Latin America consists of twenty sovereign states and several territories. The region comprises nearly 13% of the Earth’s total land surface area. Latin America includes all the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking nations located to the south of the United States. The countries share significant similarities because they were colonized either by Spain or Portugal. The region includes one country in North America (Mexico) and other countries in Central and South America. The independence movements in Latin America began in the early 1800s. At the forefront of these movements were people who had been exposed to the Enlightenment and were opposed to Spain’s many restrictions. The revolutions in North America and France further inspired rebellions. Between 1808 and 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Spain and Portugal and dethroned the Spanish King. The Spanish Empire consequently crumbled and its position in Latin America was weakened. The first uprisings were unsuccessful and happened in Mexico and Venezuela. The wave of independence movements started in 1816, led by Simon Bolivar, and defeated the Spanish army with decisive victories. By 1825, some of the present-day Latin American countries were independent.
Brazil is by far the largest country in Latin America. It stretches out to cover an area of 8,515,767 square kilometers and has a population of 205,573,000 people. The Brazilian capital city is Brasilia. Brazil has abundant natural resources such as oil, iron ore, natural gas, and aluminum. These resources are exported and contribute largely to the country’s GDP. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, the result of Portuguese occupation in the region for over three centuries. There are some other languages spoken by a small percentage of the people who are mostly immigrants and indigenous people. The culture in Brazil is diverse due to immigrants, colonization, and influence of the native people. Rio de Janeiro, one of the largest cities in Brazil, is a tourism hot spot. It is home to the annual Rio Carnival which is one of the greatest festivals in the world and serves to showcase the country’s culture. The city is also home to the renowned Christ the Redeemer statue. 60% of the Amazon forest and the Iguazu Falls are major attractions in Brazil.
Mexico is the third-largest country in Latin America, and its capital city is Mexico City. It covers an area of 1,972,550 square kilometers and has a population of 122,435,500. Mexico has an interesting landscape, with mountain chains on its eastern and western side and a long coastline. Oil is a major export from Mexico along with electronics and automobiles. Mexico has the second-largest economy in Latin America after Brazil. It is an upper-middle-class country that boasts of superior infrastructure than other Latin American Countries. Roman Catholic is the main religion in Mexico, and the Virgin of Guadalupe icon is a national symbol of the prevalence of religion and culture. The dominant language in Mexico is Spanish, and there exist other minor languages spoken by immigrants and indigenous communities.
Columbia occupies an area of 1,141,748 square kilometers and has a population of 48,229,000. Nearly 7.6 million members of the population live in Bogota alone, which is the capital city of Colombia. The country is blessed with natural resources which are exported such as petroleum, nickel, iron ore, natural gas, coal, and gold. Colombia is also an agricultural economy with the cultivation of products such as coffee, cotton, sugarcane, and tobacco. The culture in Colombia is diverse and varies between the interior, countryside, and coastal regions. Spanish is the principal language spoken in the country. Colombia’s national symbols include the Andean Condor bird, and the Orchid, which is the national flower. The Sombrero Vueltiao hat is worn across Colombia and is a famous tourist souvenir.
Argentina occupies an area of 2,780,400 square kilometers and has a population of 43,417,000. The capital city of Argentina is Buenos Aires, which is also a vital port city. The economy of Argentina heavily relies on agricultural exports and its numerous industries. The country has abundant natural resources such as petroleum, lead, iron ore, zinc, and uranium. The dominant language is Spanish, and other minority languages are spoken by immigrants and natives such as German and Guarani. Roman Catholic is the predominant religion in Argentina. Notably, Argentina is known for the Tango dance which has gained popularity across the world. Football is a celebrated and valued sport in the country.
Other Latin American Countries
Latin America encompasses such other countries and territories as Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Guatemala, Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy. The region has two major trade organizations, namely the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, both of which enhance regional trade. The relations between countries in Latin America are generally friendly, and the last armed conflict in the region was in 1995 between Ecuador and Peru.
Which Countries are in Latin America?
Latin America consists of twenty sovereign states and several territories, and comprises 13% of the Earth's total land surface area. Latin America is comprised of all of the Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries to the south of the United States, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Costa Rica.
Which Countries Make Up Latin America?
|11||Bolivia||1,098,581||10,725,000||Sucre and La Paz|
|13||Dominican Republic||48,442||10,528,000||Santo Domingo|
|16||El Salvador||21,040||6,127,000||San Salvador|
|18||Costa Rica||51,100||4,808,000||San José|
|20||Puerto Rico||9,104||3,683,000||San Juan|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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