Hispanic America (Spanish: Hispanoamérica, or América hispana), also known as Spanish America (Spanish: América española), is the region comprising the Spanish-speaking nations in the Americas.[1][2]

These countries have significant commonalities with each other and with Spain, its former European metropolis. In all of these countries, Spanish is the main language, sometimes sharing official status with one or more indigenous languages (such as Guaraní, Quechua, Aymara, or Mayan), or English (in Puerto Rico).[3] Catholic Christianity is the predominant religion.[4]

Hispanic America is sometimes grouped together with Brazil under the term "Ibero-America", meaning those countries in the Americas with cultural roots in the Iberian Peninsula.[5] Hispanic America also contrasts with Latin America, which includes not only Hispanic America, but also Brazil, as well as the former French colonies in the Western Hemisphere (areas that are now in either the United States or Canada are usually excluded).[6]


The Spanish conquest of the Americas began in 1492, and ultimately was part of a larger historical process of world discovery, through which various European powers incorporated a considerable amount of territory and peoples in the Americas, Asia, and Africa between the 15th and 20th centuries. Hispanic America became the main part of the vast Spanish Empire.

Napoleon's takeover of Spain in 1808 and the consequent chaos initiated the dismemberment of the Spanish Empire, as the Hispanic American territories began their struggle for emancipation. By 1830, the only remaining Spanish American and Asian territories were the Philippine archipelago and the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico, until the 1898 Spanish–American War.



Country Population[7] Area[a] GDP (nominal)[8][b] GDP (nominal) per capita GDP (PPP) GDP (PPP) per capita
Argentina Argentina 43,847,430 2,780,400 545.12 12,502.82 874.07 20,047.49
Bolivia Bolivia 10,887,882 1,098,581 34.83 3,169.56 78.66 7,218.49
Chile Chile[9] 17,909,754 756,950 247.03 13,575.99 438.75 24,112.94
Colombia Colombia 48,653,419 1,141,748 282.36 5,792.18 688.82 14,130.18
Costa Rica Costa Rica 4,857,274 51,000 58.11 11,834.84 80.70 16,435.83
Cuba Cuba 11,475,982 110,861 81.56[10] 7,600.00 132.90 11,900.00
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 10,648,791 48,730 72.19 7,159.49 161.84 16,049.46
Ecuador Ecuador 16,385,068 256,370 98.01 5,929.69 183.61 11,108.56
El Salvador El Salvador 6,334,722 21,040 26.71 4,343.44 54.79 8,909.43
Guatemala Guatemala 16,582,469 108,890 68.17 4,088.95 131.70 7,899.20
Honduras Honduras 9,112,867 112,492 21.36 2,608.58 43.17 5,271.47
Mexico Mexico 127,540,423 1,972,550 1,046.00 8,554.61 2,315.65 18,938.32
Nicaragua Nicaragua 6,149,928 129,494 13.05 2,120.31 33.55 5,451.71
Panama Panama 4,034,119 75,571 55.12 13,654.07 92.95 23,023.88
Paraguay Paraguay 6,725,308 406,752 27.44 4,003.28 64.40 9,396.02
Peru Peru 32,215,538 1,285,220 245.20 6,198.61 479.811 12,903.09
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (U.S.) 3,411,307 9,104 101.30 29,696.57 130.97 38,393.07
Uruguay Uruguay 3,444,006 176,215 54.57 15,679.17 74.92 21,527.27
Venezuela Venezuela 31,568,179 916,445 287.27 9,258.34 426.97 13,760.56
Total 411,342,767 11,466,903 3,315.34 8,059.80 6,414.64 15,594.39

Largest cities

City Country Population Metro
Mexico City  Mexico 8,851,080 23,137,152
Buenos Aires  Argentina 3,050,728 15,941,973
Lima  Peru 9,752,000 12,140,000
Bogotá  Colombia 8,080,734 9,367,587
Santiago  Chile 5,428,590 7,200,000
Caracas  Venezuela 3,273,863 5,239,364
Guatemala City  Guatemala 2,149,188 4,500,000
Guadalajara  Mexico 1,564,514 4,424,584
Monterrey  Mexico 1,133,814 4,106,054
Medellín  Colombia 2,636,101 3,731,447
Guayaquil  Ecuador 2,432,233 3,328,534
Santo Domingo  Dominican Republic 1,111,838 3,310,171[11]
Havana  Cuba 2,350,000 3,073,000
Maracaibo  Venezuela 2,201,727 2,928,043
Puebla  Mexico 1,399,519 2,728,790
Asunción  Paraguay 525,294 2,698,401
Cali  Colombia 2,068,386 2,530,796
San Juan  Puerto Rico 434,374 2,509,007
San José, Costa Rica  Costa Rica 1,543,000 2,158,898
Toluca  Mexico 820,000 1,936,422
Montevideo  Uruguay 1,325,968 1,868,335
Quito  Ecuador 1,397,698 1,842,201
Managua  Nicaragua 1,380,300 1,825,000
Barranquilla  Colombia 1,148,506 1,798,143
Santa Cruz  Bolivia 1,594,926 1,774,998
Valencia  Venezuela 894,204 1,770,000
Tijuana  Mexico 1,286,157 1,751,302
Tegucigalpa  Honduras 1,230,000 1,600,000
La Paz  Bolivia 872,480 1,590,000
San Salvador  El Salvador 540,090 2,223,092
Barquisimeto  Venezuela 1,116,000 1,500,000
León  Mexico 1,278,087 1,488,000
Córdoba  Argentina 1,309,536 1,452,000
Juárez  Mexico 1,301,452 1,343,000
San Pedro Sula  Honduras 1,250,000 1,300,000
Maracay  Venezuela 1,007,000 1,300,000
Rosario  Argentina 908,163 1,203,000
Panama City  Panama 990,641 1,500,000
Torreón  Mexico 548,723 1,144,000
Bucaramanga  Colombia 516,512 1,055,331


European colonies and claimed areas in the Americas, ca. 1750.
Linguistic map of Latin America. Spanish America in green, Portuguese America (Brazil) in orange, and French Guiana and French Caribbean in blue.
Quechua, Guarani, Aymara, Nahuatl, Mayan languages, Mapudungun.

Spanish is the official language in most Hispanic American countries, and it is spoken by the vast majority of the population. Native American languages are widely spoken in Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay and Mexico, and to a lesser degree, in Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile amongst other countries. In some Hispanic American countries, the population of speakers of indigenous languages tend to be very small or even non-existent (e.g. Uruguay). Mexico is possibly the only country that contains the largest variety of indigenous languages than any other Hispanic American country, and the most spoken native language is Nahuatl.

In Peru, Quechua is an official language, alongside Spanish and any other indigenous language in the areas where they predominate. In Ecuador, while holding no official status, the closely related Quichua is a recognized language of the indigenous people under the country's constitution; however, it is only spoken by a few groups in the country's highlands. In Bolivia, Aymara, Quechua and Guaraní hold official status alongside Spanish. Guaraní, along with Spanish, is an official language of Paraguay, and is spoken by a majority of the population (who are, for the most part, bilingual), and it is co-official with Spanish in the Argentine province of Corrientes. In Nicaragua, Spanish is the official language, but on the country's Caribbean coast English and indigenous languages such as Miskito, Sumo, and Rama also hold official status. Colombia recognizes all indigenous languages spoken within its territory as official, though fewer than 1% of its population are native speakers of these languages. Nahuatl is one of the 62 native languages spoken by indigenous people in Mexico, which are officially recognized by the government as "national languages" along with Spanish.

Other European languages spoken in Hispanic America include: English, by some groups in Puerto Rico; German, in southern Chile and portions of Argentina, Venezuela, and Paraguay; Italian, in Argentina, Venezuela, and Uruguay; Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian in Argentina; and Welsh, in southern Argentina.[12][13][14][15][16][17] Yiddish and Hebrew can be heard around Buenos Aires. Non-European or Asian languages include Japanese in Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay; Korean in Argentina and Paraguay; Arabic in Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and Chile; and Chinese throughout South America.

In several nations, especially in the Caribbean region, creole languages are spoken. Creole languages of mainland Latin America, similarly, are derived from European languages and various African tongues.

The Garifuna language is spoken along the Caribbean coast in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize mostly by the Garifuna people a mixed race Zambo people who were the result of mixing between Indigenous Caribbeans and escaped Black slaves. Primarily an Arawakan language, it has influences from Caribbean and European languages.



Hispanic cuisine as the term is applied in the Western Hemisphere, is a misnomer. What is usually considered Hispanic cuisine in the United States is mostly Mexican and Central American cuisine. Mexican cuisine is composed of mainly indigenous—Aztec and Mayan—and Spanish influences.[citation needed]

Mexican cuisine is considered intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO and can be found all over the United States.

In the United States, with its growing Hispanic population, food staples from Mexican cuisine and the cuisine from other Hispanic countries have become widely available. Over the years, the blending of these cuisines has produced unique American forms such as Tex-Mex cuisine. This cuisine, which originated in Texas, is based on maize products, heavily spiced ground beef, cheese and tomato sauces with chilies. This cuisine is widely available not just in the United States but across other countries, where American exports are found. In Florida, Cuban food is widely available. All of these Hispanic foods in the United States have evolved in character as they have been commercially americanized by large restaurant chains and food companies.

The cuisine of Spain has many regional varieties, with Mediterranean flavors based on olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes and due to its long Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, has been graced with a great variety and availability of seafood. In the inland communities of Spain, there is a long tradition of cured meat of different kinds, in addition to an abundance of dishes such as roasts and stews, based on beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. The European and Arab heritage of Spain is reflected in its food, along with cosmopolitan influences beginning in the many new ingredients brought in from the New World since the 16th century, e.g. tomatoes, potatoes, or chocolate, and the more modern tastes introduced from Europe since the 19th century, especially through French and Italian dishes. It is only in the last ten years[when?] that Hispanic American dishes have been introduced in Spain. In the United States and Canada, the number of Hispanic restaurants has become a growing trend, following the tapas-style restaurants fashion that first appeared in North America in the 1990s.

Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican cuisines, on the other hand, tend to use a lot of pork and can depend heavily on starchy root vegetables, plantain, and rice. The most prominent influences on their Spanish culinary traditions were introduced by African slaves, and to a lesser degree, French influence from Haiti and later Chinese immigrants. The use of spicy chile peppers of varying degrees of strength used as flavour enhancers in Mexican tradition is practically unknown in traditional Spanish–Caribbean dishes. The cuisine of Haiti, a country with a Francophone majority, is very similar to its regional neighbors in terms of influences and ingredients used.

The Argentine diet is heavily influenced by the country's position as one of the world's largest beef and wine producers, and by the impact that European immigration had on its national culture. Grilled meats are a staple of most meals as are pastas, potatoes, rice, paella and a variety of vegetables (Argentina is a huge exporter of agricultural products). Italian influence is also seen in the form of pizza and ice cream, both of which are integral components of national cuisine. Chilean cuisine is similar to that of Argentina, though seafood is much more dominant in this coastal nation. As another one of the world's largest producers, wine is as much a staple drink to Chileans as beer is to Germans.

In Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, potato dishes are typical since the potato is originally from this region. Beef and chicken are common sources of meat. In the Highlands is the cuy, a South American name for guinea pig, a common meat. Given the coastal location, both countries have extensive fishing fleets, which provide a wealth of seafood options, including the signature South American dish, ceviche. While potato is an important ingredient in the Highlands, Rice is the main side dish on the coast.

This diversity in staples and cuisine is also evident in the differing regional cuisines within the national borders of the individual countries.



Flag of Hispanic Heritage. Motto: Justicia, Paz, Unión y Fraternidad ("Justice, Peace, Union and Fraternity").[18]

While relatively unknown, there is a flag representing the countries of Spanish America, its people, history and shared cultural legacy.

It was created in October 1933 by Ángel Camblor, captain of the Uruguayan army. It was adopted by all the states of Spanish America during the Pan-American Conference of the same year in Montevideo, Uruguay.[18]

The white background stands for peace, the Inti sun god of Inca mythology symbolizes the light shining on the Americas, and the three crosses represent Christopher Columbus' caravels, the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María, used in his first voyage from Spain to the New World in 1492. The deep lilac color of the crosses evokes the color of the lion on the coat of arms of the medieval Crown of Castile.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Values listed in km².
  2. ^ Values listed in billions USD.


  1. ^ All of the following dictionaries only list "Spanish America" as the name for this cultural region. None list "Hispanic America." All list the demonym for the people of the region discussed in this article as the sole definition, or one of the definitions, for "Spanish American". Some list "Hispanic," "Hispanic American" and "Hispano-American" as synonyms for "Spanish American." (All also include as a secondary definition for these last three terms, persons residing in the United States of Hispanic ancestry.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (3rd ed.) (1992). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-44895-6. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) (2003). Springfield: Merriam-Webster. ISBN 0-87779-807-9. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (2nd ed.) (1987). New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-50050-4. Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles (2007). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-920687-2. Webster's New Dictionary and Thesaurus (2002). Cleveland: Wiley Publishing. ISBN 978-0-471-79932-0
  2. ^ "Hispanic America" is used in some older works such as Charles Edward Chapman's 1933 Colonial Hispanic America: A History and 1937 Republican Hispanic America: A History (both New York: The Macmillan Co.); or translated titles that faithfully reproduce Hispanoamérica, such as Edmund Stephen Urbanski (1978), Hispanic America and its Civilization: Spanish Americans and Anglo-Americans, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. The Cambridge University Press textbook by two distinguished historians of early Latin America, James Lockhart and Stuart B. Schwartz is entitled, Early Latin America: A History of Colonial Spanish America and Brazil 1983.
  3. ^ "CIA – The World Factbook – Field Listing – Languages". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  4. ^ "CIA – The World Factbook – Field Listing – Religions". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  5. ^ The adjective "Ibero-American" usually refers only to countries of the Western Hemisphere, but in the title of the Organization of Ibero-American States it refers to Iberian and (Ibero-)American countries, plus Equatorial Guinea.
  6. ^ "Latin America" The Free Online Dictionary (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000, 4th ed. Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003.)
  7. ^ "Population, total Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  8. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". www.imf.org. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  9. ^ "Demografia de Chile" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 27, 2009. 
  10. ^ "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  11. ^ "República Dominicana; Población estimada y proyectada por año y sexo, según región, provincia y municipio. 2000-2010" (in Spanish). Oficina Nacional de Estadística (ONE). Archived from the original on 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2010-04-13.  Context page: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2010-04-13.  ("Poblacion estimada y proyectada región provincia y municipio 2000-2010.xls")
  12. ^ "Reference for Welsh language in southern Argentina, Welsh immigration to Patagonia". Bbc.co.uk. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  13. ^ "The Welsh Immigration to Argentina". 1stclassargentina.com. 
  14. ^ Jeremy Howat. "Reference for Welsh language in southern Argentina, Welsh immigration to Patagonia". Argbrit.org. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  15. ^ "Reference for Welsh language in southern Argentina, Welsh immigration to Patagonia". Patagonline.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  16. ^ "Reference for Welsh language in southern Argentina, Welsh immigration to Patagonia". Andesceltig.com. 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  17. ^ "Reference for Welsh language in southern Argentina, Welsh immigration to Patagonia". Glaniad.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  18. ^ a b Raeside, Rob (ed.) (1999-10-11). "Flag of the Race". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  19. ^ Image of the standard of the Crown of Castile