We’ve all heard the term “Hispanic,” but do you really know what it means? This term is a reference to the culture, people, and nations that are linked to Spain or the Spanish language. This is different from the term "Latino," which refers to the people, culture, and countries in Latin America. "Hispanic" includes Spain but excludes Brazil while "Latino" includes Brazil but excludes Spain.
However, there are different contexts in which the term “Hispanic” is used. For example, the United States Census Bureau defines “Hispanic” as anyone of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, South American, Central American or other Spanish origin. This definition is further expanded to indicate that Hispanics can be any ancestry, ethnicity or race. According to this definition, there were over 50 million people that identified themselves as Hispanic in the last U.S. Census taken in 2010.
Most of the Hispanic countries were once owned by the Spanish Empire after the European colonization of the Americas. However, its earliest meaning was used in reference to the people of Roman Hispania. Today, this area includes Portugal, Andorra, Spain and Gibraltar.
Hispanic countries today are characterized by having Spanish as their official language. These countries include: