The Spanish language is a Romance language.

No! That doesn’t mean it is romantic. It means, it is originally derived from Latin, or more precisely, Vulgar Latin, the language of Roman soldiers, traders, and colonists.

It originated in the north of Spain, where the local tongues were modified by Roman and later Arab invasions, and it gradually gravitated south, eventually reaching Castile, where it became established as the language of the Castillian court, and also of commerce.

Many of its influences also come from earlier languages such as Greek, Celtic and Basque.

For many people, the Spanish language is known as el castellano. The language of Castile, and indeed, although it isn’t that widely appreciated, there are several other languages spoken in Spain. Namely Basque, Catalan, and Galician.

Since the days of the Spanish Conquistadores – the days of exploration, and colonisation – the Spanish language has been exported to the Americas, Africa and even the Phillipines, although English is now the official language in the Phillipines.

Currently twenty-one of the world’s nations have Spanish as their native tongue, and it is one of six official languages of the United Nations.

Worldwide, there are anything up to four hundred million native Spanish speakers, and including non-native speakers of the language, that figure rises to roughly five hundred million people.

Because the influence of Spanish is so widespread geographically, the Spanish language is always a very popular choice for anyone wishing to learn a second language that they can actually use, and benefit from on their travels.

Of the South American republics, only Brazil and French Guyana are not Spanish speaking. All the republics of Central America, Mexico, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rica are Spanish speaking. Mexico is the country with the largest Spanish speaking population.

Spanish has become the second language of the United States of America, being widely spoken in many of the states. It is spoken in Western Africa, the Canaries, in parts of Morocco, and Equatorial Guinea.

It is also a popular second language in many parts of Europe, partly because of linguitic similarities – for example with Portuguese and Italian – and also because of cultural and trade links.

On the internet, the Spanish language comes third in popularity, behind English, and German.