There are more than 400 million people whose mother tongue is Spanish, in this case the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese. English follows the Spanish with about 360 million native speakers. Spanish is also the third most studied language in the world, after English and French. In addition to those 400 million Spanish speakers, another 9 million speak Spanish as a second language.
Spanish is the official language of the following 20 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guinea equatorial, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela besides Puerto Rico. Although not an official language, Spanish is also spoken in the United States, Belize, Andorra and Gibraltar.
Spanish, such as French, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese, is a Romance language and, as such, evolved from Vulgar Latin. It was originated in the Iberian Peninsula. The Castilian continuation of the Vulgar Latin (of the Spanish region of Castile), mixed with Arabic after the Muslim conquest, ended up forming the Spanish language in the 11th century. The Andalusian dialect appeared at the same time and is still spoken in parts of southern Spain.