Previously called British Honduras, the country now known as Belize derives its name from one of two historical sources: Maya root words or the surname of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, who maintained a camp near present-day Belize City in the seventeenth century.
Belizeans affectionately refer to their country as "the Jewel." The formation of a consciousness of a national culture coincided with the growth of the nationalist movement in the 1950s toward independence.
On the other hand, there has been too little allocation of space for public parks, where children and adults can spend recreation time.
The country's landscape, therefore, consists of a series of small but congested communities, an irony for a country with abundant land. Imported bleached wheat flour, corn, beans, rice, and poultry are the daily staples.
There are hardly any food taboos, but there are beliefs across ethnic groups that certain foods, notably soups and drinks, help restore health. Apart from specific preferences for some food items at large religious ceremonies, especially among the Garifuna, the items eaten at ceremonies are basically those eaten daily.
At such ceremonies, there are usually store-bought alcoholic beverages.
Another trait reflective of the earlier easy availability of timber is the predominance of wood as the basic material for housing.In the south, there are the Garifuna, also called Black Caribs, along the coast and the Maya farther inland.The building of the capital city, Belmopan, in the late 1960s was a crowning achievement of the nationalist movement, radically transforming the settlement pattern.However, the third largest import is food, which in 1996 amounted to 17 percent of total imports.Food production for export receives favorable treatment by the government, including lobbying for international markets.
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Since the 1960s thousands have left to settle in American cities, although many of those people retain family ties in Belize. The different groups speak their own languages, but the language spoken across ethnic lines is a form of pidgin English called Creole. English is taught in all primary schools; however, its use is limited to official discourse and it appears more often in the written form than in the spoken. The proponents of the nationalist movement introduced symbols as essential parts of the national culture they were crafting in the 1960s and 1970s.