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is a group of countries and dependencies in the Americas where Spanish, French and Portuguese are predominant including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Saint Barthelemy.The term originated in 19th century France as Amérique latine to consider French-speaking territories in the Americas (Haiti, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy) along with the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed.By the first millennium CE, South America's vast rainforests, mountains, plains and coasts were the home of tens of millions of people.

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Latin America can be subdivided into several subregions based on geography, politics, demographics and culture.

If defined as all of the Americas south of the United States, the basic geographical subregions are North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America; the latter contains further politico-geographical subdivisions such as the Southern Cone, the Guianas and the Andean states.

The European powers of Spain and Portugal colonized the region, which along with the rest of the uncolonized world, was divided into areas of Spanish and Portuguese control by the line of demarcation in 1494, which gave Spain all areas to the west, and Portugal all areas to the east (the Portuguese lands in South America subsequently becoming Brazil).

By the end of the sixteenth century Spain and Portugal had been joined by others, including France, in occupying large areas of North, Central and South America, ultimately extending from Alaska to the southern tips of the Patagonia.

With the arrival of the Europeans following Christopher Columbus' voyages, the indigenous elites, such as the Incas and Aztecs, lost power to the heavy European invasion.

Hernándo Cortés seized the Aztec elite's power with the help of local groups who had favored the Aztec elite, and Francisco Pizarro eliminated the Incan rule in Western South America.However, in France the term Latin America was used with the opposite intention.It was supported by the French Empire of Napoleon III during the French invasion of Mexico as a way to include France among countries with influence in the Americas and to exclude Anglophone countries.The idea of a "Latin race" was later taken up by Latin American intellectuals and political leaders of the mid- and late-nineteenth century, who no longer looked to Spain or Portugal as cultural models, but rather to France.However, it is important to clarify that the idea of a "Latin race" is not the same as the idea of "Latin America," even when they are somewhat related among themselves. The first event happened less than a decade before the publication of Bilbao's and Torres Caicedo's works: the Mexican–American War, after which Mexico lost a third of its territory.It is therefore broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America—though it usually excludes French Canada and modern French Louisiana.

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