Indian community of Spain
|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. 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. Most Indians originally migrated to Spain from Africa, while others came from India and even Japan and Southeast Asia.
Sindhi traders and shopkeepers thrived in the freeports of the Spanish Canary Islands of Las Palmas and Tenerife following the imposition of import and foreign exchange restrictions in Spain after World War-II. 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.
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.
Sindhis and Sikhs form the majority of the Indian community. Spain has recognized three entities of Hinduism. 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. 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.
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. 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.
- Singhvi, L. M. (2000), "Other Countries of Europe", Report of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora (PDF), New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs, pp. 133–156
- "Spain", International Religious Freedom Report, United States: Department of State, 2006
- "Población extranjera por sexo, país de nacionalidad y edad (hasta 85 y más).", Avance del Padrón a 1 de enero de 2009. Datos provisionales, Spain: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, 2009, retrieved 2009-06-13