A Portuguese speaker, sometimes called a Lusophone, is someone who speaks Portuguese either as a native speaker or as a learner. The notion of a Lusophonic community extends to people who are culturally and linguistically linked to Portugal, either historically or by choice. The idea of a Lusosphere is free of ethnic connotation, in that a Lusophone may not have any Portuguese ancestry at all. The Lusophone world is mainly a legacy of the Portuguese empire, although Brazilian and Portuguese diaspora communities have also played a role in spreading the Portuguese language. Even after the collapse of the empire, the corresponding countries continue to exhibit both cultural and political affinities, expressed in the existence of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, created in 1996.