America’s Hidden Hispanic Heritage

By: Miguel Perez
Author and Founder of Hidden Hispanic Heritage

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsWhich came first: the Spanish conquistadors or the British colonists? Jamestown or St. Augustine? The Spanish language or the English language? Hernando De Soto or Lewis and Clark? For many Americans, finding the answers to those questions is not as easy as it should be.

When I asked those questions in a 2007 column for the Creators Syndicate, I found that the answers depend on when you begin counting American history. If you begin with the British, as most historians have chosen to do, and if your education is based on U.S. history books and school curricula, you probably omit almost a century of Spanish exploration and colonization of North America.

“And perhaps that’s why there is so much apprehension regarding Latinos and their language in this country nowadays,” I wrote. “Many Americans simply don’t know that Latinos have a very long history of planting language and cultural roots in what is now U.S. territory. Latinos also have a huge record of very positive and unappreciated contributions to American society.”

At that time, I vowed that, “In the interest of reawakening perhaps-lost knowledge and reminding my fellow Americans that Latinos should not be assumed to be illegal immigrants or even foreigners,” my column would occasionally “rewind to the past to fill the gaps in the history books and the classrooms and to explain why Latinos have many reasons to be proud Americans.” Five years and 26 history columns later that commitment has turned into this web site.

My pilgrimage in search for America’s hidden Hispanic heritage has turned into a bucket list of places, ideas and historical evidence to help reconnect Americans with their Hispanic roots.

This is a summary of the website, Hidden Hispanic Heritage, five years in the making, which also has a Spanish version, is illustrated and has audio and video. To learn more about Hidden Hispanic Heritage, visit

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