Como estas? Muy bien. Y tu?
Spanish is one of the widest spoken languages in the world. It used to be the lingua franca of the 16th Century, when Spain was at the height of its imperial glory. Together with the language, the Spaniards spread the Iberian culture in foreign shores – bringing with them Catholicism, Castillian cuisine, and the Hispanic civilization.
Spain spread its influence far and wide – wiping out ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs, the Incas, and the American Indians in the western hemisphere. In the Far East, the Spaniards were instrumental in alienating the Philippine islands from the rest of its Asian neighbors – as the Philippines adapted an Iberian civilization, thereby turning from its Asian roots. Spain, indeed, was once a great empire – before everything faded away.
Fast forward to the 21st Century. The remnants of the once great Spanish empire can best be seen in the languages that its former colonies now speak. With the exception again of the Philippines which established a greater affinity with the United States, most of Spain’s former colonies retained the Hispanic language as their national lingua franca.
This list dishes to you the 10 nations with the most Spanish speakers.
10.Guatemala – 14 million Spanish speakers
Guatemala is a nation in Central America and was once a stronghold of the Mayan civilization. The Mayans were a peaceful and fairly advanced people whose culture was all but wiped out by the Spanish conquistadores who colonized Guatemala in 1519. The district of Tikal bears silent witness to onslaught of Spanish influence.
9.Ecuador – 16 million Spanish speakers
Ecuador is a South American nation that is rich in natural resources – from fertile agricultural land to abundant marine life and plenty of forest and mineral reserves. No wonder Spaniards desired to gain control of this gifted nation. Today, only remnants of the once progressive Incan civilization remain in this nation.
8.Chile – 18 million Spanish speakers
Chile is an elongated country in South America which is largely open to the sea. Chile is one of South America’s most progressive nations despite being the seat of chaotic dictatorships in the past. Chile has a rich European, particularly Spanish heritage that is seen and felt everywhere. Remnants of the Mapuche Incans still remain visible in some remote areas.
7.Peru – 28 million Spanish speakers
Peru was the ultimate vassal state of the Spaniards as they used this country as a satellite in ruling all Spanish colonies below the equator. One should never forget that Peru is also the seat of the Incan civilization – most particularly exemplified by the Machu Picchu – one of the best artifacts of the once great Incan civilization.
6.Venezuela – 31 million Spanish speakers
The Hispanic inclination for beauty and vanity are the best legacies of Spanish imperialism in this country – other than the language of course. Venezuela is THE country to beat when it comes to beauty competitions and no other country comes close to the Venezuelan obsession to the world of pageantry.
5.Argentina – 44 million Spanish speakers
Argentina is one of South America’s largest and most populous countries. The country is basically Europe transferred to South America as Argentina boasts of a rich European heritage felt in its cuisine, performing arts, and of course – the Spanish language. Anyone care to dance the tango?
4.Spain – 46 million Spanish speakers
The mother of all Latin American nations (and then some) only has the fourth largest number of Spanish speakers. Spaniards did not increase in population as rapidly as their former colonies. Spain was once the largest empire in the world back in the 16th Century – until of the Dutch, French, British, and the Americans took over.
3.Colombia – 49 million Spanish speakers
Colombia is a nation in South America that also has a rich Spanish heritage. Colombians are also lovers of beauty and Colombian women are said to be one of the most desirable on Earth. Sadly, this nation has been plagued with drug trafficking issues for decades on end.
2.United States of America – 52 million Spanish speakers
The USA has a large immigrant population – probably the largest in the world. Half of this immigrant and foreign-born population have Spanish as their first language. Lest we forget too that large portions of what is now US territory used to be owned by Mexico.
1.Mexico – 121 million Spanish speakers
Mexico is the nation with the largest number of Spanish speakers, overtaking even its former colonial master – Spain. Mexico is also the land of quesadillas and tacos and sits at the very core of Spanish culture and heritage.