This small nation on the northeast coast of Central America was formerly known as British Honduras, a protectorate and later self-governing colony of the United Kingdom. The early foundations of Mayan civilization are believed to have spread here between 2500 BCE and 250 CE, thereafter following what is known as Classical Mayan Civilization. Although explored by the Spanish and declared one of her colonies, it was only after the establishment of a trade colony in the 17th century by what became known as the Baymen (British and Scottish buccaneers and pirates) that the region took on foreign colonialist administration. The region was officially recognized as a colony in 1862 and would continue as such until granted nominal self-governance in 1964. Seventeen years later, in September of 1981, Belize was granted full independence, although units of the British Armed Forces (British Forces Belize) would continue to remain in country for many years to come, officially to provide protection against possible incursion by neighboring Guatemala, with whom the country shares a border and a long-standing territorial dispute.
The Belize Defence Force (BDF) was founded in 1978, following the disbanding of two territorial units the year before, the Belize Volunteer Guard, and the Police Special Force. The BDF is concerned with ground and air defence, the Belize Coast Guard with maritime matters, and the Belize Police Department with internal security and law enforcement.
Camouflage Designs worn in Belize
- The standard working uniform of the BDF was for many years a mixture of olive green and woodland camouflage seen here.
- The Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG), a special operations unit tasked primarily with counter-narcotics duties, has recently been documented wearing uniforms in Multicam pattern camouflage.
- First adopted in 2011, a copy of the Russian Armed Forces' green pixelated design is now the standard camouflage pattern of the Belize Defence Force. Its adoption was spurred by the fact that woodland pattern camouflage uniforms were too easy for the general public to obtain, thus conflicting with a national mandate making it illegal for citizens to own military issue clothing.
- Members of the Special Boat Unit (SBU) - a special unit under the Air Wing - have worn a woodland camouflage with a blue colorway in recent years. This has since been replaced with a digital pattern.
- Some units of the Belize Defense Force, including the Special Boat Unit (SBU), the Anti-Drug Unit, and the newly formed Navy SEAL Team of the Coast Guard, wear a pixelated design similar to that of the US Navy. This has replaced the previously worn blue "woodland" pattern design.