Can You Guess All the Countries That Were Spanish Colonies?

One of the biggest and oldest European colonial empires was founded by Spain. Spain dispatched Christopher Columbus in the hopes of discovering a quicker path by crossing the Atlantic, since Portugal dominated its recently found route around Africa to Asia. Rather, they discovered and settled most of the Americas. How many colonies of Spain do you know off hand? You might be surprised by some of them.

1. Argentina (1580-1816)

One of Spain’s biggest and most significant colonies in South America was Argentina. It attracted a lot of immigrants from Spain and eventually the rest of Europe due to its mineral resources, broad plains ideal for agriculture, and temperate temperature.

2. Bolivia (1538-1824)

Bolivia is situated close to South America’s center on a high Andean plateau. It wasn’t always a landlocked nation, as it is today. Bolivia’s sole access to the Pacific Ocean was taken over by Chile in 1879, marking the end of the War of the Pacific.

3. Chile (1540-1818)

Chile is only 100 miles across on average and spans over 2,600 miles from north to south. The towering Andes Mountain peaks on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other enclose it. Argentina, Chile’s neighbor, and Chile have no desire to engage in combat over this enormous barrier.

4. Colombia (1525-1808)

Colombia was a part of the Spanish empire for more than 275 years. As a component of the state of Gran Colombia, it gained independence. More than 100 invasive hippos that escaped from a drug dealer’s zoo and are proliferating invasively in the wild are an uncommon issue the nation is currently facing.

5. Costa Rica (1524-1821)

Formerly, Costa Rica belonged to a confederation in Central America. Its lack of an army is one of its current distinguishing features. It is a well-liked travel location for pensioners, international workers, and visitors.

6. Cuba (1492-1898)

In 1898, the United States supported the revolution in Cuba and went on to win further Spanish lands as a result of war. Even after years of strained relations with Cuba’s socialist regime, the United States continues to operate a military installation in Guantanamo Bay.

7. Dominican Republic (1809-1821)

The French and Spanish empires took turns controlling the Dominican Republic over time, and in the early 1900s, the United States even took up residence there. Compared to neighboring Haiti, it has succeeded in achieving greater economic and political stability.

8. Ecuador (1544-1820)

The guardian of the Galapagos Islands is Ecuador. Darwin’s theory of evolution was partly influenced by the variety of specialized wildlife found in this remote archipelago. Ecuador’s economy has been quite unstable, and the US dollar is currently the official currency there.

9. El Salvador (1525-1824)

After gaining independence, El Salvador joined the Central American Federation, which also comprised Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras. The period of the federation was 1823–1840.

10. Equatorial Guinea (1778-1968)

In 1778, the Spanish seized from the Portuguese the region that is now Equatorial Guinea. Attempting to maintain control, Spain formally recognized it as a province. However, Equatorial Guinea became an independent nation in 1968.

11. Guam (1668-1898)

Spain lost Guam to the United States in 1898. These days, the US uses it as a strategic asset to project power over the western Pacific in order to defend its interests from threats from China and North Korea.

12. Guatemala (1524-1821)

Guatemala’s Mayan ruins are well-known. The people of the land still live according to their traditional ways in the rural and forested areas. The capital, Guatemala City, draws foreign visitors and business travelers with its contemporary amenities.

13. Haiti (1492-1697)

Before giving Haiti to France, Spain dominated it for roughly 200 years. After the United States, Haiti became the second country in the Americas to gain independence in 1804. Over the years, it has battled with natural calamities, political and economic upheaval, and both.

14. Honduras (1524-1821)

Since gaining independence from Spain in 1821, Honduras has experienced political instability, natural disasters, and economic underdevelopment. Remittances from Hondurans employed outside and tourism are two of the key drivers of the country’s economy.

15. Jamaica (1494-1655)

For over 150 years, Jamaica was a Spanish possession until Britain invaded with 7,000 soldiers in 1655. There were barely 2,500 Spanish colonists living on the island at the time. Spain attempted to retake it multiple times without success. Jamaica is currently one of the Caribbean’s most popular travel destinations.

16. Mexico (1502-1808)

Following Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808, numerous Spanish colonies started the process of becoming independent. Mexico battled for eleven years, ending in 1821 with independence. In the Mexican War, just 27 years later, the United States won 55% of its territory in the north.

17. Morocco (1912-1956)

Spain seized control of Morocco’s Mediterranean coast while the majority of the country was colonized by France. Morocco regained most of this area after gaining independence in 1956. On the Moroccan coast, five small enclaves are still under Spanish authority.

18. Nicaragua (1522-1821)

Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821, just as its neighbors. It was competing with Panama to be the location of the canal that would link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. With Chinese investors, the Nicaraguan government has lately brought these ideas back to life, but the project is presently on hold.

19. Panama (1538-1821)

After Spanish sovereignty ended in 1821, Panama was originally a part of the larger country of Gran Colombia. When it gained independence, the United States stepped in and helped secure better conditions for the construction of the Panama Canal, which was finished in 1904.

20. Paraguay (1542-1811)

In 1864, after Brazil had acquired Uruguay, Paraguay entered the Brazilian war. This was a terrible error. The tiny nation lost the conflict and gave Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil more territory. These days, economic competitiveness is the main emphasis of regional rivalries rather than military rivalry.

21. Peru (1534-1821)

Peru was a component of the Inca Empire, which was perhaps the greatest and most advanced indigenous civilization in the Americas, prior to Spanish colonialism. Approximately 12 million of their ancestors now speak Quechua, the Inca language, throughout Peru and the surrounding nations.

22. Philippines (1521-1898)

In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan made the first Spanish claim to the Philippines. Before the United States took control of it at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898, it was the crown jewel of the Spanish empire in the Pacific. In 1946, the islands gained their independence.

23. Puerto Rico, from 1493 to 1898.

After Columbus seized Puerto Rico in 1493, Spanish influence began to spread there. After over 400 years, the United States seized ownership of it. The territory has the highest chance of becoming the 51st state in the union. Of Puerto Ricans, 52% voted in favor of statehood in the most recent referendum.

24. Trinidad and Tobago (1592-1797)

Before the British seized control of the islands, Spain dominated Trinidad and Tobago for 200 years. These days, they are well-liked vacation spots since they are situated right off the coast of Venezuela. The culture is a singular blend of Native American, Spanish, British, and African influences.

25. United States (1493-1898)

After Columbus claimed Puerto Rico for Spain in 1493, a large portion of the United States was ruled by Spain for a long time. The majority of the continental United States west of the Mississippi, Florida, the whole Gulf Coast, and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam were all ruled by Spain at one point in time. St. Augustine, Florida, the first settlement in the 50 states, was established in 1565. Spanish influence can be seen in the population, cuisine, place names, architecture, and other aspects of the territory it ceded to the United States to varying degrees.

26. Uruguay (1726-1811)

Uruguay was governed by Spain until an uprising in 1811. It gained independence in 1828, but Brazil annexed it in 1821. Currently, Montevideo, the capital, is home to 2 million of the 3.4 million people who live there. The nation boasted the greatest gross national product per person on the continent in 2022.

27. Venezuela (1522-1811)

One of the earliest nations in South America to declare independence was Venezuela. Because of its enormous oil deposits, it used to be one of the most opulent nations in Latin America. Mismanagement of the economy and politics has resulted in millions of its inhabitants escaping to other nations in recent years.

28. Western Sahara (1884-1976)

Spanish Sahara, the former colony of Spain in the Western Sahara, never achieved full independence. Morocco currently occupies the majority of it, a claim that is not acknowledged by the international community.