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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.
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 government was attempting to build a national culture emerging from colonialism with a new settlement pattern and a new economy. Belize is at the southern end of the Yucatan peninsula, facing the Caribbean Sea. The latest massive inflow came from Latinos in the neighboring countries fleeing the civil unrest of the 1980s.
Hurricane devastation, however, has led to the greater use of ferro-concrete for building after 1960.The building of the capital city, Belmopan, in the late 1960s was a crowning achievement of the nationalist movement, radically transforming the settlement pattern.The immediate reason was to rebuild after the massive destruction of the old capital, Belize City, by a hurricane in 1961; another reason was to attract the population into the hinterland to engage in agriculture, which the government was promoting to replace timber, the hallmark of the colonial economy.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.
At the private level the current small sizes of houses for the large numbers of occupants leads to relatively small space available for individuals.