Often enough military and political might are used as yardsticks in determining the extent of a country’s influence. Luckily, people don’t rely only on these two measurements to determine the sway and influence of a country. Instead things like entertainment, food, fashion, in essence culture, are very strong contributing factors. It should come as no surprise that some of the countries with the strongest military and politics have also made the list. In fact, if we were to look at the top five counties with the greatest cultural sway, the majority are Western and European. But I’m not here to get into a social or political debate, no, no, no, I’m here to tell you about the top 5 countries of cultural influence. In no order of importance, they are…
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Ferrari, Gucci, Versace, Armani, Alfa Romeo, brilliant brands with far-reaching influences are to be found in a country with one of the richest histories and legacies. If Italians are arrogant, then they’ve earned that right. Some of the world’s greatest artists have come from there and I don’t need to talk about the Roman Empire and its contributions. Cuisine is another segment of cultural influence where the Italians come out tops.
The French are often admired for their sophistication and liberal practices. Then of course there’s the fantastic wine, rivalled only by South Africa, which in turn is a result of the French settling there well over a hundred years ago. France’s architecture is nothing to be scoffed at either thanks to a rich legacy going back two thousand years to Roman occupation. French cuisine is another defining characteristic of a culture that has little time for the English language and one that insists that you adapt to it, and not it to you.
The United States naturally makes the list and for numerous reasons. America’s ability to entertain the world is unmatched. Its films and TV shows are often of the highest quality, and even if it adopts and then adapts a show made popular by another country, it makes it bigger and better. When it comes to music and the medium of film, it’s incredibly hard to beat down the Yanks. Then there’s the food – everybody loves a good hamburger – and let’s not discount technology. Apple, Google, Facebook and many before them have their home in the good old US of A. Through these various means, America spreads its ideologies – how we speak, think and dress, and let’s forget the American Dream, the idea that you can start with very little and achieve very much.
Initially, I wondered how Spain had made the list. Then I utilised the net and realised that after Mandarin, Spanish is the most commonly spoken language and that really says a lot. There was a time when Spain had one of the largest empires, and through its conquests spread its language and religion. The Spanish culture is very much one of cuisine, family and friends. The idea of working to live is emphasised over living to work and this is personified through things like long lunches with tapas (sharing of meals). The Spanish lifestyle is one of relaxation and friendliness and it’s something many who have visited the land have quickly picked up on.
Finally we have the UK, a country that’s almost on par with the US in terms of its influence. If I just think about music, who does it better than the Brits and the Yanks? Britain offers some of the world’s best institutions of education and Brits will proudly tell others that the computer, machine code and www. are all their creations. Britain’s legacy and its rich history needs no introduction. Museums and all kinds of cultural sites mean that you’ll always have something new to experience or explore. Pints and pies are hallmarks of their pubs, and apparently they have more canals than Venice!
Reggie Washington is an avid
follower of pop culture, reads
regularly and has been known
to churn out a decent article
every now and then.