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Latin Americans are one of the largest ethnic minorities living in London. According to estimates there are well over 500,000 in Britain with the vast majority living in all areas of London, but established in great numbers in boroughs such as, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and the north London boroughs of Camden, Haringey, Hackney and Brent. Their history as an incipient community dates back to the early 1970’s.

Latin American art, culture and way of life have impacted on the cultural life of London and this has been greatly influenced by a large Latin American community living here. It is one of the most culturally and artistically active communities in London; there are important Latin American arts and cultural festivals throughout the whole year; as well as countless artists and cultural groups; with many groups taking part in London’s most important cultural events.

Latin American music and dance have become extremely popular throughout Britain, tens of thousands of people from the general public around the UK are regularly dancing and listening to Latin American rhythms on a daily basis, not only consuming the music and dance, but also learning about the culture. Such cultural impact and contribution to Britain’s cultural make up, from this hard working, colourful and cheerful community has passed greatly unnoticed.

2010 marks the Bicentenary of the beginning of the independence campaign and creation of the Latin American nations. This important historical event was partly devised in London, as the Liberators and creators of our nations lived and met in this city to plan the independence crusade, as well as obtaining important British financial and military support.

It is extremely important for our community to understand the significance of the celebrations of the 200 years of the birth of our countries, as this is also a celebration of the birth of our common cultural identity as Latin Americans. It is also of great significance for the Latin American community in the UK, to understand the historical links and the vital role played by London and Britain in this momentous and defining event for Latin Americans; this constitutes another reason for our community to celebrate the wonderful city in which we live.

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