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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the rich cultural heritage of peoples of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino origin. Archeological sites reveal many different aspects of Hispanic heritage, from early exploration and commerce on the high seas to the building of mission churches and much more.

Hernando de Soto's expedition put him into contact with Native Americans along the Mississippi River. Spanish missionaries established missions to Christianize the Native American populations and make them Spanish citizens, as at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, Tumacácori National Historical Park, and San Antonio Missions. Learn how representatives of both the U.S. National Park Service and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico are working together to preserve and protect these extraordinary places and to make them available for visitors.

Shipwrecks from Spanish traders, travelers, and soldiers are another part of the archeological story. Sunken ships remain in the waters at Dry Tortugas, Point Reyes National Seashore, and throughout Florida. The visitor center at Assateague Island National Seashore displays artifacts from Spanish Royal Naval ships that wrecked off the coast.

Teachers, you and your students will learn fascinating things through Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans on shipwrecks and cultural landscapes of Hispanic heritage. Check out Hispanic History lesson plans, such as shipwrecks in "The Spanish Treasure Fleets of 1715 and 1733: Disasters Strike at Sea" or the "glorious hell" of the Hispano Rancheros of northern New Mexico or the cigar capital of the world at Ybor City.

Many other sites of Hispanic heritage are preserved throughout the United States, like Cabrillo National Monument or El Morro National Monument. Find others by visiting the National Register. And keep in mind that the National Park Service is developing new ways for the public to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Months. Look in the future to the Old Spanish National Historic Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles to appreciate the history, culture, and scenic beauty of the region.

Learn more about the different approaches to Hispanic history at Park Service sites in a special issue of the NPS cultural resource management publication, CRM Online.

  • Archeology Month fun at San Antonio Missions. [NPS photo]
  • Anchor from Spanish shipwreck at Assateague Island National Seashore. [NPS photo]
  • Dancers at Centro Asturiano, an Ybor City social club.
  • Shallow water of the peaceful Amagosa River along the Old Spanish National Historic Trail. [NPS photo]