Hispanicisation or hispanisation, also known as castilianization or castilianisation (Spanish: castellanización)[1] refers to the process by which a place or person becomes influenced by Hispanic culture or a process of cultural and/or linguistic change in which something non-Hispanic becomes Hispanic. Hispanicization is illustrated by spoken Spanish, production and consumption of Hispanic food, Spanish language music, and participation in Hispanic festivals and holidays.[2] In the former Spanish colonies, the term is also used in the narrow linguistic sense of the Spanish language replacing indigenous languages.


Within Spain, the term hispanization can refer to the cultural and linguistic absorption of the Berber Guanches, the indigenous people of the Canary Islands in the century following their conquest in the 15th century.

It is much more rarely used as a synonym for castilianisation (castellanización) i.e. the historical process whereby speakers of minority Spanish languages such as Basque, Catalan, Galician, Asturian, Leonese or Aragonese are linguistically assimilated and progressively abandon their language for Spanish. Since all of the aforementioned languages are co-official national languages together with Castilian Spanish, the term castilianisation is preferred.

United States

According to the 2000 United States Census,[3] about 75% of all Hispanics spoke Spanish in the home. Hispanic retention rates are so high in parts of Texas and New Mexico and along the border because the percentage of Hispanics living there is also very high. Laredo, Texas; Chimayo, New Mexico; and Nogales, Arizona, for example, all have Hispanic populations greater than 90 percent. Furthermore, in these places have had a Hispanic-majority population since the time of the Spanish conquest and colonization of the area in the 15th and 16th centuries.[4]

Hispanic America

In Spanish America it is also used to refer to the imposition of the Spanish language in the former Spanish colonies such as Mexico and its adoption by indigenous peoples. This refers to Spain's influence which began in the late 15th century and the Spanish Empire beginning in the colonization of the Canary Islands in 1402 which is now part of Spain. Later the landing of Christopher Columbus in 1492 in the Caribbean then Central America and South America. All these countries were Hispanicised; however, there are still many people there who hold a culture that still has its origins in the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Until recently, castilianization has been official policy by the governments of many Hispanic American countries. Only recently programs of intercultural bilingual education have been introduced to a substantial extent.


The Philippines archipelago was ruled from Mexico City as a territory of New Spain, from 1565 to 1821 and as a province of Spain until 1898. Since the late 16th century, Spanish and Hispanic culture has intemperately influenced, shaped, and became the foundation of modern Filipino cultural landscape. Derived from Austronesian and Iberian influences, modern Filipino culture is described as a blend of Eastern and Western (mostly Spanish) traditions. Although most Filipinos speak an Austronesian language, the languages of the Philippines have thousands of Spanish loanwords. Furthermore, a number of Filipinos to the south speak a Spanish-based Creole known as Chavacano. This is also true with the Chamorro language in Guam, which lived side by side with Spanish for over 300 years. Many people consider these languages of the Pacific, Hispano-Austronesian languages, because of the heavy influence of Spanish on the language.


See also


  1. Dictionary definition of Hispanicization
  2. Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America, 2004. Edited by Dan Arreola, found in Chapter 14 "Hispanization of Hereford, Texas"
  3. US Bureau of the Census, 2004 (Page 10)
  4. Hispanic Community Types and Assimilation in Mex-America 1998. Haverluk, Terrence W. The Professional Geographer, 50(4) pages 465-480

External links

Look up Hispanicize in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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