September 15 – October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. We celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The word Hispanic originated from a designation to Hispania, what we know as Portugal and Spain today. Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race.
September 15 is the anniversary of the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrating their independence from Spain. Mexico celebrates their independence on September 16 and Chile on September 18 from Spain.
The first encounter between Europeans and America was October 12, 1492 when Christopher Columbus stepped foot on the new world, changing the known world forever. Dia de la Raza is celebrated on October 12 uniting all Spanish speaking nations and cultures with celebrations including parades, dances and food.
Many of us believe the colonization of America started on the East coast, however, the Hispanic colonies of Augustine, Florida and Sante Fe, New Mexico were established before Plymouth, Massachusetts. To learn more about Latinx history check out these books at the Rogers Public Library.
Hispanic culture has influenced America in many ways. Several state names came from Spanish words like Montana, Colorado, and Nevada. The staples to the “Old American West” culture like the cowboy hat, rodeos, and ranching are all from Spain and Mexico. American cuisine has incorporated many popular Hispanic dishes as a favorite like tortillas, tamales, and tacos.