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Latin peoples

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Title: Latin peoples  
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Subject: Occitans, Latins, Latin Europe, Extremadurans, Romance peoples
Collection: Ethnic Groups in Europe by Language Family, Romance Peoples
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Latin peoples

Latin peoples (also called Romance peoples)[1] are members of an ethno-linguistic group who are a member of, or who are descended from, a Romance language-speaking community.[2]


  • Romance languages 1
  • Antiquity 2
  • Latin Europeans 3
    • Italians 3.1
    • Portuguese people 3.2
    • Romanian people 3.3
    • Spanish people 3.4
  • Latin Americans 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Romance languages

Map of locations of significant use of Romance languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian.

The use of Latin language first developed in the region of Latium in central Italy, while proto-Latin speakers existed since c. 1000 BC. With the rise of the Roman Empire, it spread first throughout Italy and then through southern, western, central, and southeast Europe, and northern Africa along parts of western Asia.[3]:1 After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the use of the Latin language retreated in size, but was still widely used, such as through the Catholic Church as well as by others like the Germanic Visigoths and the Catholic Frankish kingdom of Clovis.[3]:1 In part due to regional variations of the Latin language and local environments, several languages evolved from it, the Romance languages.[3]:4 The Spanish and Portuguese languages prominently spread into North, Central, and South America through colonization.[3]:8,10 The French language has spread to all the continents through colonialism.[3]:13–15 The Italian language developed as a national language of Italy beginning in the 19th century out of several similar Romance dialects.[3]:312 The Romanian language has developed primarily in the Daco-Romanian variant that is the national language of Romania, but also other Romanian variants such as Aromanian.[3]:391


The Latins were an ancient Italic tribe of the Latium region (present-day Lazio) in central Italy, (Latium Vetus - Old Latium), in the 1st millennium BC. Though they lived in independent city-states, the Latins spoke a common language, which was Latin, held common religious beliefs, and shared a close sense of kinship, expressed in the myth that all Latins descend from Latinus. Latinus was worshiped on Mons Albanus (Monte Albano) during an annual festival attended by all Latins, including those from Rome, one of the Latin states. The Latin cities extended common rights of residence and trade to one another.

Rome's territorial ambitions united the rest of the Latins against it in 341 BC, but the final victory was on Rome's side in 338 BC. Consequently, some of the Latin states were incorporated within the Roman state, and their inhabitants were given full Roman citizenship. Others became Roman allies and enjoyed certain privileges.

Latin Europeans

The term "Latin" is used in reference to European people whose cultures are particularly Roman-derived, generally including the use of Romance languages.[4] Strong Roman legal and cultural traditions characterize these nations. Latin Europe is a major subdivision of Europe, along with Germanic-speaking Europe and Slavic Europe.


A portrait of a Roman family, dating to c. 250 AD, showing a mother, son and daughter. It was once considered a depiction of the family of Valentinian III.

The original Indo-European tribes of the Italic people settled in neolithic times in the Italian peninsula. These tribes were historically divided between Latino-Faliscans, Osco-Umbrians, Veneti, and Ligures. Successively they were united and amalgamated by Rome, together with the Etruscans in central Italy, Gaulish tribes in the Po river plains, and Greeks in the so-called Magna Grecia. Most Italians originate from the people mentioned above, and all share common Latin heritage, but some Italians have a variety of other ancestries.

There are some Italians across Italy who have Germanic heritage from the occupation of Italy by several Germanic tribes. The Germanic tribe of the Ostrogoths conquered Italy and presented themselves as upholders of Latin culture, mixing Roman culture together with Gothic culture, in order to legitimize their rule amongst Roman subjects who had a long-held belief in the superiority of Roman culture over foreign "barbarian" Germanic culture.[5] The total number of the population of Ostrogoths who settled in Italy was small, estimated at 40,000 people, while the total population of both the Ostrogoths and their allies who occupied Italy is estimated at 100,000 people.[6] Also, the Germanic tribe of the Langobards invaded Italy, which in the meantime had been reconquered by the East Roman Empire, and conquered most of it. However, only a small number of Langobards settled in Italy, in comparison with the overwhelming majority of the indigenous Latin population.[7]

Portuguese people

Portuguese people (Portuguese: os portugueses) are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian Peninsula of Southwestern Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and their predominant religion is Christianity, mainly Roman Catholicism.

Historically, the Portuguese descend from the pre-Celtic peoples who inhabited the Iberian Peninsula with the Lusitanians and the Gallaeci forming the manifold identity of the country, followed by the Italics, the Romans. Other major segments include the Suebi and the Visigoths.[8]

Romanian people

Romanians (dated: Rumanians or Roumanians; in Romanian: români pronounced  or — historically, but now a seldom-used regionalism — rumâni; dated exonym: Vlachs) are a nation and ethnic group native to Romania that share a common Romanian culture, ancestry, and speak the Romanian language as a mother tongue.

Spanish people

The Second Punic War between the Carthaginians and Romans was fought mainly in what is now Spain and Portugal.[9]

The Roman Republic conquered Iberia during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC transformed most of the region into a series of Latin-speaking provinces. As a result of Roman colonization, the majority of local languages, with the exception of Basque, stem from the Vulgar Latin that was spoken in Hispania (Roman Iberia), which evolved into the modern languages of the Iberian Peninsula, including Castilian, which became the main lingua franca of Spain, and is now known in most countries as Spanish. Hispania emerged as an important part of the Roman Empire and produced notable historical figures such as Trajan, Hadrian, Seneca and Quintilian.

The Germanic Vandals and Suebi, with part of the Iranian Alans under King Respendial, arrived en masse in the peninsula in 409 AD. Part of the Vandals with the remaining Alans, now under Geiseric in personal union removed themselves to North Africa after a few conflicts with another Germanic tribe, the Visigoths, who established in Toulouse supported Roman campaigns against the Vandals and Alans in 415–19 AD and became the dominant power in Iberia for three centuries. The Visigoths were highly romanized in the eastern Empire and already Christians, so their integration within the late Iberian-Roman culture was full; they accepted the laws and structures of the late Roman World with little change, more than any other successor barbarian state in the West after the Ostrogoths, and all the more so after converting away from Arianism. The other Germanic tribe remaining in the peninsula, the Suebi (including the Buri), became established according to sources as federates of the Roman Empire in the old North western Roman province of Gallaecia, but in fact largely independent and predatory on neighboring provinces to stretch their political control over ever-larger portions of the southwest after the Vandals and Alans left, creating a totally independent Suebic Kingdom. After being checked and reduced in 456 AD by the Visigoths moving to settle in the peninsula, it survived until 585 AD, when it was annihilated as an independent political unit by the Visigoths, after involvement in the internal affairs of the kingdom, supporting Catholic rebellions and sedition within the Royal family. The Suebi became the first Germanic kingdom to convert officially to Roman Catholicism in 447 AD. under king Rechiar.

Languages spoken in Spain include Spanish (castellano or español) (74%), Catalan (català, called valencià in the Valencian Community) (17%), Galician (galego) (7%), and Basque (euskara) (2%).[10] Other languages are Asturian (asturianu), Aranese Gascon (aranés), Aragonese (aragonés), and Leonese, each with their own various dialects. Spanish is the official state language, although the other languages are co-official in a number of autonomous communities.

Peninsular Spanish is largely considered to be divided into two main dialects: Castilian Spanish (spoken in the northern half of the country) and Andalusian Spanish (spoken mainly in Andalusia). However, a large part of Spain, including Madrid, Extremadura, Murcia, and Castile–La Mancha, speak local dialects known as "transitional dialects" between Andalusian and Castilian Spanish.[11] The Canary Islands also have a distinct dialect of Castilian Spanish which is very close to Caribbean Spanish. Linguistically, the Spanish language is a Romance language and is one of the aspects (including laws and general "ways of life") that causes Spaniards to be labelled a Latin people. The strong Arabic influence on the language (nearly 4,000 words are of Arabic origin, many nouns and few verbs)[12] and the independent evolution of the language itself through history, most notably the Basque influence at the formative stage of Castilian Romance, partially explain its difference from other Romance languages. The Basque language left a strong imprint on Spanish both linguistically and phonetically. Other changes in Spanish have come from borrowings from English and French, although English influence is stronger in Latin America than in Spain.

Latin Americans

Map of locations of significant use of Romance languages:
Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian.

Of all world regions, the Americas (the name itself is derived from the Latinized form of the forename of Amerigo Vespucci), have been most significantly influenced by Romance-speaking European countries in regards to culture, language, religion, and genetic contribution to the population. The Latin European-influenced region of the Americas came to be called Latin America in the 19th century. The French Emperor Napoleon III is often credited with this naming.[13] The term is usually used to refer to Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, namely Hispanic America and Brazil. The majority of Latin Americans have Latin European ancestry, notably Spanish and Portuguese.

See also


  1. ^ "Merriam-Webster". 
  2. ^ "Latin".  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Harris, Martin; Vincent, Nigel (2001). Romance Languages. London, England, UK: Routledge. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^  
  6. ^ Jones, Michael E. (1998). The End of Roman Britain. United States: Cornell University Press. p. 267.  
  7. ^ Emerick, Judson J. (1998). The Tempietto del Clitunno near Spoleto. Pennsylvania: Penn State Press. p. 371. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Ethnographic map of Pre-Roman Iberia". Luís Fraga da Silva – Associação Campo Arqueológico de Tavira, Tavira, Portugal. Retrieved 25 April 2007. 
  10. ^ "CIA – The World Factbook – Spain". Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  11. ^ "Lenguas de España". Retrieved 25 April 2007. 
  12. ^ The importance of this influence can be seen in words such as admiral (almirante), algebra, alchemy and alcohol, to note just a few obvious examples, which entered other European languages, like French, English, German, from Arabic via medieval Spanish. Modern Spanish has more than 100 000 words.
  13. ^  
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