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Consider yourself lucky: As a Latino-American you’re entitled to July 4th’s rowdy BBQ’s and beach side chilling in the name of America’s freedom and Hispanic Heritage Month to commemorate the awesomeness of your Latinidad. Not sure why or what you’re supposed celebrate? Here’s a crash course.

Hispanic Heritage Month began in the U.S. in the late 60’s, first as a commemorative week and was later expanded to 30 days from September 15th to October 15th and in 1988 by President Reagan to big up the contributions of Americans who descended from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. This time period was picked to coincide with the independence days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua (September 15) Mexico (September 16) and Chile (September 18). The road to independence for these countries is like a really awesome action film: lots of blood, guts and badassery.

 

It Started With Mexico

On the morning of September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo, a priest in Dolores, Mexico called for revolution with “El Grito de Dolores” as he rang the church bells. Sure, the rebellion was thwarted half way to the capital and el padre was captured by Spaniards and killed about a year later, but the freedom fighting continued. Guys like José María Morelos, Vicente Guerrero, Guadalupe Victoria and discontented Spanish officer Agustín de Iturbide whose rebel army triumphed in 1820, were responsible for creating a sovereign Mexico. La madre patria, Spain, recognized Mexico’s independence formally in August of 1821.

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