legend|#B3D9FF|Countries and regions where Spanish is spoken without official recognition.

The term Hispanophone ("hispanoparlante", "hispanohablante" or "hispanófono", in Spanish) denotes Spanish-speakers and relation to the Spanish-speaking world. The word originates with the Roman name of the Iberian Peninsula, Hispania, which comprised the territory of the modern states of Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar as well as a small southern part of France.

In a cultural, rather than merely linguistic sense, the notion of "Hispanophone" goes further than the above definition. The term specifically refers to people whose cultural background is primarily associated with Spain, regardless of ethnic and geographical differences. The Hispanophone culture is the legacy of the Spanish colonial empire. As a result of this empire, there are over 350 million individuals in the Americas that speak Spanish. The vast majority speak Spanish as a first language, although some indigenous groups will be more likely bilingual in Spanish and their native language; in a few instances, they may not even speak Spanish at all.

In the modern times, these Spanish-speaking peoples of the New World have adopted other cultural labels to identify themselves.Fact|date=December 2007 The term Latino, which stems from a contraction of "latinoamericano" (Latin American) [Etymology of the term Latino in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/latino 1] ] is one example. This term, however, is defined in the Spanish language as Latin, [Latino in Wiktionary: [http://es.wiktionary.org/wiki/latino 1] . Latino in the DRAE: [http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltGUIBusUsual?LEMA=latino&origen=RAE 2] ] and it is used to refer to all the Latin peoples, both from Europe and the Americas. Cultural and linguistic issues related to Spaniards are often confused with those of Mexicans or other Latin American people. While some are conscious of this issue, many of the people to whom the labels Latino or Hispanic are applied are not aware of it. As such, they often help perpetuate further misuse of these terms as racial labels instead of cultural ones, to the point that today the term is excluding the Hispanics to whom the labels originally applied.

There are an estimated 417 millionFact|date=July 2008 Hispanophones globally, making Spanish one of the most widely spoken languages in the world today. Hispanophone areas include Spain (where the language originated) and Hispanic America. There is a sizable Hispanophone minority in the United States. In the 2000 census, it comprised 10.7% of the population over the age of five - over 28 million people.cite web| url=http://www.mla.org/map_data_results&state_id=99&county_id=&mode=state_tops&zip=&place_id=&cty_id=&a=&ea=&order=&ll=all] | title=Most spoken languages in the entire US| author=Modern Language Association| accessdate=2007-10-24] There are also smaller Hispanophone groups in Canada, northern Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines (the latter three being former colonies of Spain) and in many other places, particularly large cities.




The modern day people that live in the region of ancient Hispania are the Portuguese, Spanish, Andorra and Gibraltar people. Historically, the modern country of Spain was formed by the accretion of several independent Iberian kingdoms through dynastic inheritance, conquest and the will of the local elites. These kingdoms had their own nationalistic loyalties and political borders.

Today, there is no single Castilian-Spanish identity for the whole country. Many Spanish citizens feel no conflict in recognizing their several Spanish identities at the same time. Spain is a culturally heterogeneous country, home to a wide range of subcultures, each one with its own customs and traditions. Some such subcultures have their own language. Since the beginning of the transition to democracy in Spain, after the Francisco Franco dictatorship, there have been many movements towards more autonomy in certain regions of the country, some with aims in achieving full independence and others with the goal of autonomous community.

Spain's various subcultures coexist in Spain's provinces, and each one has its own traditions and idiosyncracies. Some even have their own language, all of them along the dialectal continuum of Romance languages, with the exception of the Basque language. This resulted from the former dictator, Francisco Franco's attempts to remove any signs of the sub-nations that today comprise Spain.

The existence of multiple distinct cultures in Spain allows an analogy to be drawn to the United Kingdom. Using the term Hispanic for someone of Spanish descent would then be expected to be equivalent to using Briton to describe someone descending from some part of the United Kingdom. Cultures within the United Kingdom, such as English, Scottish, and Welsh, would then correspond in this analogy to cultures within Spain such as Castilian, Catalan and Basque among others. In contrast with Spain, because of centuries of gradual and mutual consolidation across the Iberian peninsula, such distinctions tend to be blurred. It is a subtle, yet important, distinction.

In Spain, like in the United Kingdom, the economically dominant territories (Castile and England) spreads their language for mutual communication. However, the political dominance in the UK tends to be sharper compared to Spain, where the medieval territories don't exist anymore. For example, people will never refer to King Juan Carlos I of Spain as "the King of Castile," whereas the British sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, is sometimes referred to colloquially as "the Queen of England."


Hispanic America

Spanish is the official language in a great part of the Americas.

United States

Origins and demography

Hispanic Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry or national origin is of any of the nations composing the Hispanosphere. A Hispanic person's status is independent from whether or not he or she speaks the Spanish language, for not all Hispanic Americans speak Spanish. A Hispanic person may be of any race (White, Amerindian, Black, Asian or Pacific islander). As of July 1, 2004, Hispanics accounted for 14.1% of the population, around 41.3 million people. The Hispanic growth rate over the July 1, 2003 to July 1, 2004 period was 3.6% — higher than any other ancestral group in the United States — and more than three times the rate of the nation's total population (at 1.0%). The projected Hispanic population of the United States for July 1, 2050, is 105.6 million people. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 25% of the nation’s total population by the year 2050. [cite web | url = http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/001720.html | title = Census Bureau Projects Tripling of Hispanic and Asian Populations in 50 Years; Non-Hispanic Whites May Drop To Half of Total Population ]

Historically, a continuous Hispanic presence in the territory of the United States has existed since the 16th century, earlier than any other group after the Native Americans. Spaniards pioneered the present-day United States. The first confirmed European landing on the continent was that of Juan Ponce de León, who landed in 1513 on the shore he christened "La Florida". Within three decades of Ponce de León's landing, the Spanish became the first Europeans to reach the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Plains. Spanish ships sailed along the East Coast, penetrating to present-day Bangor, Maine, and up the Pacific Coast as far as Oregon. From 1528 to 1536, four castaways from a Spanish expedition, including a "black Moor," journeyed all the way from Florida to the Gulf of California, 267 years before the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

In 1540 Hernando de Soto undertook an extensive exploration of the present US. In the same year Francisco Vázquez de Coronado led 2,000 Spaniards and Mexican Indians across today's Arizona-Mexico border and traveled as far as central Kansas, close to the exact geographic center of what is now the continental United States. Other Spanish explorers of the US make up a long list that includes, among others, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón, Pánfilo de Narváez, Sebastián Vizcaíno, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Gaspar de Portolà, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Tristán de Luna y Arellano, and Juan de Oñate. In all, Spaniards probed half of today's lower 48 states before the first English colonization attempt at Roanoke Island in 1585.

The Spanish created the first permanent European settlement in the continental United States, at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. Santa Fe, New Mexico also predates Jamestown, Virginia (founded in 1607) and Plymouth Colony (of "Mayflower" and Pilgrims fame, founded in 1620). Later came Spanish settlements in San Antonio, Tucson, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, to name just a few. The Spanish even established a Jesuit mission in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay 37 years before the founding of Jamestown.

Two iconic American stories have Spanish antecedents, too. Almost 80 years before John Smith's alleged rescue by Pocahontas, a man by the name of Juan Ortiz told of his remarkably similar rescue from execution by an Indian girl. Spaniards also held a thanksgiving — 56 years before the famous Pilgrims festival — when they feasted near St. Augustine with Florida Indians, probably on stewed pork and garbanzo beans. As late as 1783, at the end of the American Revolutionary War, Spain held claim to roughly half of today's continental United States; in 1775, Spanish ships even reached Alaska. From 1819 to 1848, the United States and its army increased the nation's area by roughly a third at Spanish and Mexican expense, including three of today's four most populous states: California, Texas, and Florida. Hispanics became the first American citizens in the newly acquired Southwest territory and remained the ancestral majority in several states until the 20th century. (See also New Spain.)

Hispanic Americans have fought in all the wars of the United States and have earned some of the highest distinctions awarded to U.S. soldiers ( [http://www4.army.mil/otf/speech.php?story_id_key=9575] [http://www.senate.gov/~pryor/newsroom/details.cfm?id=263773&] [http://www.houstonculture.org/hispanic/memorial.html] [http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/17.3.pdf] List of Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients). Historic figures in the United States have been Hispanic from early times. Some recent famous people include actress Rita Hayworth and baseball legends Lefty Gomez and Ted Williams.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

The National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the USA from September 15 to October 15. [ [http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/feature/hispanic/ National Hispanic Heritage Month] ]


"Hispanic cuisine" as the term is applied in the Western Hemisphere, is a misnomer. The vast majority of foods in "Latin America" are of Native American origins, and not of Spain.

The cuisine of Spain has many regional varieties, with Mediterranean flavors based on olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes, and a great selection of fish and seafood due to its long Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, while in the Castilian interior, there is a great culture of cured pork meats, as well as roasts and stews, based on beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. The European and Arab heritage of Spain is reflected in its food, along with cosmopolitan influences beginning in the many new ingredients brought in from the New World since the 16th century, eg tomatoes, potatoes, or chocolate, and the more modern tastes introduced from Europe since the 19th century, especially French and Italian dishes. It is only in the last ten years that Latin American dishes have been introduced in Spain. Whereas in the US, the number of "Spanish" restaurants is in a growing trend, following the "Tapas" fashion that spread in the 90's.

The cuisines of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and other Central American countries are still heavily dependent and greatly indebted to staples of the cuisine and diet of the Aztec and Maya, including maize, beans, chile peppers. After 1492 these tradition came to be melded with those from Spain to form the modern cuisines of that region. Among the more popular and well known dishes of this region are tacos, enchiladas, tamales, rice and beans, horchata, and pupusas.

Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican cuisines, on the other hand, tend to use a lot of pork and can be heavily dependent on starchy root vegetables, plantain and rice, and the most prominent influences on their Spanish culinary traditions are those which were introduced by African slaves, and to a lesser degree, French influence from Haiti and later Chinese immigrants. Hot, spicy foods are practically unknown in traditional Spanish-Caribbean dishes. The cuisine of Haiti, a Latin American country (however a Francophonie majority), is very similar to its regional neighbors in terms of influences and ingredients used.

The Argentine diet is heavily influenced by Argentina's position as one of the world's largest beef and wine producers. Grilled meats are a staple of most meals as are pastas, potatoes, rice, and a variety of vegetables (Argentina is a huge exporter of agricultural products). Chilean cuisine is similar to that of Argentina, though seafood is much more dominant in this coastal nation. As another one of the world's largest producers, wine is as much a staple drink to Chileans as beer is to Germans.

In Ecuador and Peru, potato dishes are typical since the potato is originally from this region. Beef and chicken are common sources of meat as is the cuy, a South American relative of the guinea pig. Given the coastal location, both countries have extensive fishing fleets, which provide a wealth of seafood options, including the signature South American dish, ceviche. Rice also plays an important role in Peruvian cuisine.

This diversity in staples and cuisine is also evident in the differing regional cuisines within the national borders of the individual countries.

In the United States, with its growing Hispanic population, food staples from the Mexican cuisine and other Latin countries have become widely available as have unique American forms such as the Tex-Mex cuisine. This so-called "Mexican food," which actually originated in Texas, is based on maize products, heavily spiced ground beefs, cheese and tomato sauces with chiles. This cuisine is widely available not just in the U.S. but across other countries, where American exports are found. In Florida, Cuban food is widely available. All of these "Hispanic" foods in the U.S. have evolved in character as they are commercially Americanized by large restaurant chains and food companies.

Racial diversity

The racial diversity to be found among Hispanics stems from the fact that Hispanic America has always been, since 1492, an area of immigration until late in the 20th century, when the region has increasingly become an area of emigration. Even outside the broad U.S. definition of Hispanic, the term encompasses a very racially and ethnically diverse population. While in the United States, Hispanics are often treated as a group apart from whites, blacks or other races, they actually include people who may identify with any or all of those racial groups.

In the mass media as well as popular culture, "Hispanic" is often incorrectly used to describe a subject's race or physical appearance.Fact|date=February 2007 In general, Hispanics are assumed to have traits such as dark hair and eyes, and tan or brown skin. Many others are viewed as physically intermediate between whites, blacks and/or Amerindians.Fact|date=July 2007

Hispanics with mostly Caucasoid or Negroid features may not be recognized as such in spite of the ethnic and racial diversity of most Latin American populations. Hispanics who do not look like the stereotypical Hispanic may have their ancestral status questioned or even challenged by others.Fact|date=July 2008 Actors Martin Sheen and Cameron Diaz, for example, are Hispanic even though they may be presumed not to be so because, being white, they do not fit the stereotype.

A great proportion of Hispanics identify as mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian) regardless of national origin.Fact|date=February 2007 This is largely because most Hispanics have their origins in majority mestizo Latin American countries. El Salvador, Paraguay, and Mexico are examples of mostly mestizo populations, with 90% of Salvadorans, 95% of Paraguayans, and 70% [ [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/379167/Mexico#tab=active~checked%2Citems~checked&title=Mexico%20--%20Britannica%20Online%20Encyclopedia Mexico - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] of Mexicans identifying as mestizo, with Mexico having the largest total mestizo population at over 66 million. [cite web |url=https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ |title=The World Factbook |accessdate=2008-06-23 |date=July 2008 estimates |publisher=Central Intelligence Agency ]

Many individuals identified as "Hispanics" (based on the U.S. definition) are of unmixed Native American ancestry. For example, many of those from Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru constitute a majority or plurality of the population as do a considerable proportion in Mexico.Fact|date=February 2007

Many Hispanics born in or with descent from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Cuba, Uruguay, and other countries may be of African descent, be it mulatto (mixed European and black African), zambo (mixed Amerindian and black African), triracial (specifically European, black African, and Amerindian), or unmixed black African.

Besides Spaniards of European stock, many people from the countries of Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Cuba, and Uruguay are of predominantly European descent. Many of them, though labeled "Hispanic" by the U.S. definition, actually trace their ancestries to European countries other than Spain. Alternate European ancestries in these countries include Italian, German, Irish, French, Polish, Welsh, and many others. Nevertheless, in most cases, many do have some Spanish ancestry, as the waves of European immigrants to these countries tended to quickly assimilate, intermarrying with the country's local population, which initially was composed primarily of Spanish-descended people: criollos, mestizos, and mulattos.

Likewise, a percentage of Hispanics as defined by the U.S. government trace their ancestries to the Middle East, for example Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Mexicans of Lebanese ancestry. Many Hispanics are of East Asian ancestry, as in the case of Cubans, Argentines, Mexicans, and Peruvians. If they were to migrate to the United States, the definition most frequently advocated would consider them Hispanic. "See also: Asian Latin American and Asian Hispanic and Latino Americans".

The presence of these mentioned races and race-mixes are not country-specific, since they can be found in every Latin American country, whether as larger of smaller proportions of their respective populations. Even in Spain, the European motherland of Hispanicity, there is a slowly growing population of mestizos and mulattos due to the reversal of the historic Old World-to-New World migration pattern.

Of the over 35 million Hispanics counted in the Federal 2000 Census, 47.9% identified as white (termed "white Hispanic" by the Census Bureau); 42.2% "Some other race"; 6.3% Two or more races; 2% Black or African American; 1.2% American Indian and Alaska Native; 0.3% Asian; and 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. [cite web | url = http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/cenbr01-1.pdf | title = Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin | accessdate = 2006-12-27 |date= 2001-03 | type = PDF|format=PDF] Note that even among those Hispanics who reported one race only, most would also possess at least some ancestral lineage from one or more other races, despite the fact that only 6.3% reported as such. (This is also applicable to the Non-Hispanics counted in the U.S. Census, although maybe in less proportion.)

According to one study (Stephens et al. 2001), "From the genetic perspective, Hispanics generally represent a differential mixture of European, Native American, and African ancestry, with the proportionate mix typically depending on country of origin." [http://shrn.stanford.edu/workshops/revisitingrace/Risch_confound.pdf]

A further contribution that contradicts the popular conception of Hispanic as a race, and especially as a race genetically different from white or at least Anglo-Saxons, lies in the recent discoveries by population genetics. A research team at University of Oxford has found that the majority of Britons share a common genetic heritage with the Iberians who may have come to Britain largely during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic. The proportion of the native population that share Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups with Iberia is 73 percent in Scotland, 64 percent in England, 83 percent in Wales and 89-95 percent in Ireland.

In fact, Dr. Bryan Sykes has stated that the genetic fingerprint of the populations tested in the British Isles and Spain is almost identical and Stephen Oppenheimer comes to similar conclusions. Like most of their genetic relatives in Iberia the British adopted Celtic culture and language from south France during the Bronze age. Under the Roman Empire a Romano-British culture developed, which was in turn superseded by the Germanic Anglo-Saxon culture and language in what became England during the Migration Period. Iberia, though, maintained its Roman culture and language. However, because of their common genetic heritage, native Britons and their American descendants still share many of the same genetic markers with Spaniards and many Hispanics. [cite web | url = http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1393742006 | title = We're nearly all Celts under the skin | accessdate =2006-12-27] [cite web | url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=406108&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true#StartComments 2 | title = Ancient Britons come mainly from Spain | accessdate = 2006-12-27 |date= 2006-09-20] [cite web | url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2006/10/10/ecbrits10.xml | title = What does being British mean? Ask the Spanish | accessdate = 2006-12-27 |date= 2006-10-10] [cite web | url = http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7817 | title = Myths of British ancestry | accessdate = 2006-12-27 |date= 2006-10]

Nevertheless, the recent development of methodologies for defining population structure using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism markers has led a 2006 study of 681 individuals(North Americans and Europeans) including mainly Americans with southern European ancestry, western European , central European and eastern European ancestry and a sample of Europeans of Spanish,Swedish and Italian origin , conclude that there is a "consistent and reproducible distinction between "northern" and "southern" European population groups", strongly suggesting the later Mediterranean (Neolithic) origin of Spaniards, Greeks, Portuguese and Italians. On the other hand, all European populations north of the Alps and the Pyrenees (except for Ashkenazi Jews) seem to fall squarely into the "Northern" population group. [http://genetics.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pgen.0020143] Still, the findings of a similar 2007 study claims; "The Spanish and Basque groups are the furthest away from other continental groups, which is consistent with the suggestions that the Iberian peninsula holds the most ancient European genetic ancestry". The same study also found "several significant axes of stratification, most prominently in a North-Southeastern trend but also along an East-West axis." It also said: "there is low apparent diversity in Europe with the entire continent-wide samples only marginally more dispersed than single population samples elsewhere in the world." [ Measuring European Population Stratification using Microarray Genotype Data [] ] The Spanish, like all European populations, have received multiple other influences. The possibility of Neolithic population movements into Iberia from North Africa is also suggested by geneticist Arnaiz-Villena, using HLA and mtDNA markers together with archaeological and linguistic evidence. [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3659/is_199910/ai_n8876452] This could explain the puzzling fact that out of the 19 lineages of mtDNA Haplogroup U6 found in Iberia, only 9 are currently found in North Africa, pointing to a prehistoric (as well as modern) northward expansion into Iberia, probably during the Capsian diffusion. [http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2156/4/15#B9]

There exists a number of studies which focus on the genetic impact of the eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula on the genetic make up of the Iberian population. Recent studies agree that there is a genetic relationship between (particularly southern) Iberia and North Africa as a result of this period of history. Iberia is the only region in Europe with a significant presence of the typically North West African Y-chromosome haplotypes E-M81 [http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1181965&rendertype=figure&id=FG1] [http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1181965] and Haplotype V [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=17216803&query_hl=9&itool=pubmed_docsum] as well as the mtDNA Haplotype U6. It is also the region in Europe with the highest frequency of Sub-Saharan mtDNA haplogroup L, probably as a result of Islamic colonisation as well as the slave trade which flourished in the 16th century. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16201138&dopt=Abstract] Evidently, the North African element in modern day Iberians' ancestry is minor when compared to the pre-Islamic elements.

The inhabitants of the Canary Islands, hold a gene pool that is halfway between the Iberians and the ancient native population, the Guanches (a proto-Berber population), although with a major Iberian contribution. Guanche genetic markers have also been found, at low frequencies, in peninsular Spain, probably as a result of slavery and/or later immigration from the Canary Islands. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15598218&query_hl=14&itool=pubmed_docsum]

The ancestry of Iberians has thus received influences from the many people which have settled on its territory throughout history including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Punics, Celts, Vandals, Suebi, Buri, Visigoths, Alans, Byzantines, Slavs (saqaliba) ,Berbers, Arabs, Magyars, Jews and, particularly in Andalusia, the Roma.


Equatorial Guinea

In the former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea, there is a small minority of African people who possessed Spanish and other European ancestry. These individuals form less than 1% of the population.


In the former Spanish protectorate of Morocco, Spanish speakers are present in small numbers, located in the northern coastal region of the country. However the majority of Moroccan people are predominantly muslims of Arab and African ancestry.

Plazas de Soberanía

Since the Reconquista, the Spanish have held numerous emplacements in North Africa. Many of them, such as Oran, have been lost, and nowadays, with an approximate population of 143,000 people, only the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla, which constitute the two "Plazas de Soberanía Mayores" (or Large Places of Sovereignty), and the Islas Chafarinas, the Peñón de Alhucemas and the Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, which constitute the three "Plazas de Soberanía Menores" (or Lesser Sovereignty Places), still forming part of the Spain.

Western Sahara

In the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, Spanish speakers are present in small numbers; however, most people in the country speak Arabic as their first language and also practice Arab culture.



In the former Spanish colony of the Philippines, there is a small minority of people who possess Spanish or Latin American ancestry, or both. The size of this population is unknown due to emigration to Spain, Latin America, and the United States, following the bombing of Intramuros, home to thousands of Spanish-speaking families. Many emigrated also during the Ferdinand Marcos régime.

Guam and Mariana Islands

In the former Spanish colonies of Guam and Mariana Islands there is a small minority of people who possess Spanish ancestry. However they have since integrated with the American way of life. The people living on these islands no longer speak Spanish or partake of Spanish culture.

ee also

*List of hispanophones
*World language


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