Geography is hard. Even for those of us who grew up eating every meal over a Rand McNally world map placemat, there are a lot of terms to remember. And confuse. Often, it seems people may not be aware they are using a specific term incorrectly—hence the overwhelmingly positive reception to Terry Blas’s recent illustration explaining the difference between “Hispanic” and “Latino.”
As such, Quartz has compiled this handy dictionary of commonly misused and mixed-up geographical terms. Never get caught confusing “Guyana” and “Guinea” again!
England vs. Great Britain vs. The United Kingdom vs. The British Isles
England is a constituent country of the United Kingdom, homeland of the English language and seat of the Anglican Church. Great Britain refers to the island on which England, Scotland, and Wales are situated. The United Kingdom is the political entity, ruled by Queen Elizabeth II, which includes Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and various overseas territories. The British Isles are the set of North Atlantic islands that include Ireland, Great Britain, and the Isle of Man.
Hispanic vs. Latino
“Hispanic” refers to anyone with ancestors originating in a Spanish-speaking country. This includes Spain, despite the fact that it’s in Europe, and even the tiny African nation of Equatorial Guinea. “Latino” refers to anyone with ancestors originating in Latin America or the Caribbean—this includes non-Spanish speaking countries like Brazil and Barbados. Read more