Portuguese, also one of the Romance languages, originated in the Galicia region of northern Portugal. Derived from Latin, its origin dates back 2,000 years ago, and is still a major Iberian Peninsula language. It spread throughout the world in the 15th and 16th centuries, coinciding with Portuguese colonialism and commercial expansion. From Brazil and India, to China and Timor, the language spread at a rapid rate, and is still spoken in certain parts of those countries today. The language is also spoken by sizeable populations in Africa, Asia, and within the Caribbean. Portuguese remains one of the world’s major languages, and ranks 6th amongst native speakers. There are about 191-230 million who speak it as a mother tongue, and is the official language in 9 countries. It is the dominant language of about half of South America, with many speakers in the U.S. and Canada as well.
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