Spanish originated in the Castile region of Spain. Approximately 470 million people speak Spanish as a native language, making it second only to Mandarin in terms of its number of native speakers worldwide.
There are an estimated 548 million Spanish speakers as a first or second language, including speakers with limited competence and 20 million students of Spanish as a foreign language.
Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and it is used as an official language by the European Union, Mercosur, and the Pacific Alliance. Spanish is spoken fluently by 15% of all Europeans, making it the 5th-most spoken language in Europe.