Today, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the United States after English, with over 41 million native speakers and over 12 million bilingual Spanish-English speakers. The influence of Spanish can be seen in many areas of American life, from place names (such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Fe) to food (such as tacos, burritos, and paella) to music (such as salsa, reggaeton, and flamenco). The Hispanic population has also had a significant impact on American politics, culture, and society. For example, there have been many prominent Hispanic politicians, artists, athletes, and activists in American history, including César Chávez, Sonia Sotomayor, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others.

This means that if you live in the United States, you are actively using Spanish in your daily life without even knowing it! Need some proof? I will show you some states in the United States which names are in spanish !

Check this out:
  • California — a mythical island from the 1510 Spanish novel Las sergas de Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.
  • Colorado — “red-colored” (referring to the color of the river that is the state’s namesake).
  • Florida — “flowery”
  • Montana — from montaña (“mountain”)
  • Nevada — “snowy”
  • New Mexico — an anglicization of Nuevo México.

If you want to check a full list of words in English that you already use that are also used in the spanish language please refer to this article

Now check a couple of the cities in United States that have a spanish name origine: 

  • Buena Vista — “good view”
  • El Paso — “the pass”
  • Fresno — “ash tree”
  • Las Vegas — “the meadows”
  • Los Angeles — a shortened version of the older name, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula, “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River”
  • Monterey — “king’s mountain”
  • San Antonio — “Saint Anthony”
  • San Francisco — “Saint Francis”
  • Santa Cruz — “holy cross”

Why are so many landmarks in united states in spanish?

Many towns and cities in the United States have Spanish names because they were originally founded by Spanish explorers or settlers. When the Spanish colonized parts of the Americas, they often established settlements and named them after saints, places in Spain, or other important figures or landmarks.

Spanish was actually the first European language spoken in what is now the United States, as Spanish explorers and colonizers settled in parts of what are now California, Florida, and the Southwest as early as the 16th century. These are just some examples of the lasting impact of Spanish in the United States.

Learning Spanish today for you as an American will not only help you to communicate with over 41 million native speakers and 12 million bilingual Spanish-English speakers in the US, but it will also allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of a large part of your country.

The close relationship between Latin America and the United States is evident in the shared history between the two regions. In 1819, Spain ceded their Florida colony (which included parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) to the United States. As a result, the southern US has been heavily influenced by Latin culture.

Not convinced yet? Here there is some cowboy vocabulary from united states originated in spanish 

  • chaps — chaparreras: leg protectors for riding through chaparral
  • desperado — desesperado (“desperate”)
  • ranch — rancho (“a very small rural community”)
  • rodeo — from rodear (“to go around”)
  • stampede — from estampida

Many of the geographical jargon

 Used in English comes from spanish, such as:

  • canyon — cañón (“pipe,” “tube” or “gorge”)
  • mesa — “table”
  • sierra — “mountain range”
  • tornado — from tronada (thunderstorm)

The name of some Animals

  • armadillo — “little armored one”
  • mosquito — literally, “little fly”
  • mustang — mustango, from mesteño (“untamed”)

Arts & Culture

  • aficionado — “fan,” from aficionar (“to inspire affection”)
  • bodega — “cellar”
  • macho — “the property of being overtly masculine”
  • matador — from matar (to kill)
  • patio — “inner courtyard”
  • quixotic — derived from the name of Cervantes’ famous, delusional knight Don Quixote
  • rumba — from Cuban Spanish rumba (“spree”), it was the name of a popular tango melody in the early 20th century and became a more general type of Cuban dance music
  • tango — this word comes to English from Argentine Spanish, but like originates from the Niger-Congo language Ibibio’s tamgu (“to dance”)

War & Conflict

  • guerrilla — “small war”
  • renegade — from renegado (“turncoat” or “traitor”)
  • vigilante — “watchman”


  • cargo — from the Spanish verb cargar (“to load”)
  • embargo — from the Spanish verb embargar (“to seize”)

More Spanish Words In English

  • bonanza — “prosperity”
  • cafeteria — from cafetería (“coffee store”)
  • incommunicado — estar incomunicado (“to be isolated”)
  • nada — “nothing”
  • platinum — from platino (little silver)
  • pronto — “hurry up!” in Mexican Spanish
  • savvy — from sabe (“knows”) and sabio (“wise”)
  • suave — “smooth,” sometimes “cool” in Latin America
  • adobe — from Spanish adobar (to plaster), from Arabic aṭ-ṭūb (“the bricks”)
  • cabana — from Spanish cabaña  (“cabin”)

Therefore, if you are a US citizen, it is essential to start learning Spanish today to fully appreciate and understand the rich and diverse cultures that make up the United States and its history.

These names reflect the deep roots of Spanish culture in the history of the United States and serve as a reminder of the country’s diverse heritage. At De Una Spanish School, we strive to help our students learn in an immersive way, gaining a full understanding of Latin American culture. Our online Spanish teachers are from Latin America, providing an authentic learning experience.

If you need help finding Spanish tutors or guidance in your Spanish journey, be sure to subscribe to De Una Spanish School. We have the best Spanish tutors and resources to learn Spanish in 2023. When you subscribe to our platform, you not only get one-on-one time with a tutor but also access to audios and videos that will help you succeed in your Spanish journey.

We look forward to seeing you in class!

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