Gengo Tutors- Spanish Article

National Hispanic Heritage Month


With more than 50 million Hispanic Americans living in the United States, it doesn’t take much to see why Sunday, September 15th to Tuesday, October 15th has been designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate the contributions that Hispanic Americans have made in the past, present and future of America. These contributions go deep and wide and are highlighted in depth on www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov.

Let's take this chance to  to highlight specific Hispanic cultures and their history of influence in America. We’ll look at the history of Mexican Americans, Spanish Americans and Puerto Rican Americans as we learn more about Hispanic people groups living in America.

Perhaps one of the most well-known and often misunderstood Hispanic people groups in America are Mexican Americans. Below is a brief history of Mexican American immigration, contributions made by this interesting culture and a sampling of English words that have Spanish origins.

History

Mexican Americans started out with hardship in the United States. Before 1854, much of the western United States was still part of Mexico. Through the years, either because of war or treaties, more than 100,000 Mexicans found themselves in territories now belonging to the United States. Like many native people groups in early American history, Mexican Americans faced difficulty being accepted into America culture and life.

As Mexicans were acclimated into American life they often faced discrimination. They were paid lower wages than non-Hispanic American workers and had to fight to keep their property. When the Great Depression hit in 1920’s, many Mexican Americans returned to their home country. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that immigration levels from Mexico began to rise once again.

As years passed more Mexicans came to the United States to find work and this trend continues today. Mexican Americans comprise about 30% of the foreign born population in America. While Mexican Americans are still fighting to overcome economic disadvantages and educational discrepancies, they have proved themselves to be a resilient people group.

Contributions

The contributions of Mexican Americans to America are too vast to do justice in such a short article. Here are just a few of the many accomplishments that Mexican Americans have contributed to the expansion and establishment of the United States:

  • During World War II Mexican Americans had the highest percentage of Congressional Medal of Honor winners when compared to any other minority group.
  • 1.4 Mexican Americans are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Mexican American inventors contributed towards color television, life saving medical devices, contraceptives, windmills and the Ochoaplane, just to name a few.
  • The Baseball Almanac currently lists over 100 Major League Baseball Players who were born in Mexico.
  • Cinco de Mayo originated in Mexico. The holiday celebrates the Battle of Puebla where 4,500 Mexican soldiers defeated 6,000 heavily armed and trained French soldiers. It is actually celebrated more in American then it is in Mexico as it has become a day to promote Mexican-American pride.

Language

Below are just a few Spanish Words that American English has borrowed from Mexican culture:

  • barbacoa = barbeque
  • tabaco = tobacco
  • cañon = canon
  • chocolate = chocolate
  • huracán = hurricane
  • estampida = stampede
  • cafetería = cafeteria

 Have fun!

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