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What Is Latin America? - Answers

What Is Latin America?

Map of Latin American Countries

The name Latin America is used to refer to a group of countries and dependencies in the Americas where the Romance languages are predominantly spoken. Quite often, the term Latin America is mistakenly used to collectively refer to the countries in the South American continent. The problem with this reference is that it excludes Mexico which is one of the important Latin American countries. Though geographically located in North America, Mexico’s cultural and linguistic affinity with other South American nations such as Brazil and Colombia ensure its addition in the family of Latin American countries.

Latin America and the Caribbean is considered one composite sub region by the United Nations geoscheme for the Americas. This sub region is further divided into –

  • The Caribbean
  • Central America
  • South America

Here’s a list of the countries that belong to Latin America and the language spoken in them –

Country/Dominion Capital Language(s) Spoken
Argentina Buenos Aires Spanish
Bolivia La Paz (seat of government) Spanish
Sucre (constitutional capital) Quechua
Aymara
Brazil Brasília Portuguese
Chile Santiago Spanish
Colombia Bogotá Spanish
Costa Rica San José Spanish
Cuba Havana Spanish
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo Spanish
Ecuador Quito Spanish
El Salvador San Salvador Spanish
French Guiana (France) Cayenne French
Guadeloupe (France)  Basse-Terre French
Guatemala Guatemala City Spanish
Haiti Port-au-Prince French
Honduras Tegucigalpa Spanish
Martinique (France) Fort-de-France French
Mexico Mexico City Spanish
Nicaragua Managua Spanish
Panama Panama City Spanish
Paraguay Asunción Spanish
Peru Lima Spanish
Quechua
Aymara
Puerto Rico (USA) San Juan Spanish
Saint Barthélemy (France) Gustavia French
Saint Martin (France and Netherlands) Marigot French
Dutch
Uruguay Montevideo Spanish
Venezuela Caracas Spanish

It is believed that the term Latin America was coined by the French emperor Napoleon III in the mid-1800s. In his attempt to conquer parts of South America and expand the imperial colonies of France in the continent he reached the countries that are now counted among the Latin American nations. He found that most of the people in these parts spoke Portuguese, Spanish, and French (as a result of his conquest) – languages that originated from Latin. To strengthen the cultural similarity between France and these countries (and to provide a natural context for his colonial ambitions) Napoleon called them Latin America. The works of José María Torres Caicedo and Francisco Bilbao Barquín also go to show that the writers of the time suggested some similarity between the people of South America and Europe – people they referred to as the “Latin Race”. Spanish and French colonialism may have provided the backdrop for such a thought.

Related Maps:

South America Map
South America Map
Central America Map
Central America Map
Caribbean Islands Map
Caribbean Islands Map

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