleum deposits in the Cayo District and possible deposits in the Toledo District have radically altered Belize's previously untapped mining and manufacturing capabilities.
The ruling government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth of 6.4% in 1999 and 10.5% in 2000. Growth decelerated in 2001 to 3% due to the global slowdown and severe hurricane damage to agriculture, fishing and tourism. Growth was in 2005 3.8%. Major concerns continue to be the rapidly expanding trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
The greatest portion of Belize's population is under the age of 30. Nearly 40% of Belizeans are under 15; a similar number are between the ages of 15 and 65. Males slightly outnumber females, though this trend is beginning to change among certain ethnic groups, such as the Creoles and the Garifuna, where there are more middle-age and elderly women. Maya and Mestizo families are more likely to have male-dominated households.
Birth and death rates/Life expectancy[संपादित करें]
Belize's birth rate currently stands at nearly 25/1000. Nearly 6 persons die per year out of a 1,000 members of the population; this figure includes murders, accidents and death from natural causes. Infant mortality, high at the beginning of the 20th century, is now down to a mere 24 babies out of a thousand. Male babies are more likely to die, however, than females. The life expectancy of a typical male is 66 years, while for a female it is 70. HIV/AIDS, while not a serious threat to national stability, does affect enough of the population to give Belize a high rating among Caribbean and Central American nations.
Ethnic groups, nationalities[संपादित करें]
According to the latest census, the country's population is close to 300,000, and much of that number is multiracial and multiethnic. The Maya are the most established of all ethnic groupings, having been in Belize and the Yucatán region since the 500's AD. However, much of Belize's original Maya population was wiped out due to disease and conflicts between tribes and with Europeans. Three Maya groups now inhabit the country: Yucatecs (who came from Yucatán, Mexico to escape the Caste War), Mopans (indigenous to Belize, but were forced out by the British; they returned from Guatemala to evade slavery), and Kekchi (also fled from slavery in Guatemala).
White English and Scottish settlers entered the area in the 1630s to cut logwood for export and began settling down. The first African slaves began arriving from elsewhere in the Caribbean and Africa and began intermarrying with whites and each other, to create the Belizean Kriol people ethnic grouping. After 1800, Mestizo settlers from Mexico and Guatemala began to settle in the North; the Garifuna, a mix of African and Carib ancestry, settled in the South by way of Honduras not long after that.
The 1900s saw the arrival of Asian settlers from Mainland China, India, Taiwan, Korea, Syria, and Lebanon. Central American immigrants and expatriate Americans and Africans also began to settle in the country, presenting an interesting potage. However, this was balanced by the migration of Creoles and other ethnic groups to the United States and elsewhere for better opportunities. Estimates have generally placed the number of the Belizean diaspora, consisting mainly of Kriol and Garifuna, at an amount roughly equal to the number currently living in Belize.
Ethnic group mixing, and languages[संपादित करें]
[[चित्र:Menonite Children.JPG|right|thumb|200px|Menonite Children selling peanuts near Racial tension is very uncommon because of the multicultural environment of the society, and the constant admixture of the different ethnic groups. Many people simply identify as "Belizean", due to the numerous racial mixture. Because of this, the ethnic composition of the country is some times hard to determine, but self identified Mestizos comprise 50% of the population, and Kriol 25%. The rest is a mix of Maya, Garifuna, Mennonite Dutch/German farmers, Central Americans, whites from America, and many other foreign groups brought to assist the country's development. Not surprisingly, this mix creates an equally interesting mix of language and communication. English is the official language due to the fact that Belize was a British colony and still has ties to Britain. However, most Belizeans use the more familiar Belize Creole, a raucous and playful English-based language that contains colourful terms which are usually translatable in English. Spanish has become important as the mother tongue of Mestizo and Central American settlers, and is a second language for much of the country. Less well known are the ancient Maya dialects, Garifuna (a mélange of Spanish, Carib and other tongues) and the Dutch-German of the Mennonites. Literacy currently stands at near 80%.
Belize is a predominantly Christian society. Roman Catholicism is accepted by about half of the population, and Protestantism by about one-fourth. Much of the remaining population is comprised of Taoists, Buddhists and more recently introduced religions like Jainists, Islam, and Bahá'í. Hinduism is common among South Asian immigrants; Islam is also common among the Middle-eastern immigrants and has also gained a following among Creoles and Garifuna. Religious freedom is guaranteed and churches dot the streets of Belize almost as frequently as places of business; catholics frequently visit the country for special gospel revivals.
Ethnic groups[संपादित करें]
- Belize Creole (mixed African and European origin) - 24.9%
- Garifuna (mixed African and Carib origin) - 6.1%
- Mestizo (mixed Native American and European origin) - 48.7%
- Maya - 10.6%
- White - 5.6%
- Mennonite: Dutch, German - 4.1%
- Arabs (mostly of Syrian and/or Lebanese origin)
- East Asian: Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean
- South Asian: Indian (called East Indians in Belize to distinguish from the West Indians living in the Caribbean
- Mainland African: Nigeria and elsewhere
- Caribbean: Jamaica,Cuba etc.
Material in some of these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.
Altun Ha archaeological site, Belize
- Government of Belize - Official governmental site
- Belize Tourism Board - Official Tourism site
- Belizean Journeys - Belize Online Magazine
- Belize.Net - Belize Specific Search Engine
- Conservation in Belize - Nature Conservacy on Belize coral reef
- Belize Web - Official website of national communications company BTL, features news links and online radio stations
- Encyclopaedia Britannica Belize's Country Page
- BelizeNews.NET- Comprehensive link to all of Belize News Media
- Cho, Julian (1998). Maya Homeland. University of California Berkeley Geography Department and the Toledo Maya of Southern Belize. Retrieved 4 January 2007.