Hispanophone[i] and Hispanosphere are terms used to refer to Spanish-language speakers and the Spanish-speaking world, respectively. The terms derive from the Latin political name of the Iberian Peninsula, Hispania. In addition to the general definition of Hispanophone, some groups in the Hispanic world make a distinction between Castilian-speaking[ii] and Spanish-speaking, with the former term denoting the speakers of the Spanish language--also known as Castilian--and the latter the speakers of the Spanish or Hispanic languages (i.e. the languages of Spain or the languages of the Hispanic nations).
Hispanophones are estimated at between 480 and 577 million (including second language speakers) globally, making Spanish the second most spoken language in terms of native speakers. Around 360 million live in Hispanic America and 45 million in Spain (70 million in Europe). There are more than 34 million Spanish speakers in the United States. There are also smaller Hispanophone groups in Canada, northern Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Western Sahara, the Philippines and Brazil as well as in many other places around the world, particularly other countries of European Union, where it is one of 24 official languages, and Australia.
In a cultural, rather than merely linguistic sense, the notion of "Hispanophone" goes further than the above definition. The Hispanic culture is the legacy of the Spanish Empire, and so the term can refer to people whose cultural background is primarily associated with Spain, regardless of ethnic or geographical differences. The whole sense of identity of the Hispanic population and the Hispanophones is sometimes referred by the term Hispanidad (Hispanicity).
During the Spanish period between 1492 and 1898, many people from Spain migrated to the new lands they had conquered. The Spaniards took with them their language and culture, and integrated within the society they had settled, creating a large empire that stretched all over the world and producing several multiracial populations. Their influences are found in the following continents and countries that were originally colonized by the Spaniards.
|Area (km²)||Area (sq mi)|
|2||Spain||47,003,901||Official INE estimate 1/1/2011||46,585,009||504,030||195,364|
|3||Colombia||45,500,000||2018 Census preliminary results||1,141,748||440,831|
|4||Argentina||44,259,883||Official INDEC estimate||40,655,093||2,780,880||1,068,302|
|5||United States||40,045,795||U.S. Census Bureau, 2015|
|6||Peru||29,797,694||Official INEI estimate||25,804,803||1,285,216||496,225|
|7||Venezuela||29,210,000||Official Venezuelan Population clock||28,859,480||916,445||353,841|
|8||Chile||17,248,450||Official INE projection||17,127,711||756,950||292,183|
|9||Ecuador||14,170,000||Official Ecuador Population clock||13,851,720||283,561||109,415|
|10||Cuba||11,268,000||UN 2009 estimate|
|11||Guatemala||11,204,000||UN 2009 estimate|
|12||Bolivia||10,426,154||Official INE projection (2010)|
|13||Dominican Republic||10,090,000||UN 2009 estimate|
|14||Honduras||7,876,197||Official INE projection (2010)|
|15||El Salvador||6,857,000||UN estimate|
|19||Costa Rica||4,468,000||UN estimate|
|20||Puerto Rico||3,991,000||UN estimate|
|24||Equatorial Guinea||487,000||UN estimate|
|25||Western Sahara||430,000||UN estimate|
|26||Belize||180,000||Censo de Belice (2000)|
The modern-day people that live in the region of ancient Hispania are the Portuguese, Spanish, Andorran and Gibraltarian people. Historically, the modern country of Spain was formed by the accretion of several independent Iberian kingdoms through dynastic inheritance, conquest and the will of the local elites. These kingdoms had their own nationalistic loyalties and political borders.
Today, there is no single Castilian-Spanish identity for the whole country. Spain is a de facto plurinational state. Many Spanish citizens feel no conflict in recognising their multiple ethnic identities at the same time. Spain is a culturally heterogeneous country, home to a wide range of cultures, each one with its own customs and traditions. Some such cultures have their own language. Since the beginning of the transition to democracy in Spain and the creation of the Spanish autonomous communities, after Francoist Spain, there have been many movements towards more autonomy (delegation of powers) in certain territories of the country, some with the aim of achieving full independence and others with the goal of improving the system of devolution and the state of the autonomies (or self-government entities) .
The existence of multiple distinct cultures in Spain allows an analogy to be drawn to the United Kingdom. Using the term Spanish for someone of Spanish descent would then be expected to be equivalent to using Briton to describe someone descending from some part of the United Kingdom. Cultures within the United Kingdom, such as English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, would then correspond in this analogy to cultures within Spain such as Castilian, Catalan, Galician and Basque among others. In contrast with Spain, because of centuries of gradual and mutual consolidation across the Iberian Peninsula, such distinctions tend to be blurred. It is a subtle, yet important, distinction.
In Spain, as in the United Kingdom, the economically dominant territories--Castile and England--spread their language for mutual communication. However, the political dominance in the United Kingdom tends to be sharper compared to Spain, where most of medieval realms do not correspond with the actual boundaries of the autonomous communities, and the crown was unified into a sole monarch. For instance, Spanish people in modern times never refer to King Felipe VI of Spain as "the King of Castile," whereas the British sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, is sometimes referred to colloquially as "the Queen of England."
Spanish is the official language in a great part of the Americas.
U.S. Hispanics are citizens of the United States whose ancestry or national origin is of any of the nations composing the Hispanosphere. A Hispanic person's status is independent from whether or not he or she speaks the Spanish language, for not all Hispanic Americans speak Spanish. A Hispanic person may be of any race (White, Amerindian, mixed, Black, Asian or Pacific Islander). As of 2013 Hispanics accounted for 17.1% of the population, around 53.2 million people. This was an increase of 29% since 2004, when Hispanics were 14.1% of the population (around 41.3 million people). The Hispanic growth rate over the July 1, 2003 to July 1, 2004 period was 3.6% -- higher than any other ancestral group in the United States -- and more than three times the rate of the nation's total population (at 1.0%). The projected Hispanic population of the United States for July 1, 2050, is 105.6 million people. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 25% of the nation's total population by the year 2050.
Historically, a continuous Hispanic presence in the territory of the United States has existed since the 16th century, earlier than any other group after the Amerindians. Spaniards pioneered the present-day United States. The first confirmed European landing on the continent was that of Juan Ponce de León, who landed in 1513 on the shore he christened La Florida. Within three decades of Ponce de León's landing, the Spanish became the first Europeans to reach the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Plains. Spanish ships sailed along the East Coast, penetrating to present-day Bangor, Maine, and up the Pacific Coast as far as Oregon. From 1528 to 1536, four castaways from a Spanish expedition, including a black Moor, journeyed all the way from Florida to the Gulf of California, 267 years before the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
In 1540 Hernando de Soto undertook an extensive exploration of the present United States. In the same year Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led 2,000 Spaniards and Mexican Indians across today's Arizona-Mexico border and traveled as far as central Kansas, close to the exact geographic center of what is now the continental United States. Other Spanish explorers of the United States make up a long list that includes, among others, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón, Pánfilo de Narváez, Sebastián Vizcaíno, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Gaspar de Portolà, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Tristán de Luna y Arellano, and Juan de Oñate. In all, Spaniards probed half of today's lower 48 states before the first English colonization attempt at Roanoke Island in 1585.
The Spanish created the first permanent European settlement in the continental United States, at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. Santa Fe, New Mexico also predates Jamestown, Virginia (founded in 1607) and Plymouth Colony (of Mayflower and Pilgrims fame, founded in 1620). Later came Spanish settlements in San Antonio, Tucson, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, to name just a few. The Spanish even established a Jesuit mission in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay 37 years before the founding of Jamestown.
Two iconic American stories have Spanish antecedents, too. Almost 80 years before John Smith's alleged rescue by Pocahontas, a man by the name of Juan Ortiz told of his remarkably similar rescue from execution by an Indian girl. Spaniards also held a thanksgiving--56 years before the famous Pilgrims festival--when they feasted near St. Augustine with Florida Indians, probably on stewed pork and garbanzo beans. As late as 1783, at the end of the American Revolutionary War, Spain held claim to roughly half of today's continental United States (see New Spain); in 1775, Spanish ships even reached Alaska. From 1819 to 1848, the United States and its army increased the nation's area by roughly a third at Spanish and Mexican expense, including today's three most populous states: California, Texas, and Florida. Hispanics became the first American citizens in the newly acquired Southwest territory and remained the ancestral majority in several states until the 20th century.
Hispanic Americans have fought in all the wars of the United States and have earned some of the highest distinctions awarded to U.S. soldiers (list of Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients). Historic figures in the United States have been Hispanic from early times. Some recent famous people include actress Rita Hayworth and baseball legends Lefty Gomez and Ted Williams.
The National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from September 15 to October 15.
The term Hispanic is cultural and not racial. The racial diversity found among Hispanics stems from the fact that Hispanic America has always been, since 1492, an area of immigration until late in the 20th century, when the region has increasingly become an area of emigration. Even outside the broad U.S. definition of Hispanic, the term encompasses a very racially and ethnically diverse population. While in the United States, Hispanics are often treated as a group apart from whites, blacks or other races, they actually include people who may identify with any or all of those racial groups.
In the American mass media as well as popular culture, Hispanic is often incorrectly used to describe a subject's race or physical appearance. In general, Hispanics are assumed to have traits such as dark hair and eyes, and brown or olive skin. Many others are viewed as physically intermediate between whites, blacks and/or Amerindians and/or Asians.
Hispanics with mostly Caucasoid or Negroid features may not be recognized as such in the United States in spite of the ethnic and racial diversity of most Hispanic American populations. Hispanics who do not look like the stereotypical Hispanic may have their ancestral status questioned or even challenged by others. Actors Martin Sheen, Alexis Bledel and Cameron Diaz, for example, are Hispanic even though they may be presumed not to be so because, being white, they do not fit the stereotype. If Hispanics with mostly Caucasoid features are to be considered Hispanic, they have stereotypical Mediterranean/Southern European appearance - olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes.
A great proportion of Hispanics identify as half-caste (mixed European and Amerindian) regardless of national origin. This is largely because most Hispanics have their origins in majority half-caste Hispanic American countries. El Salvador, Paraguay, and Mexico are examples of mostly half-caste populations, with 90% of Salvadorans, 95% of Paraguayans, and 70%  of Mexicans identifying as mestizo, with Mexico having the largest total mestizo population at over 66 million.
Many individuals identified as Hispanics (based on the U.S. definition) are of unmixed Amerindian ancestry. For example, many of those from Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru constitute a majority or plurality of the population as do a considerable proportion in Mexico.
Many Hispanics born in or with descent from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Cuba, Uruguay, and other countries may be of African descent, be it mulatto (mixed European and black African), zambo (mixed Amerindian and black African), triracial (specifically European, black African, and Amerindian), or unmixed black African. Recently, Hispanics of unmixed black African blood are perceived and defined by American mass media and popular culture as Hispanic, because of existing mulatto Hispanics of Negroid phenotypes and the dark-skinned stereotype of Hispanics.
The majority of people in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile are largely of European descent; not only of Spanish Europeans, but Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Irish, British, etc. In countries like Mexico, there was a process of miscegenation, which resulted in many people having both indigenous and European origins. Many white Mexicans, though labeled Hispanic by the U.S. definition because of their assimilated culture and country of birth, trace their ancestries to European countries other than Spain, and some to non-European countries (see next paragraph). Nevertheless, in most cases, they have some Spanish ancestry, as the waves of European immigrants to these countries tended to quickly assimilate, intermarrying with the country's local population. (From 1850 to 1920, the U.S. Census form did not distinguish between whites and Mexican Americans. In 1930, the U.S. Census form asked for "color or race," and census enumerators were instructed to write W for white and Mex for Mexican. In 1940 and 1950, the census reverted its decision and made Mexicans be classified as white again and thus the instructions were to "Report white (W) for Mexicans unless they were definitely of full Indigenous Indian or other non-white races (such as Black or Asian).") Initially colonial Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile had predominately mestizo population, but because of a massive European migration (mostly Spaniards and Italians, with Germans, British, Polish, etc.) in the 19th century, and the repeated intermarriage with white Europeans and Middle Easterners, like white Mexicans, they also have some Spanish blood, wherein the mestizo population became a so-called castizo population; with more European settlers arriving in the early 20th century, the population of Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile has overwhelmingly become white and European (some Middle Eastern) in race, culture and tradition. Like mentioned above, the Hispanics of Caucasian race, including white Mexicans, white Argentines, white Uruguayans, and white Chileans, and Spaniards themselves, who are perceived by U.S. mass media as well as general U.S. popular culture as Hispanic usually possess stereotypical Mediterranean appearance (Hispanics of other Southern European descent, mostly descendants of Italian and Portuguese settlers and quite a large number descendants of Greek settlers, are even perceived by U.S. definition as Hispanic)
Likewise, a percentage of Hispanics as defined by the U.S. government trace their ancestries to the Middle East, for example Colombians, Ecuadorians and Mexicans of Lebanese or Palestinian ancestry; Hispanics of Middle Eastern ancestry are usually to be considered Hispanic by the U.S. government, because they possess stereotypical Southern European appearance. Many Hispanics are of East Asian ancestry, as in the case of Cubans, Mexicans, Panamanians and Peruvians of Chinese and/or Japanese descent. If they were to migrate to the United States, the definition most frequently advocated would consider them Hispanic (see also: Asian Hispanic American and Asian Hispanic and Latino Americans). A percentage of Hispanics are from Pacific Islander descent, mostly Rapa Nui from Chilean territorial possession of Easter Island; Hispanics of Pacific Islander descent are also considered as Hispanic based on definition of U.S. government because they are brown-skinned and black-haired.
The presence of these mentioned ethnic groups are not country-specific, since they can be found in every Hispanic American country, whether as larger of smaller proportions of their respective populations. Even in Spain, the European motherland of Hispanicity, recent decades has seen a growing population of mestizos and mulattoes and of unmixed Amerindian and African descent due to the reversal of the historic Old World-to-New World migration pattern, i.e.: Latin American immigration to Spain.
Of the over 35 million Hispanics counted in the Federal 2000 Census, 47.9% identified as White (termed White Hispanic by the Census Bureau); 42.2% some other race; 6.3% two or more races; 2% Black or African American; 1.2% American Indian and Alaska Native; 0.3% Asian; and 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Note that even among those Hispanics who reported one race only, most would also possess at least some ancestral lineage from one or more other races, despite the fact that only 6.3% reported as such (this is also applicable to the non-Hispanics counted in the U.S. Census, although maybe in less proportion).
According to one study (Stephens et al. 2001), from the genetic perspective, Hispanics generally represent a differential mixture of European, Native American, and African ancestry, with the proportionate mix typically depending on country of origin.
The populations of Iberia (both Spain and Portugal), like all European populations, have received multiple other influences, even though they are still largely descended from the prehistoric European populations, and to a greater degree than any other major group. The ancestry of Iberians has thus received many, (limited and often very localized) influences from the many people who settled on its territory throughout history, including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Punics, Celts, Vandals, Suebi, Buri, Visigoths, Alans, Byzantines, Slavs (saqaliba), Berbers, Arabs, Magyars, Jews, and--particularly in Andalusia--Roma.
The former Portuguese colony has a community of Afro-Cubans known as Amparos. They descend from Cuban soldiers brought to the country in 1975 as a result of the Cuban involvement in the Cold War. Fidel Castro deployed thousands of troops to the country during the Angolan Civil War. As a result of this era, there exists a small Spanish-speaking community in Angola of Afro-Cubans numbering about 100,000.
In the former Spanish province of Equatorial Guinea, although Portuguese and French are co-official languages, the majority of the population speak Spanish. There is a small minority of African people who possessed Spanish and other European ancestry. These individuals form less than 1% of the population.
In the former Spanish protectorate of Morocco, Spanish speakers are present in small numbers, located in the northern coastal region of the country. However the majority of Moroccan people are predominantly Arabic speaking Muslims of Berber and African ancestry.
The small Amaro population are descendants of repatriated Afro-Cuban indentured servants, they were called Amaros. Despite being free to return to Cuba when their tenure was over, they remained in these countries, marrying into the local native population.
Since the Reconquista, Spain has held numerous emplacements in North Africa. Most of them were promptly lost, but to date, with an approximate population of 143,000 people, the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, which constitute the two plazas de soberanía mayores (Major Territories under [Spanish] Sovereignty) remained Spanish, and the Chafarinas Islands, the Peñón de Alhucemas and the Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, which constitute the three plazas de soberanía menores (Minor Territories under [Spanish] Sovereignty), still forming part of Spain. The Canary Islands, a constituent part of Spain's main territorial subdivisions, are also located in North Africa.
In the former Spanish province of Western Sahara, Spanish is de facto official (however, in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, one of the claimants to the territory, it is de jure co-official). Most Arabic speakers speak Spanish as second language.
In the Philippines, a Spanish Filipino is a Filipino who has Spanish or Hispanic lineage and descent, mostly born and raised in the Philippines. Most common languages spoken today by Spanish Filipinos are Philippine Spanish, Spanish; Chavacano, the only Spanish-based creole language in Asia and is spoken by over a million people; and English, which is used in the public sphere. A number of Spanish Filipinos also speak other Philippine languages.
Section 7, Article XIV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution specifies Spanish (along with Arabic) a language to "be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis", while the Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language (Spanish: Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española) remains the state regulating body for the language. Castilian Spanish is the sole dialectal standard taught in schools, while Philippine Spanish currently has a few thousand native speakers left.
Despite its rapid decline in the 20th century, there has been a revival of interest in the Spanish language in the first decade of the 21st century. Since the rule of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (herself a fluent speaker), Spanish is slowly being re-introduced into the educational system, with a revival of Spanish-language media including Filipinas Ahora Mismo (Tagalog: Filipinas Ora Mismo), a radio programme broadcast on Radio Manila FM.
The Mariana Islands (today split between the United States territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) were formerly governed as a part of the Spanish East Indies, and thus many Chamorros possess some degree of Spanish admixture.
While most people living on these islands no longer speak Spanish, the native Chamorro language exhibits a noticeable Spanish influence in its vocabulary. Many Chamorros have also preserved Hispanic cultural elements such as fiestas, cockfighting, and the Catholic faith despite having integrated with the American way of life.
Spanish surnames are still prevalent on Guam, it is spoken by Catholic people and Puerto Ricans, and the custom of women keeping their maiden names after marriage is a both byproduct of Spanish culture on these islands as well as the matrilineal structure of indigenous Chamorro culture.
It is spoken by 67.6% of the Equatorial Guinean population.