One of life’s great pleasures is without a doubt exploring the quirks and foibles of a new country, going beyond the tourist traps and discovering something for yourself, something you’d never find in any other country or culture. Just as fascinating however as the country itself, is the links it shares with other nations; it brings home how small the world really is, and how interconnected and dependant we all are on each other – just look at the trouble erupting in Iran at the moment, and how the small Hormuz straight which they claim to control, is so critical for supplying the world with oil.
It is often links between seemingly very different, geographically separate nations that are the most interesting, and the nations we don’t think of as related, often have strong economical or political ties. For now, let’s compare the links between Spain, and the U.S.A.
The U.S was first discovered by Christopher Columbus (yes, he was Spanish), leading to a long and enduring relationship between the two countries. Spanish is the second most common language in the U.S, and the primary language of over 35 million people in the country, with the highest concentrations being in the southwest – particularly California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. This is hardly surprising considering the first settlers from Europe in the U.S spoke Spanish, and the recent influx of immigration into the country from Spain itself and Spanish-speaking Cuba.
Although may seem like the U.S has a huge cultural influence across the globe, European countries like Spain are furiously protective of their state-owned media, meaning most countries enjoy an eclectic mix of both national and international music, film and television. When it comes to products however, Spain’s biggest exports to the U.S include petroleum products, medical equipment, automotive parts, and interestingly. Collectables like artwork and antiques. The biggest import from the U.S is nuts.
The U.S is arguably more obsessed with celebrity culture than any other nation, and there are several key figures in the country with Spanish roots. Widely celebrated Hispanic stars include Jenifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz, Ricki Martin, Shakira, Andy Garcia, Gloria Estafan and Salam Hayek, all of whom have injected some form of Latin passion into U.S throughout their careers
Spaniards are dominating the world of sport at the moment, and the U.S is by no means impervious to the onslaught from the Amada. Major League Baseball is one of the biggest sports in the U.S and is becoming increasingly dominated by Latinos who make up around 30% of the players in the game. Major League Soccer is also home to Spanish stars like Mitsa Jose Morales, while stars like Nadal in Tennis and Contador have taken the batons from U.S stars like Sampras and Lance Armstrong respectively.
5. Place Names
We are all so familiar with cities like Los Angeles, San Fransisco and Santa Fe that they’ve become ingrained in English language culture. In fact these and many other town, city and state names in the U.S are derived from the Spanish language. Other examples include; Colorado, Montana, Florida, Nevada, El Paso, the Rio Grande and the Sierra Nevada.
Joe is a travel blogger who enjoys comparing the parallels between seemingly different countries, he’s looking forward to his Spain holidays this year where he’ll be keeping his eyes peeled for less obvious American influences. Joe also has his own blog where he allows people to submit a guest post if they wish!