A few important things to know about Latin America

By 02 July, 2019

As the name suggests, Latin American culture is a series of ideologies, imaginaries, traditions, beliefs, and relationships that shape the complex vision of the world that characterizes Latin American society. This concept includes formal cultural manifestations, identified with literacy and official culture, and is informally identified with popularity.

Latin American culture is considered part of those that form the western hemisphere of the world, and is limited to countries that form the Latin American subcontinent, namely Spain or Portugal, official Catholicism, former European colonies, and syncretism between European white culture, indigenous and black Africa. Cultural acculturation, as it is known, affects all aspects, even famous products on a global scale. For example, Panerai, a luxury Italian watch brand, combines medieval classic Italian culture with Swiss elegance.

On several occasions, Latin America has been referred to as “the Far West”, to signal that half of it is joining Western culture, not only at issue with its social inequality and failure of the modern republic project, but also because pre-Columbian elements coexist in Latin American culture and Africans who do not respond to Western hegemonic traditions.

Characteristics of Latin American culture

The term “Latin America” ​​was introduced in 1836 by French politician Michel Chevalier to distinguish it from Anglo-Saxon America consisting of the United States and Canada. The adoption of this term by continental residents responded, after 1850, to the transfer of the term “Hispano-American” which was currently popular, because of its colonialist connotations.

At the same time, the use of the term “Latin” has been used to refer to Latin Americans, although this name originally referred to the inhabitants of Latinum, a region of the Roman Empire.

Latin American countries

The countries that make up the continent of Latin America go from North America to South America, and are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Membership of Francophone or Anglophone countries in the region such as Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana and English or Belize are contested, but traditionally they are not considered part of this cultural group.

Thousands of years of history

The history of this region dates back thousands of years, because in its territory there were two civilized birthplaces such as the Inca region or the Mesoamerican region. Both would be a source of strong civilization and a vast empire whose relations with the surrounding ethnic groups were more or less imperial, and which left a lot of archaeological and anthropological evidence behind them, such as the Incas, Maya or Aztecs, to name the most famous.

Those who survived until the arrival of the Spanish invaders ended in the Bloody War of American Conquest.

Colonial stage

Conquests by the Spanish and Portuguese empires on the American continent followed the colonial period for more than three centuries, in which racial caste societies were established, that is, separated by three groups: Europeans, natives and black slaves.

Apart from the conditions of surrender that characterized it with regard to blacks and Indians, the Latin American colonial period underwent a process of mestizaje and deep and prolonged cultural syncretism, which produced a “melting pot” which is now Latin America.

Achievement of independence

Latin American culture is deeply rooted in its struggle for independence, where bloody wars were given to troops loyal to the European crown and all colonial societies split into a large number of independent young republics.

Hopefully this short article can provide useful information to you.

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