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The 294,385 people that live in Belize are a spectacular blend of backgrounds, forming a cultural melting pot that is uniquely Belizean. This ethnically diverse society is known for its warmth and hospitality.
Roughly 48 percent of the Belizean population is Mestizo, or a mixture of the Spanish and Maya cultures. Many people of this heritage migrated from Mexico in the mid 1800’s, to flee La Guerra de Castas, or the Caste Wars. Mestizos are found everywhere in Belize, but most make their homes in either the northern regions of Corozal and Orange walk, or in the western district of Cayo. Creoles make up 30 percent of the population in Belize. They are the descendants of early British settlers and African slaves, who came to the region in the early 1800s. Two thirds of the Creole population resides in Belize City.
People of Garifuna decent make up about 6.6 percent of Belize’s population. With their own language and culture, the Garifuna are the decedents of African slaves, Carib tribes and Arawak Indians. This group dominates the southern towns of Punta Gorda and Dangriga, as well as the villages of Seine Bight, Hopkins, Georgetown and Barranco.
As you travel around Belize, you might be surprised to see women in bonnets and long dresses and men wearing denim overalls and hats. Four percent of the population is Mennonites who began arriving to Belize in 1958. They own farms primarily in the Orange Walk and Cayo Districts.