A month to celebrate Hispanic Americans, their culture, and their contributions to the United States.
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18. Columbus Day / Dia de la Raza falls within this month on October 10.
This recognition started as Hispanic Heritage Week by President Lyndon B. Johnson, but it was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin." According to the 2010 Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from the 2000 Census, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
Some sites for further information about the Hispanic community:
11 Facts for National Hispanic Heritage Month - 11 facts that looks at Latinos in the U.S. by age, geography, and origin groups (Pew Research Center).
FactMonster - Fun facts, Hispanic firsts, statistics, biographies.
Hispanic Heritage Month - Overview with collection of useful links (HispanicMonth).
Library of Congress - Overview, exhibits, collections, images, and audio/video.
National Hispanic Heritage Month - National Endowment for the Humanities-supplied general information along with lists of lesson plans, webistes and additional resources.
Notable Hispanic Americans - Profiles of famous Hispanic Americans (Infoplease).
Black and Latino - Mini-documentary about AfroLatinidad in the U.S.