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The Geography of Latin America - Essay Example

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The Spanish and Portuguese speaking portions of Central and South America, which comprise the larger region, and the French, Dutch and English speaking parts of Central and South America located…
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The Geography of Latin America
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Latin America Physical Geography Latin America is made up of two groups of countries based on the languages spoken. The Spanish and Portuguese speaking portions of Central and South America, which comprise the larger region, and the French, Dutch and English speaking parts of Central and South America located in the Caribbean region (“Geography Resources”).
The boundaries of Latin America include the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Cape Horn or the Island of Hornos on the South, the British territories (St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Ascension and the Falkland Islands on the east, and many Caribbean islands like the lesser Antilles and Jamaica on the north (“Geography Resources”).
Cultural Geography
When it comes to language, Latin America has the world’s largest concentration of romance language speakers, derived from Latin, thus the name Latin America. The romance languages spoken in Latin America include Spanish, Portuguese and French (“Geography Resources”).
Culturally, Latin America is all about a blend of many different cultures. Generations of intermarriage between various ethnic groups produced the Blanco of European ancestry, the Mestizo of mixed ancestry, the Indio of Indian roots, and the Negro of African origins. The Blancos usually represent the elite of the society, although most people are mestizos (“Geography Resources”).
As to religion, there is also a variety of systems of faith in Latin America. These include Roman Catholicism, which includes the largest population of believers. Other religions include the minority Christian groups, and some ancient religions like the Macumba, Voodoo and Camdombe, which were the religions of the African slaves (“Geography Resources”).
Latinos are not without their traditional health beliefs and practices. Some of them include the humoral imbalance for illnesses caused by temperature, empacho or indigestion caused by eating the wrong food at the wrong time, mal de ojo or feelings of fatigue and headache caused by the admiration or jealousy of another person who looks at the victim, envidia or envy that causes bad luck or illness, and susto, or the fear coming from a traumatic experience (“Building our Understanding”).
Economic Geography
Latin America actually suffers from high external debts incurred for the financing of large development projects. There is also economic restructuring that is being initiated and enforced by international agencies that lend money. Moreover, the cuts in social programs and services and the rising prices caused many job losses but were countered by communal self-help. The purpose of the economic restructuring is actually to give better lives to all citizens and not just raise the economic status (“Latin America”).
Population Geography
Latin America consists of 490 million people, where half of them live in Brazil (around 170 million) and Mexico (around 100 million). Nevertheless, there is an overall decline in the fertility rate, and where 75% of the population lives in Megacities like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Mexico and Buenos Aires (“Geography Resources”).
Latin America has a mix of peoples coming from Asia, Africa and even Europe. Moreover, it has the largest number of Native Americans in the world (“Geography Resources”)
Contemporary Issues
Contemporary issues that face Latin Americans today include financial dependence on debt servicing systems within the country, export of raw materials, highly stratified social systems where there is corruption at every level of the government, and losses due to competition in the global market because most Latin Americans are undereducated and underskilled (“Latin America”).
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Works Cited
“Building Our Understanding: Culture Insights Communicating with Hispanic Latinos.” Creating a Culture of Healthy Living. 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. “Geography Resources and Environment of Latin America.” The University of Texas at Dallas. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. http://www.utdallas.edu/~pujana/latin/PDFS/Lecture%202-%20Cultural%20Geography%20of%20Latin%20America.pdf
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