approx. 135 million (>350 mill1) (estimates include non-Castilian identified Spanish ethnic groups)
|Regions with significant populations
45 million (est.)
Argentina: 25 mill (>30 mill1)
Brazil: 15 mill  (>20 mill4)
Chile:13.1 mill (>15 mill1)
Mexico:10 mill (c. 75 mill1)
Colombia:8.4 mill (c. 42 mill2)
Venezuela:6.1 mill (c. 22 mill2)
Cuba:4 mill (c. 10 mill2)
Peru:3 mill (c. 14 mill2)
United States:2,487,092  (>35 mill3)
Uruguay:1.8 mill (>3 mill1)
Costa Rica:1.7 mill (c. 4 mill2)
France:1.5 mill 
Dominican Republic: 1.1 mill (c. 7.8 mill2)
Ecuador:0.9 mill (c. 9.5 mill2)
Nicaragua:0.7 mill (c. 4.7 mill2)
Guatemala:0.6 mill (c. 7.3 mill2)
El Salvador:0.6 mill (c. 6.7 mill2)
Panama:0.5 mill (c. 2.5 mill2)
Bolivia:0.4 mill (c. 4.4 mill2)
Paraguay:0.3 mill (c. 4.3 mill2)
Honduras:0.2 mill (c. 6.7 mill2)
Canada:66,545  (213,1051)
Philippines:17,000 (c. 3.5 million5)
Australia:15,000 (c. 50,000 5</sup)
Elsewhere: 8 - 10 million
|Castilian and other Spanish languages and dialects.
|Predominantly Catholic, with a minority of atheists, agnostics, Islam, and other religions.
|Related ethnic groups
• other Latins
The Spanish people or Spaniards are a nation native to Spain, in the Iberian Peninsula of southwestern Europe. Their religion is predominantly Roman Catholic. The Spanish people have varied origins, due to Spaniards long history of invasions and migrations.
Substantial populations descended from Spanish colonists and immigrants also exist in other parts of the world, most notably in Latin America. A more orthodox analysis would be used to class these groups as Spanish, based on common language, culture and a sense of shared ancestry.
 Historical background
The earliest modern humans inhabiting Spain are believed to have been Paleolithic peoples that may have arrived in the Iberian Peninsula as early as 35,000-40,000 years ago. In more recent times the Iberians are believed to have arrived or developed in the region between the 4th millennium BC and the 3rd millennium BC, initially settling along the Mediterranean coast.
Celtic tribes arrived in Iberia between the 9th century BC and the 6th century BC. The Celts merged with the Iberians in central Spain, creating a local hybrid culture known as Celtiberian. In addition, a group known as the Tartessians and later Turdetanians inhabited southwestern Spain and who are believed to have developed a separate civilization of Phoenician influence. The seafaring Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians successively settled along the Mediterranean coast and founded trading colonies there over a period of several centuries. The Second Punic War between the Carthaginians and Romans was fought mainly in what is now Spain and Portugal.
The Roman Republic annexed Iberia during the 2nd century BC and transformed most of the region into a series of Latin-speaking provinces. As a result of Roman colonization, the majority of local languages, with the exception of Basque, stem from a type of vulgarized Latin that was spoken in Hispania (Roman Iberia), which evolved into the modern languages of the Iberian peninsula, including Castilian, which became the unifying language of Spain, and now known in many countries as Spanish. Hispania (including Spain, but also Portugal) emerged as an important part of the Roman Empire and produced notable historical figures such as Trajan, Hadrian and Seneca.
The Germanic Vandals and their subordinates the Iranic Alans arrived around 409 AD, but were displaced to North Africa by another Germanic tribe, the Visigoths who conquered the region around 415 AD and became the dominant power in Iberia for a time. Iberian-Roman culture eventually romanized the Visigoths and other tribes. Another Germanic tribe, the Suebi (including the Buri), who arrived at roughly the same time as the Vandals, became established in the old North western Roman province of Gallaecia a kingdom which survived until late 6th century when it too was integrated by the Visigoths.
In 711, the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by Muslim Arab-Berbers, popularly known as the Moors, who conquered nearly all the peninsula except the Kingdom of Asturias in the very northern part and subsequently ruled part of the region as Al-Andalus, but were driven south during their reign, ruling areas from between three to nearly eight centuries, ending with their defeat in 1492. These Muslim invaders were mainly of Berber origin with prominent Arab tribal leaders mixed in and they converted many locals to Islam to the point that at certain points in time Muslims may have outnumbered Christians. Muslims of Hispanic origin were generally known as Muladis (or Muwalladin in Arabic), "those born of foreign parentage" (though the idea "foreign" in this case meant "foreign" to the Arab and Berbers). Muslim Iberia was known as Al-Andalus. Ultimately, most Muslims and Sephardi Jews were either forcibly converted to Catholicism or expelled after the Christian reconquest (Reconquista).
 Ethnicities and regions
Spain itself consists of various regional sub-nationalities and ethnicities including the Castilians (a large culturally-dominant minority who most strongly identify with a Spanish identity), the Catalans, Valencians and Balearics (speakers of a distinct yet related Romance language in eastern Spain), the Basques (a distinct people inhabiting the Basque country), and the Galicians, who speak a language which is very close to Portuguese. Regional diversity is important to many Spaniards and some regions (other than the ones associated with the different nationalities) have strong local identities and dialects, such as Asturias, Aragon, the Canary Islands, and Andalusia.
Spain is home to around 700,000 Spanish-Roma (Gitanos). Roma are a formerly-nomadic group, originating in Northern India, which spread across Western Asia, North Africa and Europe, reaching Spain in the 15th century. Gitanos, for a number of historical and cultural reasons are not considered a separate or "foreign" population in Spain, but a distinct sub-ethnicity which overlaps with the wider Spanish ethnicity. This is not generally the case in other European countries. Indeed, Spanish culture, language and identity is generally retained by Gitano communities in Southern France and North Africa. There are no official statistics on the Gitano population in Spain. Estimates range from 600 000 to 800 000, making Spain, together with Romania and Bulgaria, home to one of the largest Roma communities in Europe. Over 40% of Gitanos live in the region of Andalusia, where they have traditionally enjoyed a higher degree of integration than in the rest of the country, where they are distrusted. A number of Spanish Gitanos also live in Southern France, especially in the region of Perpignan. Gitanos play an important role in Spanish (particularly Andalusian) folklore, music and culture.
Modern day Iberians (Spaniards and Portuguese) are a South-Western European population, which shares its predominant genetic relationships with both Mediterranean and Atlantic Europe.
 The Paleolithic and/or Mediterranean basis of Iberian ancestry?
Y-chromosome and MtDna analysis suggests that modern-day Spaniards largely trace their ancestry to the paleolithic peoples which began arriving to the european continent between the end of the last glaciation around 45,000 years ago.
Northern Iberia is believed to have been a major Ice-age refuge from which Paleolithic humans later colonized Europe. Migrations from what is now Northern Spain during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic, links modern Iberians to the populations of much of Western Europe and particularly the British Isles. Recent books published by geneticists Bryan Sykes, Stephen Oppenheimer and Spencer Wells have argued the large Paleolithic and Mesolithic Iberian influence in the modern day British gene-pool.
Indeed, Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b (of Paleolithic origin) is the most common haplogroup in practically all of the Iberian peninsula and western Europe, but is particularly dominant in the Basque region where it reaches frequencies of 90%. Genetic markers, called Hg R1b, are predominant in most of Western Europe, with the exact following values: Basques: 88.1%; Non-Basque Spaniards: 68.0; Catalans: 79,2; Andalusians: 65,5; Portuguese(South): 56.0%; Portuguese (North): 62.0%. In conclusion, the so-called R1b genetic family is the most numerous in Western Europe.
The Neolithic colonisation of Europe from Western Asia and the Middle East beginning around 10,000 years ago reached the Iberian peninsula, as most of the rest of the continent although, according to the demic diffusion model, its impact was less than in the eastern half of the European continent., 
Nevertheless, the recent development of methodologies for defining population structure using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism markers has led a 2006 study of 681 American European individuals to conclude that there is a consistent and reproducible distinction between “northern” and “southern” European population groups, strongly suggesting the later Mediterranean (Neolithic) origin of Spaniards, Greeks, Portuguese and Italians. On the other hand, all European populations north of the Alps and the Pyrenees (except for Ashkenazi jews) seem to fall squarely into the "Northern" population group. Still, the findings of a similar 2007 study claims; "The Spanish and Basque groups are the furthest away from other continental groups, which is consistent with the suggestions that the Iberian peninsula holds the most ancient European genetic ancestry". The same study also found "several significant axes of stratification, most prominently in a North-Southeastern trend but also along an East-West axis." It also said: "there is low apparent diversity in Europe with the entire continent-wide samples only marginally more dispersed than single population samples elsewhere in the world." 
The possibility of Neolithic population movements into Iberia from North Africa is also suggested by geneticist Arnaiz-Villena, using HLA and MtDNA markers together with archaeological and linguistic evidence. This could explain the puzzling fact that out of the 19 lineages of Mtdna Haplogroup U6 found in Iberia, only 9 are currently found in North Africa, pointing to a prehistoric (as well as modern) northward expansion into Iberia, probably during the Capsian diffusion.
 The genetic legacy of Muslim rule
There exists a number of studies which focus on the genetic impact of the eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula on the genetic make up of the Iberian population. Recent studies agree that there is a genetic relationship between (particularly southern) Iberia and North Africa as a result of this period of history. Iberia is a region in Europe with a significant presence of the typically North West African Y-chromosome haplotypes E-M81, and Haplotype V as well as the Mtdna Haplotype U6. It is also the region in Europe with the highest frequency of Subsaharan Mtdna haplogroup L (2-4%), probably as a result of Islamic colonisation as well as the slave markets which flourished in the southern cities during Muslim rule and after, into the 16th century., The North African element in modern day Iberians' ancestry is minor when compared to the Paleolithic and Neolithic elements.
 The Canary Islands
The inhabitants of the Canary Islands, hold a gene pool that is halfway between the Iberians and the ancient native population, the Guanches (a proto-berber population), although with a major Iberian contribution. Guanche genetic markers have also been found, at low frequencies, in peninsular Spain, probably as a result of slavery and/or later immigration from the Canary Islands.
 Other Influences
The ancestry of Iberians has received influences from the many people which have settled on its territory throughout history including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Punics, Celts, Vandals, Suevi, Visigoths, Alans, Byzantines, Berbers, Arabs, Slavs, Jews and, particularly in Andalusia, the Roma.
Furthermore, the Spanish population is becoming increasingly diverse due to recent immigration, as a result of the country's strong economic growth. Immigrants now make up about 10% of the population and come mainly from Morocco, Ecuador, Romania, Colombia and other countries in Africa, Europe and Latin America.
Languages spoken in Spain include Castilian (Castellano), Catalan (Català), Galician (Galego), Basque (Euskara), Asturian (Asturianu), Aranese Gascon (Aranés) and Aragonese (Aragonés), each with their own various dialects. Although Castilian is but one of the many languages of Spain, it is this language which is commonly known as being the "Spanish language" since it is the official state language, although minority languages are co-official in a number of autonomous communities.
On the peninsula, Castilian Spanish is divided in two dialects: The northern dialect spoken in the Castilla y Leon, and the northern half of the country more generally, and the southern dialect, spoken in Andalusia, most of Castilla la Mancha, Murcia and Extremadura. The southern dialect is further differentiated in Andalusia by phonetical peculiarities such as the "ceceo" and "seseo". The Canary Islands also have a distinct dialect of Castilian Spanish which is very close to Cuban and Venezuelan Spanish. Linguistically, the Spanish language is a Romance language and therefore Spaniards are considered a Latin people. The strong Arabic influence on the language (nearly 4000 words are of Arabic origin) and the independent evolution of the language itself through history partially explain its difference from other Romance languages. The Basque language has also left a strong imprint on the language both linguistically and phonetically. Other changes in Spanish have come from borrowings from English and French, although English influence is stronger in Latin America than in Spain.
The number of speakers of Castilian Spanish, as a mother tongue, is roughly 35.6 million, while the vast majority of other groups in Spain such as the Galicians, Catalans and Basques also speak Spanish as a first or second language, which boosts the number of Spanish speakers to the overwhelming majority of Spain's population of 45.9 million.
Spanish was exported to the Americas over three centuries of Spanish colonial rule in that continent, starting with the arrival of Christopher Columbus to Santo Domingo in 1492. Spanish is spoken natively by over 400 million people, and spans across most countries of the Americas; from the Southwestern United States in North America down to Tierra del Fuego, the most southernly region of South America in Chile. Mexico has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the World, with approximately 100 million speakers. A variety of the language, known as Judæo-Spanish or Ladino (or Haketia in Morocco), is still spoken by descendants of Sephardim (Spanish and Portuguese Jews) who fled Spain following a decree of expulsion of Moors and Jews in 1492. Also, in Asia, a Spanish creole language known as Chabacano is spoken by nearly 1 million people in the Philippines, and developed from the mix of Spanish with native Tagalog and Cebuano languages during Spain's rule of the country through Mexico from 1565 to 1898.
According to several sources (Spanish official polls and others, www.ine.es), about 76% self-identify as Catholics, about 2% with another religious faith, and about 19% identify as non-believers or atheists.
 Other related peoples
Tens of millions of Spanish descendants can be found throughout the Hispanic countries of Latin America in the form of criollos (predominantly Spaniards born in the Americas), mestizos (mixed Spanish/Amerindian), mulattos (mixed Spanish/African) or triracial (Spanish/African/Amerindian). In the United States, the number of Mexican-Americans represent a significant portion of the Spanish descended population, as the majority -over 70% of the population of Mexico- have Spanish ancestry, though most are also have Amerindian ancestry. See Demographics of Mexico.
On a smaller scale, in addition to approximately 17,000 Spanish citizens in the Philippines, there is also a small but important minority of Filipinos of Spanish descents (mixed Spanish / Austronesian ancestry). According to recent genetic studiesPDF (806 KiB) by Stanford University, 3.6% of Filipinos have European ancestry, from either Hispanic or American colonization.