City of Belmopan
Belmopan centre in 2015
Belmopan centre in 2015
Flag of Belmopan
The Garden City, 'Pan
City of Promise
Belmopan is located in Belize
Location of Belmopan in Belize
Coordinates: 17°15′5″N 88°46′1″W / 17°15′5″N 88°46′1″W / 17.25139; -88.76694(2010)[2]
 • Total16,451
 • Estimate 
 • Density500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central)
Area code(s)501 +8

Belmopan (n/) is the capital city of Belize. Its population in 2010 was 16,451.[2] 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.[5] 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.[5][6] The government was moved to Belmopan in 1970.[7] Its National Assembly Building is designed to resemble a Pre-Columbian Maya temple.[8]


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.[7] 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.[7]

Since Belize was a British colony (known as British Honduras) in 1964, Premier George Cadle Price led a delegation to London to seek funds to finance the new capital.[9] Although they were not ready to commit to funding such a large project, the British government showed interest due to the logic of locating the capital on high ground safe from storm surges. To encourage financial commitment from the British government, Premier Price and the PUP government invited Anthony Greenwood, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth and Colonies, to visit Belize. One of the highlights of this visit was the unveiling of a monument at mile 49 on the Western Highway. The monument records that Lord Greenwood dedicated the site for the new capital on 9 October 1965. In a way, there was a commitment.

The name chosen for the new capital, Belmopan, is derived from the union of two words: "Belize", the name of the longest river in the country, and "Mopan",[10] one of the rivers in this area, which empties into the Belize River. The initial estimated cost for building this new city was 40 million Belize dollars (US$20 million). Only 20 million Belize dollars (US$10 million) were available, but the momentum was not to be lost.[11]

In 1967, work began; the first phase of the new city was completed in 1970 at a cost of 24 million Belize dollars (US$12 million). From 1970 to 2000 the administration of Belmopan was managed by the Reconstruction and Development Corporation, known as "Recondev."[12] Recondev was vested with the power and authority to provide, or cause to be provided, the municipal functions necessary for the smooth running of the city's business and infrastructure.

There was a reluctance initially amongst foreign governments to relocate their embassies to Belmopan as there was some doubt as to whether this inland area would really become the functioning capital.[13] The British High Commission opened in 1981 when Belize achieved independence, moving to its current location in 1984. In February 2005, the United States government broke ground and started building a new embassy in Belmopan, 43 years after it was chosen as the new capital city.[14] The U.S. embassy was officially opened on 11 December 2006.[15] Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Venezuela also have embassies in Belmopan, while Ecuador, Chile, and the Dominican Republic are represented by consulates. However, with four embassies and 29 consulates the former capital of Belize City still has most of the country's foreign diplomatic community.[16]

Other Languages
Acèh: Bèlmopan
Afrikaans: Belmopan
አማርኛ: ቤልሞፓን
العربية: بلموبان
arpetan: Bèlmopan
asturianu: Belmopán
azərbaycanca: Belmopan
Bân-lâm-gú: Belmopan
беларуская: Бельмапан
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Бэльмапан
български: Белмопан
བོད་ཡིག: པེར་མོ་ཕན།
bosanski: Belmopan
brezhoneg: Belmopan
català: Belmopan
Cebuano: Belmopan
čeština: Belmopan
chiShona: Belmopan
Cymraeg: Belmopan
dansk: Belmopan
davvisámegiella: Belmopan
Deutsch: Belmopan
eesti: Belmopan
Ελληνικά: Μπελμοπάν
español: Belmopán
Esperanto: Belmopano
euskara: Belmopan
فارسی: بلموپان
Fiji Hindi: Belmopan
føroyskt: Belmopan
français: Belmopan
Frysk: Belmopan
Gaeilge: Belmopan
Gàidhlig: Belmopan
galego: Belmopán
Gĩkũyũ: Belmopan
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Belmopan
한국어: 벨모판
հայերեն: Բելմոպան
हिन्दी: बेल्मोपान
hornjoserbsce: Belmopan
hrvatski: Belmopan
Bahasa Indonesia: Belmopan
Interlingue: Belmopan
íslenska: Belmópan
italiano: Belmopan
עברית: בלמופן
ქართული: ბელმოპანი
Kiswahili: Belmopan
Kreyòl ayisyen: Bèlmopan
kurdî: Belmopan
Ladino: Belmopan
Latina: Belmopanum
latviešu: Belmopana
lietuvių: Belmopanas
Lingua Franca Nova: Belmopan
Livvinkarjala: Bel'mopan
lumbaart: Belmopan
magyar: Belmopan
македонски: Белмопан
Malagasy: Belmopan
მარგალური: ბელმოპანი
Bahasa Melayu: Belmopan
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Belmopan
Nederlands: Belmopan
日本語: ベルモパン
norsk: Belmopan
norsk nynorsk: Belmopan
Novial: Belmopan
occitan: Belmopan
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Belmopan
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਬੈਲਮੋਪਾਨ
پنجابی: بیلموپان
Papiamentu: Belmopan
Piemontèis: Belmopan
Plattdüütsch: Belmopan
polski: Belmopan
português: Belmopan
română: Belmopan
rumantsch: Belmopan
Runa Simi: Belmopan
русский: Бельмопан
саха тыла: Белмопан
sardu: Belmopan
Scots: Belmopan
Seeltersk: Belmopan
shqip: Belmopan
Simple English: Belmopan
slovenčina: Belmopan
slovenščina: Belmopan
српски / srpski: Белмопан
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Belmopan
suomi: Belmopan
svenska: Belmopan
Tagalog: Belmopan
Taqbaylit: Belmopan
Türkçe: Belmopan
українська: Бельмопан
اردو: بلموپان
vepsän kel’: Bel'mopan
Tiếng Việt: Belmopan
Volapük: Belmopan
Võro: Belmopan
Winaray: Belmopan
ייִדיש: בעלמאפאן
Yorùbá: Belmopan
粵語: 貝爾莫潘
中文: 貝爾墨邦