Portuguese owes its importance—as the second Romance language (after Spanish) in terms of numbers of speakers—largely to its position as the language of Brazil, where in the early 21st century some 187 million people spoke it. In Portugal, the language’s country of origin, there are more than 10 million speakers.
The Community of Portuguese Language Countries is an international organization consisting of the eight independent countries which have Portuguese as an official language. Portuguese is also an official language of the European Union, Mercosul and the African Union (one of the working languages) and one of the official languages of other organizations. The Portuguese language is gaining popularity in Africa, Asia, and South America as a second language for study.