Belize, formerly British Honduras, is a country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and speaking many languages. It is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. It is bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the south and west, the and Caribbean sea to the east. Kriol and Spanish are also widely spoken. With 8,867 square miles (22,960 km²) of territory and 320,000 people (2008 est.), the population density is the lowest in the Central American region and one of the lowest in the world. Belize is the least populous non-island nation outside of Europe. The country’s population growth rate, 2.21% (2008 est.), is the highest in the region and one of the highest in the western hemisphere. Culturally, Belize considers itself to be both Caribbean and Central American.
Belize is located on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America. It shares a border on the north with the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the west with the Guatemalan department of Petén, and on the south with the Guatemalan department of Izabal. To the east in the Caribbean Sea, the second-longest barrier reef in the world flanks much of the 386 kilometres (240 mi) of predominantly marshy coastline. The area of the country totals 22,960 square kilometres (8,860 sq mi), an area slightly larger than El Salvador or Massachusetts. The abundance of lagoons along the coasts and in the northern interior reduces the actual land area to 21,400 square kilometres (8,300 sq mi).