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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 observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
Hispanics comprise 12 percent of the U.S. population and are the fastest growing ethnic minority in the country. It is projected that the number of Hispanics residing in the United States age 55 and older will reach 11.4 million by 2025.
A study conducted by a group from the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University in residents over the age of 40 years residing in two counties of Southern Arizona indicated that open-angle glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among Hispanics.
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 September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have joined in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society with the Hispanic Heritage Month website.
Last reviewed on October 29, 2017