Lusitanic (Portuguese Lusitânico), from Latin Lusitanicus, adjective from Lusitania, the name of a Roman province in the Iberian Peninsula) is a term used to categorize persons who share the linguistic and cultural traditions of the Portuguese.

When the modern day country of Portugal was created in the 12th century, it inherited the term, and thus, since then, Lusitanic has also meant related to Portugal, its people and its culture. When only referring to the Portuguese language, the word Lusophone should be used.

The term is not based specifically on race or ethnicity, but rather on a shared cultural and/or linguistic heritage. It is not commonly used outside Portugal and by people of Portuguese descent, nor recognised in everyday usage within the English-speaking world.

The term can be easily compared to "Hispanic" - as this term describes those who speak the Spanish language, have Spanish ancestry from a Spanish-speaking nation or otherwise have cultural ties to Spanish-speaking nations.


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The term derives from the name of one tribe, the Lusitani, that lived in the Western part of the Iberian Peninsula, prior to the Roman conquest; the lands they inhabited were known as Lusitania. The Lusitani were mentioned for the first time, by Livy, as Carthaginian mercenaries who incorporated the army of Hannibal, when he fought the Romans. After the conquest of the peninsula (25-20 BC) Augustus divided it into the southwestern Hispania Baetica and the western Provincia Lusitana that included the territories of Asturia and Gallaecia, celtic regions. In 27 BC the Emperor Augustus made a smaller division of the province: Asturia and Gallaecia were ceded to the jurisdiction of the new Provincia Tarraconensis, the former remained as Provincia Lusitania et Vettones. The Roman province of Lusitania comprised what is now central and south Portugal and parts of modern day north-central Spain.

Other definitions include Galicia, because Portuguese and Galician share close linguistic and cultural ties, Celt ties; having both derived from the ancient Portuguese-Galician and the term is cultural classification, rather than a Historic-Geographical definition. However, in the Roman times, the Gallaeci were not part of the Lusitania province.

Despite all this, the language was born in the old Gallaecia which comprise what is now Galicia and the region where Portugal was born, north Portugal.

The term is used like the ones used in other countries that were derived from the long-standing custom among many European countries to revive the Roman names of their country or the name of tribes who lived in it in Roman times, with establishing a "Roman Connection" being considered a way of gaining respectability and legitimacy. In the case of Portugal, use of the term "Lusitan" and its derivatives is attested, for example, in the first Portuguese dictionary "Dictionarium ex Lusitanico in Latinum Sermonem" published in 1569 or the epic poem Os Lusíadas published in 1572 . A rival Roman-era term available to the Portuguese was Iberia - but since it referred to the entire peninsula it could be used, and was indeed used, also by the Spanish.

Portuguese use of "Lusitania" is parallel to the use of Gallia in France, Britannia in England, Caledonia in Scotland, Hibernia in Ireland, Batavia in The Netherlands, Helvetia in Switzerland and Germania in Germany (called "Deutschland" in its own inhabitants' languague). Belgium got its actual present name from the Roman Belgica.

Relation with Hispanic

In the historical sense Hispanic is synonym of Iberic, it refers only to the ancient people of the Iberian peninsula. In Portugal the term "hispânico" can be used in two contexts: It has a historical meaning when referring to the people of the Roman Hispania; the contemporary meaning is for Spain-related culture.

There has often been debate as to whether Lusitanics are Hispanics, as historical arguments find that the region of Lusitania was a part of Hispania - and thus, "Lusitanics" are a subset of "Hispanic." The same way Spanish-speaking South America was not a part of Hispania and the same argument can be applied: if Spanish Latin American people should be called Hispanic. Lusitania and the Lusitanians were known long before their conquest by the Roman Empire (Livy 218 b.c.) and incorporated in the Roman province of Hispania thus can not be considered a subset of "Hispanic." The contemporary meaning of "Hispanic" is much broader than the historical meaning: in the United States the term "Hispanic" was first adopted by the administration of Richard Nixon and today is one of the several terms of ethnicity employed to categorize any person, of any racial background, of any country and of any religion who has at least one ancestor from the people of Spain or Spanish-speaking Latin America, whether or not the person has Spanish ancestry, Lusitanics are not "Hispanic" for most ethnic categorization purposes, although it is highly debatable, and there are some exceptions - for instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has no official position as to wheter or not Lusitanic is Hispanic [ [ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's position on Lusitanic] ] , while the State of Florida classifies Portuguese as Hispanic [ [ Senate of Floridas position on Portuguese as Hispanic] ] .

Lusitanic Americans

Luso-American was one of the ancient names called to the Portuguese settlers in Brazil. []

Using the above analogy with "Hispanic", then, one definition of "Lusitanic" would be anyone of any racial background with at least one parent from Portugal or from the "Lusophonic" (Portuguese-speaking) area of Latin America. Portuguese immigrants to the Americas and the inhabitants of the nation of Brazil or Brazilians living in Hispanic America or the United States would be "Lusitanic Americans".


External links

* [*.html "Hispania Lusitania" - Second Map of Europe - Book II, Chapter IV] from Geography of Claudius Ptolemy
* [ Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa] (CPLP) (in Portuguese)
* [ Detailed map of the Pre-Roman Peoples of Iberia (around 200 BC)]
* [ Filología política - "La Hispanidad"] (in Castilian)
* [ Sabores da Lusofonia] (in Portuguese)

ee also

*Portuguese American
*Latin America
*Latin Europe
*Latin Union
*Lusophony Games
*Geographic distribution of the Portuguese language
*Hispania Ulterior

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