Hispanic flag

Panhispanism or pan-Hispanism (Spanish: panhispanismo) (sometimes just called "hispanism" (Spanish: hispanismo)) is an ideology advocating for social, economic, and political cooperation, as well as often political unification, of the Hispanic world.[1]

Panhispanism is notably characterized by its history of adaptation to all sides of the political spectrum (while retaining its core tenet of Hispanic unity)[2] and its anti-Americanism.[3] It has been present consistently in literature, revolutionary movements, and political institutions.

A variant of the ideology focuses specifically on projects of Hispanic American unity (the Patria Grande), to the exclusion of Hispanic areas outside the Americas.


The Spanish colonization of America began in 1492 and ultimately was part of a larger historical process of world colonialism through which various European powers incorporated a considerable amount of territory and peoples in the Americas, in Asia, and in Africa between the 15th and the 20th centuries. Hispanic America became the main part of the vast Spanish Empire.

Due to Napoleon's invasion of Spain from 1808 to 1814 and the consequent chaos, the dismemberment of the Spanish Empire was initiated as American territories began to move towards independence. The only remaining Spanish holdings in the Americas were Cuba and Puerto Rico by 1830[4] until the 1898 Spanish–American War.


Precursors: anti-Spanish Hispanic-American unity projects

During the Spanish American wars of independence in the early 19th century, Simón Bolívar, Francisco de Miranda, and other rebel leaders aimed for the formation of a united Hispanic-American republic, which failed to materialize. The nascent revolutionary states with a less broader scope, namely the Federal Republic of Central America, Gran Colombia, and the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, all ended up collapsing into the smaller modern countries which are still in existence today. The Congress of Panama (1826) sought to organize a league of Hispanic-American republics primarily as defense against Spain; similarly, this project never materialized.

19th century emergence and initial collapse

Panhispanism inclusive of Spain first surged during the 19th century as a reaction to the disintegration of the Spanish Empire,[5][6] but this trend lasted only a few decades.

By the mid-19th century, Spain and the Hispanic-American republics had largely stabilized their relations. The focus of panhispanists at this time was the promotion of a "spiritual and cultural" brotherhood between Spain and the republics, rather than a political reconquest of the old imperial territories.[7]

During this period, the growing expansionist ambitions of the United States, including its imperialistic attitude towards Latin America, resulted in the development of anti-American sentiment as a key part of panhispanism.[7][8] This was especially amplified following Mexico's defeat in the Mexican–American War (1846-1848) and subsequent American expansionism in Central America via the initiatives of William Walker (1856-1857). Spain sought to capitalize on these crises by encouraging Hispanic solidarity against the United States.[7]

The predominant panhispanist writers of this time were Francisco Muñoz del Monte, from the Dominican Republic, and José María Samper, from Colombia.[7]

This brief surge of panhispanism was dealt a severe blow and largely discredited following the aggressive military interventions of the Spaniards themselves in Hispanic America, namely the occupation of the Dominican Republic (1861-1865) and the Chincha Islands War (1865-1879) against Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia.[7]

20th century revival

Panhispanism was revived years after its first "death" in the early 20th century.[7] At this time, the Cuban writer and anthropologist Fernando Ortiz characterized panhispanism as a Hispanic "integration movement" fundamentally opposed to pan-Americanism, seen as a tool of United States hegemony.[5]

As had been done in the previous century, panhispanic intellectuals in both Spain and the Americas were making arguments that the movement should advocate for a "fraternal" union rather than Spanish hegemony over, or reconquest of, Hispanic America. This line of thought and its positive influence was compared to the ongoing rapprochement between Britain and the United States.[8]

From 1925 to 1938, Ramón Menéndez Pidal, director of the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española) contributed to panhispanism by promoting the unity of the Spanish language while simultaneously recognizing the legitimacy of the Latin American dialects and arguing that they were not inferior to the Spanish spoken in Spain. He is seen as having helped prevent a potential fragmentation of the Spanish language.[5]

In 1932, the Uruguayan poet Juana de Ibarbourou organized a contest for the creation of a flag to represent all Hispanics. The winning design was by Ángel Camblor, an Uruguayan army captain, and was raised in the capital Montevideo. Ironically, it was also adopted the next year, 1933, as the "Flag of the Americas" by the Seventh Assembly of the Pan-American Conference, a project of the United States.[9]

Use by Francoist Spain

During the regime of Francisco Franco in Spain (1936-1975), panhispanism was integrated into the governing Falangist ideology, which aligned itself with fascism. Falangist panhispanism was a major departure from earlier, more liberal strains of the panhispanic movement, and instead emphasized anti-democratic ideals, traditional values, and the role of Roman Catholicism. During this time, the prominent Falangist thinker Ramiro de Maeztu characterized Hispanics, as a cultural and spiritual body of people, as inherently incompatible with democracy and liberalism. Falangist panhispanism was influential in the media of Hispanic America but was also received with mixed attitudes.[2]

In 1940 Franco established the Council of the Hispanidad, a government agency which was in charge of relations with the Hispanic-American countries,[2] and was labelled as pro-fascist and anti-American.[10] This Council was dissolved in 1945, following the end of the Second World War.

Present-day developments

In the Hispanic world today, panhispanism remains largely anti-American[3] and opposes "Anglo-Saxon" influence in general in Hispanic territories, viewing it as imperialist.[11]

Social media has also been identified as a catalyst for a resurgence in panhispanic sentiment.[12] YouTubers such as "Brigada Antifraude" and the communist Santiago Armesilla are popular proponents of panhispanism, having channels with thousands of views and subscribers, in which they defend the idea of a Hispanic union and attack the Black Legend.[13]

In Puerto Rico, there exists a movement to reunify the island with Spain as its proposed 18th autonomous region,[14] and in Peru, right-wing protestors have been seen carrying the old flag of the Spanish Empire.[15] A growing and controversial movement in the Philippines, whose supporters are dubbed "the Hispanistas", advocates the restoration of Spanish as an official language of the country and in general a closer integration with the Hispanic world.[16][17]

In 2022 the organization Parlamento Global Hispano (English: Hispanic Global Parliament) was created as an international Hispanic provisional assembly aiming to move the Hispanic world towards economic and political integration;[18] its first elections were held from September to October.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Aróstegui, González; Rosario, Mely del (2003). "Fernando Ortiz y la polémica del panhispanismo y el panamericanismo en los albores del siglo XX en Cuba". Revista de Hispanismo Filosófico (Asociación de Hispanismo Filosófico) (in Spanish): 5–18.
  2. ^ a b c Diffie, Bailey W. (1943). "The Ideology of Hispanidad". The Hispanic American Historical Review. 23 (3): 457–482. doi:10.2307/2508538. ISSN 0018-2168.
  3. ^ a b Cabrera, Leoncio López-ocón (1982-01-01). ""La América, Crónica Hispano-americana". Génesis y significación de una empresa americanista del liberalismo democrático español". Quinto Centenario (in Spanish). 4: 137–137. ISSN 1988-267X.
  4. ^ Hall, D. (1987). The Caribbean experience: An historical survey 1450-1960. Kingston: Heinemann educational Books.
  5. ^ a b c Andión Herrero, María Antonieta; González Sánchez, María (2022-01-09). "EN TORNO AL PANHISPANISMO Y LOS PANHISPANISMO(S) EN RELACIÓN CON SU RELEVANCIA Y COMPLEJIDAD TERMINOLÓGICA". Signa: Revista de la Asociación Española de Semiótica: 247–269. doi:10.5944/signa.vol31.2022.29451. ISSN 2254-9307.
  6. ^ Smith, Arthur F. (1960). "Pan-Hispanism: Its Origin and Development to 1866 . Mark J. Van Aken". The Journal of Modern History. 32 (3): 288–289. doi:10.1086/238584. ISSN 0022-2801.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Canedo, Lino G. (1960). "Pan-Hispanism. Its Origin and Development to 1866. By Mark J. Van Aken. [ University of California Publications in History, Vol. 63. ] (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1959. Pp. ix, 166.)". The Americas. 16 (4): 422–424. doi:10.2307/979006. ISSN 0003-1615.
  8. ^ a b Thomas, David Y. (1923). "Pan-Americanism and Pan-Hispanism". The North American Review. 217 (808): 327–333. ISSN 0029-2397.
  9. ^ Grosvenor, Gilbert; Showalter, William J. (September 1934). "Flags of the World". The National Geographic Magazine. 66 (3). This flag, with its three wine-colored crosses and its sun of the Incas, was hoisted on October 12, 1932 in the Plaza Independencia in Montevideo. It was officially recognized and dedicated by supreme decree by the governments of Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. All of the nations of the Americas hoisted it shortly thereafter.
  10. ^ Delgado Gómez-Escalonilla, Lorenzo (1994-01-01). "Las relaciones culturales de España en tiempo de crisis: de la II República a la Guerra Mundial". Espacio Tiempo y Forma. Serie V, Historia Contemporánea (7). doi:10.5944/etfv.7.1994.2998. hdl:10261/14820. ISSN 2340-1451.
  11. ^ Muller, Dalia Antonia (2011). "Latin America and the Question of Cuban Independence". The Americas. 68 (2): 209–239. doi:10.1353/tam.2011.0115. ISSN 1533-6247.
  12. ^ "Sombras del "panhispanismo"". addendaetcorrigenda (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-11-07.
  13. ^ "Entrevista a Santiago Armesilla | Entrevista". El Viejo Topo (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-11-07.
  14. ^ "Puerto Rico movement pitches solution to economic woes: rejoin Spain". the Guardian. 2015-08-30. Retrieved 2022-11-08.
  15. ^ Moncada, Andrea (25 October 2021). "What's With All the Imperial Spanish Flags in Peru (and Elsewhere)?". Americas Quarterly.
  16. ^ Cerézo, Arvyn (2023-12-22). "¿Qué es un 'hispanista'? | Revista La Jornada Filipina". lajornadafilipina.com (in Mexican Spanish). Retrieved 2024-01-07.
  17. ^ Staff, J. F. (2020-09-03). "Should We Replace Filipino With Spanish? Here's What 'Redditors' Think | La Jornada Filipina Magazine". lajornadafilipina.com. Retrieved 2024-01-07.
  18. ^ "PGH". www.parlamentoglobalhispano.com. Retrieved 2022-11-07.
  19. ^ "PGH". www.parlamentoglobalhispano.com. Retrieved 2022-11-07.

Further reading