spanish speaking countries

How Many Islands in the Caribbean Have Spanish Official Language?

(Last Updated On: September 7, 2022)

How Many Islands in the Caribbean Have Spanish as Their Official Language?

How many islands in the Caribbean have Spanish as their official language? The answer may surprise you, because there are actually more islands in the Caribbean that speak English than there are that speak Spanish! Whether you’re planning to vacation on one of these islands, or even live there permanently, knowing which ones have Spanish as their primary language can be useful knowledge to have before you go. Let’s take a look at the numbers and explore the differences between these islands based on the most commonly spoken language there.

Introduction

When we think of Spanish-speaking countries, we often think of Latin America or Spain. But did you know that there are actually many islands in the Caribbean that have Spanish as their official language?

In fact, out of all the countries in the world that have Spanish as their national language, four of them are located in the Caribbean. These include Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Equatorial Guinea.

These countries speak Spanish as their native language and English as a second language. The three other nations with Spanish as an official language are Andorra (which is a small country nestled between France and Spain), Paraguay (in South America) and Chile (in South America).

Each of these has more than one million people who speak English; however, most people in these countries do not speak English at home or with friends.

caribbean spanish countries

What is a Native American Language?

A Native American language is a language that is indigenous to the Americas, spoken by Native Americans. There are many different Native American languages, with hundreds of dialects. The most commonly spoken Native American languages are Navajo, Cree, and Ojibwe. Most Native American languages are endangered, with only a few hundred or thousand speakers remaining. The majority of Native Americans now speak English as their first language, although there are still some communities where indigenous languages are used on a daily basis. In the Caribbean, Spanish is the most commonly spoken language, due to the history of Spanish rule in the region. However, there are also many English-speaking countries in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica and Barbados.

The Spread of Spanish

The Spanish language is one of the many languages spoken on the islands of the Caribbean. It is also one of the European languages, along with English, that is spoken in some African countries and in an American country. In terms of native speakers, Spanish is ahead of English on most Caribbean islands, but there are a few where English speakers outnumber Spanish speakers. The spread of Spanish has been attributed to the fact that many countries in the Caribbean were once colonies of Spain. Even though some countries have made efforts to promote their own languages, Spanish remains one of the most widely spoken languages in the region.

Map

Of the 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, only a handful have Spanish as their official language. The vast majority of Caribbean countries – including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic – use English as their primary language. This is due largely to the region’s history; many Caribbean islands were colonized by England, and English remained the dominant language even after these countries gained independence. But Spanish is also spoken throughout the Caribbean, particularly in regions with large populations of Cuban or Dominican immigrants. And in some island nations – such as Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago – African languages are more prevalent than either English or Spanish.

hispanic countries in caribbean

Hispaniola

The island of Hispaniola is home to two sovereign nations, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Both countries share the island, with Haiti occupying the western portion and the Dominican Republic taking up the eastern side.

The Dominican Republic is the larger of the two countries, and its capital city of Santo Domingo is also the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in all of the Americas.

While both countries are located on Hispaniola, they have different official languages. The official language of Haiti is French, while the Dominican Republic has Spanish as its official language. This is due to their different colonial histories; Haiti was a French colony while the Dominican Republic was a Spanish colony.

Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam

Did you know that Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam are all islands in the Caribbean that have Spanish as their official language? This is interesting because the English language is also widely spoken on these islands. In fact, on some of these islands, English is actually the dominant language.

However, overall, Spanish is still the most commonly spoken language on these islands. For example, over half of the population speaks Spanish in Cuba. Similarly, more than half of Puerto Ricans speak Spanish at home. These statistics show how important it is to learn a second language – even if it’s not your first one!

Central America

There are seven countries in Central America that have Spanish as their official language: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Combined, these countries make up an area of 524,000 square kilometers.

The population of these countries is estimated to be around 41 million people. Of those 41 million people, 96% identify themselves as Catholic with 3% identifying themselves as Protestant. All together, there are 2,217 islands in the region, but only six (six) of them have Spanish as their official language.

Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

According to Ethnologue, there are 21 countries in the world that have Spanish as their official language. Of those, seven are located in the Caribbean. They are: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Interestingly, Panama is not included on that list even though it is located in the Caribbean. Panamanian Sign Language (PSL) is one of two sign languages recognized by the Panamanian government. PSL is based on American Sign Language (ASL).

The first recorded use of a manual alphabet for signing dates back to 1880. A school for deaf children was opened in 1911 and today, there are at least 1,000 people who use ASL or PSL as their primary means of communication with hearing people.

Interesting Facts About Spanish Speaking Countries

The Spanish language is a powerful and popular language spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is the native tongue of Spain and 19 other countries, and it is the co-official language of Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama Paraguay, Peru Uruguay and Venezuela. You must have to read this blog post this to know What language does Ecuador speak?

Did you know that there are also many non-native speakers of Spanish in the Caribbean? This is because many island nations were once under colonial rule by European countries. Today, there are about 38 million native Spanish speakers and 60 million non-native speakers in the Caribbean.

Interesting fact #1:

It’s no secret that Spanish is a powerful language. Not only is it the second most widely spoken language in the world, but it’s also the official language of 21 countries. That said, there are actually a number of Caribbean island nations where Spanish is not the primary or majority language. In fact, French Creole, Antillean Creole, and Haitian Creole are all more commonly spoken on some of these islands.

islands that speak spanish
spanish speaking island

Interesting fact #2:

According to the 2010 census, over 600,000 Americans listed languages other than English or Spanish on their forms. This means that approximately 0.2% of the population speaks a foreign language.

The most common foreign language spoken in the US is French, with over 350,000 native and non-native speakers. Interestingly, Saint Barthelemy, one of the Caribbean islands, has French as its official language.

Equatoguinean Spanish is also spoken on this island. Cayman Islands and Caicos Islands are two other places in the Caribbean where people speak a form of English known as Cayman Creole or Caicos Creole. Lastly, Belizean Creole is another popular language spoken in the Caribbean region.

Interesting fact #3:

There are about 570 million Spanish speakers in the world. And of those, around 480 million speak European Spanish, while Andean Spanish is spoken by about 9 million people.

But that’s not all – there are also numerous Caribbean Creole languages that are based on European Spanish, like Haitian Creole and Dominican Republic Creole French.

South American countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia all have large populations of Spanish speakers too. So when you’re thinking about how many islands in the Caribbean have Spanish as their official language, keep all of these different types of Spanish in mind!

Learning from all this

How many of you knew that there were more than just a handful of islands in the Caribbean with Spanish as their official language? If you didn’t, then you’re not alone. Turns out, there are quite a few!

Here’s what we learned -Spanish is the official language of at least nine countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean (Bonaire, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique & Guadeloupe).

  • Seven islands in this region also use Spanish as their primary spoken language: Curaçao (which is part of the Netherlands), Dominica (Dominican Republic), Dominican Republic’s Saona Island and Gonave Island (Haiti), and St. Lucia’s Isle de la Passe and the main island’s Anse la Raye town (St. Lucia).
  • There are two other nations that still speak predominately Spanish: Cuba and Haiti; each also happen to be neighbors.

We should embrace our heritage while learning more about others.

The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures, with people from all over the world coming together to create unique societies. However, one thing that many of these islands have in common is their official language: Spanish. Spanish is spoken on many different continents around the world and has two forms: Castilian and Latin American.

Spanish-speaking countries also tend to be some of the most literate ones in the world (Costa Rica and Mexico are ranked 5th and 12th respectively). So why not speak it?

FAQ’S

Do any Caribbean islands speak Spanish?

Spanish is the official language of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico—the Greater Antilles. It’s also an official language of many smaller islands in the Lesser Antilles and part of the Windward Islands. But Spanish isn’t limited to just those areas; it’s also spoken on some islands in the Bahamas (although English is the predominant language there) and off the coast of Venezuela.

What are the 3 Spanish countries in the Caribbean?

There are three Spanish countries in the Caribbean: Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Each country has its own unique culture and history. For example, The Dominican Republic was once an island ruled by Spain called Hispaniola. In 1899, Haiti occupied the southern part of Hispaniola to become its own nation while most of the population on Hispaniola remained under Spanish rule. Eventually, this territory became independent from Spain and became The Dominican Republic.
Puerto Rico is another Caribbean nation that has been under Spanish rule for centuries but gained independence in 1898 when it was defeated by the United States during the Spanish-American War. Even though it no longer belongs to Spain officially, there are still many similarities between this island’s culture and language to those found throughout Europe.

What Caribbean islands do not speak Spanish?

Not all islands in the Caribbean have Spanish as their official language. In fact, there are several islands that don’t speak Spanish at all. The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba are all examples of islands in the Caribbean that don’t have Spanish as their primary language.

How many countries use Spanish as their official language?

There are 21 countries in the world that have Spanish as an official language, according to Ethnologue. These countries are: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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