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Spanish (español) or Castilian (castellano) is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of spoken Latin in central-northern Iberia around the ninth century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile (present northern Spain) into central and southern Iberia during the later Middle Ages.

Spanish was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade.

In 1999 there were, according to Ethnologue, 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million speakers worldwide. Currently these figures are up to 400 and 500 million people respectively. Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and is used as an official language by the European Union and Mercosur. Spanish is the third most commonly used language on the Internet after English and Mandarin. It is also the second most studied language and second language in international communication, after English, in the world.

Spanish speaking countries (where the language is the official one) .

Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Source: Wikipedia