With a staggering 457 million people claiming Spanish as their first language, the Spanish language emerges as a cultural powerhouse that’s influenced the fabric of societies worldwide. Its impact spans from literature to education, influencing diverse and vibrant literary traditions while integrating into academic curricula worldwide. 

Today, we delve into the intricate interplay between language, culture, and the shared human experience that defines the profound impact of the Spanish language. 

The History of the Spanish Language 

Originating over 700 years ago from traditional spoken Latin, the Spanish language emerged in the Iberian Peninsula, encompassing present-day Spain and Portugal. Its roots can be traced to the Castile region of Spain, leading to its alternate name, Castilian. 

As Spanish conquerors and missionaries embarked on global journeys, they carried their language across continents, spreading it to Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that while the Spanish language maintains a core unity globally, there exists significant social and geographical variation. 

Below, we explore how the Spanish language has influenced our everyday world. 

#1 Expanding the Cultural Unity of Spanish-Speaking Countries 

Roughly 10% of the world’s countries (21, to be exact) recognize Spanish as their first language. These countries span the globe from Latin America to Europe. While nations like Spain and Chile boast distinct topographies, cuisines, musical preferences, architectural influences, and cultural celebrations, the common thread that binds them together is the Spanish language. 

Serving as a unifying force, their shared language enables communication, cultural exchange, and understanding among all Spanish-speaking nations. The connection of a language creates a sense of belonging, strengthening a unique bond that extends past geographical and cultural differences. 

#2 Producing Influential Literary Works of Art 

The legacy of Spanish literature is vast, with an impact noticeable across the global literary landscape. For example, consider Miguel de Cervantes’ novel “Don Quixote.” Published in the early 17th century, many consider it one of the first modern European novels. Authors of today still draw on the novel’s central character, Don Quixote, who teeters between delusion and reality. 

Moving forward to the 20th century, we find the modern musings of Pablo Neruda’s passionate poetry. Neruda was a Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet, renowned for his verses that explore themes of love, politics, and the human experience, and his works are beloved by people across the world. 

As it stands, the Spanish language itself has left a permanent mark on global literature. Many contemporary authors incorporate Spanish phrases, idioms, or cultural references into their works, reflecting the linguistic and cultural diversity inspired by the Spanish-speaking world. 

#3 Contributing to Global Entertainment 

Have you ever caught yourself tapping your foot to the enchanting beats of Latin music? Perhaps you stumbled upon a Spanish-speaking television series and found yourself captivated by the romantic twists and turns on the screen. Whatever the scenario, the Spanish language has left a considerable mark on countless artforms, providing a glimpse into its profound cultural influence. 

Below, we discuss examples of how the Spanish language has influenced global media: 


Salsa, reggaeton, and flamenco—these vibrant genres provide a glimpse into the rhythmic world that Spanish-speaking communities have popularized globally. Renowned musical artists like Enrique Iglesias and Shakira have played a pivotal role in introducing Latin music to an international audience, weaving a rich cultural narrative into their captivating melodies. 


The Spanish equivalent of American soap operas, telenovelas are renowned for their dramatic, romance-inspired storylines. Shows like “Yo Soy Betty La Fea” and “La Reina del Sur” have garnered international acclaim, appealing to both Spanish speakers and non-Spanish speakers alike. 

Beyond their entertaining dramatic flair, telenovelas offer a window into the cultural nuances and storytelling styles of Spanish-speaking regions, captivating audiences with a rich blend of drama and cultural exploration. 

Expand Your Spanish-Speaking Skills with UTPB 

The influence of the Spanish language goes beyond entertainment and literature; it extends into your professional life. One in three people are expected to speak Spanish in the United States by 2050, and it has become a language widely used in various industries for communication with employees and clients. 

Regardless of your current proficiency in Spanish, UTPB offers several online programs specifically designed to meet your professional needs: 

Certificate in Spanish for First Responders 

Clear communication is critical in crisis scenarios. Our online Certificate in Spanish for First Responders was created to deliver a solid foundation in oral and written medical Spanish. After completing the 9-credit online program, you’ll gain the competency to work effectively with Spanish-speaking individuals in emergency situations. 

Master of Arts in Spanish 

Whether you’re an aspiring educator, researcher, or scholar, our online Master of Arts in Spanish is meticulously curated for individuals aiming to deepen their knowledge of the Spanish language, literature, culture, linguistics, and language teaching methodology. In today’s diverse job market, proficiency in Spanish has emerged as a highly sought-after skill, enhancing your versatility and value. Whether you aspire to advance within your current career or explore new professional horizons, our program equips you with the expertise needed for success. 

Graduate Certificate in Spanish 

Our 12-credit online graduate certificate provides condensed academic training in several aspects of the Spanish language, including its culture, literature, and linguistics. Earning this credential will complement your other degrees by providing new knowledge while improving your Spanish fluency to help you in a variety of careers and work settings. 

Bachelor of Arts in Spanish 

UTPB offers the only online Bachelor of Arts in Spanish program in the UT System!

Choose the path that’s right for you and apply today to embark on a journey of linguistic and cultural proficiency with UTPB.