"Latins" refers to different groups of people and the meaning of the word changes for where and when it is used.
The original Latins were an Italic tribe inhabiting central and south-central Italy. Through conquest by their most populous city-state, Rome, the original Latins culturally "Romanized" or "Latinized" the rest of Italy. In this way the word "Latin" ceased to mean a particular people or ethnicity. Subsequently, other regions, particularly the European ones such as Italy, Spain, Romania, Portugal and France became lastingly culturally "Latinized" by the Roman Empire. Thus, from an early stage in its history, when used as a label for various groups of people, the term "Latin" has had purely legal and cultural meanings, not ethnic.
A millennium after the fall of the Western Roman Empire they were part of, these European nations began to spread their Latin-derived languages and cultures around the world through their own empires, especially in the Americas. The meaning of the term "Latin" has thus broadened from its ancient meaning to refer to a number of different peoples in Europe and in Latin America, typically those who speak Romance languages.
Famous quotes containing the word latins:
“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)