List of Latin American countries and their capitals > Healthtian
Latin America is an area of the world that covers two continents: North America (including Central America and the Caribbean) and South America.
It includes 20 sovereign nations and one non-independent territory, Puerto Rico .
Most people in the region speak Spanish or Portuguese, although French, English, Dutch, and Kreyol are also spoken in sections of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
In general, the countries of Latin America are still considered “developing” or “emerging” nations , with Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina being the most prominent economies.
The population of Latin America has a significant number of mestizos due to its colonial past and the interactions between Europeans, indigenous people, and Africans.
Furthermore, its population is the product of an exceptional history of transcontinental migration : after 1492, 60 million Europeans, 11 million Africans, and 5 million Asians arrived in America.
What are the countries of Latin America and their capitals?
Here are the list 20 Latin American countries and their capitals :
Buenos Ai Sucre,
Chile : Santiago de Chile
San Jose, Costa Rica
San Salvador, El Salvador
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Mexico City, Mexico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo
For Clarifications purposes,
According to popular culture, Haiti is not considered a Latin American country.
This is because French is spoken in this country and not an Iberian language (Spanish or Portuguese).
However, according to the RAE, Haiti is actually a Latin American country .
The concept of Latin America according to the RAE comprises all the countries of America that have a language derived from Latin (Spanish, French, and Portuguese) (Spanish, French, and Portuguese).
Although Spanish is spoken in Puerto Rico, it is not a country.
Puerto Rico belongs to the United States and hence is not a sovereign state.
Latin America encompasses two continents: North America (including Central America and the Caribbean) and South America.
Latin America includes 20 independent nations and one dependent territory, Puerto Rico.
All countries speak Castilian (Spanish) , with the exception of Brazil (Portuguese) and Haiti (French).
What is Latin America?
Latin America is a challenging place to define .
It is sometimes considered a geographic territory that covers the entire Caribbean, that is, all countries in the Western Hemisphere south of the United States, regardless of the language spoken.
Others define it as a territory in which a Romance language predominates (Spanish, Portuguese, or French) or as countries having a history of Iberian colonialism (Spanish and Portuguese) .
The accurate definition, according to the RAE, defines Latin America as the countries in which Spanish, Portuguese, or French predominate .
For the same reason, the English-speaking Caribbean (Jamaica and Trinidad), the English-speaking continental countries (Belize and Guyana), and the Dutch-speaking countries of the hemisphere (Suriname, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles) are not included.
The French Antilles, several islands that belong to France, are also not included.
A brief history of Latin America
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, Latin America had been colonized for millennia by a wide range of indigenous groups, some of whom (Aztecs, Mayans, Incas) had advanced civilizations .
The Spanish were the first Europeans to arrive in America, followed quickly by the Portuguese, who founded Brazil.
Landing first in the Caribbean, the Spanish swiftly pushed their discoveries and conquests into Central America, Mexico, and South America.
Most of Latin America obtained freedom from Spain between 1810 and 1825 , and Brazil earned independence from Portugal in 1825. Of Spain’s two remaining colonies, Cuba attained independence in 1898, at which time Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War.
Latin America is separated into numerous regions: North America , Central America , South America , and the Caribbean .
North America, or simply North America
It is made up of 3 countries, of which only Mexico belongs to Latin America .
Central America, or Central America
It is made up of seven countries, of which six belong to Latin America :
South America is home to 12 separate nations, 10 of which are Latin American :
The Caribbean is the sub region with the most diversified history of European colonization; Spanish, French, English, Dutch, and Kreyol are spoken.
These are the Caribbean countries that belong to Latin America :
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
A brief summary of Latin American countries
Argentina is the second largest country in South America and the third most populous, behind Brazil and Colombia.
It is also the second largest economy in Latin America.
Of interest : our articles on the tourist places of Argentina and the one on typical Argentine food .
Bolivia is one of the highland countries of South America, notable for its rugged environment.
It has a rather large indigenous population, notably Aymara and Quechua.
Of interest : our posts on what to see in Bolivia and the one on typical Bolivian food .
The largest country in South America in both population and physical size, Brazil is also one of the most dominating economies in the world.
It encompasses approximately half of South America’s continent and is home to the Amazon rainforest.
Of interest : our posts on what to see in Brazil and the one on typical Brazilian food .
Known for its affluence relative to the rest of Latin America, Chile also boasts a whiter population with a lower proportion of mestizo people than much of the region.
Of interest : our posts on what to see in Chile and the one on typical Chilean food .
The last Spanish colony to earn its freedom, Cuba is the largest and most populous nation in the Caribbean.
Like in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the indigenous population was almost eradicated in Cuba, and the main racial mixing was between Africans and Europeans.
Of interest : our posts on what to see in Cuba and the one on traditional Cuban food.
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Colombia is the second largest nation in South America and the third largest in all of Latin America.
The country is rich in natural resources, including oil, nickel, iron ore, natural gas, coal, and gold.
Of interest : our articles on what to see in Colombia and the one about typical Colombian food .
Costa Rica is located between Nicaragua and Panama.
It is one of the most stable countries in Central America, partly because it has been able to take advantage of its rich topography for its ecotourism business.
Although it is a medium-sized country within South America, Ecuador is the most densely populated nation on the continent.
It is located along the equator of the Earth.
El Salvador is the smallest but most densely populated country in Central America.
Along with Guatemala and Honduras, the country belongs to the terrible “Northern Triangle”, known for its violence and criminality, which is partly a result of the civil wars of the 1980s.
By far the most populated country in Central America, as well as the most linguistically diverse, is Guatemala, noted for its rich Mayan culture.
About 40% of the inhabitants speak an indigenous language as their mother tongue.
Honduras borders Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
It is tragically regarded as one of the poorest countries in Latin America (66% of the people live in poverty) and the most violent.
Despite being the only North American country that is part of Latin America, Mexico is one of the largest and most important nations on the continent.
Mexico is the largest source of not only Latin American immigration but of all immigrants to the US.
Of interest : our articles on the tourist places of Mexico and the one on typical Mexican food .
The small nation of Paraguay has a reasonably homogeneous population; most individuals are of mixed European and Guarani (indigenous) heritage.
Known for its rich history and the Inca Empire, Peru is the fourth most populous country in South America and the fifth in Latin America.
It is known for its mountainous geography and relatively large indigenous population.
The small island of Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States, yet throughout the past century there has been a persistent discussion over whether to preserve this position or pursue statehood or independence.
Since 1917, Puerto Ricans have been automatically granted US citizenship but do not have the right to vote in presidential elections.
The Dominican Republic contains the eastern two-thirds of what the Spanish invaders termed the island of Hispaniola, and has historically had a contentious relationship with the western third of the island, Haiti.
Culturally and linguistically, the Dominican Republic shares much in common with Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Uruguay is the third smallest country in South America and, like its neighbor Argentina, has a majority population of European heritage (88%).
The largest country in Central America in terms of area is Nicaragua.
It is also the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the region.
Panama, the southernmost country in Central America, has historically had a very tight relationship with the United States, primarily due to the history of the Panama Canal.
With a lengthy coastline on the northern border of South America, Venezuela has much in common culturally with its Caribbean neighbors.
It is the birthplace of the “liberator” of South America, Simón Bolvar.
We hope that this article about the countries of Latin America has been able to clarify your doubts!
Next, we show you those commonly asked queries that let us know.
And if you are a curious tourist, then take a look at our post on the most beautiful cities in Latin America .
Frequently asked questions about Latin America.
How many countries are there in Latin America?
What are the Latin American countries?
List of Latin American countries and their capitals