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  • Spanish, also called Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in Castile, a region of Spain. Approximately 414 million people speak Spanish as a native language, making it second only to Mandarin in terms of its number of native speakers worldwide. There are more than 500 million Spanish speakers as a first or second language, and 20 million students of Spanish as a foreign language. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and it is used as an official language by the European Union, Mercosur, and the Pacific Alliance. Spanish is spoken fluently by 15% of all Europeans, making it the 5th-most spoken language in Europe. Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group of languages, which evolved from several dialects of common Latin in Iberia after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century. It was first documented in central-northern Iberia in the ninth century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia.

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