Before the Spanish conquest, several small groups of Amerindians lived in Chile. Araucanian Amerindians, who came under the influence of the Incas in the early 15th century, inhabited central and southern Chile. The conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago in 1541, and brought Chile north of the Bío-Bío River under Spanish rule. The Araucanians resisted Spanish rule and killed Valdivia in battle. Amerindian resistance continued for 350 years, effectively barring Spanish settlement south of the Bío-Bío. The Araucanians (also known as Mapuches today) were not subjugated until the early 1880s.
During Spanish rule, Chile was subject to the viceroyalty of Peru. Later, the territory was given the status of captaincy-general and was largely administered from Santiago. Read more
There were about 25,000 Amerindians in the region when Columbus landed in 1502. He named the area Costa Rica (“Rich Coast”), possibly because he saw gold ornaments on some of the indigenous people. European settlement of Costa Rica began in 1522, the Spanish conquered the Ticos, as the Costa Rican natives called themselves, and Spain organized the area into a colonial province in 1540; it was eventually placed under the provincial administration in Guatemala. Cartago, the colonial capital, was founded in 1563.
When independence came to Central America in 1821, Costa Rica had fewer than 70,000 inhabitants. In the following year, it was absorbed into the short-lived Mexican Empire proclaimed by Agustín de Iturbide. Following the collapse of Iturbide’s rule, Costa Rica became a member of the United Provinces of Central America in 1823. At the same time, the provincial capital of Costa Rica was moved to San José. The United Provinces fell apart in 1838, and Costa Rica proclaimed itself sovereign. In 1848, the Republic of Costa Rica was established. The new state was threatened by William Walker, a US military adventurer who invaded Central America in 1855, but his troops were repelled in 1857. In 1860 Walker was captured and executed. In 1871, General Tomás Guardia, dictator from 1870 to 1882, introduced the constitution that, though frequently modified, remained Costa Rica’s basic law until 1949. Although Guardia’s rule was characterized by decreased liberty and rising debt, it also brought increased sugar and coffee exports, as well as increased education. Read more
The Pipil Amerindians, a subgroup of the nomadic Nahuatl Amerindians, migrated from present-day Mexico to Central America in about 3000 bc. The Pipil are believed to have organized their nation into two federated states comprised of smaller principalities in the 11th century, after the Mayan Empire that had held sway over the Nahuatl declined in the 9th century. They were an agricultural people, with a civilization comparable to the Aztecs, except that the Pipil had abolished human sacrifice. The Pipil also succeeded in building lasting urban centers that grew into current cities, such as Sonsonate and Ahuachapan. This fierce people—as well as two smaller groups, the Pocomans and the Lenca—lived in the area of present-day El Salvador met the Spanish conquistadors with significant resistance. Read more
Three distinct stages—Mayan indigenous, Spanish colonial, and modern republican—have left their mark on the history of Guatemala.
Guatemala includes much of the old Mayan civilization, which may date back as early as 300 bc. The classical Mayan period lasted from about ad 300 to 900 and featured highly developed architecture, painting, sculpture, music, mathematics (including the use of zero), a 365-day calendar, roads, and extensive trade. This great pre-Columbian civilization seems to have collapsed around ad 900, and by the 12th century, the Mayas had disintegrated into a number of separate Amerindian groups. The Amerindians offered resistance to the Spanish expedition sent by Hernán Cortés from Mexico and led by Pedro de Alvarado during 1523–24, but by the end of that time, their subjugation to Spain was virtually complete. Read more
Before the Spaniards entered the land now called Honduras, the region was inhabited by the war-like Lencas and Jicaques, Mexican Amerindian traders, and Paya hunters and fishermen. The Mayan ceremonial center at Copán in western Honduras flourished about the 8th century ad but was in ruins when Columbus reached the mainland on his fourth voyage in 1502. He named the region Honduras, meaning “depths.”
Colonization began in 1524 under Gil González de Ávila. In 1536, Pedro de Alvarado, who came from Guatemala at the bidding of Hernán Cortés in Mexico, founded San Pedro Sula, and another faction founded Comayagua in 1537. After the treacherous murder by the Spaniards of an Amerindian chieftain named Lempira in 1539, his followers were subjugated. In that year, Honduras was made part of the captaincy-general of Guatemala, and for most of the period until 1821, it was divided into two provinces, Comayagua and Tegucigalpa. Some silver was produced in the mines of Tegucigalpa, but the area was otherwise ignored by the Spanish empire. Read more…
The Olmecs, Mexico’s first known society, settled on the Gulf Coast near what is now Veracruz. Remembered for the giant head sculptures they carved from native stone, the Olmecs had two main population centers: San Lorenzo, which flourished from about 1200 to 900 B.C., and La Venta in Tabasco, which lasted until about 600 B.C.
By 300 B.C., villages based on agriculture and hunting had sprung up throughout the southern half of Mexico. Monte Albán, home to the Zapotec people, had an estimated 10,000 inhabitants. Between 100 B.C. and 700 A.D., Teotihuacán, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, was constructed near present-day Mexico City. The civilization that built it is also called Teotihuacán, and the influence of this culture can be seen throughout the Veracruz and Mayan regions. At its zenith, with a population estimated at 200,000, the civilization is thought to have controlled a large portion of southern Mexico. The empire of Teotihuacán was overthrown in the 7th century, but the spectacular city survives today. Read more…
Nicaragua derives its name from that of the Amerindian chief Nicarao who once ruled the region. The first European contact came with Columbus in 1502. At that time the northern part of the country was inhabited by the Sumo Amerindians, the eastern region by the Miskitos, and the region around Lakes Nicaragua and Managua by agricultural tribes.
The first Spanish settlements in Nicaragua were founded by the conquistador Gil González de Ávila in 1522. The cities of Granada and León were founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba. During the next 300 years—most of the colonial period—Nicaragua was ruled as part of the captaincy-general of Guatemala. The independence of the five provinces of Central America, including Nicaragua, was proclaimed on 15 September 1821. After a brief period under the Mexican empire of Augustín de Iturbide (1822–23), Nicaragua joined the United Provinces of Central America. Nicaragua declared its independence from the United Provinces on 30 April 1838, and a new constitution was adopted. Read more….
The Countries of Latin America
Before the Spaniards arrived, about 20 Amerindian groups comprising some 300,000 people lived in the region now called Argentina. They were mainly nomadic hunter-gatherers, although the Guardant practiced slash-and-burn agriculture.
Spaniards arrived in Argentina in 1516. They called the region “La Plata” (literally “silver”) under the mistaken impression that it was rich in silver. Colonists from Chile, Peru, and Asunción (in present-day Paraguay) created the first permanent Spanish settlements in Argentina, including Buenos Aires in 1580. In 1776, Río de la Plata became a vice-royalty, with Buenos Aires as the main port and administrative center. Read more
By about ad 600, Amerindians (believed to belong to the Aymaráspeaking Colla tribe) were settled around the southern end of Lake Titicaca. As they came into contact with coastal tribes, the highly developed classic Tiahuanaco civilization emerged, reaching its peak about ad 900. Lake Titicaca became a place of worship and a great commercial center. Then cultural and political disintegration set in, and by 1300, the Quechua-speaking Incas had conquered the region and had colonized villages in most of what is now Bolivia.
The demise of the Inca empire began in 1527 with the death of the Inca Emperor Huayna Capac. His two sons, Huáscar and Atahualpa, fought a civil war over succession. Francisco Pizarro, taking advantage of the civil war raging between the two heirs, led the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in 1532–33. In 1539, Pedro de Anzures established La Plata, subsequently called Charcas and Chuquisaca and now known as Sucre, Bolivia’s legal and judicial capital. Read more
The original inhabitants of Brazil were hunter-gatherers, except in the lower Amazon, where sedentary agriculture developed. There are no reliable population estimates from pre-European times, but probably there were no more than one million.
After the European discovery of the New World, Spain and Portugal became immediate rivals for the vast new lands. Portugal’s claim was established by a papal bull of Pope Alexander VI (1493) and by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), which awarded to Portugal all territory 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. On Easter Sunday in 1500, the Portuguese admiral Pedro Álvares Cabral formally claimed the land for the Portuguese crown. Cabral’s ship returned to Portugal with a cargo of red dyewood, which had been gathered along the shore, and from the name of the wood, paubrasil, the new land acquired the name Brazil. Read more…
Archaeological studies indicate that Colombia was inhabited by various Amerindian groups as early as 11,000 bc. Prominent among the pre-Columbian cultures were the highland Chibchas, a sedentary agricultural people located in the eastern chain of the Andes.
The first Spanish settlement, Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast, dates from 1525. In 1536, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and a company of 900 men traveled up the Magdalena River in search of the legendary land of El Dorado. They entered the heart of Chibcha territory in 1538, conquered the inhabitants, and established Bogotá. As a colony, Colombia, then called New Granada, was ruled from Lima, Peru, until it was made a viceroyalty. The viceroyalty of New Granada, consolidated in 1740, incorporated modern Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador. The area became Spain’s chief source of gold and was exploited for emeralds and tobacco. Read more…
Cuba was originally inhabited by about 50,000 Ciboney and Taíno Amerindians who are related to the Arawak peoples; they were hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies. Christopher Columbus made the European discovery of Cuba in 1492 on his first voyage to the Americas. Many died from disease and maltreatment soon after. The African slave trade began about 1523 as the Amerindian population declined, and grew thereafter, especially with the development of coffee and sugar on the island. During the early colonial years, Cuba served primarily as an embarkation point for such explorers as Hernán Cortés and Hernando de Soto. As treasure began to flow out of Mexico, Havana became a last port of call and a target for French and English pirates. In 1762, the English captured Havana, holding Cuba for almost a year. It was ceded to Spain in exchange for Florida territory in the Treaty of Paris (1763). Spanish rule was harsh, and intermittent rebellions over the next century all ended in failure. Read more…
The eastern part of the island of Hispaniola was originally known as Quisqueya, meaning “mother of all lands.” It was first settled by the nomadic and warlike Carib Amerindians and later by the agricultural and peace-loving Arawaks. Christopher Columbus made the European discovery of the island and claimed it for Spain in 1492. Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World, was founded four years later by Bartholomew Columbus, the explorer’s brother. By 1517, Hispaniola had become the springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and of the American mainland. As with other Caribbean islands, the Amerindian population dwindled, and was replaced by African slaves.
The importance of Hispaniola waned during the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1697, by the Treaty of Ryswick, Spain was forced to recognize French dominion over the western third of the island, an area now known as Haiti. In 1795, under the Treaty of Basel, Spain ceded to France the eastern two-thirds of the island, which by then had been renamed Santo Domingo. The island then came under the rule of the rebellious ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture. After Haiti received independence in 1804, the French retained the rest of the island until 1809. After a brief attempt at independence, the Dominicans fell under the control of Spain, which regained the eastern section of the island under the Treaty of Paris (1814). Read more…
Archaeological explorations indicate that the coastal regions of present-day Ecuador supported corn-cultivating communities as early as 4500 bc. In the first few centuries ad, the population was divided into dozens of small isolated tribes. By ad 1000, the highland groups had formed a loose federation, the Kingdom of Quito, but they were absorbed into the Inca Empire in the late 15th century. Atahualpa, son of the conquering Inca Huayna Capac and a Quito princess, later became emperor, but by then the Spanish forces under Francisco Pizarro were gaining a foothold on the coast.
Pizarro’s pilot, Bartolomé Ruiz, the first European to see the Ecuadorian coast, arrived in 1526 on a scouting expedition. The actual conquest reached Ecuador in 1531. Except for a few emeralds, from which their first landing place took its name (the city and province of Esmeraldas), the Spanish found those shores valuable only as a stopping place on their way to the riches of the Incas in Peru. Sebastian de Belacázar, a lieutenant of Pizarro, extended Spanish dominion northward from Peru after the conquest of the Incas. He found the northern capital of the Inca Empire left in ashes by the retreating Amerindians, and on that site in 1534, he founded the city of San Francisco de Quito, later to become the capital of the republic. Read more…
The original inhabitants of the area were Native Americans, but today only a few remain in the interior. Europeans first explored the coast in 1500, and they were followed by adventurers seeking El Dorado. The French were the first settlers (1604), and French merchants founded Cayenne in 1637. It became a French colony in the late 17th century, with a plantation economy dependent on African slaves. It remained French except for a brief period in the early 19th century. Slavery was abolished in 1848, and Asian labourers were introduced to work the land. From the time of the French Revolution, France used the colony as a penal settlement, and between 1852 and 1945 the country was notorious for the harsh treatment of prisoners. Alfred Dreyfus was imprisoned on Île du Diable. In 1946, French Guiana became an overseas department of France and, in 1974, also an administrative region. An independence movement developed in the 1980s, but most people wanted to retain links with France and receive development aid. Read more…
In the pre-Columbian period, Arawaks and later Caribs moved to the region from coastal South America. European exploration led to conquest, to colonization, to the eradication of the indigenous population, to the introduction of sugarcane cultivation, and a plantation economy that was dependent on African slave labor. Under French colonial domination since 1635, with brief periods of English occupation, Guadeloupe was shaped by French politics. The first abolition of slavery (1794–1802) and the almost total elimination of the white plantocracy during the French Revolution had far-reaching social and economic consequences. After the final abolition of slavery in 1848, a crisis of labor and capital led to the introduction of Indian indentured laborers, to the entry of metropolitan capital, and to the centralization of the sugar industry. Read more…
In 1492, Christopher Columbus made the European discovery of the island of Hispaniola and established a settlement near the present city of Cap-Haïtien. Within 25 years, the native Arawak, a peace-loving, agricultural people, were virtually annihilated by the Spanish settlers. Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas, a missionary to the Amerindians, who had originally come to Hispaniola as a planter in 1502, proposed that African slaves be imported for plantation labor. Starting after 1517 a forced migration of Africans gave Haiti its black population.
About 1625, French and English privateers and buccaneers, preying on Spanish Caribbean shipping, made the small island of Tortuga their base. The French soon also established a colonial presence on nearby mainland coasts and competed with the Spaniards. In the Treaty of Ryswick (1697), Spain ceded the western third of the island (Haiti) to the French. Under French rule it became one of the wealthiest of the Caribbean communities. This prosperity, stemming from forestry and sugar-related industries, came at a heavy cost in human misery and environmental degradation. Read more…
Visited by Columbus, probably in 1502, the island was ignored by the Spanish; colonization began in 1635, when the French, who had promised the native Caribs the western half of the island, established a settlement. The French proceeded to eliminate the Caribs and later imported African slaves as sugar plantation workers. In the 18th cent. Martinique’s sugar exports made it one of France’s most valuable colonies; although slavery was abolished in 1848, sugar continued to hold a dominant position in the economy. A target of dispute during the Anglo-French worldwide colonial struggles, Martinique was finally confirmed as a French possession after the Napoleonic wars. In 1902 an eruption of Mt. Pelée destroyed the town of St. Pierre. Read more…
The isthmian region was an area of economic transshipment long before Europeans explored it. It was also the converging point of several significant Amerindian cultures. Mayan, Aztec, Chibcha, and Caribs had indirect and direct contact with the area. The first European to explore Panama was the Spaniard Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1501. In 1502, Columbus claimed the region for Spain. In 1513, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa led soldiers across the isthmus and made the European discovery of the Pacific Ocean. Despite strong resistance by the Cuna Amerindians, the settlements of Nombre de Dios, San Sebastián, and, later, Portobelo were established on the Caribbean coast, while Panama City was founded on the Pacific coast. In 1567, Panama was made part of the viceroyalty of Peru. English buccaneers, notably Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century and Henry Morgan in the 17th, contested Spanish hegemony in Panama, burning and looting its ports, including Panama City in 1671.
From the 16th until the mid-18th century, the isthmus was a strategic link in Spanish trade with the west coast of South America, especially the viceregal capital of Lima. In 1740, the isthmus was placed under the jurisdiction of the newly recreated viceroyalty of New Granada. Read more…
The original inhabitants of present-day Paraguay were Guaraní Amerindians of the Tupi-Guaraní language family. As many as 150,000 Amerindians may have been living in Paraguay at the time of the earliest European contacts. The first European known to have explored Paraguay was the Italian Sebastian Cabot, sailing from 1526 to 1530 in the service of Spain. The first permanent Spanish settlement, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption, present-day Asunción), was founded at the confluence of the Paraguay and Pilcomayo rivers on Assumption Day, 15 August 1537.
Paraguay’s next two centuries were dominated by Jesuit missionaries, whose efforts to protect the Amerindians from Portuguese slave traders and Spanish colonists resulted in one of the most remarkable social experiments in the New World. Shortly after the founding of Asunción, missionary efforts began. The priests organized Guaraní families in mission villages (reducciones ) designed as self-sufficient communes. Amerindians were taught trades, improved methods of cultivation, and the fine arts, as well as religion. Above all, they were protected from exploitation by the Spanish colonists. As the settlements prospered and grew in number to around 30 (with over 100,000 Amerindians), the jealousy of the colonists sparked a campaign to discredit the Jesuits. Eventually, the king of Spain became convinced that the order was trying to set up a private kingdom in the New World, and in 1767, he expelled the Jesuits from the New World. Once they had left, the reducciones disappeared. As for the Spanish colony at Asunción, it dominated the area of the Río de la Plata throughout this period. However, in 1776, when Buenos Aires became the capital of the new viceroyalty of La Plata, Asunción was reduced to an outpost. Read more
Archaeological evidence indicates that Peru has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years. Perhaps as early as 6,000 years ago, the first primitive farmers appeared. Between 500 bc and ad 1000 at least five separate civilizations developed. The Paracas, on the southern coast, produced elaborately embroidered textiles and performed brain surgeries, in spanish “trepanaciones craneanas. ” The Chavín, in the highlands, were noted for their great carved stone monoliths. The Mochica, on the north coast, produced realistic pottery figures of human beings and animals. The Nazca in the south were noted for the giant figures of animals in the ground that can be seen only from the sky. The Chimú were the most developed of these groups.
The Quechua Empire, whose emperors had the title Sapa Inca, was established in the 13th century. During the next 300 years, the extraordinary empire of the Incas, with its capital at Cuzco, spread its spiritual and temporal power to northern Ecuador, middle Chile, and the Argentine plains. By means of a system of paved highways, the small Cuzco hierarchy communicated its interests to a population of 8–12 million. The intensive agriculture of scarcely tillable lands, held in common and controlled by the state, created a disciplined economy. The ayllu, a kinship group that also constituted an agrarian community, was the basic unit of the Inca Empire, economically and spiritually. The Incas were sun worshipers and embalmed their dead. Their highly developed civilization used a calendar and a decimal system of counting and advanced architecture, but never developed a wheel. Read more…
Three main ethnic strands reflect the heritage of Puerto Rico: the Taino Indians, most of whom fled or perished after the Spanish conquest; black Africans, imported as slaves under Spanish rule; and the Spanish themselves. With an admixture of Dutch, English, Corsicans, and other Europeans, Puerto Ricans today enjoy a distinct Hispanic-Afro-Antillean heritage. In 2006, about 80.5% of the population was white (primarily of Spanish origin), 8% were black, 0.4% was Amerindians, and 10.9% were of other or mixed race.
Residents of Puerto Rico have been considered as US citizens since 1917, when the island was ceded to theUnited States at the end of the Spanish-American War. However, Puerto Ricans do not pay federal income tax to the Untied States and they do not vote in US presidential elections. Despite this link to the United States, most Puerto Ricans describe themselves as “Puertorriqueños” rather than Americans. Read more…
Saint-Barthélemy, island and French overseas collectivity (2010 est. pop. 7,400), 8 sq mi (21 sq km), West Indies, one of the Leeward Islands; also called St. Barts in English. Gustavia is the capital, main town, and main port. The hilly island has a mild, humid climate and is subject to hurricanes. The economy depends on tourism and duty-free commerce; most food and other goods are imported. The inhabitants are mainly of European, mixed race Creole, African, and French–East Asian mestizo descent; French is the official language, and English also is spoken. There is an elected, 19-seat Territorial Council whose president is the head of government. Columbus named (1493) the island for his brother Bartolomeo. Settled by the French (1648), St. Barts was sold (1784) to Sweden and prospered as a trade center. In 1878 it was sold back to France and administered from Guadeloupe. A 2003 referendum led to the island’s separation from Guadeloupe in 2007.
Saint Martin (săN märtăN´), Du. SintMaarten, island, 37 sq mi (96 sq km), West Indies,one of the Leewad Islands. Since its occupation in 1648 by the Dutch and the French, ithas been divided. The northern part (1999 pop. 29,078; 20 sq mi/52 sq km), with thecapital at Marigot, is a French overseas collectivity; until 2007 it was part of Guadeloupe.The president of France, represented by a prefect, is the head of state.. The government isheaded by the president of the unicameral Territorial Council, whose 23 members areelected to five-year terms. The southern part (1989 est. pop. 29,500; 17 sq mi/44 sq km)became an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands when theNetherlands Antilles was dissolved in 2010. The capital on the Dutch side is Philipsburg.The monarch of the Netherlands, represented by a governor-general, is the head of state.
One of the characteristic features of the early history of Spain is the succesive waves of different peoples who spread all over the Peninsula. The first to appear were the Iberians, a Libyan people, who came from the south. Later came the Celts, a typically Aryan people, and from the merging of the two there arose a new race, the Celtiberians, who, divided into several tribes (Cantabrians, Asturians, Lusitanians) gave their name to their respective homelands. The next to arrive, attracted by mining wealth, were the Phoenicians, who founded a number of trading posts along the coast, the most important being that of Cadiz. After this came Greek settlers, who founded several towns, including Rosas, Ampurias and Sagunto. The Phoenicians, in their struggle against the Greeks, called on the Carthaginians, who, under the orders of Hamilcar Barca, took possession of most of Spain. It was at this time that Rome raised a border dispute in defense of the areas of Greek influence, and thus beguan in the Peninsula the Second Punic War, which decided the fate of the world at that time.
After the Roman victory, Publius Cornelius Scipio, Africanus, began the conquest of Spain, which was to be under Roman rule for six centuries. Once the Peninsula had been completely subdued, it was Romanized to such an extent that it produced writers of the stature of Seneca and Lucan and such eminent emperors as Trajan and Hadrian. Read more…
During the 16th century, only a few Spanish expeditions landed on the Banda Oriental, or east bank of the Uruguay River. Most of them were driven off by the native Charrúa Amerindians. Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries landed in 1624, and formed permanent settlements. By 1680, Portuguese from Brazil had founded Colonia do Sacramento as a rival to Buenos Aires, on the opposite bank of the estuary. Thereafter, the area was a focal point for Spanish-Portuguese rivalry.
Montevideo was founded in 1726, and Uruguay became part of the viceroyalty of La Plata, which the Spaniards established in Buenos Aires in 1776. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British invaded the region of La Plata and captured Buenos Aires and Montevideo (1806–07), but they were forced out in 1807. After Buenos Aires refused to give Uruguay autonomy, the Uruguayan national hero, José Gervasio Artigas, declared Uruguay independent in 1815. A year later, Brazilians attacked Montevideo from the north, but Artigas led a revolutionary movement against them. The struggle continued from 1816 to 1820, when the Portuguese captured Montevideo and Artigas had to flee to Paraguay. Uruguay was annexed to Brazil in 1821 and was known as the Cisplatine Province. Read more…
As many as 400,000 Amerindians were living in the land now known as Venezuela when Christopher Columbus landed at the mouth of the Orinoco in August 1498, on his third voyage of discovery. The nation received its name, meaning “Little Venice,” from Alonso de Ojeda, who sailed into the Gulf of Venezuela in August 1499 and was reminded of the Italian city by the native huts built on stilts over the water.
The first Europeans to settle Venezuela were Germans. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V granted the Welsers, a German banking firm, the right to colonize and develop Venezuela in exchange for the cancellation of a debt. Lasting a little less than 20 years, the administration of the Welsers was characterized by extensive exploration and organization of the territory but also by brutality toward the native population. In 1546, the grant was rescinded, and Venezuela was returned to the Spanish crown. Read more
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
The History of Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture and to honor five of our Central American neighbors who celebrate their independence in September.
National Hispanic Heritage Month had its origins in 1968 when Congress passed Pub. L. 90-498 (PDF, 153KB), which authorized and requested the President to issue an annual proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. By directing that this week should include September 15 and 16, this law celebrated Hispanic Americans and the anniversaries of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua as well as Mexico’s independence on September 16. In 2010 Mexico is celebrating the bicentennial of its independence. President Lyndon Johnson issued the first such proclamation, Presidential Proclamation 3869, which stated in part: Read more…
A Broader Perspective on Columbus Day
Few stories in American history are as monolithic as the story of Columbus’s “discovery” of America, and American children grow up believing a tale that is largely a fanciful fabrication characterized by uncertainty if not deliberate untruths. But history is always a matter of perspective, dependent upon who is doing the telling and for what reason, existing within the context of national culture. Far from being a heroic tale of a wayward explorer who happens upon lands previously unknown to other civilizations, the Columbus narrative usually leaves out some very troubling details which are very well documented but usually ignored. In reality, the story reveals a far darker side of Euro-American settlement and America’s project to promote national pride at the expense of exposing the truth of the brutality of its founding leads to whitewashed, sanitized versions of the Columbus story. For Native Americans and all indigenous peoples in “the New World,” this is a record that needs to be set straight. Read more…
How The Day Is Celebrated Throughout Latin America …
October 12th is celebrated in many countries in South America. While Americans call this holiday Colombus Day to honor when the explorer sailed the ocean blue in 1492; Latinos know this more commonly as Día de la Raza translated literally to Day of the Race but better adapted as Day of the Hispanic People.
Dia de la Raza is celebrated in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador and it is not a day to recognize independence but to celebrate the melding of cultures, and so you will see a mix of indigenous and European activities.
In other South American countries this day is celebrated but known as different things. For example, in Uruguay it is known as Day of the Americas. A decade ago Hugo Chavez renamed this day as Day of the Indigenous Resistance in Venezuela and it’s taken on different symbolism as it celebrates the resistance to the European settlement.
Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century but did not become a federal holiday until the 1937. For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage. Throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have appeared in recent years. Read more
Día de la Raza
Why rethink Christopher Columbus? Because the Columbus myth is a foundation of children’s beliefs about society. Columbus is often a child’s first lesson about encounters between different cultures and races. The murky legend of a brave adventurer tells children whose version of history to accept, and whose to ignore. It says nothing about the brutality of the European invasion of North America.
We need to listen to a wider range of voices. We need to hear from those whose lands and rights were taken away by those who “discovered” them. Their stories, too often suppressed, tell of of 500 years of courageous struggle, and the lasting wisdom of native peoples. Understanding what really happened to them in 1492 is key to understanding why people suffer the same injustices today. Rethinking Columbus
Key US Organizations Serving the Latino Community
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), Diversity Best Practices is providing a list of key organizations serving the Latino community. Information about additional organizations is available in WOW!Facts.
Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA)
Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA)
The Committee for Hispanic Families and Children (CHFC)
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI)
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)
Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Association for Hispanic Elderly (ANPPM)
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
National Council of La Raza
National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC)
National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)
National Hispanic Institute (NHI)
National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)
The National Institute for Latino Policy
National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA)
Tomas Rivera Policy Institute
United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
Teaching Resources for Hispanic Heritage for Educators
Put the power of primary sources to work in the classroom. Browse lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids from:
Resources for Churches
Rev. Alejandro Gonzalez , Casa de Luz ICM Monterrey, Mexico
Betel ICM, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Saturday 7pm Local www.livestream.com/betelrj
ICM Fortaleza, Fortaleza, Brasil : www.icmfortaleza.tk
ICM Los Angeles – 1:30 p.m. Celebration Service (Spanish)
Our Spanish-Speaking congregation celebrates worship with the same intensity and fervor as our 11am Celebration Service but also includes the more traditional, Catholic-feeling liturgy which is popular in Hispanic cultures. You will find an energetic full band and choir there with passionate prayers, preaching and communion, all in the Spanish language. This service lasts approximately 90 minutes, and is generally followed with food and fellowship.
Servicio en Español: Sundays from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. This service is in Spanish but don’t let this experience pass you by – with instruments (tambourines and maracas), this service will not only wake you up – but you’ll start your week with the spirit of God!
Sunshine Cathedral MCC – Sermon Enspanol
ICM/MCC in Latin America https://mccchurch.org/overview/ourchurches/find-a-church/latin-america-church-listing/
Mil Voces Para Celebrar (MVPC) is a complete hymnal and worshipbook, containing liturgy, services, resources, indexes, and hymns and songs of all kinds in Spanish. Some are Spanish translations of well-known English-language hymns, and all of the major familiar English favorites are included. There are also modern-day Spanish-language hymns in a variety of styles, as well as contemporary praise and worship choruses (coritos).
Profiles Of Those Who Have Contributed To The Fabric Of The US
Black In Latin America
Haiti & the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided
Cuba: The Next Revolution
Brazil: A Racial Paradise?
Mexico & Peru: The Black Grandma in the Closet
Oración para la Celebración del Mes de la Herencia Hispana
Te agradecemos por nuestra maravillosa diversidad, por nuestras culturas, nuestras tradiciones,
nuestras lenguas, por todas las formas en que celebramos nuestra humanidad y adoramos tu
divinidad. Valoramos a todas las gentes y es por esto que hoy celebramos el Mes de la Herencia
Hispana. Que siempre recordemos en nuestras congregaciones el liderato, los maestros, las
maestras, los teólogos y las teólogas que han sido parte de nuestra fe cristiana. Que siempre
podamos escuchar las diversas voces que hablan de Tu amor, de Tu paz y de Tu justicia para
todas las personas. Guíanos en nuevos caminos de entendimiento para que podamos construir
una iglesia más inclusiva. En sus muchos nombres que oramos, Amén.
Prayer for Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month
We thank You for our wondrous diversity, for our cultures, traditions and languages, for all the
ways we celebrate our humanity and praise Your divinity. We value all peoples, and in this
time, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. May we remember in our churches the leaders,
teachers, and theologians that have been part of our Christian faith tradition. May we continue
to hear from diverse voices that speak the truth of God’s love, peace and justice for all peoples.
Guide us in ways of new understandings to build a more inclusive church. In your many names, we pray. Amen.