Facts about Hispanic Heritage Month
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
September 15 – October 15 is a month to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors were from Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
- It was first celebrated in 1968 during Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency (First known as Hispanic Heritage Week)
- It was lengthened to a 30 day period during Ronald Reagan’s presidency
- It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988
- Hispanics are the largest ethnic or race minority in the United States
- There are 1.2 million Hispanics serving in the U.S. armed forces
- Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States
What does the term Hispanic mean?
The term is defined as referring to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central America, or any other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. Hispanics trace their heritage back to countries that were colonized by Spain and continue to use Spanish as their official language.
Hispanic vs. Latino
The term Latino refers to people from Latin America, that includes Brazil and excludes Spain. Hispanic refers to people from Spanish speaking countries, this excludes Brazil and includes Spain.
Latino refers more to geographic location as opposed to Hispanic which refers to people who come from Spanish speaking countries, including Spain which is not a Latin country.
ALSO: The term Spanish is also different from these two. Spanish means being from Spain, and is often misused to refer to either Hispanics or Latinos.