The term Hispanic refers to people, cultures, or countries related to Spain, the Hispanidad, Spanish language, culture, or people. The term commonly applies to countries with a cultural and historical link to Spain, formerly part of the Spanish Empire following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, parts of the Asia-Pacific region and Africa. These are mainly countries of Hispanic America, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Western Sahara. In these countries Spanish may or may not be the predominant or official language and the cultures are derived from Spain to different degrees, combined with the local pre-Hispanic culture or other foreign influences. Hispanic culture is a set of customs, traditions, beliefs, and art forms that are generally shared by peoples in Hispanic regions, but which can vary considerably from one country or territory to another. The Spanish language is the main cultural element shared by Hispanic peoples.