Hispanic (Spanish: hispano, hispánico) is a term that originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, which is to say the Iberian Peninsula: Portugal, Andorra, Gibraltar and Spain. During the Modern Era, Hispanic sometimes takes on a more limited meaning, particularly in the United States, where the term can mean a person of (usually) mixed race with a Spanish surname. As such, the term to many people in North America has lost its association with Spain and Portugal, and has become associated primarily with Latin America. This usage is viewed by some as incomplete since the term Hispanic has referred to Hispania (Iberian Pennisula: Modern Day Spain and Portugal) and its Hispanic inhabitants (The Spanish and Portuguese) for thousands of years. Currently many federal and/or state agencies have made this distinction, and presently include peoples of Spain (Spanish) and peoples of Portugal (Portuguese) in classifying Hispanics. However, while some individuals from Spain and Portugal classify themselves as Hispanic, others emphatically do not.
The term has also been used to denote the culture and people of Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the Americas countries formerly ruled by the Spanish and Portuguese Empire, usually with a majority Hispanophone population. Collectively known as Hispanic America, this region includes Mexico, the majority of the Central and South American countries, and the Spanish-speaking island-nations of the Caribbean.
"Hispanic" is also used by people in the United States who are of Hispanic American origin (Hispanic and Latino Americans). Cultural elements (Spanish names, the Spanish language, Spanish customs, etc.) and people known as Hispanic can also be found in other areas that were formerly part of the Spanish or Portuguese Empire, such as in Equatorial Guinea in Africa or in the Spanish East Indies and Brazil (Portuguese in South America).