As we prepare for Hispanic Heritage Month, I’ve written series of posts that highlight famous Latinos or Hispanic Americans.
In our classrooms, homes, and communities, we always want to lift up both everyday heroes along with those who became famous.
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.– Hispanic HeritageMonth.gov
September 15th – October 15th is the perfect time to highlight influential Latinos, as well as the unsung contributions of ordinary people.
Related Post: Ideas for Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
We’ll start with 24 Hispanic-Americans: artists, activists, scientists, and more.
And below, I have a separate list of famous Spanish speakers from around the world.
Curious about the terms Hispanic, Latin American, Latinx. etc.? Click here to see an explanation of these phrases.
24 Famous Latinos From the United States
If you are working with kids and learning about famous Latino American leaders, check out this free growing pack of coloring pages!
Famous Hispanics from Around the World
Many educators like to use Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate Latino contributions from all around the word. Here is a good starter list of names!
This list includes influential Latinos and Spanish-speakers you should know about: Latinx leaders, athletes, writers, scientists, artists, and more.
Each link includes top quotes, printables, videos, and more on each person!
Gabriel García Márquez
Colombian (1927 – 2014)
Recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature
Gael García Bernal
Mexican (November 30, 1978)
Chilean (1904 – 1973)
Recipient of the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.
See his story and more resources here.
Image: Public Domain
Military Leader, Revolutionary
Mexican (1878 – 1923)
Guerrilla fighter and leader of the Northern Division of soldiers.
See more information and resources here.
Image: Public Domain
Sor Juana de Inés De la Cruz
Writer, Poet, Philosopher
Mexican (1648 – 1695)
Lists of Famous Latinos by genre
Here you can browse my posts set up by genre– famous Latino and Hispanic artists, scientists, athletes, leaders, and more.
*I know many people don’t like the term “Hispanic Americans,” and I think that’s very fair. Let’s be honest: Hispanic basically means a person with ancestors in a place “formerly colonized by Spain,” while America can technically apply to all of the Americas.
The terms are evolving right now, and in meantime we have to deal with less-than-perfect terminology or new terms some countries don’t use yet.
But I hear you that we’d like to see updated terms!
Notable Hispanic Americans
When I sat down to make these lists, I wanted the first one to refer to American Latinos. If you do a search for “famous Hispanic Americans,” it tends to pull up lists of famous Spanish-speakers from anywhere around the world.
The original intent of Hispanic Heritage Month was to honor the contributions of people of Hispanic descent (from a Spanish-speaking country) in the United States.
Here’s a description from the Department of Education:
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community. Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.– White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, Dept. of Education
What famous Latinos and Hispanic leaders did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!
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