Latin America[lower-alpha 3] is a cultural concept denoting the Americas where Romance languages—languages derived from Vulgar 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 Hispanic America, Brazil, French West Indies and Antillean Creole French speaking Caribbean countries.
|Area||20,111,457 km2 (7,765,077 sq mi)|
|Population||656,098,097 (2021 est.)[lower-alpha 1]|
|Population density||31/km2 (80/sq mi)|
|Languages||Romance languages |
Quechua, Mayan languages, Antillean Creole, Guaraní, Aymara, Nahuatl, Haitian Creole, German, English, Dutch, Mapudungun, Yiddish, Welsh, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Greek, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, other languages
|Time zones||UTC−02:00 to UTC−08:00|
|Largest cities||Largest urban areas:|
1. São Paulo
2. Mexico City
3. Buenos Aires
4. Rio de Janeiro
10. Belo Horizonte
|UN M49 code|
The term "Latin America" is broader than categories such as Hispanic America, which specifically refers to Spanish-speaking countries; and Ibero-America, a term not generally used that specifically refers to Spanish, French and French Creole-speaking countries and Portuguese-speaking countries sometimes 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, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti and the French Antillean Creole Caribbean islands Saint Lucia and Dominica, in the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed.
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.