Belmopan (pronounced /ˌbɛlmoʊˈpæn/), estimated population 20,000 is the capital of Belize.
Belmopan is located at 17°15′N 88°46′W / 17.25°N 88.767°W / 17.25; -88.767, at an altitude of 76 metres (250 ft) above sea level. Belmopan was constructed just to the east of Belize River, 80 km (50 miles) inland from the former capital, the port of Belize City, after that city's near destruction by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. The government was moved to Belmopan in 1970, and its National Assembly Building is designed to resemble a Pre-Columbian Maya temple.
At its inception and afterward, Belmopan was governed by the corporation RECONDEV (Reconstruction and Development Corporation), which answered to the government.
Residents of Belmopan voted in a referendum in 1999 to switch to direct election of a city council. In 2000, Belmopan was incorporated as a city and held its first City Council election. Anthony Chanona of the People's United Party was elected mayor with a six-man slate, and reelected in 2003. Following the UDP's municipal victory of 2006, the Mayor of Belmopan is Simeon López.
As Belmopan is the seat of government, many of its inhabitants work for the national government in various administrative or technical roles. Many are based in the large cluster of government buildings located around the National Assembly building.
Belmopan currently has approximately 589 business establishments (the 1997 census revealed the presence of 373). Five international banks are located in the city, as are several local financial institutions. A bus terminal and market complex were constructed in 2003.
Within the zoning regulations, Belmopan has set aside approximately 200 acres (81 ha) of land made up mostly of one-acre (4,000 m²) parcels within city limits. While there is very little industrial activity at present, the council has embarked on a scheme to attract local and foreign investment to the city. Plans are underway to create a 100-acre (40 ha) industrial park close to the municipal airstrip, a paved strip with no control tower or hangars.