Spanish people

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This article is about the Spanish as an ethnic group. For information on residents or nationals of Spain, see demographics of Spain. The term "Spaniard" can also refer to a common generic name of plants in the Aciphylla genus in New Zealand.

The Spanish people or Spaniards are the ethnic group or nation native to Spain, in the Iberian peninsula of southwestern Europe. Spain is a European Latin nation with cultural ties to other Latin countries in the Mediterranean. Their main native language is the Spanish language (in Spain there are around 32 million first-language speakers of Castilian Spanish, and a total of almost 43 million of Spanish nationality), which is a Romance language. Their main religion is Roman Catholic.

Spain itself consists of various regional sub-nationalities including the Castilians (the majority who most strongly identify with a Spanish identity), the Catalans (speakers of a distinct yet related Romance language who are centered around the city of Barcelona), the Basques, and the Galicians. Regional diversity is important to many Spaniards and some regions (other than the ones associated with the different nationalities) have strong local identities and dialects, such as Asturias, Aragon, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and Andalusia.

The vast majority of the Spanish population is Mediterranean. Their ethnic origin is a combination of various groups, invaders, and migrants including the pre-Roman Basques, Celtic and Iberian tribes (a later offshot often termed Celtiberians), and Romans (the Spanish languages, except for Basque language, derives from Latin). Culturally and linguistically some consider the Romans to be the most important cultural influence as well as the Moors, who have left behind a legacy that can be seen in the Spanish language, culture, music, and the arts. The Germanic Visigoths and Suevi were largely assimilated into the Latin culture of Iberia.

The Iberian peninsula has been conquered and settled by various other groups besides the Romans including the Greeks and the Phoenicians-Carthaginians who set-up small semi-permanent commercial coastal colonies. The Vandals (Silingi and Hasdingi) and the North Iranian Alans (most of whom were expelled to North Africa or partially integrated by the Visigoths and Suevi) arrived in a long line of invaders from northern Europe. The Moors, a group of Muslims mainly of Berber origin with prominent Arab tribes, also conquered Spain and converted many locals to Islam and contributed much to the culture of Spain, but the vast majority of Muslims and Jews were expelled after the Christian reconquest or Reconquista or forced to convert to Catholicism along with Sephardic Jews.

The descendants of Spaniards can be found throughout the Hispanic nations of Latin America in the form of creoles, mestizos and mulattos, and as a small but important Spanish-mestiso minority (approx. 2%) in the Philippines.

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