All 50 states and Washington, D.C., have seen growth in their Hispanic populations in the last decade. This is especially true for Florida, California, and Texas, which saw increases of more than 1 million between 2010 and 2020. Hispanics accounted for 51% of entire U.S. population growth during that period. When President Lyndon Johnson called for Hispanic Heritage week in 1968 he said, “The people of Hispanic descent are the heirs of missionaries, captains, soldiers, and farmers who were motivated by a young spirit of adventure, and a desire to settle freely in a free land,” and proclaimed: “This heritage is ours”.
Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana. As a nation, we recollect and honor the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to attain success. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the commemoration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Hispanic countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, who all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21 respectively. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the week to a 30-day period to allow for more expansive ways to recognize the contributions and the influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.
Latinos of Indigenous descent and Native Americans are the oldest ethnic groups to inhabit much of what is today the United States. Spain colonized large areas of what is today the American Southwest and West Coast, as well as Florida. Its holdings included present-day California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas, all of which were part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain based in Mexico City. Later, this vast territory became part of Mexico after its independence from Spain in 1821 and until the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848.
Discover more For documents, exhibits, films, blog spots and more from the National Archives and Presidential libraries that highlight Hispanic culture click HERE.