Belize, what's in a name?

A little known fact for those outside of Central America is that on June 1st, 1973 the British Commonwealth territory of British Honduras was officially renamed Belize. Now no one, even in Belize, seems to be quite sure where the name came from. One story states the name is derived from the pronunciation of the pirate Peter Wallace's last name, who established the first settlement in Belize in 1638, by Spanish soldiers and aristocrats in Guatemala. The second story suggests the name came from the Mayan word "Belix" meaning muddy water in reference to the dark waters of the Belize River that runs through the country. Whatever the truth the name Belize now instill a strong sense of pride for the local populace and invokes an image of exotic beauty for those abroad.


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