Looking for Spanish speaking Asians? Want to know where in Asia people still speak Spanish? Perhaps you want to know about Spanish speaking Asians living in South America? Our guide to Spanish speaking Asians gives you the facts & information you wan
Spanish speaking Asians can broadly be placed into two categories. Firstly, there are those Asians who speak Spanish because their country was ruled by the Spanish in colonial times. Secondly, various waves of migration from certain Asian countries to South America over the last 150 years has led to the presence of communities of Spanish speaking Asians in several South American countries.
Spanish Speaking Asians in Asia
Nowadays, Spanish speaking Asians in Asia are becoming increasingly rare, whereas only one hundred years ago this would not have been the case. Spain rules the Philippines, Guam, Mariana Islands, Palau and Caroline Islands for hundreds of years enabling them to inject a great deal of Spanish cultural and linguistic influence into these countries. It was not until the start of the 20th century when Spain was forced to relinquish its possessions in Asia during the Spanish American war that the number of Spanish speaking Asians started to decline. Yet, even today there are some people in the Philippines, known as Mestizos, who do speak Spanish. The word Mestizo has been used in slightly different contexts to give different meanings throughout the history of the Spanish empire; however, in the Philippines this word is used to describe people with mixed Spanish and Philippine ancestry. Unlike many other European colonial powers, The Spanish encouraged Spanish men to marry indigenous women in their colonies so as to strengthen ties between Spain and it’s possessions. Despite this, marriage between Spanish men and Pilipino women was never widespread, mainly due to the fact that getting to the Philippines from Spain in those days was a long and arduous journey. Although it is impossible to say precisely how many Spanish speaking Asians are left in the Philippines today, anecdotal evidence suggests that the numbers are dwindling as the majority of Mestizos are getting old and dying without passing on Spanish to their children.
Other Spanish Speaking Asians
Although standard Spanish seems to be dieing out among Asians, there is a very interesting exception in a form of Creole based heavily on Spanish that is still alive and spoken in parts of the south of Philippines as well as some areas of Malaysia. Chavacano is still widely spoken in the Zamboanga Peninsula and its Spanish roots are almost immediately evident to any Spanish speaker. There are believed to be more than half a million Chavacano speaking Asians in the Philippines.
Spanish Speaking Asians South America
Asian migration to South America first began in the mid 1800’s when cheap labor was needed to work the fields. Although large numbers of Chinese, Japanese and Koreans moved to Brazil, as a Portuguese speaking country they cannot be considered to be Spanish speaking Asians. The other two countries that accepted large numbers of Asians who consequently became Spanish speaking were Paraguay and Peru.