Belize is a tiny country but filled with mystical magical things. From the 2nd longest coral reef in the world to some of the densest, untouched forest in this hemisphere. We also have the smallest capital city in Central America and one of the least dense populations in the world.
So here are some simple True or False questions that…aren’t always so simple. See how you fare. All the answers are at the end.
1. Aside from Caribbean islands, Belize, Canada and the United States are the only countries in the Americas whose official language is English.
2. Belize is the only country with people on her flag
3. Guatemala actively claims Belize as her territory – and is seeking to take Belize in international court.
4. Of all the sea mammals, the manatee is the only one that is 100% herbivorean
5. The tallest building in Belize is a Maya structure built over 1000 years ago.
6. Possession of marijuana is legal in Belize
7. The British originally came to Belize in the early 1600s to mine precious metals.
8. Traditionally, it is bad luck to swim on Christmas day – you might turn into a sea creature.
9. The coconut is the largest seed in the world
10. 1.3 million tourists visited Belize in 2015 (almost 1 million of those were day visitors on cruise ships) — true or false, tourism is officially the largest industry in Belize.
1. FALSE. English is the official language of Guyana. Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana – are the three smallish countries that make up the north-east corner of South America. It is the 8th least densely populated country in the world with a population of about 775,000. Guyana gained independence from Britain in 1966.
2. FALSE. There are quite a few states, municipalities and provinces around the world with humans on their flags but only a few countries with people.
Belize is the only country with humans as a major part of the flag but there are others that do depict human forms.
Malta. See that tiny picture of St. George riding a horse?
Yeah…me neither. Also French Polynesia. Though again…you might feel like you’ve been tricked on this one.
3. TRUE. EVERYONE who lives in Belize knows the answer to this one but those abroad might find this strange. Guatemala? Thinks it owns Belize? — some say all of it, some say just the bulk of our country in the south.
4. TRUE. You were probably trying to figure out the sea mammals and there aren’t many. Let me help.
There are five groups of marine mammals: pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, fur seals, and walruses), cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), sea otters, sirenians (dugongs and manatees), and polar bears.
But wait! A dugong! The manatees’ Pacific twin. I’m considered the manatee and the dugong the same animal. The sea cow.
It’s my quiz, that’s my prerogative.
5. TRUE. The tallest building in Belize is at our largest Maya site of Caracol in the Cayo District. Caana (or sky palace) is 141 feet high – making it the tallest man made structure in Belize.
Since a story is about 10-11 feet high, that makes it the equivalent of 13 stories high. Ambergris Caye’s tallest building is 5 stories.
Occupied as early as 1200 BC, Caracol was at her height from about 600-800 AD.
6. TRUE. What!? Seriously!? Yes. Over the past few months, the law has been adjusted in Belize. Belize just signed a bill to decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana and suggests that it be consumed at home. The amount is 10 mg.
Please do not just take my word for it – or ever cite my website when at the police station 🙂 – here is a recent article in the San Pedro Sun
7. FALSE. While GOLD, SILVER AND GEMS were probably the headliners that loaded up the galleons with budding conquistadors, the British came to Belize for logwood.
Apparently red and purple dyed clothing became ALL THE RAGE in Europe and logwood from Belize was the source. Fortunes were made (and many lives lost) by floating these tree down the rivers of Belize and hauling them to Europe.
8. FALSE. Trick question! It is considered by many BAD LUCK to go out on the water or in the water (sea or rivers) on Good Friday. You will turn into a mer-creature.
And while Easter weekend is one of the biggest PARTY weekends of the year, it is illegal to sell alcohol on Good Friday in Belize. On Ambergris Caye, the nighclubs and bars open at midnight and the party resumes.
9. FALSE. This is the question that got me started on this quiz. Coconuts are everywhere on this island. In fact, many of the original settlers here on Ambergris Caye came to work in the coconut industry.
“For years, the island was all about coconuts. And the land owners were the Blakes, the Alamillas and later the Parhams. Laborers grew, husked and dried coconuts (called copra) for shipment to the United States.”
But wait! I haven’t answered the question. Palm trees DO produce the biggest seeds in the world – and the coconut is ONE of them but the largest is…
“The largest seed in the world is the coco de mer, the seed of a palm tree. It can reach about 12 inches (30 cm) long, and weigh up to 40 pounds (18 kg). The coco de mer, a giant, dark brown seed, has been protected by the government of the Seychelles because of its rarity.”
It is about 2x the size of the coconut and weighs about 40lbs and only exists on a few islands in the Seychelles.
10. FALSE Agriculture is OFFICIALLY the largest industry in Belize – bananas, oranges and sugar.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to agriculture switch spots with Tourism very soon.