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Portal:Latin America

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Introduction

Latin America (orthographic projection).svg

Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, French and Portuguese are predominantly spoken; it is broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America. The term "Latin America" was first used in an 1856 conference with the title "Initiative of the America. Idea for a Federal Congress of Republics" (Iniciativa de la América. Idea de un Congreso Federal de las Repúblicas), by the Chilean politician Francisco Bilbao. The term was used by Napoleon III's French government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to consider French-speaking territories in the Americas, (French Canadians, French Louisiana, French Guiana, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy) along with the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed, including the Spanish-speaking portions of the United States (Southwestern United States and Florida) Today, areas of Canada and the United States (with the exception of Puerto Rico) where Spanish, Portuguese and French are predominant are typically not included in definitions of Latin America.

Latin America consists of 13 dependencies and 20 countries which cover an area that stretches from the northern border of Mexico to the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean. It has an area of approximately 19,197,000 km2 (7,412,000 sq mi), almost 13% of the Earth's land surface area. As of 2016, its population was estimated at more than 639 million and in 2014, Latin America had a combined nominal GDP of 5,573,397 million USD and a GDP PPP of 7,531,585 million USD.

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Juscelino Kubitschek bridge in Brasilia
Credit: Eric Gaba

The Juscelino Kubitschek bridge (Portuguese: Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek), also known as the President JK Bridge or just the JK Bridge, is a steel and concrete bridge that crosses Lake Paranoá in Brasília, capital of Brazil.

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Cerro Azul (blue hill in Spanish), sometimes referred to as Quizapu, is an active stratovolcano in the Maule Region of central Chile, immediately south of Descabezado Grande. Part of the South Volcanic Zone of the Andes, it rises 3,788 meters (12,428 ft) and is capped by a summit crater that is 500 meters (1,600 ft) wide and opens to the north. Beneath the summit, the volcano features numerous scoria cones and flank vents. Cerro Azul is responsible for South America's largest recorded eruptions, in 1846 and 1932. In 1846, an effusive eruption formed the vent at the site of present-day Quizapu Crater on the northern flank of Cerro Azul and sent lava flowing down the sides of the volcano, creating a lava field 8–9 square kilometers (3–3.5 square miles) in area. Phreatic and Strombolian volcanism between 1907 and 1932 excavated this crater. In 1932, one of the largest explosive eruptions of the 20th century occurred at Quizapu Crater and sent 9.5 cubic kilometers (2.3 cu mi) of ash into the atmosphere. The volcano's most recent eruption was in 1967. The South Volcanic Zone has a long history of eruptions and poses a threat to the surrounding region. Any volcanic hazard—ranging from minor ashfalls to pyroclastic flows—could pose a significant risk to humans and wildlife. Despite its inactivity, Cerro Azul could again produce a major eruption; if this were to happen, relief efforts would probably be quickly organized. Teams such as the Volcanic Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) are prepared to effectively evacuate, assist, and rescue people threatened by volcanic eruptions.


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Moai at Rano Raraku, Easter Island
Credit: Aurbina

Moai are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500 CE.Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island's perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-eighths the size of the whole statue. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna).The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most were cast down during later conflicts between clans.

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