Flamenco, in its strictest sense, is a professionalized art-form based on the various folkloric music traditions of Southern Spain in the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia. In a wider sense, it refers to these musical traditions and more modern musical styles which have themselves been deeply influenced by and become blurred with the development of flamenco over the past two centuries. It includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), jaleo (vocalizations), palmas (handclapping) and pitos (finger snapping).
The oldest record of flamenco dates to 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by José Cadalso. Flamenco has been influenced by and associated with the Romani people in Spain; however, its origin and style are uniquely Andalusian.
Although the Diccionario de la lengua española associates it especially with the Gypsy ethnicity, is more than perceptible the fusion of the different cultures that coincided in the Andalusia of the time. Of all the hypotheses about its origin, the most widespread thesis is that which exposes the Morisco origin, only that the cultural miscegenation that occurred then in Andalusia: Natives, Muslims, Gypsies, Castilians and Jews; propitiated its creation. In fact, it already existed in the region of Andalusia its germ long before the Gypsies arrived, also taking into account that there were gypsies in other regions of Spain and Europe, flamenco was only cultivated by those who were in Andalusia.
Flamenco has become popular all over the world and is taught in many non-Hispanic countries, especially the United States and Japan. In Japan, there are more flamenco academies than there are in Spain. On November 16, 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.