As one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet, Spanish is a popular language to learn and study. Current Spanish-speaking countries are found worldwide, including Europe and the Americas and in remote regions like Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and even Polynesia.
Learning how many Spanish-speaking countries are there begins with taking a look at the big picture. Around the world, nearly 450 million people speak Spanish as their first language.
A further 75 million or so speak it as a second language. Only Chinese has more native speakers than Spanish, with English coming in third with roughly 360 million.
Where Did Spanish Originate?
Spanish originated on the Iberian Peninsula, which encompasses modern-day Spain and Portugal. Like French, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese, Spanish is a Romance language descended from Vulgar (Common) Latin.
By the 1200s, after centuries of intermingling the Castilian continuation of Vulgar Latin with the Arabic dialect used by the region’s conquering Moors, the language had developed into what is now known as the conventional Spanish language.
Subsequently, in the 16th century, Spain established an empire in the Americas, bringing with them their language. Though the Spanish-speaking countries of the world have Spain to thank for their mother tongue, it now accounts for less than 10% of the world’s Spanish speakers.
How Widespread Is Spanish, and Where Is it spoken?
Spanish is an official language in twenty-one nations and a significant minority language in four more, including the United States. Exploring how many Spanish-speaking countries are there will surely take your imagination for a trip around the world.
Whether you’re just starting with learning Spanish or are already proficient in the essentials, learning about places that speak Spanish will yield many opportunities to put your newfound fluency to the test in many exciting and unique settings. Let’s take a quick peek at all 21 places that speak Spanish:
The United States of Mexico is bound to pop up first on the list when studying how many Spanish-speaking countries are there. Mexico is one of the most stunningly beautiful Spanish-speaking countries on the planet.
With a population of nearly 135 million, it is the world’s most populous of all Spanish-speaking countries. Mexico is known for its vibrant cuisine and its music, rich culture, and people.
Colombia is a fascinating South American country and is home to more than 49 million people. Its capital city is named Bogotá, which is Spanish for “planted fields.”
This gorgeous South American country produces some of the world’s finest coffee beans. If you haven’t had Colombian coffee before, you’re missing out. Like its vibrant language, Columbia’s many high-energy dances are practiced all over the globe, Cumbia and Bachata being their most famous.
Spain is referred to in Spanish as España. Today Spanish is a common vernacular throughout the world due to the Spanish Empire’s early influence. For this, Spain gets a special spot on our list of how many Spanish-speaking countries are there.
Spain is a developed country with an affluent population and a good standard of living. It offers several lovely and timeless cities you can visit and explore, such as Madrid, the capital city.
Did you know Argentina’s name is derived from the precious metal silver? There are no other countries named after metals on the planet. Argentina is the world’s eighth-largest country and the second-largest in Latin America.
Lima is Peru’s capital city. More than 31 million people call Peru home. Did you know that Peruvian cuisine is considered to be one of the most delectable in the world? Peru brought us delicacies such as ceviche, Pollo a la Brasa, and Aji de gallina.
Peru is one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations because of its rich history. Machu Picchu, an ancient Lost City in the Peruvian Andes, is a famous destination.
Early colonists introduced Spanish in Venezuela and designated Castilian (another term for Spanish) as the country’s official language. Most of them were from Andalusia or the Canary Islands. Venezuela’s capital city is Caracas, and the country in total has a population of somewhat more than 29 million people.
Chile, the world’s longest country, is extremely long and narrow. Chile has a population of almost 18 million people, and the capital city is Santiago. It is a land of contrasting landscapes, with the Atacama Desert to the north and lush green mountains and dense forest to the south.
Not many people know that Easter Island, which is famous for its ancient, colossal sculptures, is also a part of Chile. This inclusion is an important fact to remember when asking, “how many Spanish-speaking countries are there?”
Ecuador’s capital city is Quito. This South American nation is a beautiful country with a population of around 17 million people. A few miles north of Quito lies a magnificent and dazzling memorial. It’s one of the equator’s most defining characteristics: the equator line.
The world-famous Galapagos Islands are also part of Ecuador. These islands are home to some of the most exquisite vegetation and fauna on the planet.
Guatemala City is this country’s capital and is recognized as one of the greatest locations for language immersion by Spanish students. The name Guatemala derives from the Spanish term for “country of countless trees.”
The country’s population is somewhat more than 17 million at the moment. Did you know Guatemala is credited with inventing instant coffee and the very first chocolate bars? Guatemala is famous for its towering volcanoes, deep rain forests, and ancient Mayan monuments.
Let’s continue our list of how many Spanish-speaking countries are there with Cuba. Officially named the Republic of Cuba, it is the Caribbean’s largest island. From the air, Cubas a crocodile or alligator and so is frequently referred to as “El Cocodrilo” or “El Caiman” in Spanish.
Cuba is famed for its unique music, which is heard throughout the country, including the capital, Havana. The island is home to more than 11 million people.