Spanish language

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     Spanish is sole official language at the national level      Spanish is a co-official language

Spanish (formally Castilian Spanish) is a Romance language and one of the official languages of Spain, most Latin American countries and Equatorial Guinea. Spanish is also one of six official languages of the United Nations.


Spanish originated in northern Spain. From there, with the Reconquista, it's use gradually spread inside the Kingdom of Castile, where it evolved and eventually became the principal language of the government and trade. It was later taken to Africa, the Americas and Asia by Andalusian settlers of mostly Northern Spanish origin when they were brought under colonial rule between 1492 and the 19th century.

The language is spoken by over 450 million people natively,[1][2] making Spanish the most spoken Romance language and the second most spoken language by number of native speakers.[3][4]

Mexico is the world's largest Spanish-speaking country. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language[5] and by far the most popular studied foreign language in the United States.[6][7] Spanish is among the most popular foreign languages for study in the rest of the nations of the Anglosphere in general, where on top of the widespread use of English globally, the large number of additional countries and geographic territory that Spanish allows exploring is an attractive prospect for many.

Due to proximity, linguistic similarities, and trade reasons, it is also a very popular second language in France, Italy, Portugal, and particularly the southern states of Brazil. It is estimated that the combined total of native and non-native Spanish speakers is approximately 600 million, likely making it the fourth most spoken language by total number of speakers, after English, Mandarin, and Hindustani.[1][8] Global internet usage statistics for 2007 showed Spanish as the third most commonly used language on the internet, after English and Chinese.[9]

According to George Weber's point system, researched in the 1990s, Spanish is the third most influential language in the world (after English and French).[10]

By speech tempo, it is the second fastest-spoken major language in the world (behind Japanese).[11] This is attributed to having on average more syllables per word than many other languages, leading to an incentive to speak faster, as well as no tones, few vowels, few consonant clusters and a lack of consonantal gemination, all features making it easier to speak faster.

Given the distribution of Spanish speakers worldwide, Spanish is overwhelmingly spoken by non-whites with varying degrees of European admixture, such as darker Mestizos, lighter Mestizos, and Castizos, but it is also spoken by Amerindians and Whites. Spanish is typically regarded as a non-white, non-native language in American White Nationalist movements.

It is estimated that about 25% of native Spanish speakers in Latin American countries are genetically between Castizo - over 75% genetically Iberian - and Criollo/White - in the Spanish colonial legal definition, over 87.5% and up to 100% European.

Spanish-speaking countries

Spread of the Iberian languages over the centuries

In total, as of 2023, 21 countries use Spanish either de jure or de facto as their primary language:

  • Spain
  • Mexico
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Equatorial Guinea

See also