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National Hispanic Heritage Month

In the United States, Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15 and ends on October 15. It is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.

Three other Latin countries, Mexico, Belize, and Chile, also declared their indepencence in September, Mexico on the 16th and Chile on the 18th and Belize on the 21st. Columbus Day, October 12, also falls within this time frame.

National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions of Hispanic Americans in the United States while putting a spotlight on their cultures and heritage. It celebrates the many historical contributions and achievements that Hispanic Americans have made for the United States since 1492, the year Christopher Columbus first came to America.

According to Census figures, there are over 50 million people of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino descent living in the United States. That makes up nearly 16% of the population and that number is expected to increase substantially in coming years.

Hispanics include Mexican Americans, Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and immigrants from other Latin speaking countries including Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, and other Central and South American nations.

The celebration of Hispanic culture, history, and individual accomplishments began when in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson issued Presidential Proclamation 3869 making Hispanic Heritage Week an annual event.

The Proclamation stated: Wishing to pay special tribute to the Hispanic tradition, and having in mind the fact that our five Central American neighbors celebrate their Independence Day on the fifteenth of September and the Republic of Mexico on the sixteenth, the Congress by House Joint Resolution 1299, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week.

The proclamation was then enacted into law in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan and expanded to cover the 31 day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Since 1988, each sitting president has issued an annual proclaimation designating this time frame as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The 12 months of the year:



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