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Belmopan

Belmopan
City
City of Belmopan
Belmopan centre
Belmopan centre
Flag of Belmopan
Flag
Nickname(s): The Garden City, 'Pan
Motto: City of Promise
Belmopan is located in Belize
Belmopan
Belmopan
Location of Belmopan in Belize
Coordinates: 17°15′5″N 88°46′1″W / 17.25139°N 88.76694°W / 17.25139; -88.76694Coordinates: 17°15′5″N 88°46′1″W / 17.25139°N 88.76694°W / 17.25139; -88.76694
Country  Belize
District Cayo
Constituency Belmopan
Foundation August 1, 1970
Government
 • Mayor Khalid Belisle (UDP)
Area
 • Total 32.78 km2 (12.66 sq mi)
Elevation 76 m (250 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total 16,451
 • Estimate (2015) 19,458
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
Area code(s) 501 +8
Climate Am

Belmopan (/ˌbɛlmˈpæn/) is the capital city of Belize. Its population in 2010 was 16,451. Although the smallest capital city in the continental Americas by population, Belmopan is the third-largest settlement in Belize, behind Belize City and San Ignacio. Founded as a planned community in 1970, Belmopan is one of the newest national capital cities in the world. Since 2000 Belmopan has been one of two settlements in Belize to hold official city status, along with Belize City.

Belmopan is located in Cayo District at an altitude of 76 metres (249 feet) above sea level. Belmopan was constructed just to the east of the Belize River, 80 km (50 mi) inland from the former capital, the port of Belize City, after that city's near destruction by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. The government was moved to Belmopan in 1970. Its National Assembly Building is designed to resemble a Pre-Columbian Maya temple.

After Hurricane Hattie in 1961 destroyed approximately 75% of the houses and business places in low-lying and coastal Belize City, the government proposed to encourage and promote the building of a new capital city. This new capital would be on better terrain, would entail no costly reclamation of land, and would provide for an industrial area. In 1962, a committee chose the site now known as Belmopan, 82 kilometres (51 mi) west of the old capital of Belize City.


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