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Hispanic Heritage Month When Europeans first came to the Americas more than five hundred years ago there were 60 to 75 million indigenous peoples already inhabiting what we now call Latin America Most of these Native Americans that were already here came from Asia around forty thousand years ago They crossed the Bering Straight and fanned out through North Central and South America The dispersion of their geography led to many distinct languages cultures and civilizations Two major Empires arose in South America The Incas ruled the Central Andean Highlands and the Chibcha controlled what we now know as Columbia In Mexico and Central America the Mayan and Aztec empires created civilizations whose majestic ruins still stand today as grand achievements Besides the impact of European migration to the Americas the cultural imprint of the native people is evident in Latin America today Millions of the indigenous people of America trace their roots to the intermarriage of Indians and whites that made the mestizo and a unique culture In language religion and architecture Latin America may often bring forth our European Ancestry There are many very obvious ways that our indigenous heritage influences our art food music and our soul For years historians have studied the reason why there was a sudden mass migration from Europe to the Americas Europeans called it the discovery of a New World The native Americans viewed it as a disastrous invasion No matter how you look at it millions of Portuguese Spaniard and Italian headed for the Americas When the clash of cultures came between the indigenous people and their African slaves it produced what we now call Latin America Hispanic Heritage Month translates to speed up time for cultural centers across the nation Art exhibits live performances and other special events are packed into a single month between September 15 and October 15 Though at some institutions the attitude has been
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