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Language and population of Spain


Spain is located on the Iberian peninsula, of which it occupies 80% (the remaining 20% being Portugal), in the southwest of Europe. To the north are France and Andorra with the Pyrenees as a natural border. Also the Balearean islands (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) in the Mediterranean, the Canary islands in the Atlantic (near the Maroccan coast), and Ceuta and Melilla (located in Northern Africa) belong to the Spanish territory.



Spain counts more than 40 million people, most of them living in the cities or along the Costa\'s. Spanish state encompassed numerous distinct ethnic and cultural minorities.

The 1978 Constitution recognizes and guarantees autonomy of nationalities and regions making up Spanish state, and seventeen autonomous communities existed in late 1980s.

Major ethnic groups: Castillians, Basques, Catalans, Galicians, Andalusians, Valencians, Asturians, Navarrese, and Aragonese.

There is also a small number of Gypsies. Ethnonationalistic sentiment and commitment to the ethnic homeland varies among and within ethnic communities. Nationalist and separatist sentiment run deepest among Basques.


Spanish is the main language, spoken throughout the whole of Spain. But there are some regions with an additional language.

In Cataluña people also speak Catalan, in Galicia Galician, Basque in the Basque Country and finally Valencian in the Valencian society.

This can be very confusing at times, because in Cataluña and Basque Country many people consider their dialect the main language.

On schools sometimes the regional language is taught as the first language, wih Spanish as a second one. Roadsigns are often first in Basqe or Catalan and only then in the Spanish language in these autonomous regions.