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Latin America and the Caribbean

(8,817 words)

Author(s): Prien, Hans-Jürgen | Lampe, Armando
In current U.N. usage the “major area” (i.e., continent) “Latin America and the Caribbean” includes the entire continental landmass south of the United States, plus the collection of islands roughly enclosing the Caribbean Sea. Besides the Caribbean (also called the West Indies), this major area comprises the regions of Central America (here referring to the eight countries from Mexico south to Panama) and South America. 1. Latin America 1.1. Term “Latin America” was from the beginning a cultural-historical rather than a geographic term. Although the origin of t…