Belize was formerly called British Honduras, but gained independence in 1981. Queen Elizabeth II remains the constitutional monarch. In 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the 'New World' between Portugal and (what became) Spain along a meridian. Much like the Congress of Berlin divided up Africa in 1878. Why look at what the people there want when a straight line will do? Mayan civilization had spread across the area around 1500 BC. Belize was on the Spanish side, but a lack of gold/resources and strong resistance from the local Mayans meant the area wasn't easily subjugated. Today more than half the population identify as 'Mestizo'. This term was originally used under the Spanish Casta system but is now more of a cultural term - indicating combined European, Amerindian and Pacific Islander descent. Another quarter, identify as Creoles people, descended from English and Scottish log cutters and African slaves - then joining the various newcomers from all over the world. Despite the lack of resource, the log cutters had found the area a useful place from which to attack Spanish ships.