Info Belize City
Belize City is the largest city in Belize and was once the capital of the former British Honduras. According to the 2010 census, Belize City has a population of 57,169 people in 16,162 households. It is located at the mouth of the Haulover Creek, which is a tributary of the Belize River. The Belize River empties into the Caribbean Sea 5 miles from Belize City on the Philip Goldson Highway on the coast of the Caribbean. The city is the country's principal port and its financial and industrial hub. Several cruise ships drop anchor outside the port and are tended by local citizens. The city was almost entirely destroyed in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore on October 31. It was the capital of British Honduras (as Belize was then named) until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970.
Belize City features a tropical monsoon climate, with warm and humid conditions throughout the course of the year. The city has a lengthy wet season that runs from May through January and a short dry season covering the remaining three months. However, as is the characteristic of several cities with tropical monsoon climates, Belize City sees some precipitation during its dry season. April is Belize City’s driest month with only 51 mm of precipitation observed, a somewhat unusual month for a city with this climate type. Typically the driest month for a city with a tropical monsoon climate is the month after the winter solstice, which in Belize City would be January. Average monthly temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the course of the year, ranging from 23 °C to 28 °C.
Climate data for Belize City
|Record high °C (°F)||34.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||27.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||20.2|
|Record low °C (°F)||11.0|
|Source #1: National Meteorological Service of Belize|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
Belize City spreads out Mile 6 on the Western Highway and Mile 5 on the Northern Highway, at the Haulover Bridge. The City proper is usually divided into two areas: Northside, bounded by the Haulover Creek and ending in the east at the Fort George area, and Southside, extending to the outskirts of the City and the Port area and including downtown. Politically, it is divided into ten constituencies, described below.
Freetown, the westernmost constituency on Northside, is home to the Belama, Coral Grove, Buttonwood Bay and Vista Del Mar suburbs. Within the city proper it extends up to around the former Belize Technical College area.
Caribbean Shores includes Kings' Park, a small suburb north and west of Freetown Road, West Landivar, home to two of the University of Belize's three City campuses, and residential University Heights. Pickstock inhabits the banks of the Haulover Creek extending to Barrack Road. St. John's Cathedral stands on the southern end of Albert Street. St. John’s is the oldest Anglican Church in Central America, and one of the oldest buildings in Belize. The orange bricks came to Belize aboard British ships as ballast. Construction began in 1812, and the church was completed in 1820. St. John’s is the only Anglican cathedral in the world outside England where the crowning of kings took place.
Fort George is perhaps the most colonial area in the City and contains Memorial Park, the Baron Bliss Grave and Baron Bliss Lighthouse and the Museum of Belize.
On the Southside, Lake Independence, Collet and Port Loyola are home to some of the city's poorest residents. "London bridges", rickety wooden pallets linking dwellings, and low-strung poles are not uncommon here. On the east side of Central American Boulevard are Mesopotamia, Queen's Square and Albert, which are slightly better. Albert contains the downtown streets of Albert and Regent Streets.
The majority of working Belizeans travel to work in downtown offices or else ply their trade on the street sides. Belize City is home to branches of all the major banks of Belize and the Central Bank, as well as nearly all insurance centers, marketplaces and the like. Belize City is the hub for both national and international air, sea and road travel.
Belize City was founded as "Belize Town" in 1638 by British lumber harvesters. It had been a small Maya city called Holzuz. Belize Town was ideal for the British as a central post because it was on the sea and a natural outlet for local rivers and creeks down which the British shipped logwood and mahogany. Belize Town also became the home of the thousands of African slaves brought in by the British to assist in the forest industry. It was the coordination site for the 1798 Battle of St. George's Caye, won by the British against would-be invaders, and the home of the local courts and government officials up to the 1970s. For this reason, historians often say that "the capital was the Colony", because the center of British control was here.
This sentiment remains true today. Even though people like Antonio Soberanis, George Price and Evan X Hyde all lobbied to take their movements outside, and other ethnic groups such as the Garifuna and Mestizos sprang up elsewhere in the country, people looked to Belize Town for guidance.
Belize Town slowly improved its infrastructure and has been the object of numerous infrastructural projects. Nevertheless, many of the streets built from colonial days are still small and congested, a majority of houses are still susceptible to fire and damage from hurricanes, and the city is always awaiting something calamitous to happen.
Belize City has been directly struck by two hurricanes since 1900, the 1931 hurricane and 1961's Hurricane Hattie, and at various times areas of the City have been burnt down, the most recent being the 1999 Albert Street fire that burnt out Mikado's, and a 2004 fire that destroyed the Paslow building. The city has also been hit hard by Hurricane Richard and by the 2016 Hurricane Earl. Fires on Northside and Southside have burnt out great stretches of housing, but the Fire Department was able to quench most of these. The city is also susceptible to flooding problems in the rainy season, but timely repairs and a letup in the rain usually help.