April 14 – Pan-American Day

Posted on April 14, 2016

 When I was a kid, we sometimes talked about “Pan-American” issues in school.

Since the prefix pan- means “all” or “involving all the members of a group,” Pan-American is an adjective that refers to the all the countries in North America, including Central America and the Caribbean, and South America.

I don't think this word is used as much anymore. When I see the entire two continents' worth of land and peoples referred to, these days, I see “the Americas” or even “the New World.”

Still, there are the Pan-American Games, the Pan-American Highway, and a variety of organizations such as the Pan American Band Instrument Company, the Pan American Health Organization, the Panamerican Karate Foundation, and the now-defunct Pan Am Airlines.

(I think that the super-power status of the U.S. makes any term including the word “American” a bit liable to be misunderstood, because “American” – by itself – almost always refers to something or someone from the United States of America.)


So, supposedly all the nations in the two American continents should be celebrating Pan-American Day today. (Do you know how many nations there are in the Americas? Answer below.) But in most of North and South America, the holiday is barely acknowledged. Honduras does list the day as a public holiday, but this year Día de las Américas is being celebrated on Monday, April 18!

Honduras is one of the poorest nations in Central America, and one of the most violent. Its murder rate is the highest in the world! Still, there are amazing and beautiful things to see there:

Copan Mayan ruins


Chachauate

Roatan Island

Pulhapanzak Waterfall

Diamond Cay


  • Learn more about Pan-American Day here. And learn more about Honduras here.



ANSWER: There are 23 independent nations in North America: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America. (Islands such as Bonaire, Aruba, and Curacao are dependent territories or countries rather than independent nations.) And there are 12 independent nations in South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

That makes a total of 35 independent Pan-American nations.




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