Spanish people

Spanish people

Infobox Ethnic group
group =Spanish people
Pueblo español

caption = 1st row: Isabella of CastileFerdinand II of AragonCortésLoyolaCharles VTeresa of Ávila
2nd row: CervantesFrancisco GoyaJosé María de PeredaRosalía de CastroPérez GaldósLeopoldo Alas
3rd row: GaudíPicassoDalíJuan Carlos I of SpainAntonio BanderasPenélope Cruz

poptime= Spanish
approx: 135 million Descendents
2% of World's Population
(est; Includes all identified Spanish ethnicities)
Mixed Spanish
approx: 400 million Ancestral Descendents
6% of World's Population
Fact|date=June 2008
genealogy =
popplace =flagicon|Spain Spain 40 million
(Spanish descent only)
region1 = flagcountry|Argentina
pop1 = 25 mill (>30 mill1)
ref1 = [ [ Argentina: Ethnic groups] ]
region2 = flagicon|Brazil Brazil
pop2 = 15 mill (>20 mill4)
ref2 = [ [ Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación.] ]
region3 = flagcountry|Mexico
pop3 = 15 mill (c. 75 mill1)
region4 = flagcountry|Chile
pop4 = 9.5 mill (c. 15 mill2)
ref4 =
region5 = flagcountry|Colombia
pop5 = 8.4 mill (>42 mill1)
ref5 = [ [ Colombia: Ethnic groups] ]
region6 = flagicon|Cuba Cuba
pop6 = 7 mill (c. 10 mill2)
ref6 = [es icon cite web |url=|title=Poblacion Por Color de la Piel y Grupos de Edades, Segun Zona de Residencia y Sexo]
region7 = flagicon|Venezuela Venezuela
pop7 = 5.6 mill (c. 22 mill2)
ref7 = [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Venezuela | date= | publisher= | url = | work =Encyclopædia Britannica | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-25 | language = ]
region8 = flagicon|Peru Peru
pop8 = 5.4 mill (c. 17 mill2)
ref8 = [ [ Peru: Ethnic groups] ]
region10 = flagicon|Costa Rica Costa Rica
pop10 = 3.2 mill (c. 4 mill2)
ref10 = [ [ The Costa Rican people] ]
region11 = flagcountry|Puerto Rico
pop11 = 3.2 mill
ref11 = [ [ Puerto Rico: Ethnic groups] ]
region12 = flagicon|USA USA
pop12 = 2,487,092 (>35 mill3)
ref12 = [cite web
title=Ancestry 2000: Census 2000 brief
publisher=U.S. Census Bureau
region13 = flagicon|Uruguay Uruguay
pop13 = 1.8 mill (>3 mill1)
ref13 = [ [ Uruguay: Ethnic groups] ]
region14 = flagcountry|France
pop14 = 1.5 mill
ref14 = [cite web
title=3,7 millions de musulmans en France, Les vrais chiffres
date=4 December, 2003
region15 = flagicon|Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
pop15 = 1.5 mill (c. 9.1 mill2)
ref15 = [ [ Dominican Republic: Ethnic groups] ]
region16 = flagicon|Bolivia Bolivia
pop16 = 1.3 mill (c. 4.4 mill2)
ref16 = [ [ Bolivia: Ethnic groups] ]
region17 = flagicon|Ecuador Ecuador
pop17 = 0.9 mill (c. 9.5 mill2)
ref17 = [ [ Ecuador: Ethnic groups] ]
region18 = flagicon|Nicaragua Nicaragua
pop18 = 0.9 mill (c. 4.7 mill2)
ref18 = [ [ Nicaragua: Ethnic groups] ]
region19 = flagcountry|El Salvador
pop19 = 0.6 mill (c. 6.7 mill2)
ref19 = [ [ El Salvador: Ethnic groups] ]
region20 = flagicon|Guatemala Guatemala
pop20 = 0.5 mill (c. 7.3 mill2)
ref20 = [ [ Guatemala Introduction] ]
region21 = flagicon|UK United Kingdom
pop21 = 0.33 mill (inc. through Latin American ancestries
ref21 = Fact|date=August 2007
region22 = flagicon|Panama Panama
pop22 = 0.3 mill (c. 2.5 mill2)
ref22 = [ [ Panama: Ethnic groups] ]
region23 = flagicon|Paraguay Paraguay
pop23 = 0.3 mill (c. 4.3 mill2)
ref23 = Fact|date=August 2007
region24 = flagicon|Honduras Honduras
pop24 = 0.2 mill (c. 6.7 mill2)
ref24 = Fact|date=August 2007
region25 = flagicon|Germany Germany
pop25 = 130,000
ref25 = [ [ Relations between Spain and Germany] ]
region26 = flagicon|Switzerland Switzerland
pop26 = 84,000
ref26 = Fact|date=August 2007
region27 = flagicon|Australia Australia
pop27 = 75,237 (c. 50,0001)
ref27 = [Cite web
title=Ancestry by Birthplace of Parent(s)
publisher=New South Wales Community Relations Commission
region28 = flagicon|Canada Canada
pop28 = 66,545 (213,1051)
ref28 = [cite web
title=Population by selected ethnic origins, by province and territory (2001 Census)
publisher=Statistics Canada, Canada's National Statistics Agency
region29 = flagicon|Belize Belize
pop29 = 45,000
ref29 = [cite news | title=Mestizo location in Belize; Location | url = | accessdate = 2008-02-14 | language = ]
region30 = flagicon|Belgium Belgium
pop30 = 43,000
ref30 = [ [ Belgium: Stock of foreign population by country of nationality, 2001 to 2004] ]
langs=Spanish, and other languages of Spain.
rels= Christianity (Predominantly Roman Catholic) and others, including atheists
related-c=Portuguese, Italians, and French.
#Including those of mixed Spanish and other European ancestry, mestizos and/or mulattos.
#Including mestizos and/or mulattos.
#Including those of mixed Spanish and other European ancestry, other Hispanics of direct Spanish descent, and Spanish-descended mestizos and mulattos.
#Including Brazilians of mixed Spanish and other European ancestry, and Spanish-descended mestizos and/or mulattos.
#Including Filipino mestizos.

Spanish people or Spaniards are a nation or ethnic group native to Spain, in the Iberian Peninsula of southwestern Europe. They are one of the Latin European peoples and have somewhat varied origins apart from the indigenous Iberian peoples, due to Spaniards' long history of migrations. Substantial populations descended from Spanish colonists and immigrants also exist in other parts of the world, most notably in Latin America. A more orthodox analysis would be used to class these groups as Spanish, based on common language, culture, and a sense of shared ancestry.

Historical background

The earliest modern humans inhabiting Spain are believed to have been Paleolithic peoples that may have arrived in the Iberian Peninsula as early as 35,000-40,000 years ago. In more recent times the Iberians are believed to have arrived or developed in the region between the 4th millennium BC and the 3rd millennium BC, initially settling along the Mediterranean coast.

Celtic tribes arrived in Iberia between the 9th century BC and the 6th century BC. The Celts merged with the Iberians in central Spain, creating a local hybrid culture known as Celtiberian. In addition, a group known as the Tartessians and later Turdetanians inhabited southwestern Spain and who are believed to have developed a separate civilization of Phoenician influence. The seafaring Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians successively settled along the Mediterranean coast and founded trading colonies there over a period of several centuries. The Second Punic War between the Carthaginians and Romans was fought mainly in what is now Spain and Portugal. [cite web |url= |title=Ethnographic map of Pre-Roman Iberia |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |work=Luís Fraga da Silva - Associação Campo Arqueológico de Tavira, Tavira, Portugal ]

The Roman Republic annexed Iberia during the 2nd century BC and transformed most of the region into a series of Latin-speaking provinces. As a result of Roman colonization, the majority of local languages, with the exception of Basque, stem from a type of vulgarized Latin that was spoken in Hispania (Roman Iberia), which evolved into the modern languages of the Iberian peninsula, including Castilian, which became the unifying language of Spain, and now known in many countries as Spanish. Hispania (including Spain, but also Portugal) emerged as an important part of the Roman Empire and produced notable historical figures such as Trajan, Hadrian and Seneca.

The Germanic Vandals and their subordinates the Iranic Alans arrived around 409 AD, but were displaced to North Africa by another Germanic tribe, the Visigoths who conquered the region around 415 AD and became the dominant power in Iberia for three centuries. The Vandals may have given their name to the region, which was originally "Vandalucia" or land of the Vandals (which would be the source of Al-Andalus the Arab name of this Iberian region). Iberian-Roman culture eventually "romanized" the Visigoths and other tribes. Another Germanic tribe, the Suebi (including the Buri), who arrived at roughly the same time as the Vandals, became established in the old North western Roman province of Gallaecia a kingdom which survived until late 6th century when it too was integrated by the Visigoths.

In 711, the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by Muslim Arab-Berbers, popularly known as the Moors, who conquered nearly all the peninsula except the Kingdom of Asturias in the very northern part and subsequently ruled part of the region as Al-Andalus, but were driven south during their reign, ruling areas from between three to nearly eight centuries, ending with their defeat in 1492. These Muslim invaders were mainly of Berber origin with prominent Arab tribal leaders mixed in and they converted many locals to Islam to the point that at certain points in time Muslims outnumbered Christians. Muslims of Hispanic origin were generally known as Muladis (or Muwalladin in Arabic), "those born of foreign parentage" (though the idea "foreign" in this case meant "foreign" to the Arab and Berbers). Muslim Iberia was known as Al-Andalus. Ultimately, most Muslims and Sephardi Jews were either converted to Christianism or expelled after the Christian reconquest ("Reconquista").

The union of the christians Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon and the conquest of Granada led to the formation of the Spanish state as we know it today and thus to the development of Spanish identity in the form of one people.

Ethnicities and regions

pain's nationalities

Spain itself consists of various regional nationalities including the Castilians [cite web |url= |title=Anexo:Comunidades autónomas españolas por población |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |work=Spanish Wikipedia ] , the Catalans, Valencians and Balearics (speakers of Catalan, a distinct Romance language in eastern Spain), the Navarro-Basques and the Basques (people inhabiting the Basque country and Navarre), and the Galicians, who speak a language which is very close to Portuguese. Regional diversity is important to many Spaniards, and some regions (other than the ones associated with the different nationalities) also have strong local identities and dialects such as Asturias, Aragon, the Canary Islands, León and Andalusia.

The Roma

Spain is home to around 700,000 Spanish-Roma (Gitanos). Roma are a formerly-nomadic group, which spread across Western Asia, North Africa and Europe, reaching Spain in the 15th century. Gitanos, for a number of historical and cultural reasons are not considered a separate or "foreign" population in Spain, but a distinct ethnicity which overlaps with the wider Spanish ethnicity. Indeed, Gitanos play an important role in particularly Andalusian folklore, music and culture. There are no official statistics on the Gitano population in Spain. Estimates range from 600 000 to 700 000, making Spain, together with Romania and Bulgaria, home to one of the largest Roma communities in Europe. Over 40% of Gitanos live in the region of Andalusia, where they have traditionally enjoyed a higher degree of integration than in the rest of the country. A number of Spanish "gitanos" also live in Southern France, especially in the region of Perpignan.


The ancestry of the Iberian peoples is largely consistent with the geographic position of the Iberian peninsula, located on the extreme southwest of Europe. There are clear connections with the Mediterranean peoples as well as with those of Atlantic and Western Europe.

The Paleolithic and Neolithic basis of modern Iberian ancestry

Recent development of methodologies for defining population structure using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism markers has led a 2006 study to conclude that there is clear and consistent division between "“northern” and “southern” European population groups". This study, involving 74 Spanish participants strongly suggested a close genetic relationship between Greeks, Italians, Portuguese and Spaniards, whereas all European populations north of the Alps and the Pyrenees (except for Ashkenazi Jews) fell squarely into a separate "Northern" population group. []

A 2007 European-wide study including Spanish Basques and Valencian Spaniards, found Iberian populations to cluster the furthest from other continental groups, implying that Iberia holds the most ancient European ancestry. In this study, the most prominent genetic stratification in Europe was found to run from the north to the south-east, while another important axis of differentiation runs east-west across the continent. It also found, despite the differences, that all Europeans are closely related. [ Measuring European Population Stratification using Microarray Genotype Data [] ]

Previous Y-chromosome and mtDNA analysis [ [ World Haplogroups Maps] ] already pointed to Paleolithic ancestry among Iberian populations. Although this methodology does not provide strong inferences on genetic population structure, it is useful in tracing parts of the routes of migration in the populating of Europe. Both Y-chromosome haplogroups R1b and Mtdna haplogroup H, reach frequencies above 60% in most of Iberia, R1b peaking at 90% in the Basque region.Citation
last1 = Dupanloup | first1 = Isabelle
last2 = Bertorelle | first2 = Giorgio
last3 = Chikhi | first3 = Lounès
last4 = Barbujani | first4 = Guido
author4-link = Guido Barbujani
title = Reduced genetic structure of the Iberian peninsula revealed by Y-chromosome analysis: implications for population demography
journal = Molecular Biology and Evolution
volume = 21
issue = 7
pages = 1361-1372
publisher = Oxford University Press
location = Oxford
date = 2004-03-24
year = 2004
url =
doi = 10.1093/molbev/msh135
issn = 0737-4038
.(PDF)] This shows an ancestral bond between Iberia and the rest of western Europe, and in particular with Atlantic Europe, which share high frequencies of these haplogroups. Y-chromosome and mtDNA analysis seems to support the theory according to which founder populations in northern Iberia colonized the rest of western Europe at the end of the last glaciation.Citation
last1 = Flores | first1 = Carlos
last2 = Maca-Meyer | first2 = Nicole
last3 = González | first3 = Ana M
last4 = Oefner | first4 = Peter J
last5 = Shen | first5 = Peidong
last6 = Pérez | first6 = Jose A
last7 = Rojas | first7 = Antonio
last8 = Larruga | first8= Jose M
last9 = Underhill | first9 = Peter A
title = Summarized Percent Frequencies of R1b, R1a, I1b* (xM26), E3b1 and J2e
journal = European Journal of Human Genetics
volume = 12
issue =
pages = 855–863
publisher = Nature Publishing Group
location = London
date = 2004-07-28
year = 2004
url =
doi = 10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201225
issn =

In fact, according to one article, the main components in the European genomes appear to derive from ancestors whose features were similar to those of modern Basques and Near Easterners, with average values greater than 35% for both these parental populations, regardless of whether or not molecular information is taken into account. The lowest degree of both Basque and Near Eastern admixture is found in Finland, whereas the highest values are, respectively, 70% in Spain and more than 60% in the Balkans.Citation
last1 = Dupanloup | first1 = Isabelle
last2 = Bertorelle | first2 = Giorgio
last3 = Chikhi | first3 = Lounès
last4 = Barbujani | first4 = Guido
author4-link = Guido Barbujani
title = Weighted Average Across Loci, and Standard Deviations (SD), of the Estimated Contributions of 4 Parental Populations to European Populations| journal = Molecular Biology and Evolution
volume = 21
issue = 7
pages = 1361-1372
publisher = Oxford University Press
location = Oxford
date = 2004-03-24
year = 2004
url =
doi = 10.1093/molbev/msh135
issn = 0737-4038
] Citation
last1 = Dupanloup | first1 = Isabelle
last2 = Bertorelle | first2 = Giorgio
last3 = Chikhi | first3 = Lounès
last4 = Barbujani | first4 = Guido
author4-link = Guido Barbujani
title = Estimating the Impact of Prehistoric Admixture on the Genome of Europeans Populations to European Populations
journal = Molecular Biology and Evolution
volume = 21
issue = 7
pages = 1361-1372
publisher = Oxford University Press
location = Oxford
date = 2004-03-24
year = 2004
url =
doi = 10.1093/molbev/msh135
issn = 0737-4038

Autosomal studies using a small number of classical genetic markers, supported by more recent analysis of Microsatellite data, have lent support for a large Neolithic element in the European genome, supporting the demic diffusion model from the ancient Near East. This Neolithic component has also been detected at substantial levels in Spain, but at greatly reduced levels to those detected in other European countries to the north and east. Broad gradients across Europe, largely on South East/North West cline using a small number of classical genetic markers would thus link the populations of Western Europe (including Iberia) by a common "paleolithic" ancestry and those of eastern (and particularly south eastern) Europe by a common "neolithic" ancestry Nevertheless the demic diffusion model remains controversial, to the degree that studies of ancient Mtdna have been interpreted as pointing to the absence of a Neolithic contribution in modern European populations.Fact|date=January 2008

The genetic legacy of Muslim rule

There exists a number of studies which focus on the genetic impact of the eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula (al-Andalus) on the genetic make up of the Iberian population. Recent studies agree that there is a genetic relationship between (particularly southern) Iberia and North Africa as a result of this period of history. Iberia is the only region in Europe with a presence of the typically North West African Y-chromosome haplotypes E-M81 [cite web |url=
title=Phylogeny and frequency distributions of Hg E and its main subclades |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |work=The American Journal of Human Genetics
] [

cite web |url=
title=Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |work=The American Journal of Human Genetics
] and Haplotype Va [

cite web |url=
title=North African Berber and Arab influences in the western Mediterranean revealed by Y-chromosome DNA haplotypes. |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |
] . A thorough Y-chromosome analysis of the Iberian peninsula reveal that haplotype E-M81 surpasses frequencies of 10% in Southern Iberia. [ [ Reduced genetic structure of the Iberian peninsula revealed by Y-chromosome analysis: implications for population demography] ] As for Mtdna analysis (Mitochondrial DNA), Iberia has much higher frequencies of typically North African Haplogroup U6 than those generally observed in Europe. ["Haplogroup U6 is present at frequencies ranging from 0 to 7% in the various Iberian populations, with an average of 1.8%. Given that the frequency of U6 in NW Africa is 10%, the mtDNA contribution of NW Africa to Iberia can be estimated at 18%. This is larger than the contribution estimated with Y-chromosomal lineages (7%) (Bosch et al. 2001). " [ Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA Sequences Show Multidirectional Gene Flow in the Western Mediterranean (2003)] ] ["Although the absolute value of observed U6 frequency in Iberia is low, it reveals a considerable North African female contribution, if we keep in mind that haplogroup U6 is not very common in North Africa itself and virtually absent in the rest of Europe. Indeed, because the range of variation in western North Africa is 4-28%, the estimated minimum input is 8.54%. " [ African female heritage in Iberia: a reassessment of mtDNA lineage distribution in present times (2005)] ] ["Our results clearly reinforce, extend, and clarify the preliminary clues of an important mtDNA contribution from northwest Africa into the Iberian Peninsula (Côrte-Real et al., 1996; Rando et al., 1998; Flores et al., 2000a; Rocha et al., 1999)(...) Our own data allow us to make minimal estimates of the maternal African pre-Neolithic, Neolithic, and/or recent slave trade input into Iberia. For the former, we consider only the mean value of the U6 frequency in northern African populations, excluding Saharans, Tuareg, and Mauritanians (16%), as the pre-Neolithic frequency in that area, and the present frequency in the whole Iberian Peninsula (2.3%) as the result of the northwest African gene flow at that time. The value obtained (14%) could be as high as 35% using the data of Corte-Real et al. (1996), or 27% with our north Portugal sample." [ Mitochondrial DNA affinities at the Atlantic fringe of Europe (2003)] ] . North African ancestry in Iberia (Algarve and Alentejo, Portugal) is largely on the maternal side where the mtDNA contribution of NW Africa to Iberia (given that the average frequency of U6 is 10% in NW Africa compared with 1.8% in Iberia) can be estimated at 8% ["Haplogroup U6 is present at frequencies ranging from 0 to 7% in the various Iberian populations , with an average of 1.8%. Given that the frequency of U6 in NW Africa is 10%, the mtDNA contribution of NW Africa to Iberia can be estimated at 18%" [ Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA Sequences Show Multidirectional Gene Flow in the Western Mediterranean] ] ["Although the absolute value of observed U6 frequency in Iberia is low, it reveals a considerable North African female contribution, if we keep in mind that haplogroup U6 is not very common in North Africa itself and virtually absent in the rest of Europe. Indeed, because the range of variation in western North Africa is 4-28%, the estimated minimum input is 8.54%. + " [ African female heritage in Iberia: a reassessment of mtDNA lineage distribution in present times] ] .

This region also has the highest frequency of haplogroup L of Sub-Saharan origin (especially in southern Portugal and to a lesser extent Andalusia) mostly as a result of Berber colonisation and, to a lesser extent African slavery, both during and after Muslim rule. [ cite web |url= |title=Sub-Saharan DNA admixture in Europe |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |work=Wikipedia ] [cite web |url= |title=African female heritage in Iberia: a reassessment of mtDNA lineage distribution in present times |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= | ]

Nevertheless, the North African element in modern day Iberians' ancestry is evidently small compared to their pre-Islamic ancestral basis. [Isabelle Dupanloup, Giorgio Bertorelle, Lounès Chikhi, Guido Barbujani (2004) [ Estimating the Impact of Prehistoric Admixture on the Genome of Europeans] , "Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution" 21 (7), p. 1361-1372.] [ [ Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA Sequences Show Multidirectional Gene Flow in the Western Mediterranean] ] [ [ Oxford Journals: Molecular Biology and Evolution] ] [ [ Wells Family DNA Project Haplogroup Definitions - R] ] [ [] ] A study (published 2007) using 6,501 unrelated Y-chromosome samples from 81 populations found that: “Considering both these E-M78 sub-haplogroups (E-V12, E-V22, E-V65) and the E-M81 haplogroup, the contribution of northern African lineages to the entire male gene pool of Iberia is 5.6%. ” [Fluvio Cruciani, Et al. ,"Tracing Past Human Male Movements in Northern/Eastern Africa and Eurasia: New Clues from Y-Chromosomal Haplogroups E-M78 and J-M12", Molecular Biology and Evolution, Volume 24, Number 6: June 2007, Oxford University Press, Pp. 1307]

In fact, a European wide study including Spaniards states: No significant correlation is apparent between North African admixture and geography. Genetic exchanges across the Mediterranean Sea, and especially in its western-most part where the geographic distance between continents is smallest (Spain), seem to have been limited or very limited, establishing the North African contribution at 2.5/3.4%. [] []

The Canary Islands

The inhabitants of the Canary Islands, hold a gene pool that is halfway between the Iberians and the ancient native population, the Guanches (a proto-berber population), although with a major Iberian contribution. Guanche genetic markers have also been found, at low frequencies, in peninsular Spain, probably as a result of slavery and/or later immigration from the Canary Islands. [cite web Other theories, however, suggest that the native Guanche population may have been of ancient Nordic or Celtic origin, but this in itself is up to dispute. Despite this, the genes of the Guanche people would to some extent be present, albeit on a small scale, in the mainstream Spanish populace. |url=
title=A tale of aborigines, conquerors and slaves: Alu insertion polymorphisms and the peopling of Canary Islands |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |

Other historical influences

Apart from the indigenous Iberian peoples, the ancestry of modern Spaniards has also been influenced to a smaller degree by many peoples which have passed on its territory throughout history. These peoples include Celts (Celtiberians), Phoenicians (Punics or Carthaginians), Greeks (Ancient and Byzantine), Romans, Germanic tribes (Vandals, Suebi and Visigoths), Saqalibas (Slavs), Alans, Berbers and Arabs (Moors), Jews (Sephardim) or Marranos, and particularly in Andalusia, the Roma people (Gitanos).

Modern immigration

The population of Spain is becoming increasingly diverse due to recent immigration. Spain now has among the highest per capita immigration rates in the world and the second highest absolute net migration in the World (after the USA). [ [ Eurostat - Population in Europe in 2005] ] and immigrants now make up about 10% of the population. Since 2000, Spain has absorbed more than 3 million immigrants, with thousands more arriving each year. [ [ Spain: Immigrants Welcome] ] Immigrant population now tops over 4.5 million. [ [ Instituto Nacional de Estadística: Avance del Padrón Municipal a 1 de enero de 2006. Datos provisionales] ] They come mainly from Europe, Latin America and North Africa. [cite web |url=,,1830838,00.html
title=Spain attracts record levels of immigrants seeking jobs and sun |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= |work=The Guardian
] (see Immigration to Spain).


Languages spoken in Spain include Spanish ("castellano" or "español"), Catalan ("català", called "valencià" in the Valencian Community), Galician ("galego"), and Basque ("euskara"). Other languages are Asturian ("asturianu"), Aranese Gascon ("aranés"), Aragonese ("aragonés"), and Leonese, each with their own various dialects. Although Spanish is but one of the many languages of Spain, it is this language which is commonly known as being the "Spanish language" since it is the official state language, although minority languages are co-official in a number of autonomous communities.

Peninsular Spanish is largely considered to be divided into two main dialects: Castilian Spanish (spoken in the northern half of the country) and Andalusian Spanish (spoken mainly in Andalusia). However, a large part of Spain, including Madrid, Extremadura, Murcia, and Castilla-la Mancha, speak local dialects known as "transitional dialects" between Andalusian and Castilian Spanish. [cite web |url= |title=Lenguas de España |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format= | ] The Canary Islands also have a distinct dialect of Castilian Spanish which is very close to Caribbean Spanish. Linguistically, the Spanish language is a Romance language and is one of the aspects (including laws and general "ways of life") that makes Spaniards to be labelled a Latin people. The strong Arabic influence on the language (nearly 4,000 words are of Arabic origin, many nouns and few verbs) [The importance of this influence can be seen in words like admiral (almirante), algebra, alchemy and alcohol, to note just a few obvious examples, which entered other European languages, like French, English, German, from Arabic via medieval Spanish. Modern Spanish has more than 100 000 words. [] ] and the independent evolution of the language itself through history, most notably the Basque influence at the formative stage of Castilian Romance, partially explain its difference from other Romance languages. The Basque language left a strong imprint on Spanish both linguistically and phonetically. Other changes in Spanish have come from borrowings from English and French, although English influence is stronger in Latin America than in Spain.

The number of speakers of Spanish as a mother tongue is roughly 35.6 million, while the vast majority of other groups in Spain such as the Galicians, Catalans, and Basques also speak Spanish as a first or second language, which boosts the number of Spanish speakers to the overwhelming majority of Spain's population of 45.9 million.

Spanish was exported to the Americas due to over three centuries of Spanish colonial rule starting with the arrival of Christopher Columbus to Santo Domingo in 1492. Spanish is spoken natively by over 400 million people and spans across most countries of the Americas; from the Southwestern United States in North America down to Tierra del Fuego, the most southernly region of South America in Chile and Argentina. Mexico has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world with approximately 100 million speakers. [cite web |url= |title=Spanish for Cultural Literacy Online |accessdate=2007-04-25 |format=html |work=University of Illinois at Springfield ] A variety of the language, known as Judæo-Spanish or Ladino (or Haketia in Morocco), is still spoken by descendants of Sephardim (Spanish and Portuguese Jews) who fled Spain following a decree of expulsion of Moors and Jews in 1492. Also, a Spanish creole language known as Chabacano is spoken by nearly 1 million people in the Philippines, which developed from the mix of Spanish and native Tagalog and Cebuano languages during Spain's rule of the country through Mexico from 1565 to 1898. In Russia, the Spaniards who moved there during World War II speak a mix of Russian and Spanish. Some speak Catalan.


According to several sources (Spanish official polls and others,, about 76% self-identify as Christian Catholics, about 2% with another religious faith, and about 19% identify as non-believers or atheists.

Other related peoples

Hundreds of millions of Spanish descendants can be found throughout the Hispanic countries of Latin America in the form of "criollos" (predominantly Spaniards born in the Americas), "mestizos" (mixed Spanish/Amerindian), "mulatos" (mixed Spanish/African) or triracial (Spanish/African/Amerindian). In the United States, the number of Mexican-Americans represent a significant portion of the Spanish descended population, as the majority of over 70% of the population of Mexico have Spanish ancestry, though most also have Amerindian ancestry. See Demographics of Mexico.

On a smaller scale, in addition to approximately 17,000 Spanish citizens in the Philippines, there is also a small but important minority of Filipinos of Spanish descents (mixed Spanish / Austronesian ancestry), with a total of 3,500,000.

Spanish heritage in the Americas

A vast majority of the total ascendance of people living in Latin America has predominantly Spanish ancestry .

Situation in the United States of America:
legend|#B3D9FF|Countries and regions where the Spanish language is spoken without official recognition, or where Spanish-based créole languages (Chavacano, etc) are spoken, with or without official recognition, and areas with a strong Hispanic influence.
NOTE: For detailed information about the sources taken to make the map, [

Spanish make-up in Latin America may be mixed with different ethnicities from different places around the world: For example, in Mexico it is mainly mixed Native American ancestry, in Colombia it is mixed with Native American and African ancestry, in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico it is mixed with Taino and African, in Argentina it is mixed with other European groups, such as the Italian, the Germans, and the Irish, and in Chile it is mixed mainly with both Native Americans and other European and Middle-eastern groups.

Spanish culture had even greater impact than the mere arrival of Spaniards in the Americas. This can be seen in the fact that Spanish is spoken as official language in almost all, if not in all, countries conquered by the Spanish Reign, and the Roman Catholic religion is the main religion in the region. There are other matters, such as architecture and politics, that show the major influence that Spain has had in Latin America. In the United States, more than 15% of the population is of Hispanic origins, with more than 40 million people who are partly or fully of Spanish ancestry.

panish Identities

Within the broader Spanish identity are long standing subidentities:
*Andalusian people
*Aragonese people
*Asturian people
*Basque people
*Canarian people
*Cantabrian people
*Catalan people
*Castilian people
*Galician people
*Leonese people

Spanish nationality and regional movements

Languages of Spain

Official languages

* Spanish (see also dialects and varieties)
* Catalan/Balearic/Valencian
* Basque
* Galician
* Aranese

Unofficial languages

* Aragonese
* Asturian with Official Recognition in Asturias
* Ladino
* Leonese with Official Recognition in Castile and León
* Murcian language

Ancient Spanish peoples

* Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula
* Iberians
* Basques
* Celts
* Greeks
* Romans
* Vandals
* Suebi
* Visigoths
* Jews
* Moors

People with Spanish ancestry

* Spanish Americans
* Spanish Argentines
* Spanish Brazilians
* Spanish Britons
* Spanish Canadians
* Spanish Chileans
* Spanish Filipinos
* Spanish Mexicans
* Spanish Peruvians
* Spanish South Africans
* Criollos
* Ethnic groups in Central America
* White Latin Americans



* Castro, Americo. Willard F. King and Selma Margaretten, trans. "The Spaniards: An Introduction to Their History". Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1980. ISBN 0520041771.
* Chapman, Robert. "Emerging Complexity: The Later Pre-History of South-East Spain, Iberia, and the West Mediterranean". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. ISBN 0521232074.
* Goodwin, Godfrey. "Islamic Spain". San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1990. ISBN 0877016925.
* Harrison, Richard. "Spain at the Dawn of History: Iberians, Phoenicians, and Greeks". New York: Thames & Hudson, 1988. ISBN 0500021112.
* James, Edward (ed.). "Visigothic Spain: New Approaches". Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. ISBN 0198225431.
* Thomas, Hugh. "The Slave Trade: The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440 – 1870". London: Picador, 1997. ISBN 033035437X.

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