Belize began as British Honduras, a colony on the northeastern coast of Central America, and continued on as a member of the British Commonwealth after gaining its independence on September 21, 1981. Like most commonwealth countries, the Queen of England acts as head of state with a Governor-General representing her. The bicameral National Assembly of Belize consists of a Senate, whose members are appointed by the Governor, and the elected House of Representatives. The legal system uses English Common Law, with the Magistrates' court and the Supreme Court appealling to the Court of Appeal and final appeals being heard at the Caribbean Court of Justice.
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