Hispanic ( _es. hispano, hispánico; _pt. hispânico; _la. Hispānus, adjective from "Hispānia", the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula) is a term that historically denoted relation to the ancient Hispania (geographically coinciding with the Iberian peninsula; modern day Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar) or to its pre-Roman peoples.

The term is now being propagated within the U.S. to convey the notion of a homogeneous culture and people despite overshadowing the diversity of cultures in countries formerly ruled by colonial Spain. The diversity of Spanish dialects are also being eclipsed such as Andalusian Spanish, Canarian Spanish, Castilian Spanish, Extremaduran as well as dialectical differences across the Americas. [ [http://www.spanish.bz/dialects.htm How Did Latin American Spanish Develop?] ] True to its colonialistic origins, this political movement seeks to market Spanish speakers as a powerful, transnational group from countries and regions around the world [ [http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=TzHIWtvQbLsC&dq=hispanism&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=bKOi22MFQ6&sig=RwjtRtfIOIFSxoALdSKchwZaRfg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPR8,M1 Ideologies of Hispanism] ] despite other linguistic, cultural or racial backgrounds, including the Southwestern United States and Florida; the African nations of Equatorial Guinea, Western Sahara, and the Northern coastal region of Morocco; the Asia-Pacific nations of the Philippines, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and throughout the traditional lands of indigenous peoples of the Americas which also often include descendents of Africans or other European immigrant groups.


The etymology of the term Hispanic [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Hispanic Online Etymology Dictionary] Hispanic] is derived from Hispania, a Greek word for the Iberian Peninsula [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=hispania&searchmode=none Online Etymology Dictionary] Hispania] (present-day Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar).

"Hispanus" was the Latin name given to the people of Hispania, the "Hispano-Romans"Fact|date=September 2008. The construction of ethnic identities were used as a means to gain legitimacy and to organize in overcoming the Roman world [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=OAZ1WNWSockC&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&dq=Hispano-Romans&source=web&ots=guGgdj2YJ3&sig=VP_iIaQ1aiGVUHIQ2Hcy4vSXluU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result Strategies of Distinction] ] similar to methods used in the United States in the design of Hispanism. The Hispano-Romans were composed of people from many different tribes of Hispania. [ [http://www.arqueotavira.com/Mapas/Iberia/Populi.htm Povos Pré-Romanos da Península Ibérica] a map showing the various Pre-Roman peoples of Iberia.] Some famous "Hispani" (plural of "Hispanus") were Seneca the Elder, Seneca the Younger, Lucan, Martial, Prudentius, the Roman Emperor Trajan, the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, and also Magnus Maximus and Maximus of Hispania. The etymology of the words "Hispanic", "Spanish", and "Hispano-Roman" find their origins in, Hispania, a Latin word derived from Greek.

*"Hispano-Roman" is used to refer to the culture and people of Hispania, ancestors of the Portuguese and Spanish peoples. (historical meaning).Fact|date=September 2008
*"Hispania" meant the Iberian Peninsula to the Greeks while the native land of the Hispano-Romans later became a province of the Roman empire and even later became known as Al-Andalus to Muslim occupiers which heavily influenced the development of the Andalusian civilization. [ [http://www.unm.edu/~hebs/pubs/McMillanBoone_1999_PopulationHistory.pdf Population History and the Islamization of the Iberian Peninsula: Skeletal Evidence from the Lower Alentejo of Portugal] ]
*"Hispanic" is used to refer to modern Spain, to the Spanish language, and to the Spanish-speaking nations of the Americas. [ [http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/hispanic?view=uk Ask Oxford] ] [ [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/Hispanic Merriam Webster Online] ]
*"Spanish" is used to refer to the Spanish language, the culture, and the people of Spain
*"Spaniard" is used to refer to the people of Spain. Prior to the marriage of Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469, the four Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, namely the Kingdom of Portugal, the Crown of Aragon, the Crown of Castile, and the Kingdom of Navarre, were collectively referred to as Hispania, the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula. This usage in medieval times appears to have originated in Provençal and appears to be first documented at the end of the 11th century. In the Council of Constance, the four kingdoms shared one vote.

Portugal adopted the word "Lusitanic, [ [http://www.iltec.pt/mordebe/?action=browse&l1=l&l2=u MorDebe. uma Base de Dados Morfológica de Português ] ] or "Lusitanian" to refer to its the culture and people in reference to the Lusitanians, one of the first Indo-European tribes to settle in Europe, from which later on derived the name of the Roman province of Lusitania, which was a part of Roman province of Hispania. Portugal's name in Latin is Lusitania. The expansion of the Spanish Empire between 1492 and 1898 brought thousands of Spanish migrants to the conquered lands, creating a large settlement that stretches all over the world and producing several multiracial populations. Portuguese speakers, however, are not considered "Hispanic" by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Definitions in the USA

The terms "Hispanic and Latino" tend to be used interchangeably in the United States even though, in some Spanish speaking countries, they are not commonly used. "Latino", from American Spanish, is an abbreviation for "Latinoamericano", originally referring to someone from South America residing in the United States. [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Latino Online Etymology Dictionary] Latino/Latinoamericano ] "Latin", of course, is the language of the ancient Romans, [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=latin&searchmode=none Online Etymology Dictionary] Latin] from a people earlier known as Latins habitating in a region of central Italy known as Latium.

During the 1970s, various groups lobbied the United States Government to formally define Spanish speakers as "non-white Hispanics" (in disregard of actual skin color or racial background) for Census data in order to qualify them for affirmative action programs. The lobbying efforts resulted in Public Law 94-311, "Economic and Social Statistics for Americans of Spanish Origin" on June 16, 1976. [ [http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED130811&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED130811 Public Law 94-311, "Economic and Social Statistics for Americans of Spanish Origin"] ] [ [http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4805&page=373 COLLECTION OF RACE AND ETHNICITY DATA IN THE CENSUS] The National Academies Press] The 1970 Census was the first time that an "Hispanic" identifier was used and data collected with the question being modified in each successive Census. The 2000 Census placed the "Hispanic" question before the race question asking if the person was "Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" and requiring a box to be checked "No" if the person was not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino. [http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0075/twps0075.html#f1 Aruthur R. Crese, Audrey Dianne Schmidley and Roberto R. Ramirez. Identification of Hispanic Ethnicity in Census 2000: Analysis of Data Quality for the Question on Hispanic Origin, Population Division Working Paper No. 75, U.S. Census Bureau, July 27, 2004 [Revised July 9, 2008] .]

The ethnic label Hispanic was the result of efforts by a New Mexican U.S. Senator, Joseph Montoya, who wanted a label that could be used to quantify the Spanish-speaking population for the U.S. Census.Fact|date=August 2008 The label Hispanic was chosen in part because in New Mexico people of Spanish descent such as Montoya referred to themselves as "Hispanos", which was anglicized to "Hispanic."Fact|date=August 2008

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget currently defines "Hispanic or Latino" as "a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race". [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/1997standards.html OMB, Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (1997)] ]


Hispanization is the process by which a place or a person absorbs characteristics of Hispanic society and culture. [Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America, 2004. Edited by Dan Arreola, found in Chapter 14 "Hispanization of Hereford, Texas"] [ [http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/censr-18.pdf US Bureau of the Census, 2004] (see page 10).] [Hispanic Community Types and Assimilation in Mex-America 1998. Haverluk, Terrence W. The Professional Geographer, 50(4) pages 465-480.] Modern hispanicization of a place, namely in the United States, is illustrated by, but not limited to, Spanish language newspapers, radio stations, churches, as well as Latin restaurants, tortilla factories, panaderias (bakeries), taquerias (taco restaurants) and specialty music stores, clothing stores, and nightclubs. Hispanization of a person is illustrated by, but not limited to, speaking Spanish, making and eating Latin food, listening to Spanish language music, dressing in Santa Fe style or other Hispanic styles, and participating in Hispanic festivals and holidays.Hispanization is the opposite of assimilation. Assimilation is the process by which a minority culture absorbs characteristics of the dominant society and culture. In the United States Anglo culture has long been the dominant culture and, historically, U.S. immigrants have assimilated by the third generation. For example, by the third generation most Ukrainian-Americans have lost the ability to speak Ukrainian, make Ukrainian easter eggs, cook Ukrainian food, play Ukrainian music, or dance like a Cossack. A few immigrant groups to the U.S. have been slow to assimilate--Greeks, Chinese, and especially Hispanics.

One of the reasons why the assimilation of Hispanics in the U.S. is not comparable to that of other cultural groups is that Hispanics have been living in some parts of North America for centuries, in many cases well before the Anglo culture became dominant. For example, California, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico(1598), Arizona, Nevada and Florida have been home to Hispanic peoples since the 17th century, even before the U.S. gained independence from Great Britain. These and other Spanish-speaking territories were part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and later Mexico, before these regions joined the United States in 1848. Some cities in the U.S. were founded by Spanish settlers in the 17th century, prior to the creation of the Thirteen Colonies. For example, Pensacola and St. Augustine, Florida were founded in 1559 and 1565 respectively, Santa Fe, New Mexico was Founded in 1604, and Alburquerque, New Mexico was established in 1660. Therefore, in some parts of the U.S. the Hispanic cultural legacy is older than the Anglo-Saxon origin. For this reason many generations of U.S. Hispanics have largely maintained their cultural traditions and Spanish language.

Language retention is a common index to assimilation, and according to the 2000 census, about 75 percent of all Hispanics spoke Spanish in the home — even many Hispanics who can trace their ancestry to the original Spanish settlement of the U.S. Southwest between 1598 and 1769. Spanish language retention rates vary geographically; parts of Texas and New Mexico have language retention rates over 90 percent, whereas parts of Colorado and California have retention rates lower than 30 percent.

Hispanic retention rates are so high in parts of Texas and New Mexico and along the border because the percentage of Hispanics living there is also very high. Laredo, Texas; Chimayo, New Mexico; Nogales, Arizona and Coachella, California, for example, all have Hispanic populations greater than 90 percent. In these pockets, Hispanics have always been the majority population. These communities are known within the Hispanic community as "continuous communities" because Hispanics have continuously been the majority population since they were settled in the 16th or 17th centuries. Interestingly, Anglo Americans moving into these communities often Hispanicize, creating a situation where assimilation and Hispanization are one and the same.

panish Speaking Countries and Regions


Folk and popular dance and music also varies greatly among Hispanics. For instance, the music from Spain is a lot different from the Hispanic American, although there is a high grade of exchange between both continents. In addition, due to the high national development of the diverse identities of Spain, there is a lot of music in the different languages the Peninsula (Catalan and Basque, mainly). See, for instance, Music of Catalonia or Rock català.

On the other side, Latin America is home to a wide variety of music, instead it's usual to speak about "Latin" music as a single genre. Hispanic Caribbean music tends to favor complex polyrhythms of African origin. Mexican music shows combined influences of mostly Spanish and Native American origin, while traditional Northern Mexican music — norteño and banda — is more influenced by country-and-western music and the polka, brought by Central European settlers to Mexico. The music of Hispanic Americans — such as tejano music — has influences in rock, jazz, R&B, pop, and country music as well as traditional Mexican music such as Mariachi. Meanwhile, native Andean sounds and melodies are the backbone of Peruvian and Bolivian music, but also play a significant role in the popular music of most South American countries and are heavily incorporated into the folk music of Ecuador and Chile and the tunes of Colombia, and again in Chile where they play a fundamental role in the form of the greatly followed nueva canción. In US communities of immigrants from these countries it is common to hear these styles. Latin pop, Rock en Español, Latin hip-hop, and Reggaeton styles tend to appeal to the broader Hispanic population, and varieties of Cuban music are popular with many Hispanics of all backgrounds.


There is a huge variety of literature from US Hispanics and the Hispanic countries. Of the most recognized writers are Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Gabriel García Márquez, Romulo Gallegos, Rubén Darío, Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortázar, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges and Ernesto Sabato, amongst others.

Religious diversity

With regard to religious affiliation among Hispanics, Christianity — specifically Roman Catholicism — is usually the first religious tradition that comes to mind. Indeed, the Spaniards took the Roman Catholic faith to Latin America, and Roman Catholicism continues to be the overwhelmingly predominant, but not the only, religious denomination amongst most Hispanics. A small but growing number of Hispanics belong to a Protestant denomination.

There are also Hispanic Jews, of which most are the descendants of Ashkenazi Jews who migrated from Europe (German Jews, Russian Jews, Polish Jews, etc.) to Latin America, particularly Argentina, Peru and Cuba (Argentina is host to the third largest Jewish population in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States and Canada) [ [http://www.jpppi.org.il/JPPPI/SendFile.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&GID=489 The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute; Annual Assessment, 2007 ] ] [ [http://www.ujc.org/section.html?id=29 United Jewish Communities; Global Jewish Populations] ] in the 19th century and during and following World War II. Some Hispanic Jews may also originate from the small communities of reconverted descendants of anusim — those whose Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Jewish ancestors long ago hid their Jewish ancestry and beliefs in fear of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition in the Iberian peninsula and Latin America. There are also the now Catholic-professing descendants of marranos and the Hispano crypto-Jews believed to exist in the once Spanish-held Southwestern United States and scattered through Latin America. Additionally, there are Sephardic Jews who are descendants of those Jews who fled Spain to Turkey, Syria, and North Africa, some of who have now migrated to Latin America, holding on to some Spanish/Sephardic customs, such as the Ladino language which mixes Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and others, though written with Hebrew characters. [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Ladino Online Etymology Dictionary] Ladino] Though, it should be noted, that Ladinos were also African slaves captive in Spain held prior to the colonial period in the Americas. (See also History of the Jews in Latin America and List of Latin American Jews.)

Among the Hispanic Catholics, most communities celebrate their homeland's patron saint, dedicating a day for this purpose with festivals and religious services. Some Hispanics syncretize Roman Catholicism and African or Native American rituals and beliefs. Such is the case of Santería, popular with Cuban Americans and which combines old African beliefs in the form of Roman Catholic saints and rituals. Other syncretistic beliefs include Spiritism and Curanderismo.

While a tiny minority, there are some Hispanic Muslims in Latin America and the US.

In the United States some 70% of U.S. Hispanics report themselves Catholic, and 23% Protestant, with 6% having no affiliation. [cite web | url = http://www.pewtrusts.org/pdf/religion_hispanic_churches.pdf | type = PDF | title = Hispanic Churches in American Public Life: Summary of Findings | accessdate = 2006-12-27 |date= 2003-01 | author = Espinosa, Gastón | co-author = Elizondo, Virgilio; Miranda, Jesse] A minority among the Roman Catholics, about one in five, are charismatics. Among the Protestant, 85% are "Born-again Christians" and belong to Evangelical or Pentecostal churches. Among the smallest groups, less than 4%, are U.S. Hispanic Jews and U.S. Hispanic Muslims. Most U.S. Hispanic Muslims are recent converts. Fact|date=February 2007



* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=89008973 De la Garza, Rodolfo O., and Louis Desipio. "Ethnic Ironies: Latino Politics in the 1992 Elections" (1996)]
* [http://homepages.wmich.edu/~ppastran/3170/3170what_is_hispanic.pdf What is a Hispanic? Legal Definition vs. Racist Definition.Montalban-Anderssen. (1996) ]
* [http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/27/931695/What%20is%20a%20Hispanic.pdf What is a Hispanic? Legal Definition vs. Racist Definition. Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen. Large file with footnotes (1996) ]
* [http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/798530_772537402_783396757.pdf Price, M., Cooper, C., Competing Visions, Shifting Boundaries: The Construction of Latin America as a World Region]

ee also

* Aztec
* Criollo
* Cuban-American lobby
* Afro-Latino
* Black Hispanic
* Famous Hispanic Americans
* Hispanicity
* Hispania
* Hispanic cultural legacy in the Philippines
* Hispanic culture
* Hispanic Paradox
* Hispanophone
* Iberian
* Ibero-America
* Inca
* Indigenous peoples
* Isleños
* Languages of Spain
* Latino
* List of United States cities with a majority Hispanic population
* Maya civilization
* Maya peoples
* Nationalities of Spain
* Spain
* Spaniard
* Spanish Empire
* Spanish in the United States
* Spanish language
* Spic
* White Hispanic
* Hispanic British

External links

* [http://www.spanisharts.com/index.html Spanish Arts: Painting, Sculpture, Music, Architecture, Literature]
* [http://cvc.cervantes.es/ Centro Virtual Cervantes]
* [http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/ Biblioteca Virtual Cervantes]
* [http://www.delsolmedina.com/TestamentoTexto-0.htm Testament of Isabella of Castile]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/opinion/09horwitz.html?ex=1310097600&en=713eb1dd87fa4796&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss Immigration, Hispanics and the curse of the Black Legend]
* [http://www.army.mil/hispanicamericans Hispanic Americans in the U.S. Army]
* [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Europe/Spain-FAMOUS-SPANIARDS.html Famous Hispanics]
* [http://www.transpanish.biz/spanish_stats.htm Hispanic Community in U.S. - Stats and Facts.]
* [http://www.mexica-movement.org Mexica Movement] Indigenous rights and education organization that aggressively challenges the application of the Hispanic label toward people of Mexican and Central American descent. The groups states that the US government's usage of the term "Hispanic" is a top-down method of ethnically cleansing their indigenous identities.
* [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/essays/june97/rodriguez_6-18.html PBS 'A Cultural Identity'] Examines the creation of the Hispanic label by Richard Nixon.
* [http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-rodriguez12nov12,0,6137605.column?coll=la-opinion-columnists Los Angeles Times 'A Look Beyond The Label'] Newspaper editorial criticizing the usage of the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" as being oversimplifications of what is essentially a Mexican-dominant group, not all being Spanish speakers.
* [http://www.rawstory.com/exclusives/tryferis/hispanic.htm Separated by a Common Language: The Strange Case of the White Hispanic] A White Argentine questions the application of the Hispanic label to non-white Spanish speakers.
* [http://www.americas.org/item_21011 "The History of Immigration"]
* [http://www.ahorre.com/hispanicmarket.htm U.S. Hispanic Market in 2010]
* [http://www.hispanicbusiness.com Hispanic Business magazine]
* [http://home.att.net/~Alsosa/ Hispanic Genealogy]
* [http://www.capturagroup.com/hispanic-online-market.html Hispanic Online Market]
* [http://www.trustedtranslations.com/hispanic_market.asp Hispanic Market in the U.S.]
* [http://www.srinstitute.com/cm490 Marketing to US Hispanics and Latin America Conference]
* [http://www.parchepinga.com/ Parchepinga - Non profit hispanic virtual community from Arizona]
* [http://www.hispanicsmb.com/ HispanicSMB.com - Hispanic Business Portal]
* [http://www.infolatam.com/ Infolatam.com - Infolatam: Noticias y Análisis de América Latina] - Website with daily information and analysis of Latinamerica
* [http://www.politicoslatinos.com/ Politicos Latinos] Website listing the USA's major Latino/Hispanic Politicians
* [http://www.diariolasamericas.com/ Diario Las Americas] Website for Miami's Original Hispanic Daily Newspaper
* [http://www.hdnweb.com/ Hispanic Digital Network] The Nation's First Internet Advertising Network of U.S. Hispanic Newspapers, Magazines and Media Portals
* [http://www.hispanicprwire.com/home.php?l=in/ Hispanic PR Wire] Leading News Distribution Service Reaching U.S. Hispanic Media and Opinion Leaders

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • hispanic — HISPÁNIC, Ă, hispanici, ce, adj. (Rar) Spaniol. – Din fr. hispanique Trimis de gall, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  HISPÁNIC adj. v. spaniol. Trimis de siveco, 13.09.2007. Sursa: Sinonime  hispánic adj. m …   Dicționar Român

  • Hispanic — His*pan ic, a. [L. Hispanicus.] Of or pertaining to Spain or its language; as, Hispanic words. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hispanic — pertaining to Spain (especially ancient Spain) 1580s, from L. Hispanicus, from Hispania Iberian Peninsula, from Hispanus Spaniard (see SPANIARD (Cf. Spaniard)). Specific application to Spanish speaking parts of the New World is 1889, Amer.Eng.;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Hispanic — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ relating to Spain or the Spanish speaking countries of Central and South America. ► NOUN ▪ a Spanish speaking person, especially one of Latin American descent, living in the US. DERIVATIVES Hispanicize (also Hispanicise) verb.… …   English terms dictionary

  • Hispanic — [hi span′ik] adj. [L Hispanicus] 1. Spanish or Spanish and Portuguese 2. of or relating to Hispanics n. a usually Spanish speaking person of Latin American birth or descent who lives in the U.S.: For the n. and adj. 2, Latino and Latina are now… …   English World dictionary

  • Hispanic — [[t]hɪspæ̱nɪk[/t]] Hispanics ADJ A Hispanic person is a citizen of the United States of America who originally came from Latin America, or whose family originally came from Latin America. ...a group of Hispanic doctors in Washington... The former …   English dictionary

  • Hispanic — Der Begriff Hispanic bezeichnet eine Ethnie in den USA. In diese Kategorie fällt jeder Bewohner der USA, der seine Herkunft von Lateinamerika oder der Iberischen Halbinsel in Europa herleitet. Der Begriff wurde in den 1970er Jahren von der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hispanic — Hi|span|ic1 [hıˈspænık] adj [Date: 1500 1600; : Latin; Origin: hispanicus, from Hispania Spain ] from or relating to countries where Spanish or Portuguese are spoken, especially ones in Latin America →↑Latino ▪ Miami s Hispanic community ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Hispanic — Hispanically, adv. /hi span ik/, adj. 1. Spanish. 2. Latin American: the United States and its Hispanic neighbors. n. 3. Also, Hispano. Also called Hispanic American. an American citizen or resident of Spanish or Latin American descent. [1575 85; …   Universalium

  • Hispanic — His|pa|nic 〈[hispæ̣nık] m. 6〉 Einwanderer aus Lateinamerika in die USA; Sy Latino [<engl. hispanic <span. hispánico „spanisch“] * * * 1His|pa|nic [hɪs pænɪk], der; [s], s [engl. Hispanic < lat. Hispanicus = hispanisch, zu: Hispania =… …   Universal-Lexikon

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