Saturday, June 19, 2010


Latin America was a name coined by "Emperor of Mexico" Maximilian I in an effort to gain legitimacy, since his patron, Napoleon III, spoke French, a Latinate tongue like Spanish and Portuguese. Maximilian didn't last, but the coinage of "Latin America" is one of the most successful of all time. Latin America is traditionally defined as the regions of America whereSpanish, the language of Spain, and Portuguese, the language of Portugal, were spoken -- in other words, every part of the Western hemisphere that was not Anglo America. (English is aGermanic language.) Therefore, virtually all of the Western Hemisphere except the United States, Canada, and the non-Hispanophone countries of the Caribbean have tended to come under the heading of Latin America. Other areas wherelanguages derived from Latin, such as Papiamento and Kreyol, predominate are sometimes included and sometimes excluded from Latin America, depending on the speaker.

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