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"Latins" can refer to several groups of people. Its meaning has changed throughout time, and can still refer to different things even today.
The Latins were an ancient Italic people of the Latium region in central Italy, (Latium Vetus - Old Latium). Although they lived in independent city-states, the Latins had a common language (Latin), common religious beliefs, and a close sense of kinship, expressed in the myth that they were all descendants of Latinus. Latinus was worshiped on Mons Albanus (Monte Cavo) during an annual festival that was 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.
Gradually, with the spread of Roman power throughout Italy and Western Europe, 'Latin' ceased to be an ethnic term and became a legal category.
In the Byzantine Empire, "Latins" was a synonym of "Western Europeans", referring to all people of the Latin Rite, who were of the Roman Catholic faith (which at the time included northern Europe as well). Today, the term "Latins" is used in the sense of "Latin Rite Roman Catholic" - as a distinction to Eastern Orthodox.
Worldwide nowadays the term "Latin" refers to peoples whose native tongue derives from the Latin language. This ethno-linguistic group is generally categorized under Latin Europeans and Latin Americans.
In Europe, the term "Latin" refers to the inhabitants of Latin Europe, which draws from the culture left there by the Roman Empire, thus including the use of a Romance language, and Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxism in case of Romanians. Latin Europe is distinguishable from German and Slavic ethno-linguistic influenced Europe.
In the Americas, the term "Latin" refers to the inhabitants of Latin America, which was colonized in turn by Latin European countries. Like Latin Europeans, Romance languages prevail in the region (most noticeably Spanish, but also Portuguese and French). Most of the population of Latin America are racial descendants of "Latin" Europeans, and are either of pure or mixed ancestry.
Like in Europe, "Latin" America is distinguishable from Anglo America. There is dispute as to whether categorize Canada (an English/French speaking country) as either "Latin" or "Anglo".
Hispanic and Latino AmericansEdit
See also Edit
bg:Латини ca:Llatins cs:Latinové de:Latiner et:Latiinid el:Λατίνοι es:Latinos eo:Latianoj fa:لاتینها fr:Latins ko:라틴인 it:Latini he:לאטינים la:Latini hu:Latinok mk:Латини nl:Latijnen ja:ラテン人 pl:Latynowie pt:Latinos ro:Latini ru:Латины sl:Latinci sr:Латини sh:Latini fi:Latinalaiset sv:Latinare