Latin America - population
Latin America's indigenous population is virtually
extinct in many places, but especially in northern Central
America (southern Mexico and Guatemala according to
Countryaah.com) and in several
Andean states (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru), the Indians still
make up a large proportion of the population. Furthermore,
the population composition in Latin America is characterized
by immigration from Europe during the colonial era and the
large supply of slaves from Africa (see slave trade), which
is also reflected in the culture, which has its roots on all
three continents. The African clay is especially prominent
in the tropical coastal areas where plantation operations
were widespread; Latin Americans of European descent make up
the majority of people in much of southern South America and
are in many places politically dominant.
This mix of the three population groups is a
characteristic feature of Latin America and has also
resulted in a number of group designations. In colonial
times, in the Spanish territories, peninsulares
(people born in the Iberian Peninsula), Creoles (Europeans
born in the Americas), mestizos (of mixed European-Native
American origin), mulattes, blacks, zambos (of
mixed African -American origin) were distinguished.
Native American origin) and Native Americans. The order at
the same time broadly denotes the real hierarchy of the
colonial era. The distinction between peninsular and creole
was of great importance in the time leading up to
independence, but then lost significance. The group names
are increased (see eg chola and ladino) and has evolved from
being based on race to more based on cultural affiliation;
however, they are still largely linked to different
positions in the hierarchies of society.
Latin America - legal systems
After the Latin American countries that were Spanish
colonies during the first decades of the 1800s. had become
independent, instead of the obsolete legal system of the
Spaniards, they chose to introduce the French law books.
They were modern, written in a clear and powerful language,
and harmonized with the revolutionary ideas of freedom and
equality that prevailed in Latin America. Some Latin
American Civil Code is not much more than a translation of
the French Code Napoléon; this applies to Haiti,
Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and to some extent Mexico.
Other Latin American countries, under the influence of
the Chilean Civil Code of 1855, introduced more original
statutes, such as Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay and
a number of Central American countries. The Argentine Civil
Code of 1869 (with amendments from 1968) is also an
independent work that, like the Chilean, is heavily
influenced by the French, but has also drawn inspiration
from other sources, including German and North American
authors. The same applies to the Brazilian Code of 2003, see
Brazil (legal system). These more modern law books are
considered to be better classified than the French, and they
are, like it, written in a clear and distinct language.
Latin America - cuisine
The cuisines of Latin America are mixed kitchens with
many common features, which derive from the continent's past
under Spanish and Portuguese rule. The mix with Native
American, African and other European cuisines has created a
rich gastronomic mix culture.
Gastronomically, the area can be roughly divided into
areas mainly characterized by Native American culture
(Mexico, Central America, the Andean region and the Amazon),
the African influenced areas (Caribbean and most of Brazil)
and areas of strong European influence (Argentina, Uruguay
and southern Brazil).
The basic ingredients are Indian corn, brown and black
beans and chili (both mild and strong, found in at least 100
varieties) as well as rice, and in the Andean region
potatoes (found in several hundred varieties). In addition,
many vegetables are used, among others. tomato (green and
red) and squash as well as sweet potato (sweet potato). In
Mexico-Central America, the pancake-like cornbread
tortilla is a central part of daily food. Among the
Indians of the Amazon, cassava (used for cassava flour) and
flour banana are among the most important ingredients. Meat
is in most places a luxury. Most common are poultry and
In the African-influenced cuisine, black beans, rice,
melan banana, coconut flour, yams and pork are the most
common ingredients. In Brazil, national law is the heavy
feijoada, whose main ingredients are just the above.
In (southern) European-style cuisine (beef) meat plays an
important role. In the bovine area of southern Brazil,
Uruguay and Argentina, as well as in some other places, the
beef is cooked roasted as asado, as grilled steak,
churrasco, or you use gut on barbecue or in cooked
Along the coasts and on the great rivers, fish play a
significant role, especially along the Pacific coast. From
Peru comes the raw marinated fishing seviche, which
has spread to Mexico in the north and Chile in the south.
From Mexico, tamales have spread to most of the
continent. It is a corn dough wrapped around a filling,
after which it is all wrapped in corn or banana leaves and
steamed. Another common dish, of European origin, is
empanadas, a kind of small, closed pies with stuffing.
In Chile, they are almost considered a national dish. Common
is also pasta in different forms, not least in soups and as
a side dish.
The continent's vast wealth of fruits is also part of the
gastronomy, either fresh, partly candied or as ingredients
in many dishes and desserts.