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Flag of the Hispanicity.svg
The Hispanic flag

Countries with Spanish as an official language.svg
Spanish-speaking nations

The Hispanidad (English: Hispanicity) is the community formed by the people and countries that share a common Hispanic heritage and cultural pattern. The 23 nations that are included are all Spanish-speaking countries.

The community can be classified into three geographic areas: Hispanic Europe (Spain), Hispanic America, and Hispanic Africa (Equatorial Guinea). A few countries in the Asia-Pacific region also have historical Spanish influence (notably the Philippines), although they no longer have Spanish as their official language since 1987.

Various countries celebrate 12 October as the Día de la Hispanidad ("Day of Hispanicity" or "Hispanic Day"). Since 1987 Spain has celebrated this holiday as its Fiesta Nacional de España. In the other nations of the community, the day is also celebrated as a commemoration of the date in 1492 when Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, marking the beginning of the diffusion of Spanish language and culture as well as its lasting impact on the New World.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Hispanidad was moribund. Zacarías de Vizarra, Faustino Rodríguez-San Pedro and Ramiro de Maeztu revived interest in the concept in Spain and the Americas, changing its name to Día de la Raza or "Day of the Race". This was already a national celebration in many Hispanic countries, in honor of the meeting of Europeans and Amerindians, their mixing and the emergence of the mestizo race. Shortly thereafter, the first pan-Hispanic organizations such as the Association of Spanish Language Academies began. With the restoration of democracy in Spain, all the Hispanic nations began to converge with, for example, the creation of the Ibero-American Summit in 1991. Since then, the number of Hispanic American and Filipino hispanism (Filhispanismo) organizations has increased.

Currently, Hispanidad is a cooperative venture. Spain has created a base of support for Hispanic America and the Philippines due to heavy investments in these zones. Some Hispanic Americans choose to immigrate to Spain, because of its cultural, linguistic and ancestral affinity.


Hispanic countries[edit]

Flag Arms Name Area
Population density
(per km²)
Capital Name in Spanish
Argentina Coat of arms of Argentina.svg Argentina 2,780,400 43,024,374 14.4 Buenos Aires Argentina
Bolivia Coat of arms of Bolivia.svg Bolivia 1,098,581 10,631,486 9 Sucre Bolivia
Chile Coat of arms of Chile.svg Chile 756,102 17,363,894 23 Santiago Chile
Colombia Coat of arms of Colombia.svg Colombia 1,138,910 46,245,297 41.5 Bogotá Colombia
Costa Rica Coat of arms of Costa Rica.svg Costa Rica 51,100 4,755,234 91.3 San José Costa Rica
Cuba Coat of arms of Cuba.svg Cuba 110,860 11,047,251 100.6 Havana Cuba
Dominican Republic Coat of arms of the Dominican Republic.svg Dominican Republic 48,670 10,349,741 210.9 Santo Domingo República Dominicana
Ecuador Coat of arms of Ecuador.svg Ecuador 283,561 15,654,411 54.4 Quito Ecuador
Equatorial Guinea Coat of arms of Equatorial Guinea.svg Equatorial Guinea 28,051 722,254 24.1 Malabo Guinea Ecuatorial
El Salvador Coats of arms of El Salvador.svg El Salvador 21,041 6,125,512 290.3 San Salvador El Salvador
Guatemala Coat of arms of Guatemala.svg Guatemala 108,889 14,647,083 129 Guatemala City Guatemala
Honduras Coat of arms of Honduras.svg Honduras 112,090 8,598,561 76 Tegucigalpa Honduras
Mexico Coat of arms of Mexico.svg Mexico 1,964,375 120,286,655 57 Mexico City México
Nicaragua Coat of arms of Nicaragua.svg Nicaragua 130,370 5,848,641 44.3 Managua Nicaragua
Panama Coat of arms of Panama.svg Panama 75,420 3,608,431 54.2 Panama City Panamá
Paraguay Coat of arms of Paraguay.svg Paraguay 406,752 6,703,860 14.2 Asunción Paraguay
Peru Escudo nacional del Perú.svg Peru 1,285,216 30,147,935 23 Lima Perú
Philippines Coat of arms of the Philippines.svg Philippines 300,000 102,172,400 340.57 Manila Filipinas
Puerto Rico Coat of arms of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.svg Puerto Ricoa 13,790 3,620,897 397 San Juan Puerto Rico
Spain Escudo de España (mazonado).svg Spain 505,370 47,737,941 92 Madrid España
Uruguay Coat of arms of Uruguay.svg Uruguay 176,215 3,332,972 18.87 Montevideo Uruguay
Venezuela Coat of arms of Venezuela.svg Venezuela 912,050 28,868,486 31.59 Caracas Venezuela
Total 541,493,316
(7.5% of the global population)

a Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the U.S. where Spanish and English are the official languages[1] and Spanish is the primary language.

In November 2008 a district court judge ruled that a sequence of Congressional actions have had the cumulative effect of changing Puerto Rico's status to incorporated.[2] However, by April 2011 the issue had not yet made its way through the courts,[3] and in January 2013 the U.S. government still referred to Puerto Rico as unincorporated.[4]

Largest Hispanic cities[edit]

The following is a list of the ten largest metropolitan areas in the Hispanic world.[5]

City Country Metropolitan population
Gross Domestic Product
(USD, 2012)
GDP per capita
(USD, 2012)
Global economic ranking by GDP
1. Mexico City Mexico Mexico 20,631,353 $411.4 billion $19,940 15th
2. Buenos Aires Argentina Argentina 13,333,912 $348.4 billion $26,129 20th
3. Manila Philippines Philippines 12,856,400 $182.8 billion $14,222 N/A
4. Lima Peru Peru 10,231,678 $177.4 billion $17,340 62nd
5. Bogotá Colombia Colombia 8,868,395 $140.9 billion $15,891 86th
6. Santiago Chile Chile 7,023,767 $150.3 billion $21,393 79th
7. Madrid Spain Spain 6,598,395 $264.0 billion $40,007 37th
8. Caracas Venezuela Venezuela 5,297,026 $69 billion $24,000[6] N/A
9. Barcelona Spain Spain 4,712,749 $171.0 billion $36,280 65th
10. Guadalajara Mexico Mexico 4,593,444 $77.4 billion $16,855 142nd

Spanish language[edit]

Main article: Spanish language
The common shared Spanish language among the Hispanic nations of Hispanic America, the Philippines, and Spain, together with the growing Spanish speaking population in the United States, form the modern Hispanic world.

Spanish in the Hispanic world[edit]

Most Spanish speakers are in Hispanic America; of all countries with a majority of Spanish speakers, only Spain, the Philippines, and Equatorial Guinea are outside the Americas. Spanish is the official national language of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

In Europe, Spanish is the official national language of Spain, the country after which it is named and from which it originated. It is also spoken in Andorra, and by a minority of the population in Portugal, France, and the United Kingdom.[7]

In Asia, the Philippines, a former Spanish overseas province, is the lone sovereign nation representative of the Spanish language. Spanish was lingua franca of the country from the beginning of Spanish rule in the late 1500s until the first half of the 20th century. It held official status for nearly half a millennium before being demoted as an optional language in 1987. However, Spanish still remained a very important language in the Philippines despite all the inauspicious circumstances that resulted to its gradual decline over the years.[8] Today, Spanish is being somewhat revived by groups rallying to make it a compulsory subject in schools, and eventually be redesignated as an official language on national level.[9]

Spanish elsewhere in the Americas[edit]

Spanish is spoken in other parts of the Americas as a co-official language, second language, or a minority language. The importance of the Spanish language throughout the Americas, has spread the use of Spanish beyond the borders of Hispanic countries.

Spanish has no official recognition in the former British colony of Belize; however, per the 2000 census, it is spoken by 46% of the population.[10] Due to their proximity to Spanish-speaking countries, Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil have implemented Spanish language teaching into their education systems. The Trinidad government launched the Spanish as a First Foreign Language (SAFFL) initiative in March 2005.[11] In 2005, the National Congress of Brazil approved a bill, signed into law by the President, making it mandatory for schools to offer Spanish as an alternative foreign language course in both public and private secondary schools in Brazil.[12] In many border towns and villages (especially in the Uruguayan-Brazilian and Paraguayan-Brazilian border areas), a mixed language known as Portuñol is spoken.[13]

Spanish in the United States[edit]

According to 2006 census data, 44.3 million people of the U.S. population were Hispanic or Hispanic American by origin;[14] 38.3 million people, 13 percent, of the population over five years old speak Spanish at home.[15] The Spanish language has a long history and presence in the United States due to historic Spanish and later, Mexican administration over territories now forming the southwestern states as well as Florida, which was Spanish territory until 1821.

Spanish is by far the most common second language spoken and taught in the country, and with over 50 million total speakers, the United States is now the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico.[16] Spanish is spoken by 10.7% of the population. While English is the de facto official language of the country, Spanish is often used in public services and notices at the federal and state levels. Spanish is also used in administration in the state of New Mexico.[17] The language also has a strong influence in major metropolitan areas such as those of Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, New York, San Francisco, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Phoenix; as well as more recently, Chicago, Las Vegas, Boston, Houston, and Baltimore-Washington, D.C. due to 20th and 21st century immigration.

Hispanics in the world[edit]

Plaza mayor, Segovia, Spain founded by Celtiberians about 700 BC, the Romans in 80 BC.
Street view in Guanajuato, Mexico, founded 1554.
San Salvador, El Salvador founded 1525.

Major influence[edit]

Main article: Hispanic

Spanish, as a mother tongue, is spoken by more than 390 million people (second only to Chinese). The total number of Spanish speakers is more than 500 million people.[18] Mexico contains the largest number of Spanish speakers, with over 100 million.


In Europe, Hispanics reside primarily in Spain as it is the origin of Hispanicity, although there are small communities spread throughout Europe. The native-born population is more than 44 million, plus a large immigrant Hispanic community from Hispanic America and Equatorial Guinea.


The majority of Hispanics live in Hispanic America, coinciding with recognized international borders—the number surpasses 300 million. Countries with great majority Hispanic population include Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The United States and Belize, while not officially counted as Hispanic nations, do each have a large Hispanic population. The United States has more than 50 million Hispanic residents. With 10.7% its total population speaking Spanish, Spanish-language TV networks and other media companies are located across the United States. Additionally, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth in free association with the United States and its residents are American citizens. 46% of Belizeans can speak Spanish.[19]


Hispanics in the African continent are concentrated in overseas territories of Spain, which are the Canary Islands, Ceuta, Melilla and largely unpopulated Plazas de soberanía. Moreover, Equatorial Guinea has Spanish as its official government language, although Portuguese and French are also official languages of this tiny nation, and the people speak their respective native languages. In Morocco and Western Sahara, some people maintain Hispanic characteristics, although these countries are more so influenced by Arab and Berber languages and cultures. In Angola[citation needed] and Nigeria there are small populations of Spanish speakers who descend from repatriated Afro-Cubans of the colonial era. Altogether in Africa, two million speak Spanish.


Some countries in the Asia-Pacific region received influence from the Hispanic world while they were governed by the Spanish Crown via Mexico City and Madrid. The Philippines, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia are among those in this region that received influence from Spain and Mexico.

In the Philippines, Spanish is natively spoken by some 5,000 people, with around 500,000 to 1,000,000 second- or third-language speakers alongside English, Filipino, and/or any of the various Philippine languages. These primary and non-primary Spanish speakers are mostly concentrated in Cavite, Cebú, Metro Manila, Zamboanga, Iloílo, and Dávao. In addition, there are 600,000 native speakers of Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole centred on Zamboanga City.

Spanish ceased to be an official language of the country in 1973, when President Ferdinand Marcos stripped it of such status. Along with Arabic, Spanish is mentioned in the presently enforced 1987 Constitution as a language "promoted on a voluntary and optional basis".

In contrast with the rest of the Hispanic world, the prevalence of Spanish given names and surnames among most Filipinos does not necessarily reflect Spanish descent. This phenomenon stems from an 1849 decree by Governor-General Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa, which mandated a unified naming standard based on Hispanic conventions. Aided by an an official list of surnames, the systematic distribution of surnames was enforced in the Spanish East Indies to ease data recording and government functions such as taxation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Constitution of Puerto Rico, Art. 3, Section 5: It is mandatory to be able to read and write in either English or Spanish in order to be a member of the Legislative Assembly.
  2. ^ Consejo de Salud Playa Ponce v. Johnny Rullan, p.28: "The Congressional incorporation of Puerto Rico throughout the past century has extended the entire Constitution to the island ...."
  3. ^ Hon. Gustavo A. Gelpi, "The Insular Cases: A Comparative Historical Study of Puerto Rico, Hawai'i, and the Philippines", The Federal Lawyer, March/April 2011. http://www.aspira.org/files/legal_opinion_on_pr_insular_cases.pdf p. 25: "In light of the [Supreme Court] ruling in Boumediene, in the future the Supreme Court will be called upon to reexamine the Insular Cases doctrine as applied to Puerto Rico and other US territories."
  4. ^ accessed 26 January 2013: "Puerto Rico is a self-governing, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the Caribbean".
  5. ^ http://www.brookings.edu/research/interactives/global-metro-monitor-3
  6. ^ http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/economic_studies/global_cities_of_the_future_an_interactive_map
  7. ^ "CIA World Factbook — Gibraltar". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  8. ^ The National Archives (archived from the original on 2007-09-27), Houses the Spanish Collection, which consists of around 13 million manuscripts from the Spanish colonial period.
  9. ^ "Spanish is once again a compulsory subject in the Philippines". Archived from the original on July 14, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Population Census, Major Findings" (PDF). Belize: Central Statistical Office, Ministry of Budget Management. 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  11. ^ "FAQ". The Secretariat for The Implementation of Spanish. Trinidad and Tobago: Government of the Republic. Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  12. ^ "Brazilian Law 11.161". Presidência da República. 2005-08-05. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  13. ^ Lipski, John M (2006). Face, Timothy L; Klee, Carol A, eds. "Too close for comfort? the genesis of "portuñol/portunhol"" (PDF). Selected Proceedings of the 8th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium (Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project): 1–22. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  14. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Hispanic or Latino by specific origin.
  15. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (2007). "United States. S1601. Language Spoken at Home". 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Más 'speak spanish' que en España". Retrieved October 6, 2007.  (in Spanish)
  17. ^ Crawford, John (1992). Language loyalties: a source book on the official English controversy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 62. 
  18. ^ krysstal.com, 5th International Congress on Spanish Language (la-moncloa.es), uis.edu, Antonio Molina, director of the Instituto Cervantes in 2006 (terranoticias.es, elmundo.es, fundeu.es), Luis MarÃa Anson of the Real Academia Española (elcultural.es), International Congress about Spanish, 2008, Mario Melgar of the México University (lllf.uam.es), Feu Rosa – Spanish in Mercosur (congresosdelalengua.es), elpais.com, eumed.net, babel-linguistics.com.
  19. ^ "Belize 2000 Housing and Population Census". Belize Central Statistical Office. 2000. Retrieved 2008-09-09.