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Portal:Latin America

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Introduction

Latin America (orthographic projection).svg

Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, French and Portuguese are predominantly spoken; it is broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America. The term "Latin America" was first used in an 1856 conference with the title "Initiative of the America. Idea for a Federal Congress of Republics" (Iniciativa de la América. Idea de un Congreso Federal de las Repúblicas), by the Chilean politician Francisco Bilbao. The term was used by Napoleon III's French government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to consider French-speaking territories in the Americas, (French Canadians, French Louisiana, French Guiana, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy) along with the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed, including the Spanish-speaking portions of the United States (Southwestern United States and Florida) Today, areas of Canada and the United States (with the exception of Puerto Rico) where Spanish, Portuguese and French are predominant are typically not included in definitions of Latin America.

Latin America consists of 13 dependencies and 20 countries which cover an area that stretches from the northern border of Mexico to the southern tip of South America, including 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 2016, its population was estimated at more than 639 million and in 2014, Latin America had a combined nominal GDP of US$5,573,397 million and a GDP PPP of 7,531,585 million USD.

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The Ruins of Sacsayhuamán
Credit: Martin St-Amant

Panorama of The Ruins of Sacsayhuamán, a main sight in the City of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire and Peru. It is a major tourist destination and receives almost 1.5 million visitors a year.

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A juvenile condor in Colca Canyon, Peru
The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is a species of South American bird in the New World vulture family Cathartidae and is the only member of the genus Vultur. Found in the Andes mountains and adjacent Pacific coasts of western South America, it has the largest wingspan (at 3.2 m or 10.5 ft) of any land bird. It is a large black vulture with a ruff of white feathers surrounding the base of the neck and, especially in the male, large white patches on the wings. The head and neck are nearly featherless, and are a dull red color, which may flush and therefore change color in response to the bird's emotional state. In the male, there is a wattle on the neck and a large, dark red comb or caruncle on the crown of the head. Unlike most birds of prey, the male is larger than the female. The Andean Condor is a national symbol of Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador, and plays an important role in the folklore and mythology of the Andean regions. The Andean Condor is considered near threatened by the IUCN. It is threatened by habitat loss and by secondary poisoning from carcasses killed by hunters. Captive breeding programs have been instituted in several countries.


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Latin American News

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Moai at Rano Raraku, Easter Island
Credit: Aurbina

Moai are monolithic 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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