Ethnic Groups in Spain

Spain has evolved as a nation with diverse ethnicities that have been living in the Iberian Peninsula since the ancient period. Modern Spain has other ethnic groups than those that existed in the Iberian Peninsula, due to the immigrants from countries in Asia, Middle East, Europe and Africa. The ethnic groups in Spain that have lived in Spain since ancient times include:

  • Aragoneses
  • Andalusians
  • Asturians
  • Basques
  • Castilians
  • Catalans
  • Cantabrians
  • Galicians
  • Gypsies

Out of these the following are the largest ethnic groups in Spain: Castilians, Catalans and Basques.


The Kingdom of Castile and that of Aragon in the Iberian Peninsula were combined to form contemporary Spain. The Castilians ethnic group in Spain is descendant of the Kingdom of Castile. After the formation of the Kingdom of Spain, Castilians were one of the ethnic groups in Spain who dominated because of their wide presence throughout the state.

The Castilians´ culture, as well as their language, has influenced the Spanish culture to such an effect that today foreign nationals consider Castilian language as Spanish. The Castilian language has been given an official status by Spanish constitution. The Castilian ethnic group in Spain mainly follows the Roman Catholic faith.


The Catalans represent the provinces in the northeastern region of Spain. The provinces which have concentrated population of Catalans include Barcelona, Tarragona, Lerida and Gerona. These provinces together form the autonomous community of Spain called Catalonia, which has Barcelona as its capital. As Catalonia is located close to France, there are several Catalans found in France.

The Catalans generally speak the Catalan dialect or Valencian dialect, which is a variant of Catalan. The Catalan language is one of the official languages of Spain and is also spoken by the Catalans in France. There are Catalans who also communicate in Spanish and French.

The religion followed by the majority of Catalans is Catholicism, while there are some who also practice Atheism and Agnosticism. A few of the important aspects of the Catalan tradition include the competitions of building human towers called Castell and the Sardana dance.


The Basque ethnic group in Spain has existed for several thousand years in a region which is now part of contemporary Southern France and Northern Spain. They are considered to be one of the oldest ethnic groups in Europe. The Basques in Spain today are concentrated in the autonomous community of Basque Country and the province of Navarre.

There are over two million Basques people living in modern Spain. The Basques ethnic group in Spain follows the religion of Roman Catholicism. The Basques have been associated to agricultural industry. This is the reason why this ethnic group in Spain is found serving in the ranches, fishing industry or goat farms.

Spanish Dialects

Learn more about the different Spanish varieties spoken in different countries


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