Spanish or Castilian (español or castellano in Spanish) is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in the central-north of Iberia during the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the later Medieval period.
Modern Spanish developed with the "Readjustment of the Consonants" (Reajuste de las Sibilantes) that began in 15th century. The language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as developing new words. 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 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million people 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.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language
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