LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES
Latin American is a political-cultural term used to distinguish the Spanish-and Portuguese-speaking countries of the Americas from the English -speaking countries of the Americas (→ Anglo-America). In the current definition of the term, only those countries in which Spanish or Portuguese is dominant are counted as Latin America. Latin American countries potentially encompasses Hispanic America, some Caribbean islands, as well as almost all of South and Central America.
These include Mexico, Central America (excluding Belize), the Spanish-speaking areas of the Caribbean , and the countries of South America (excluding Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana). The countries of Latin America together have an area of about 20 million km² and the population is around 650 million people (as of 2019).
Latin American Countries and Caribbean
|7||Costa Rica||Central America|
|9||El Salvador||Central America|
|21||Antigua and Barbuda||Caribbean|
|30||Saint Kitts & Nevis||Caribbean|
|32||St. Vincent & Grenadines||Caribbean|
|33||Trinidad and Tobago||Caribbean|
What is Latin America?
Latin America is a political-cultural term used to distinguish the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of America from the English-speaking countries of America (→ Anglo-America). In the current definition of the term, only countries where Spanish or Portuguese are dominant are counted as Latin America.
This includes Mexico, Central America (excluding Belize), the Spanish-speaking Caribbean region, and the countries of South America (excluding Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana). The Latin American countries together have an area of about 20 million km² and a population of about 650 million people (as of 2019).
Latin America thus potentially includes Hispanic America, some Caribbean islands, and nearly all of South and Central America.
Explanation of Each Latin American Countries and Caribbean
The definition of Latin American Countries is not limited to the linguistic connotation alone, but also takes into account the cultural, ethnic, historical, geographical, religious, political, social and economic characteristics. Here is the explanation of each Latin American countries and Caribbean:
Argentina is a country in South America, bordering to the west with Chile, to the northwest with Bolivia, to the north with Paraguay and Brazil and finally to the northeast with Uruguay. To the east, Argentina is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. Its capital is Buenos Aires.
Belize is a small country on the east coast of Central America, bordered by Mexico to the northwest and Guatemala to the west and south. Honduras is located 75 km to the southeast.
Belize is a piece of rainforest open to the Caribbean Sea, a pirate’s paradise before the English colonized it and named it British Honduras. So we find ourselves there on Anglo-Saxon land, in the middle of the Latin American ocean!
A real cultural mosaic, where descendants of black slaves (notably the large Garinagu minority) rub shoulders on the coast, with Spanish-speaking populations on the borders. And also the German-speaking Mennonites in the land, who still often travel in carts, dressed as in the 17th century!
Belize conceals, like the Guatemalan Petén, many Mayan sites, sometimes difficult to access – which also makes it charming. Often, we find ourselves there alone, or almost!
Belize is also a real paradise for ecotourism: reserves of jaguars, or macaws, rivers and secret caves where the Mayas practiced mysterious rituals…
Without forgetting, of course, 250 km of coast hemmed with white sandy beaches and palm trees and, offshore, hundreds of small islands (the cays) strewn along the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world.
Bolivia is a country in South America, without access to the sea. It is surrounded by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Bolivia is made up of two distinct geographical regions. The west is crossed by two north-south cordilleras which border a vast plateau, the Altiplano. To the east extend vast alluvial plains which benefit from a tropical climate. The north of these lowlands belongs to the Amazon basin and is largely covered by forest. La Paz is the administrative capital, Sucre the constitutional capital. The official language is Spanish, although Aymara and Quechua are used and there are still 36 Indian languages, recognized by the 2009 constitution.
The Federal Republic of Brazil is bordered to the north by the Guianas and Venezuela, to the west by Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, to the south by Argentina and Uruguay. Brazil is bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. It is the largest state in South America. Its capital is Brasilia. The official language is Portuguese.
Chile extends over 4,265 km from north to south, and from west to east on a strip of land between 15 km (in Puerto Natales, in the south of the country) and 350 km (in Antofagasta in the north). Its coastline is bordered almost entirely by the Pacific Ocean and for a short portion by the Atlantic Ocean. Chile borders Argentina on more than 5000km, Bolivia and Peru. The Atacama Desert, located in the north of the country, is the driest desert in the world. Its capital is Santiago de Chile.
Fourth country of the subcontinent by its surface, fourth biodiversity in the world, Colombia is endowed with a relief of an extreme diversity. Located in the extension of the Isthmus of Panama, it is the only country in South America to be bordered by two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, i.e. nearly 3000 km of coastline. The country is divided into five major regions: the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Andes, the Orinoco and the Amazon. The capital of Colombia is Bogota.
Costa Rica is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, which represents 1290 km of coastline. The country is crossed from northeast to southeast by a volcanic mountain range. The mountains are at the origin of three types of climate: the humid tropical zone of the Atlantic, the temperate zone of the central valley and the tropical zone of the Pacific characterized by very hot summers and very accentuated rainy seasons. The capital of Costa Rica is San José.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. It includes the main island, the Isle of Youth and more than 4000 islets and coral reefs, mostly uninhabited. Cuba is respectively 170 km from Florida (north), 77 km from Haiti (east), 140 km from Jamaica (southeast) and 210 km from Mexico (west). The four mountain ranges spread over the island occupy a third of its area. The other two thirds of the territory are made up of grassy plains. Its capital is Havana.
Dominica is a country and an island in the Caribbean archipelago, located between the French islands of Saintes and Marie-Galante (two dependencies of Guadeloupe) to the north, and Martinique to the south. Its pre-Columbian name is Wai’tu kubuli which means “His body is great”. Dominica is a paradise island as we often meet in the Caribbean. It is located halfway between Martinique and Guadeloupe, hence the incessant struggle for centuries between French and English to appropriate this territory.
The first European to have approached it was Christopher Columbus, during his second voyage, in 1493. Before its independence in 1978, Dominica was an associated state of the British crown (West Indies Associated States) and, before 1967, a British colony that was a member of the short-lived West Indies Federation (1958-1962). The island previously had a French presence until the Treaty of Paris in 1763. However, France briefly occupied the island again twice thereafter (1778 and 1814).
Dominica has to deal with 3 languages on its territory: Creole, the language of the majority of Dominicans, English, the official language bequeathed by the last colonizers, then French, the language that served as the lexical base for Dominican Creole and that of the neighboring islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The Dominican Republic (in sp. República Dominicana) is a state located in the eastern part of the island of Haiti (or island of Hispaniola) which it shares with the republic of Haiti (western part). It is the second largest island in the Greater Antilles after Cuba.
The Dominican Republic is limited to the west by Haiti, but bordered on all sides by the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea to the south. This republic occupies 64% of the surface of the island, that is to say 48,730 km² in its eastern part; for its part, Haiti has an area of 27,750 km². By comparison, the area of the entire island of Cuba is 100,860 km²; that of Spain, 504,782 km².
Bordered to the north by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to the south, this paradise tropical island reveals its 1,609 km of coastline, 402 km of the most beautiful beaches in the world, its seaside resorts and dream hotels, in addition to a wide choice of sports and entertainment. Here, let yourself be lulled to the rhythm of merengue, reborn in the most luxurious resorts, or set off to explore the vestiges of past centuries.
Ecuador bordering from Peru to the south and east and Colombia to the northeast, bathed to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Its area is 283,520 km2, divided into three major regions: the Pacific coast, where the city of Guayaquil is located, the Andean part of the country, where the capital and main city of the country, Quito, is located, and Ecuadorian Amazon, in the east of the country.
The smallest (21,041 km2) and most densely populated Central American country (295 inhab./km2, for a population of 6 million in 2010), El Salvador is also the only one in the region to have only a single coastline, on the Pacific coast. It is located in an earthquake zone. Two volcanic mountain ranges cross it lengthwise, forming a central valley, where the most important cities are located, including the capital San Salvador, and a narrow coastal plain.
Independent from Spain in 1821, the country, which formed one of the five provinces of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, joined the Central American Federation, then constituted itself an independent state in 1841. Coffee cultivation became, during the 19th century, the basis of the social structure of the country. National elites control its production and export in order to consolidate their political power. But this discriminatory system, together with the strong social inequalities and tensions on the land, generated two important conflicts in the 20th century. In 1932, the army crushed a revolt of peasants and seized power until 1979. From 1980 a civil war broke out between the guerrillas of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and a civilian government, within which the he army is present and has a certain autonomy and support from the United States. The conflict ended in 1992 with the signing of an agreement which had been negotiated within the framework of a United Nations operation. This provides for the demilitarization and democratization of political life. Since then, the two camps have clashed at the polls, in a peaceful context, but in a country affected by severe poverty, rising crime and relative economic stagnation. The strategy of diversification through the development of assembly industries implemented at the end of the civil war did not produce the expected results, and the country is today very dependent on money transfers sent by the many migrants settled in the United States.
Grenada, Gwenad (Grenadian Creole French), is an island country and the name of a related island of the Lesser Antilles, which is geographically one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea. The island nation forms an independent member state of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Grenada is nicknamed the “Island of Spices” for its cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and especially mace and nutmeg.
Grenada has been a member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) since December 14, 2014.
Guatemala is a mountainous country, with the exception of the plains located along the coasts. The capital is Ciudad de Guatemala. The main language is Spanish, but there are still 23 indigenous languages, the main ones being Quiché, Mam, Cakchiquel and Kekchi.
Guyana (lagwiyan in Creole) is a French overseas region and department in South America. It is the largest French department. It is also the most wooded, 96% of the territory being covered by an equatorial forest which remains among the richest and least fragmented in the world from an ecological point of view. Its prefecture is Cayenne. The official language is French, the regional language, Guyanese Creole.
The Republic of Haiti is a Caribbean country that includes the western part of the island of Hispaniola and several other small islands in the Caribbean Sea. Haiti is the second independent country in the Americas after the United States. The country is also one of the largest sugar producers in the world.
Located east of Cuba and 190 km northeast of Jamaica, the Republic of Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Haiti (formerly Santo Domingo) and includes several dependencies (the island of la Gonâve, which occupies the entrance to the bay of Port-au-Prince, the island of Tortue, located off the northern coast of the North-West peninsula, and many small islands).
If French was declared an official language in 1918, Haiti has been an officially bilingual country since the Constitution of 1987. French is generally spoken by the educated elite and Creole by the entire population.
The official name is the Republic of Honduras. Its area is 112,492 km2 and its capital is Tegucigalpa. Honduras forms, with neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador, the northern triangle of the Central American isthmus. However, its longest border is the one it shares with Nicaragua. The north coast of the country is bordered by the Caribbean Sea. The country has access to the Pacific Ocean through the Gulf of Fonseca. The central mountains are crossed by rivers that flow into the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The lowlands of the southern part form a plain along the Pacific coast. The large fertile valleys of these lowlands are mainly dedicated to the cultivation of bananas.
Jamaica is a mixed island where American, Spanish, African and Caribbean influences mingle. The island is for the moment more familiar with American tourists who are fans of “all inclusive”, eager for fine sandy beaches, and cruise tourists stopping there for the afternoon, than backpackers looking for meetings. authentic. However, Jamaica deserves some attention. Reggae, Rastafarianism… Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff left a lasting mark on the culture of Jamaica, their native island. From the beaches of Ocho Rios to the village of Nine Miles, via Spanish Town, discover Jamaica, the African heart of the Caribbean. Jamaica… Its image says a lot about what this island exudes!
A mountainous country, Mexico is bordered to the north by the United States, to the south by Guatemala and Belize. It is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic Ocean). Mexico City is the capital of Mexico, it has more than 20 million inhabitants for the whole agglomeration, it is one of the most populated in the world. The official language is Spanish, but we also speak Nahuatl (1.2 Million), Maya (714,000), Zapotec (403,000), Mixtec (387,000). (Source France Diplomacy)
Three distinct geographical areas make up Nicaragua: to the east, the lowlands of the Atlantic which experience heavy rainfall, hurricanes and cyclones, it is a sparsely populated region, then the central mountainous region where the altitude cools the temperature of this tropical zone and finally the plains bordering the Pacific, dotted with volcanoes, a dry tropical region characterized by high temperatures. The south of the country, on the border with Costa Rica, is marshy, natural disasters (cyclones, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes) periodically put down the efforts of men and the seasonal rains are sometimes particularly destructive. The capital is Managua.
Panama is a narrow strip of land between two continents. Seven times smaller than France, Panama nevertheless has a wide geographical variety (central cordillera, two very different coastlines, large lakes, humid or dry tropical forests, savannas and arid zone in the Azuero peninsula). The capital is Panama. The official language is Spanish (85% of the population of which 14% also speak English), and there are also 15% of the population who still speak Native American languages.
Paraguay is a landlocked country between Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. It is a flat country, whose highest point is Cerro San Rafael, located 850 meters above sea level. Once covered in vast forests, now replaced by soybean and corn plantations, its two largest rivers are the Paraguay River and the Parana River. The climate varies from subtropical to temperate. The rains are high in the east, while the western part of the country (Chaco) has a semi-arid climate. The capital is Asuncion. The official languages are Spanish and Guarani.
Peru is located in western South America. It is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, to the east by Brazil and Bolivia, to the south by Chile and to the west by the Pacific Ocean, crossed by the Andes mountain range and penetrated by the Amazon forest. It is the third largest country in the subcontinent, after Brazil and Argentina. Its territory is made up of three main regions: the coastal zone (Costa) made up of fertile plains providing the bulk of agricultural and industrial production, the mountainous zone (Sierra) which includes the Andes Cordillera and the Amazon region (Selva) . Lake Titicaca, the largest high-altitude lake in the world (8,340 km², 3,900 m), is located in the southeast, on the border between Peru and Bolivia. Its capital is Lima. The official language is Spanish and in the regions where they predominate, Quechua, Aymara and the Amazonian languages.
The Republic of Suriname, formerly known as Dutch Guiana or Dutch Guiana, is a country in South America and a former Dutch colony. The country is bordered by French Guiana to the east and Guyana to the west. It is bordered to the south by Brazil and to the north by the Atlantic Ocean.
Suriname is located in the north of Brazil, in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The former “Dutch Guyana” is almost entirely covered with forests and rivers. Another draw is Suriname’s fascinating ethnic diversity: Surinamese are descended from African slaves, Dutch settlers, Asian workers and Native Americans.
Uruguay is the smallest of the South American states. It borders Brazil (985 km), Argentina (579 km) and has 660 km of coastline. Located in the geographical continuity of the Argentine Pampas, it is mainly made up of large plains but also of low altitude and steep mountains such as the Cuchilla de Haedo and the Cuchilla Grande. It is the only South American country to be entirely in the temperate zone. The capital is Montevideo.
Located at the northern end of South America, Venezuela is bordered to the north and northeast by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Guyana, to the south by Brazil and to the west by Colombia. The country also includes 72 islands, the largest of which is Margarita. Venezuela is crossed by many rivers and streams, the most important of which is the Orinoco, the third largest river in South America. The country conceals immense natural reserves, most often listed as world heritage sites, as the country’s biological diversity and geological wealth are exceptional. The capital is Caracas. The official language is Spanish but there are also 40 indigenous languages (wayuu, piaroa, pemón, guahibo, etc.).