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 Culture & Traditions

El Español: The History of the Spanish Language

 

For the United States, Latin America and in particular Mexico, are the most important markets commercially, and it is one of our closest neighbors. Speaking of international trade, thousands of products are exported to these countries.

 

Mexico is one of our most important trade partners! If we take a short trip through Mexican stores, we find hundreds of products from the United States: chocolates, cereals, clothing, electrical appliances, cars.

 

Our country also consumes thousands of products from the Spanish-speaking world.

 

Spanish is spoken by close to 400 million people throughout 19 million square kilometers, and it constitutes the fourth most frequently spoken language in the world.

 

Its origins go back to the period when Rome was established as the Great Roman Empire and imposed Latin as the official language. Latin began to be mixed with the languages spoken in faraway conquered places and as time elapsed, it became transformed and acquired peculiar characteristics, giving rise to languages such as Spanish, French and Italian.

 

Spanish has been influenced by other languages, especially Arabic since the Iberian Peninsula was for several centuries under the rule of the Moors. Words like Guadalupe, almohada (pillow), algodón (cotton), tabaco (tobacco), ojalá (hopefully). 

 

By the 15th century, Spain had become a world power. With its desires to become one of the most powerful empires, it financed the travels of Christopher Columbus, and this is how, as we know, this sailor reached America in 1492.

 

And it was also in  1492  when, coincidentally, the first Grammar of the Castillian, Spanish Language, was published. Thus, it was destiny for the Spanish language to reach our continent along with Columbus.

 

During the years after this event, the Spaniards conquered a large part of what today is the American continent. The Spaniards imposed their language as well as their religion on these native peoples.

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