Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, French or Portuguese are predominantly spoken. Some territories such as Quebec, where French is spoken, or areas of the United States where Spanish is predominantly spoken are not included due to the country being a part of Anglo America. The term is broader than categories such as Hispanic America which specifically refers to Spanish-speaking countries or 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), 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 Canada, French Louisiana, or French Guiana, in the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed.
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), 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, and in 2019, Latin America had a combined nominal GDP of US$5,188,250 million and a GDP PPP of 10,284,588 million USD. (Full article...)
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The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are located in Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia. Six of these former missions (all now secular municipalities) collectively were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Distinguished by a unique fusion of European and Amerindian cultural influences, the missions were founded as reductions or reducciones de indios by Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries to convert local tribes to Christianity.
The interior region bordering Spanish and Portuguese
territories in South America was largely unexplored at the end of the 17th century. Dispatched by the Spanish Crown
, Jesuits explored and founded eleven settlements in 76 years in the remote Chiquitania - then known as Chiquitos
- on the frontier of Spanish America. They built churches (templos
) in a unique and distinct style that combined elements of native and European architecture. The indigenous inhabitants of the missions were taught European music as a means of conversion
. The missions were self-sufficient, with thriving economies, and virtually autonomous from the Spanish crown. (Full article...
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Cuba ( KEW-b?, Spanish: ['ku?a] ), officially the Republic of Cuba (Spanish: República de Cuba [re'pu?lika ðe 'ku?a] ) is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Hispaniola, and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The official area of the Republic of Cuba is 109,884 square kilometers (42,426 sq mi) (without the territorial waters). The main island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 104,556 square kilometers (40,369 sq mi). Cuba is the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Haiti, with over 11 million inhabitants.
The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno
people from the 4th millennium BC
until Spanish colonization
in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony
until the Spanish-American War
of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States
and gained nominal independence
as a de facto United States protectorate
in 1902. As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system
, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup
and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista
in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959
by the 26th of July Movement
, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro
. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba
. The country was a point of contention during the Cold War
between the Soviet Union
and the United States, and a nuclear war
nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis
of 1962. Cuba is one of a few extant Marxist-Leninist socialist states
, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party
is enshrined in the Constitution
. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights
abuses, including short-term arbitrary imprisonment
. (Full article...
The following are images from various Latin America-related articles on Wikipedia.
Intermediate level international-style Latin dancing at the 2006 MIT ballroom dance competition. A judge stands in the foreground.
Cuban soldiers with Soviet helmets
Countries in Latin America by date of independence
Holy week, Ouro Preto-MG, 2010. Chrome. Photo: Guy Veloso.
A 17th-century map of the Americas
In blue countries under right-wing governments and in red countries under left-wing and centre-left governments as of 2020
human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people
on Easter Island
in eastern Polynesia
between the years 1250 and 1500 CE
.Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku
, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu
around the island's perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-eighths the size of the whole statue. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora
) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna
).The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most were cast down during later conflicts between clans.
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