What is Latin America?

Latin America

Timothy Two Project International considers the region of Latin America to be all those nations in the Western Hemisphere south of the United States (corresponding to the map at right). And within that region we recognize four sub-regions: 1) North America (Mexico); 2) Central America; 3) South America; and 4) the Caribbean.

However, as can be seen in the article from Wikipedia below, Latin America has had a variety of definitions through the years.

Below are selections from “Latin America” in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Click here for the full article.

Latin America[a] is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as SpanishPortuguese, and French are predominantly spoken. Some subnational regions such as Quebec and parts of the United States where Romance languages are primarily spoken are not included due to the countries as a whole being a part of Anglo America (an exception to this is Puerto Rico, which is almost always included within the definition of Latin America despite being a territory of the United States). The term is broader than categories such as Hispanic America, which specifically refers to Spanish-speaking countries and Ibero-America, which specifically refers to both Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries. The term is also more recent in origin.

The term “Latin America” was first used in an 1856 conference with the title “Initiative of America. Idea for a Federal Congress of the Republics” (Iniciativa de la América. Idea de un Congreso Federal de las Repúblicas),[7] by the Chilean politician Francisco Bilbao. The term was further popularised by French Emperor Napoleon III‘s government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to justify France’s military involvement in Mexico and try to include French-speaking territories in the Americas such as French CanadaFrench Louisiana, or French Guiana, in the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed.[8]

Including French-speaking territories, Latin America would consist of 20 countries and 14 dependent territories that cover an area that stretches from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego and includes much of the Caribbean. It has an area of approximately 19,197,000 km2 (7,412,000 sq mi),[1] almost 13% of the Earth’s land surface area. As of March 2, 2020, population of Latin America and the Caribbean was estimated at more than 652 million,[9] and in 2019, Latin America had a combined nominal GDP of US$5,188,250 million[10] and a GDP PPP of 10,284,588 million USD.[10][11]

The term is sometimes used more broadly to refer to all of the Americas south of the United States,[28] thus including the Guianas (French GuianaGuyana, and Suriname), the Anglophone Caribbean (and Belize); the Francophone Caribbean; and the Dutch Caribbean. This definition emphasizes a similar socioeconomic history of the region, which was characterized by formal or informal colonialism, rather than cultural aspects (see, for example, dependency theory).[29] Some sources avoid this simplification by using the alternative phrase “Latin America and the Caribbean”, as in the United Nations geoscheme for the Americas.[30][31][32]

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