Belize City is the largest city in Belize. It is located on a small peninsula protruding into the Caribbean Sea. It was the capital city until flooding and other damage from a hurricane prompted the government to relocated to Belmopan, nearer the geographic center of the country.
It is at the mouth of the Haulover Creek, which is a tributary of the Belize River. The Belize River empties into the Caribbean Sea five miles from Belize City on the Philip Goldson Highway on the coast of the Caribbean. The city is the country's principal port and its financial and industrial hub. Cruise ships drop anchor outside the port and are tendered by local citizens. The city was almost entirely destroyed in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore on October 31. It was the capital of British Honduras (as Belize was then named) until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970. Belize City was founded as "Belize Town" in 1638 by English lumber harvesters. It had been a small Maya city called Holzuz. Belize Town was ideal for the English as a central post because it was on the sea and a natural outlet for local rivers and creeks down which the British shipped logwood and mahogany.