About National Hispanic Heritage Month

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.

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.

Executive and Legislative Documents

The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to Hispanic American Heritage Month.

About this Site

This Web portal is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Other Dedicated Web Sites

Images Used on this Site

Detail of “Frida Kahlo”, silkscreen by Rupert Garcia, 1975.

Detail of “Mis madres”, print by Ester Hernandez, 1986.
Used with permission. Library of Congress

Detail of Mural painting ‘Entry into the Forest’ by Candido Portinari, on the vestibule wall of the Hispanic Reading room, Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, taken between 1980 and 2006.

Front towers, looking northwest, taken from roof. Duplicate color view of HABS TX-319-A-2 - Mission Senora de la Purisima Concepcion, Church, 807 Mission Road, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX
Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscape Survey Collection, 1993.

Painted miniature flasks. Guatemalan Lowlands. Maya, AD 600–900, photograph by Justin Kerr.

Carnaval, San Francisco, California
photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, 2012.


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National Gallery of Art Library of Congress Smithsonian Institution National Archives United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Park Service National Endowment for the Humanities