Belize, a Melting Pot of Cultures

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Belize, a Melting Pot of Cultures

Belize is a small country with a population of less than half a million people, but it is home to one of the most harmoniously diverse “melting pot” societies in the world. English is the official language in Belize, but you can easily hear such diverse languages as Chinese, Spanish, Plattdeutsch (an archaic form of German), Spanish, Garifuna, and three different Mayan tongues as you travel around the country. Everyone from East Indian entrepreneurs to Creole fishermen has carved a home for themselves in Belize, yet inter-cultural tension and discrimination is virtually unknown.

Belize is a sovereign nation today, but for many centuries, it was a remote outpost of the British Empire. Over time, indigenous people from Mexico (called Mestizos), the Maya, the Garifuna (the only non-enslaved people of color in the New World), Mennonite farmers, and Chinese laborers came to Belize in search of a better life. With a strongly democratic bent and an inherent sense of social justice, Belize has emerged to become one of the most tolerant and progressive nations in Central America.

The ancient Maya once ruled Belize, leaving behind more than 600 different cities, ritual centers, and sacred caves that now delight modern visitors. The Spanish arrived in the 15th century but were unable to make much headway due to the thick terrain. Later, a motley collection of English pirates and loggers known as “Baymen” established a beachhead along the coast. After a pivotal 1796 battle, the Spanish lost effective control of the region. Soon after, Belize officially became a colony known as British Honduras.

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1981, Belize has made it a point of pride to be a free and democratic nation where everyone is welcome. Each community is encouraged to preserve their ancient traditions of music, dancing, food, language, and religion. Many people in Belizespeak two, three, or even more languages. The different cultures have also contributed to Belizean cuisine, making it some of the most varied anywhere in Central America. But the one thing that all Belizeans can agree on is that Marie Sharp’s award-winning hot sauce should be liberally consumed at every meal.

Belize‘s acceptance and celebration of different cultures make it an ideal place for gay travelers. Belizeans are world-renowned for their friendliness, and LGBTQ travelers are welcome to visit any time of the year. If you’d like to enjoy an amazing vacation in Belize, be sure to book your travels with Belize Gay Travel!

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