National Hispanic Heritage Month, in the US, celebrates the culture and traditions of Americans with roots in Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. It is observed from September 15 through October 15.
First observed as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, it was expanded in 1988 to cover the 30-day period.
Some 14% of the US population – more than 42.7 million Americans – have an Hispanic origin, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is considered the largest ethnic minority in the country.
Tens of millions of Hispanics emigrated from Spain. Some came directly to the US and countries south, some first went to the Philippines or the Caribbean Islands and then arrived here. Spain was in the Caribbean and Mexico long before the English were in what would become the US. The state of New Mexico was settled by the Spanish in 1598, and they were in Saint Augustine, Florida, in 1565.
Tracing your Hispanic heritage may not lead directly back to Spain, but may go from the US to many other places, including Europe, Africa and even Eastern Europe. There may be many surprises along the way.