About Belize City

Belize City is the largest city of the Central American nation Belize. Unofficial estimates place the population of Belize City at 70,800 or more people. It is located at the mouth of the Belize River on the coast of the Caribbean. Belize City is the nation'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.

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Belize City was founded (originally as "Belize Town") in the mid-17th century by British lumber harvesters. It had previously 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.

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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. Fires on Northside and Southside have burnt out great stretches of housing, but the Fire Department has been 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.

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Climate

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 cities with tropical monsoon climates, Belize City sees some precipitation during its dry season. March is the Belize City’s driest month with only 38 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.