Portal:Latin America

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Latin America, also spelled LatAm is a large cultural region in the Americas where Romance languages — languages derived from Latin — are predominantly spoken. The term was coined in the nineteenth century, to refer to regions in the Americas that were ruled by the Spanish, Portuguese and French empires. The term does not have a precise definition, but it is "commonly used to describe South America, Central America, Mexico, and the islands of the Caribbean." In a narrow sense, it refers to Spanish America plus Brazil (Portuguese America), . The term "Latin America" is broader than categories such as Hispanic America, which specifically refers to Spanish-speaking countries; and Ibero-America, which specifically refers to both Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries while leaving French and British excolonies aside.

The term Latin America was first used in an 1856 conference called "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 popularized by French emperor Napoleon III's government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to justify France's military involvement in the Second Mexican Empire and to include French-speaking territories in the Americas such as French Canada, French Louisiana, French Guiana or Haiti, in the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed.

The United Nations has played a role in defining the region, establishing a geoscheme for the Americas, which divides the region geographically into North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, founded in 1948 and initially called the Economic Commission on Latin America ECLA, comprised Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Also included the 1948 establishment were Canada, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and the U.S.A. Obtaining membership later were former colonial powers Spain (1979) and Portugal (1984). In addition, countries not former colonial powers in the region, but many of which had populations immigrate, there are part of ECLAC, including Italy (1990), Germany (2005), Japan (2006), South Korea (2007), Norway (2015), Turkey (2017). The Latin American Studies Association was founded in 1966, with its membership open to anyone interested in Latin American studies.

The region covers 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, the 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 trillion and a GDP PPP of US$10,284,588 trillion. (Full article...)

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Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola).jpg

The Guianan cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola) is a species of cotinga, a passerine bird from South America. It is about 30 cm (12 in) in length and weighs about 200 to 220 g (7.1 to 7.8 oz). It is found in tropical rainforests, near its preferred habitat of rocky outcrops. The female's plumage is brownish / dark smokey grey in colour, and generally less noticeable than the males because of their nesting work in rocky areas. The male's feathers are a bright orange. Both have a heavy body, broad-based bill and wear a remarkable half-moon crest on the head. It is one of two species of the genus Rupicola, the other being the Andean cock-of-the-rock. The Guianan cock-of-the-rock lives across the forested region of northeastern South America. Its diet consists mostly of fruit, but they sometimes feast on small snakes and lizards.

The Guianan cock-of-the-rock breeds in the early months of the year and, on average, the female lays her eggs around March. The females choose a mate by flying down to the ground and pecking the male on his rump. The male then turns around and the mating takes place almost immediately. During the height of the mating season, males engage in competitive displays in lek, which is a complex courting behaviour that is done to attract females. Males and females live separately except when the females choose a mate. The mating success varies based on multiple factors, ranging from the plumage exhibited by a male to the composition of the lek itself. There is speculation that the male-to-male competition is an important factor in lek formation and breeding. The main predators of the Guianan cock-of-the-rock are harpy eagles and black-and-white hawk-eagles. (Full article...)
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Mexican cuisine consists of the cooking cuisines and traditions of the modern country of Mexico. Its earliest roots lie in Mesoamerican cuisine. Its ingredients and methods begin with the first agricultural communities such as the Olmec and Maya who domesticated maize, created the standard process of maize nixtamalization, and established their foodways. Successive waves of other Mesoamerican groups brought with them their own cooking methods. These included: the Teotihuacanos, Toltec, Huastec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Otomi, Purépecha, Totonac, Mazatec, Mazahua, and Nahua. With the Mexica formation of the multi-ethnic Triple Alliance (Aztec Empire), culinary foodways became infused (Aztec cuisine).

Today's food staples native to the land include corn (maize), turkey, beans, squash, amaranth, chia, avocados, tomatoes, tomatillos, cacao, vanilla, agave, spirulina, sweet potato, cactus, and chili pepper. Its history over the centuries has resulted in regional cuisines based on local conditions, including Baja Med, Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxacan, and the American cuisines of New Mexican and Tex-Mex. (Full article...)
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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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