- The National Hispanic Heritage Month began in the US.
- The annual event, which honours the history, culture and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors hailed from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America, is marked every year from September 15 to October 15.
- The observation was started by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, and was extended to an entire month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the year it was enacted into law.
Significance of the Hispanic Heritage Month
- The Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the middle (and not at the beginning) of September, because of the significance September 15 holds in Latin American history — being the Independence Day of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
- The five Central American nations declared their independence from Spain together on September 15, 1821.
- The next two days– September 16 and September 18– are also important, being the Independence Days of Mexico and Chile, respectively.
- Both became free from Spanish rule in 1810 at the height of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815).
- Another nation on the American continent, Belize, became independent from Great Britain on September 21, 1981.
- Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, a culturally important celebration, also falls on October 12 during the 30-day period.