HONDURAS, British, or Belize, a crown colony in Central America, south of Yucatan, and 660 miles west from Jamaica. It is bounded on the north and northwest by Mexico (Yuca tan), on the east by the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Honduras and on the south and west by Guatemala.
Area, Physiography, etc.—Its area is 8,598 square miles, including numerous cays. The coast is generally low and swampy and the in terior is largely covered with forests of log wood, pine and mahogany. The Cockscomb Mountains in the southern district rise to the height of 3,700 feet; the northern part contains many lagoons. The climate is hot and moist and, generally speaking, is unhealthful for Eu ropeans. About 50.000 acres are under cultiva tion and produce fruits, coffee, rubber, etc, Commerce,— The total value of the imports in 1916 was $2,690,306, a gain of $561,303 over the previous year, due principally to the in creased price of nearly every article invoiced. The United States supplied goods worth $1,583, 650; Great Britain, $430,345; British colonies, $30,359; and other countries, $645,952, consist ing chiefly of chicle from Guatemala ($263,760) and Mexico ($169,673) in transit to the United States.
The principal articles imported in 1916 from the United States were : flour, $162,343; boots and shoes, $119,895; fruits and vegetables, $73, 360; miscellaneous foodstuffs, $51,970; lard and compounds, $56,956; hardware and cutlery, $46, 237; drugs and chemicals, $38,032; condensed milk, $48,125; wearing apparel, $69,134; piece goods, cotton and silk, p07,707. The total ex from the colony in 1916 were valued at 43,622, of which $1,392,836 went to the United States; more than half of the remainder, $1,150,786, represented products and manufac tures of other countries in transit through the colony. The value of the principal exports to the United Stated in 1916 was : mahogany, $473, 548; chicle, crude and dried, $330,045; bananas, $259,410; coconuts, $154,290; logwoo41, $94,519. Exports to the United States in 1915 totaled $1,850,000 and to the United Kingdom, $311,200. 'Tonnage entered and cleared in 1915 amounted to 803,181 tons, of which 91,370 was British. Registered shipping in 1914 consisted of 298 sailing vessels of 4,531 tons and 53 steamers of 1,981 tons.
I Government, Finances, The colony is administered by a governor, who is also com mander-in-chief, assisted by an executive coun cil of six members, and a legislative council consisting of five official and seven unofficial members. The chief sources of revenue are the customs duties ($291,450 in 1914-15) ; ex cise, licenses, land-tax, etc., also the sale and letting of Crown lands. The total revenue is about $550,000 annually. The expenditure, mainly administrative and for the various serv ices, reached $614,175 in 1915, in which year the public debt was $972,705. Banking facilities are furnished by a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. There are six government savings banks, which had, on 31 Dec. 1915, $104,313 on deposit credited to 932 depositors. United States gold is the standard of currency. The British sovereign and half-sovereign are legal tender for $4.86 and $2.43 respectively. There is a paper currency of $197,825 in government notes and a subsidiary silver coinage of $158, 917 in circulation. 'There is also a bronze cent
piece and a nickel-bronze five-cent piece, whose Issues amount to $5,750 and $2,500 respectively.
Post Office, In 1915, 356.000 letters and post-cards, and 166,000 books, newspapers and parcels passed through the post office. The Belize River forms the chief highway from the coast to the western and southwestern parts of the colony. It is navi gable for light-draft motor and cargo boats for a distance of more than 100 miles. The rates for both passengers and freight are high, but iitost of the traffic to and from the interior is carried over this route. There is only one rail :way in the colony, from Stann Creek to the interior, about 25 miles. It has a gauge of three feet and was built by the government at a cost of $826,250. The British Honduras Syn dicate has a tram line running eight and three quarter miles from the Stann Creek pier inland beyond Melinda and another about three miles long connecting the Sennis and the Monkey rivers. The trams are used chiefly for the transportation of bananas. Telegraph and tele phone lines connect Belize with Corozal, Con sejo and other stations in the north, El Cayo in the West and Punta Gorda in the south. Foreign telegrams are sent from Corozal to Payo Obispo, Yucatan, whence they are trans mitted by the Mexican line. The wireless tele graph station at Belize was completed in 1915 and affords communication, through other sys tems, with the United States. A station of the United States Weather Bureau was estab lished at Belize in November 1916. Steamship communication between Belize and New Or leans is afforded by the regular weekly mail service of the United Fruit Company, which also maintains a fortnightly service to and from New York.
Education.— In 1915 there were in opera tion 54 primary schools, with 5,528 enrolled children, and an average attendance of 1,912; in addition there were 6 primary schools, with 230 in average attendance, which received no government aid. The government spent $23,300 on primary education in 1915. There are five schools with secondary departments with alto gether about 350 pupils. They are under de nominational management and none receive aid from the government.
Population.— In 1911 there were 20,374 males and 20,084 females, a total of 40,458. The population of the colony at the end of 1916 was estimated at 42,323. The whites num ber about 650, the rest consisting of negroes, mulattoes and Indians. The birth-rate per 1,000 was 40.1 in 1915, and the death-rate 262. Belize, the chief town and seaport, had a population of 10,478 in 1911.
For the origin and early history of the colony, see BELIZE ; also CENTRAL AMERICA.
Bristowe, L. W., and Wright, P. B.. 'Handbook of British Honduras) (Edinburgh 1892) ; Gibbs, A. R., 'History of British (London 1883) ; Morris, D., 'The Colony of British Honduras' (ib. 1883) ; Henderson, 'An Account of the British Set tlement of Honduras); 'Colonial (London, annually) and 'Supplement to Com merce Reports) (No. 21a, 28 July 1917, issued by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Com merce, Washington).
J. B. McDornesu., Editorial Staff of The Americana.