Dear EC members,
I would like all of you know this continent, which is the owner of a big and intresting culture.
The brown continent is diveded in three parts: North America, Central America and South America. A big percentage of the population speak spanish as a mother tongue and have the chatolicism as a principal beliving -every day there are more and more evangelics-.
Here a little literature about the continent, and I hope you could know what you ignore about latinos.
Latin America was traditionally defined as the regions of the Americas where Spanish, the language of Spain, and Portuguese, the language of Portugal, were spoken. In practice, however, virtually all of the Western Hemisphere except the United States, Canada, and the English-speaking Caribbean nations have tended to come under the heading of Latin America.
From a social-political perspective, including only independent countries, Latin America corresponds roughly to all nations south of the Rio Grande, consisting of Mexico (in North America), most of Central and South America, and the countries of the Caribbean where Spanish, French, Portuguese or Creoles based on those languages are spoken. Following that criteria, Latin America is divided into 20 independent countries and several dependent political units. Brazil is by far the largest country in Latin America both in area and in population. It occupies more than 40 percent of the region's land area and has about a third of its people. Its official language, Portuguese, is not officially spoken in other American countries.
The languages of Spain and Portugal came into being with a blend of Latin and local dialects and so it is this and the need to differenciate between the south of the northern American continent, the United States of America, and the southern continent itself that brought about the term 'Latin America'. The language and peoples of Latin America are not connected to the Latium region of Italy and do not speak the ancient Latin language. Futhermore, many people in Latin America do not speak the official Latin-derived languages, but languages indigenous to the region or languages brought by immigration.
Québec, Acadia and other French-speaking areas in Canada, Louisiana, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and other places north of Mexico are traditionally excluded from the Social-political definition of Latin America, despite significant populations speaking a Latin-derived language, because they don't exist as independent states, and/or because they are geographically isolated from the rest of Latin America. French Guiana, however, is usually included, despite being a dependency of France and not an independent country.
The related term Iberoamerica is sometimes used to refer to the nations that were formerly colonies of Spain and Portugal, as these two countries are located on the Iberian peninsula. The Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) takes this definition a step further, by including Spain and Portugal (often termed the Mother Countries of Latin America) among its member states, in addition to their Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking former colonies in America.
Latin America is most seen as encompassing the following countries:
Belize, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela
And the following dependencies:
To the United States
A large percentage of the people in Latin America are of mixed origins, the result of racial intermingling among European settlers, African slaves, and American natives, with notable exception of the "Southern Cone" ("cono sur": Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, southern Brazil) where the population and the culture is more marked by later European Immigration. Outside of the "Southern Cone", this mixture of backgrounds ("Mestizaje" in Spanish) has profoundly influenced religion, music, and politics, and given rise to a vague identity of those belonging to these mixed cultures; this imprecise cultural heritage is (arguably improperly) called Latinos in American English. Outside of the USA, and in many languages (especially romance ones) "Latino" just means "Latin" (which refers to cultures and peoples that can trace their heritage back to the ancient Roman Empire.)
The Spanish and Portuguese (in the 10 most populated countries), and French (in smaller countries, in the Caribbean, and in French Guiana) languages predominate.
Many Caribbean nations have their own African-influenced Creole versions of these languages. Native American languages are spoken in many Latin American nations, mainly Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bolivia and Mexico.
The primary religion throughout Latin America is Roman Catholicism, but one can also find practitioners belonging to Protestant, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Mormon, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Bahá'í, indigenous, and various Afro-Latin American traditions, such as Santería, and Macumba.
One of the main characteristics of Latin American music is its diversity; contrarily to a widespread view (especially in the US), there is not one specific Latin American style of music. The so-called "Latin music" covers generally only the Hispano-Caribbean music (salsa, merengue, bachata, etc.), that is to say the styles of music that have been strongly influenced by African rythms and melodies. It is also possible to find completly different styles of music in Latin America, such as the Argentinean tango, Mexican ranchera or the various styles of music from Pre-Columbian traditions that are widespread in the Andean region. In Brazil, samba, American jazz, the European classical music and choro have developped the so-called bossanova music. As concerning the musicology field, classical composer Heitor Villalobos worked on the recording of native musical traditions. His classical works have been heavily influenced by them too.
Recently Latin American music has become more commercial due to a meteoric interest from international markets. A fusion of local rhythms with regular pop music have created Latino Pop, which is still popular in many countries