Belize - Country history and economic development

1502. Christopher Columbus sails along the coast of what is now Belize.

1638. The first recorded settlement is established by a shipwrecked English seaman.

1871. Belize becomes a Crown Colony of the British Empire. The territory is known as British Honduras.

1950. The PUP is founded.

1954. Universal suffrage is introduced.

1961. A ministerial system is established.

1964. The British grant the colony self government.

1973. British Honduras becomes Belize.

1974. The UDP is founded. Belize joins CARICOM.

1981. Belize gains independence and drafts a new constitution. Guatemala claims part of Belizean territory.

1984. The UDP wins elections.

1989. The PUP wins elections.

1991. Belize is admitted to the Organization of American States (OAS). Guatemala recognizes independence.

1992. Belize joins the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

1993. The UDP takes over once again, instituting a 15 percent VAT.

1994. Britain withdraws its garrison of 1,200 army and 300 air force personnel.

1998. The PUP comes to power; the 15 percent VAT is abolished and replaced with an 8 percent sales tax.

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