Before addressing the terms Latino versus Hispanic, it’s helpful to learn how Hispanic Heritage Month came about.
Hispanic Heritage Month’s origins date back to 1968. The observation started as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1989 to cover 30 days. Since 1989, Americans have observed Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
What’s significant about September 15 is that in 1851, five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua—earned their independence. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, making for a month filled with history and culture.