Latin America (Spanish: América Latina or Latinoamérica; Portuguese: América Latina; French: Amérique latine, Dutch: Latijns-Amerika) is a region of the Americas where Romance languages (i.e., those derived from Latin) – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² (7,880,000 sq mi), almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area. As of 2010, its population was estimated at more than 590 million and its combined GDP at 5.16 trillion United States dollars (6.27 trillion at PPP). The Latin American expected economic growth rate is at about 5.7% for 2010 and 4% in 2011. According to Phelan (1968, p. 296), the term "Latin America" was first used in 1861 in La revue des races Latines, a magazine 'dedicated to the cause of Pan-Latinism'.
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“Americans living in Latin American countries are often more snobbish than the Latins themselves. The typical American has quite a bit of money by Latin American standards, and he rarely sees a countryman who doesnt. An American businessman who would think nothing of being seen in a sport shirt on the streets of his home town will be shocked and offended at a suggestion that he appear in Rio de Janeiro, for instance, in anything but a coat and tie.”
—Hunter S. Thompson (b. 1939)
“Latin America is very fond of the word hope. We like to be called the continent of hope. Candidates for deputy, senator, president, call themselves candidates of hope. This hope is really something like a promise of heaven, an IOU whose payment is always being put off. It is put off until the next legislative campaign, until next year, until the next century.”
—Pablo Neruda (19041973)