Countries that have a Capital City with a weird name – Belize

Belize is situated in Central America, and borders Mexico and Guatemala.  Belize was once known as the British Honduras.  The country adopted the name Belize in 1973, but did not become an independent nation until 1981.

The Capital used to be called Belize City and was a port on the Caribbean coast.  After Belize City was almost destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1962, it was decided to move the Capital further inland, to reduce the danger of being hit by hurricanes.

A spot was chosen in the Belize River Valley about 80 kilometres (50 miles) inland from the coast, and the new Capital was named Belmopan.

Its name was chosen, probably by a committee filled with bureaucrats with little imagination, to be called after two local rivers: the Belize River and the Mopan River.

Today Belmopan has a population of about 20,000 and its National Assembly Building has been designed to resemble a pre-Columbian Maya temple.

Belize has become something of a tourist destination, and the future of both Belize and Belmopan is looking quite good.

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