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A look at the history of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the US

It began as a weeklong celebration in 1968, starting Sept. 15, the same day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate their independence.

TEXAS, USA — Sept. 15 is the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through Oct. 15.

Hispanic Heritage Month got its start in 1968 as a weeklong celebration of "the Hispanic tradition," according to a proclamation issued by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson. Congress passed a law authorizing the president to issue the annual proclamation.

Twenty years later, Congress passed a new law extending it to last a month. On Sept. 14, 1989, Pres. George H.W. Bush issued the first National Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation. Every president has issued one annually since. 

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions of Americans with roots in Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.

It kicks-off on Sept. 15, a day that marks Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence day on Sept. 16.

In the United States, the Hispanic population reached a record high in 2019 with 60.6 million, according to the Pew Research Center. Texas is one of several states in which the Hispanic population is one million or more.

A 2019 census estimate said the Hispanic population has grown more than 2 million in Texas since 2010, reaching approximately 11.5 million. 

According to Census data, Latinos account for 29.5% of the total Tarrant County population and 40.8% of the Dallas County population.

Throughout the month WFAA will be highlighting the accomplishments of Latinos in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.