Belize is as big as … New Hampshire? Massachusetts? Or New Jersey?

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Couple of young Mennonite lads hawking watermelons in Corozal District last October.
No. 7 on the list of 25 things you probably didn’t know about Belize: Couple of young Mennonite lads hawking watermelons in Corozal District last October.

Unless you are Guatemala, the accepted size of Belize is 8,867 square miles. Right?

If you are Guatemala, you believe your prior claim entitles you to a big chunk of Belize.

A big, big chunk.

One of a few hand-crank ferries operating on Belize rivers, this one in Corozal District.
No. 13 on the list: One of a few hand-crank ferries operating on Belize rivers, this one in Corozal District.

But for the time being, let’s assume that dispute will be tied up in bureaucratic dickering for a few years to come.

So the major question then becomes, “Is Belize about the same size of Massachusetts or not?” That is the comparison I have seen in every story I’ve read about Belize.

Until today.

A fluffy little piece in Huffington Post (redundancy alert), “25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Belize,” says it is the size of New Hampshire.

I didn’t know that.

Honestly it doesn’t matter to me. We’ll be moving to Ambergris Caye’s  San Pedro in just a little more than a week and it wouldn’t matter to me if Belize were the size of Rhode Island – which it may be if Guatemala gets its way – it will be home.

But the editor in me chaffs at situations like this.

So which is it – Massachusetts or New Hampshire?

The answer is New Jersey.

Perhaps.

I know, I know. Who wants to be compared to New Jersey?

No.8 on the list: A shocker, Belize has beaches and "long stretches at that." Islands, too.
No.8 on the list: A shocker, Belize has beaches and “long stretches at that.” Islands, too.

(Insert your own Chris Christie joke here.)

Finding the size of these states on the Internet is no easy job. The answers are – sorry – all over the map. Massachusetts is anywhere between 8262 square miles and 10,555. New Jersey ranges between 7417 and 8729 sq. mi. New Hampshire? Depending on your source, between 8867 and 9351 sq. mi.

How to explain the differences?

I don’t know. Climate change? Obamacare? Too many indifferent websites? Republican budget cuts?

Of all the numbers, New Hampshire came closest, just 101 square miles larger than Belize.

So I guess Huffington Post was right: “17. It’s the size of New Hampshire: But there are only about 35 people per square mile, in a population of just over 300,000 — the lowest population density in Central America.”

By the way, of the “25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Belize,” I didn’t know four. They all had to do with food.  Belizeans like ketchup on fried chicken? Didn’t know that.

I did know that the country’s plentiful speed bumps are called “sleeping policeman” and that Marie Sharpe sauce is ubiquitous. But “gibnut”? Are you kidding me?

Ask the Internet a simple question and sometimes you can get some incredibly dumb answers. How many things can you find wrong in this picture from wiki.answers.com? The site never did give an answer to the question "What is the size of Belize?".
Ask the Internet a simple question and sometimes you can get some incredibly dumb answers. How many things can you find wrong in this picture from wiki.answers.com? The site never did give an answer to the question “What is the size of Belize?”.
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