While most people traditionally associate the language with Spain or South America, one country that is increasingly becoming more Hispanic is The United States.
The map – from Wikipedia – shows the reach of Spanish in the various states of America: the darker the blue, the more Latino it is. According to estimates from the United States’ Census Bureau, based on the last census held there in 2010, 16.7 per cent of the estimated US population of 313,914,040 were Hispanic. That’s 52.4 million people.
The US’s next census is due in April 2020 and it will be interesting to see if there have been any changes in the linguistic make-up of the nation.
On my first visit to the US, in 2004, which took in most of coastal California from San Franciso to San Diego, as well as parts of Nevada, I was surprised yet pleased to find that a lot of the signage, especially in fast food outlets, was in both Spanish and English. It was the first place I had been as an adult where Spanish had a living presence, and I felt the hamburguesas and patatas fritas (fries) seemed más deliciosas y más exóticas when ordered in Spanish.
I have often wondered how different the world would have been today if the Spanish Armada had succeeded when it set sail in 1588 with the intention of invading England. For one thing, England would have been a Catholic country and its cuisine would have been better. Englebert Humperdinck would have been more like Julio Iglesias, Prince Charles would have been Carlos, and Amy Winehouse would have been Amy Casadevino. Colonial history would have been very different too. Australians would not play cricket and would have siestas. On a more personal note, my favourite football team, Derby County (don’t ask) might have been Barcelona or Real Madrid, but since I tend to support the underdogs it would probably have been Celta de Vigo or Real Betis.