Spanish (español) or Castilian (castellano) is a Latin-derived Romance language that originated in northern Spain, from whence it gradually spread in the Kingdom of Castile, and subsequently evolved into the principal language of government and trade. It was taken to Africa, the Americas and Asia Pacific when the Spanish Empire was established between the 15th and 19th centuries.
Today, Spanish is an official language of Spain, most Latin American countries, and Equatorial Guinea; 21 nations speak it as their primary language. Spanish also is one of six official languages of the United Nations.
Between 322 and 400 million people natively speak Spanish, making it the most spoken Romance language, and possibly the second most-spoken language by native speakers.
Mexico has the world’s largest Spanish-speaking population, and Spanish is the second most-widely spoken language in the United States, and the most popular studied foreign language in U.S. schools and universities. Spanish is among the most popular foreign languages for study in the rest of the nations of the Anglosphere besides the global use of English. The many exotic, Spanish-speaking locales attract many people to the language. Smaller numbers also learn it for potential business and employment ventures, although this is largely confined to the United States. 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 500 million, likely making it the fourth most spoken language by total number of speakers. Global internet usage statistics for 2007 show Spanish as the third most commonly used language on the internet, after English and Chinese.
According to George Weber’s point system, Spanish is the third most influential language in the world (after English and French).
Official Language of: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela, and large portions of the populations of Andorra, Belize, Gibraltar, Trinidad and Tobago,Jamaica, and the United States.
Total number of speakers: 400 – 500 million
For additional information about the Spanish Language, please click here.