Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2012
Tomorrow is the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Back in 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson approved the observation of Hispanic Heritage Week to recognize the contribution that citizens of Hispanic origin have made to the country. Twenty years later, President Reagan expanded the observation to a whole month.
One of the reasons that the September 15 date is important is because many Latin American countries celebrate their independence on this day and others have independence celebrations within the period. This year the theme of the celebration is: “Many Backgrounds, Many Stories… One American Spirit”.
The government site for Hispanic Heritage Month features a range of resources organised into collections covering art, architecture, culture, economics, exploration (Columbus Day also falls within this period), government, history as well as guides and resources. There are also beautiful images covering a range of periods.
Hispanic Heritage – 12 Fun Facts
Here are 12 fun and interesting facts about the Hispanic presence in America.
- The five Latin American countries whose independence falls on September 15 are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
- Hispanic Americans have been in the country since the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.
- People of Hispanic origin – around 52 million people – comprise 16.7% of the total US population.
- By 2050 this number is predicted to more than double to reach 132.8 million or 50% of the population.
- Most of the people of Hispanic origin in the US – 63% – have a Mexican background.
- Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas all have more than 1 million Hispanic residents.
- Hispanic owned businesses generated more than $350 billion in revenue in 2007.
- About 12.8% of US residents over five speak Spanish at home.
- There are dozens of places related to Hispanic achievement and culture on the National Register of Historic Places. You can find out more about those here.
- Around the world 20 countries (plus the US) speak Spanish so there is no standard dialect.
- Spanish has given dozens of words to the English language, including aficionado, barbecue, hurricane, potato, tobacco, guacamole, barracuda, mosquito, incommunicado and cockroach. There are many more here.
- Hispanic Americans have made major contributions to government, science, the arts and sport. Check out a list of famous firsts here.
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