Indian community of Spain

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Indian community of Spain
Total population
(35,686 (2011)[1])
Regions with significant populations
Madrid, Barcelona, Ceuta, Melilla, Canary Islands, Palma de Mallorca
Spanish, Hindi, Sindhi, Punjabi, English, Catalan
Related ethnic groups
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin, Desi, Gyspy Spaniards, Anglo-Indians

The Indian community of Spain form one of the smaller populations of the Indian diaspora. According to the statistics of India's Ministry of External Affairs, they number only 35,000, or 0.07% of the population of Spain.[2] 2009 statistics of Spain's Instituto Nacional de Estadística showed 35,686 Indian citizens in Spain; this figure does not include persons of Indian origin holding other citizenships.[1] Most Indians originally migrated to Spain from Africa, while others came from India and even Japan and Southeast Asia.[3]

Migration history[edit]

Sindhi traders and shopkeepers thrived in the free ports of the Spanish Canary Islands of Las Palmas and Tenerife following the imposition of import and foreign exchange restrictions in Spain after second world war. They conducted a brisk trade with the North African continent from Las Palmas. When Ceuta and Melilla, parts of Spanish Morocco, were also declared as free ports, Indian businessmen set up trading houses and retail shops catering to the tourist trade.[3]

The next wave of Indians to go to Spain were descendants of Indian labourers from former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea. By the mid-seventies, there were over 200 Indian trading houses in Ceuta and Melilla. With the liberalisation in import policies introduced in the eighties, business activity shifted to the port cities of Malaga and Barcelona. Madrid also attracted many Indian businessmen.[3]


Sindhis and Sikhs form the majority of the Indian community.[3] Spain has recognized three entities of Hinduism.[4] The community celebrates various Indian festivals. Rath Yatras are also taken out by members of the Hare Rama Hare Krishna movement with the enthusiastic support of the Indian community.[3] There are temples in Valencia, Ceuta, and Canary Islands. There are some Gurdwaras as well in big cities of Spain, like Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Murcia, and Valencia.[citation needed]


The Indian community in Spain enjoys a good reputation. Indians are considered hard working, non-political and peaceful. The Indian community has integrated well with Spanish society.[3] There are many Indian restaurants in the island of Mallorca. The majority of Indian people living in Mallorca have their own business such as restaurants, call centres, or Indian grocery stores.[citation needed]

Currently, the largest Hindu community in Spain is in the Canary Islands,[5] especially on the island of Tenerife.[6][7]

Several electronics and camera stores owned by Indians in the Canary Islands have been acussed of being a fraud.[8][9] In 2016 the Danish tv program "Svindlerjagt" (Eng: Swindler Hunt), went to Gran Canaria to expose several electronics stores which scammed Danish customers.[10]

Spanish people of Indian descent[edit]

See also[edit]