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This group numbered 81,275, or 44 percent, of the national population of 189,392.The other main groups are the Creoles, 55,386 (30 percent); Maya, 20,447 (11 percent); and Garifuna, 12,343 (7 percent).At a distribution rate of eight persons per square kilometer, Belize has one of the lowest population densities in the hemisphere.The impact of underpopulation and the dispersed location of communities becomes clear when traveling through the countryside for miles and finding clusters of small villages nucleated around small towns.
Since the 1960s thousands have left to settle in American cities, although many of those people retain family ties in Belize. The different groups speak their own languages, but the language spoken across ethnic lines is a form of pidgin English called Creole. English is taught in all primary schools; however, its use is limited to official discourse and it appears more often in the written form than in the spoken. The proponents of the nationalist movement introduced symbols as essential parts of the national culture they were crafting in the 1960s and 1970s.In Belize, the steps included introducing adult suffrage in 1954 and internal self-government in 1964, concluding an agreement with Guatemala to continue negotiations over its claims to Belizean territory, and gaining full independence on 21 September 1981. The development of a national identity became a task for the political party that won all the elections until 1984, becoming the voice of the nationalist movement and therefore earning the right to receive the instruments of statehood from Britain.Heading the party was an elite group whose members were Creole, urban-based, well educated, and mainly of lighter skin color. Transforming the nature of ethnic relations was a crucial task for the emerging political elite.The architecture has also changed with the use of the main building material.Up to the middle of this century the design of houses was influenced by styles from the turn of the twentieth century found throughout the British West Indies.
Traditionally, communities were built along waterways— both seacoast and riverbanks— to facilitate the transportation of timber logs for export.