Belize is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 408,487 (2019). Its mainland is about 290 km (180 mi) long and 110 km (68 mi) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The Maya Civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 300 and flourished until about 1200. European contact began in 1502. Independence was achieved from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1981. English is the official language of Belize, while Belizean Creole is the most widely spoken national language, being the native language of over a third of the population. Over half the population is multilingual, with Spanish being the second most common spoken language. It is known for its September Celebrations, its extensive barrier reef coral reefs and punta music.