Hispanidad (Spanish: [is.pa.niˈðað], English: Hispanicity,[1]) is a Spanish term alluding to the group of people, countries, and communities that share the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. The term can have various, different implications and meanings depending on country of origin, socio-political views, and cultural background.

Ramiro de Maeztu, author of Defensa de la Hispanidad.

Early useEdit

The term has been used in the early modern period and is in the Tractado de orthographía y accentos en las tres lenguas principales by Alejo Venegas, printed in 1531, to mean "style of linguistic expression". It was used, with a similar meaning, in the 1803 edition of the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy as a synonym of Hispanismo (Hispanism), which, in turn, was defined as "the peculiar speech of the Spanish language".[2]


In the early 20th century, the term was revived, with several new meanings. Its reintroduction is attributed to Unamuno in 1909, who used the term again on 11 March 1910, in an article, La Argentinidad, published in a newspaper in Argentina, La Nación. He compared the term to other similar expressions: argentinidad, americanidad, españolidad and italianidad.[2][3]

Unamuno linked the concept to the multiplicity of peoples speaking the Spanish language, which encompassed in turn his idea of La Raza, gave it an egalitarian substrate and questioned the very status of motherland for Spain; he claimed the need of approaching Hispanic American republics in terms of sisterhood (opposing "primacies" and "maternities").[4]

The priest Zacarías de Vizcarra spread the term in 1926

Further development of the concept had to wait for the 1920s, when a group of intellectuals was influenced by the ideas of ultranationalist French thinker Charles Maurras and rescued the term.[5] The term was used by Spanish priest Zacarías de Vizcarra, who was living in Buenos Aires.[6] He proposed in 1926 that the expression Fiesta de la Raza should be changed to Fiesta de la Hispanidad.[7]

During the reign of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the Virgin of Guadaloupe was proclaimed "Queen of the Hispanidad" in Spain.[8] In the later years of the decade, vanguard writer Ernesto Giménez Caballero began to elaborate a neo-imperialist narrative of the Hispanidad in La Gaceta Literaria.[9] The doctrine of Hispanidad would also become a core tenet of the reactionary thought in Spain in the coming years.[10]

Cover of the first edition of Defensa de la Hispanidad (1934), by Ramiro de Maeztu.

During the Second Spanish Republic, The 1931 Constitution granted the right to Spanish nationality to all citizens of countries of Ibero-Hispanic heritage and thinkers as Spanish monarchist author Ramiro de Maeztu, who had been the ambassador to Argentina between 1928 and 1930,[11] considered the concept of Hispanidad, motivated by the interests aroused on him by Argentine-related topics,[12] and the meetings between him and the attendants to the courses of Catholic culture as nationalist, Catholic and anti-liberal.[13] Maeztu explained his doctrine of Hispanidad in his work Defensa de la Hispanidad (1934);[14] he thought it was a spiritual world that united Spain and its former colonies by the Spanish language and Catholicism.[15] He attributed the concept to Vizcarra, instead of Unamuno.[16] In the Hispanidad of Maeztu, the Christian and humanist features that would identify Hispanic peoples would replace rationalism, liberalism and democracy, which he called alien to the Hispanic ethos.[17] His work "relentlessly" linked Catholicism and Hispanidad and was highly influential with Argentine nationalists[18] and the Spanish far right, including Francoism.[19] Although declaredly anti-racist because of its Catholic origin, the sense of racial egalitarianism in Maeztu's idea of Hispanidad was restricted to the scope of heavenly salvation.[20]

Primate Gomá defended the ideas of Vizcarra and Maeztu.[21]

Spanish Primate Isidro Gomá y Tomás issued in Argentina, on 12 October 1934, a Maeztu-inspired manifesto, In Support of Hispanidad:

"America is the work of Spain. This work by Spain is essentially of Catholic nature. Hence, there is a relation of equality between Hispanidad and Catholicism, and any attempt at Hispanisation which rejects it is madness".

"América es la obra de España. Esta obra de España lo es esencialmente de catolicismo. Luego hay relación de igualdad entre hispanidad y catolicismo, y es locura todo intento de hispanización que lo repudie."[22]

— Isidro Gomá, fragment of «Apología de la Hispanidad» (Buenos Aires, 1934), collected in Acción Española (1 November 1934).

According to Stephen G. H. Roberts, Gomá linked the ideas of Maeztu and the ideology that was developed by the dictatorship of Franco.[23]

According to the philosopher and writer Julián Marías, the Spanish American territories were not only colonies but also extensions of Spain that mixed with the native American peoples, with whom Europeans intermarried, creating a multicultural society.[24]

Francoist SpainEdit

That narrative was heavily featured in Nationalist propaganda during the Spanish Civil War,[25] being used as war tool.[26] Spanish philosopher and Francoist propagandist Manuel García Morente [es] would make Francisco Franco the saviour of the legacy of the Hispanidad from an "invisible army" that was sent by the Communist International of Moscow.[27] García Morente would synthesize the essence of Hispanidad in the archaistic ideal of "Christian knight", half-monk and half-soldier;[28] that figure was used in the pages of student books during the beginning of the Francoist dictatorship.[29]

After the Spanish Civil War, the Our Lady of the Pillar became a symbol of Hispanidad in Spain and was linked to the National Catholicism of the Franco´s regime to the ideas of patriotism and "Hispanic essences".[30]

Franco created the Council of the Hispanidad on 2 November 1940.[31] It was thought at first to be a sort of supranational institution,[32] and it ended up being a council of 74 members, charged with the task of coordinating the relations with Latin America.[33] The Hispanidad became the source of an expansive nationalism (first imperialist and then cultural).[34] Besides its character both as national identity element and as stalwart of Catholicism, Francoism used the Hispanidad in international relations.[35]

The Council of the Hispanidad would become the Institute of Hispanic Culture [es] in 1946 and change from a more Falangist profile to a more Catholic one.[36] That happened within a framework of a general change in the doctrine of the Hispanidad between 1945 and 1947, with Alberto Martín-Artajo at the helm of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The message then became more defensive and less aggressive, with fewer mentions of "empire" and "race" (biological).[37] Afterwards, later in the Francoist dictatorship, the regime, then less constrained by the international community, recovered more aggressive rhetorics, but it failed to reach the full extent of when Ramón Serrano Suñer was Minister of Foreign Affairs.[38]

In 1958, the Day of the Race was renamed to Day of the Hispanidad in Spain.[39]


Already in the 1930s, conservative Mexican writer Alfonso Junco [es] had become an active propagandist of the Hispanidad.[40] One of the key parts of the ideology of "Panista" Mexican politician Efraín González Luna [es], who strongly supported miscegenation, was the Hispanidad, which he conceived in terms of a united community of sovereign states that defended their own values from foreign threats like communism.[41] Other opponents of post-revolutionary Mexico, who spread the doctrine of the Hispanidad were Miguel Palomar y Vizcarra [es], Jesús Guisa y Azevedo [es], Salvador Abascal, and Salvador Borrego.[42] The National Synarchist Union saw in the Hispanidad a key component of the vitality of the Mexican nation.[43]

Spanish exilesEdit

The idea of Hispanidad was also featured with new meanings in authors of the Spanish Republic in exile, such as Fernando de los Ríos, Joaquín Xirau, Eduardo Nicol and Américo Castro.[44] Salvador de Madariaga, also exiled, defended the Hispanidad as a positive factor towards cultural ontogeny; he believed its miscegenation was much better than the Anglo-Saxon example.[45]


In Argentina, one of the few countries with good relations with Francoist Spain after the end of World War II, President Juan Domingo Perón defended the concept of Hispanidad by highlighting the Hispanic roots of Argentina. However, Peronism began to detach itself from the idea from 1950 to 1954 period to replace it with Latinidad (Latinity).[46]

Other countriesEdit

In Colombia, Eduardo Carranza [es] used the idea of Hispanidad in his work.[47] In Chile, Jaime Eyzaguirre would do the same.[48] In Peru, diplomat Víctor Andrés Belaúnde held that Peru was essentially a mestizo and Spanish nation and due to this its people "gravitated" towards what was "Hispanic".[49]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tienda, Marta (2006). "3: Defining Hispanicity: E Pluribus Unum or E Pluribus Plures?". Multiple origins, uncertain destinies: Hispanics and the American future. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press. ISBN 0-309-09667-7. OCLC 66266997.
  2. ^ a b "Hispanidad". Filosofía en Español. Buenos Aires. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  3. ^ Unamuno, Miguel de (1997). Víctor Oiumette (ed.). De patriotismo espiritual. Artículos en "La Nación" de Buenos Aires (1901–1914). Salamanca: University of Salamanca. p. 24. ISBN 847481880X.
  4. ^ Rabaté, Jean-Claude (2005). Ana Chaguaceda Toledano (ed.). "Miguel de Unamuno frente a las conmemoraciones del 12 de octubre". Miguel de Unamuno. Estudios Sobre Su Obra. Salamanca: University of Salamanca. II: 247. ISBN 8478006834.
  5. ^ Colom González 2013, p. 9.
  6. ^ Ramón Solans 2014, p. 364 «Zacarías de Vizcaya» [sic]
  7. ^ González Cuevas 2003, p. 244; Marcilhacy 2014, p. 75.
  8. ^ Pastor 2010, p. 259.
  9. ^ Friedman 2011, pp. 38–39.
  10. ^ Juan Navarro 2006, p. 392.
  11. ^ Núñez Seixas 2013, p. 870.
  12. ^ Martínez de Velasco Farinós 1981, p. 180.
  13. ^ González Calleja 2007, p. 612.
  14. ^ "In Defense of Spanishness". Spain is Culture. Ministry of Culture and Sport (Spain). Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  15. ^ Perfecto 2012, p. 65.
  16. ^ González Cuevas 2003, p. 244.
  17. ^ González Calleja 2007, p. 619.
  18. ^ Saborido 2007, pp. 425–426.
  19. ^ Rodríguez Jiménez 1994, p. 45.
  20. ^ Álvarez Chillida 2014, pp. 111–112.
  21. ^ Martini 2015, p. 58.
  22. ^ Roberts 2004, p. 62; Colom González 2006, p. 64.
  23. ^ Roberts 2004, p. 62.
  24. ^ González Fernández, Enrique (2012). Pensar España con Julián Marías. Ediciones Rialp. ISBN 978-8432141669.
  25. ^ Pasamar 2010, p. 197.
  26. ^ Pardo Sanz 1992, p. 211.
  27. ^ Nicolás Marín 1998, pp. 39–40.
  28. ^ Colom González 2006, p. 66.
  29. ^ Núñez Seixas 2006, p. 205.
  30. ^ Cenarro 1997, pp. 92, 97 y 98.
  31. ^ Payne 1987, p. 360; Barbeito 1989, p. 117.
  32. ^ Barbeito 1989, p. 118.
  33. ^ Payne 1987, p. 360.
  34. ^ Marcilhacy 2014, p. 101.
  35. ^ Calle Velasco 2004, p. 170.
  36. ^ Fernández de Miguel 2012, p. 360.
  37. ^ Sepúlveda Muñoz 2005, p. 174.
  38. ^ Sepúlveda Muñoz 2005, pp. 174–175.
  39. ^ Marcilhacy 2014, p. 100.
  40. ^ Urías Horcasitas 2010b, p. 615.
  41. ^ Gómez Peralta 2010, p. 172.
  42. ^ Urías Horcasitas 2010a, p. 196.
  43. ^ Ard 2003, p. 44.
  44. ^ Sánchez Cuervo 2014, pp. 17, 25 y 30.
  45. ^ Rojas Mix 1997, p. 187.
  46. ^ Rein 1991.
  47. ^ Carranza 2006, pp. 6–7.
  48. ^ Campos Harriet 1983, p. 49.
  49. ^ Montoya Iriarte, Urpi (1998). "Hispanismo e Indigenismo: o dualismo cultural no pensamento social peruano (1900-1930). Uma revisão necessária". Revista de Antropologia (in Portuguese). 41 (1). Retrieved 30 January 2016.