An AMERICAN culture, based on a cultural and/or ancestral background in the PORTUGUESE and SPANISH colonization of the New World. Some consider the term ‘Hispanics’ offensive and use the term ‘Latinos’. Hispanic presence began in the USA after territory was taken from Mexico in 1848. Their numbers grew in the 20th century, through legal and illegal immigration, including from Mexico and Cuba; in 2001 they numbered about 35 million, the USA's largest minority.
Originally concentrated in the south, especially in former Spanish colonies such as Texas and California, Hispanics are now spread throughout the nation. Their contribution to American culture, through music and cuisine for example, has been extensive. However, they have suffered severely from prejudice and poverty, and different national origins hampered collective political action to combat them. By the late 20th century, however, they had made considerable progress, even if serious social problems remained. While they generally see themselves as Americans, they often maintain a distinct cultural identity. Many are bilingual in Spanish and English, but in many areas their specific language-needs have received official recognition.
September 15th - October 15th
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