September is national Hispanic Heritage month. The State Library is taking this opportunity to focus on the contributions Hispanics have made and continue to make to North Carolina.

Beginning in the 1990s, North Carolina has experienced a boom in its Hispanic population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state had the fifth largest growth rate of Hispanics in the nation from 2000-2006. Some of the population boom can be attributed to the overall economic growth that brought many people to the state in recent years. Although the largest segment of the Hispanic population has Mexican roots, there are also many residents from other Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Central and South American nations.

The recent influx of Hispanics does not mark the beginning of the Hispanic presence in the state. In fact, the Hispanic presence extends much further back into North Carolina’s history.  In 1540, Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer and conquistador, traveled through the Appalachian mountains on his quest to find gold in North America.

back to topHistory & Reference

back to topGenealogy

  • WorldGen Web Project
    Created by volunteers dedicated to providing genealogical and historical records and resources for spanish language mapworld-wide access.  From their site the researcher can link to regional websites such as SouthAmericanGenWeb and CaribbeanGenWeb, that take the researcher to a bank of online resources particular to their ancestor's world region of origin.
  • Cyndi's List
    An ever-growing website with over 264,040 family history links to only resources that support genealogy/family history research.  Links include sites on how-to/best practices, land and vital records, and newspapers along with many others.
  • Family Tree Magazine: Latin Roots Toolkit
    Essential tools and tips for discovering and celebrating your Hispanic and Latino ethnic heritage; informational articles and online links to organizations, timeline, web sties, research tips and resources.
  • Hispanic Genealogy Society
    The club was formed to help foster Knowledge, Training, Help and Pride in the Search of Hispanic Ancestors. The group’s Latin American Forum was created by the society to expand knowledge, specific to Hispanic research, through an on-line Hispanic reference library to collect genealogical resources from all over Latin America and Spain.
  • Hispanic Legacy Research Center
    Promotes an interest in and the study of lives, times, cultures, traditions, ancestries, and histories of the peoples who emigrated to New Spain and New Mexico,  many of whom still have descendants in New Mexico, Colorado, California, Texas, Arizona, and Northern Mexico.

back to topSocial Issues

Book Discussion Series

- One Vision Many Voices: Latino Literature
Includes titles from Julia Alvarez, Cristina García, Piri Thomas, Harold Augenbraum and Ilan Stavans, Carlos Fuentes, and Esmeralda Santiago.

For information about organizing a book discussion series in your area, contact the Center for the Book.

Read this!
A Home on the Field (2007) by Paul Cuadros, soccer coach and reporter, tells the story of the championship Jordan-Matthews High School soccer team in Siler City, NC.

back to topArts & Literature

back to topCultural Resources' Collections

back to topResources

  • Institute for the Study of the Americas, UNC-Chapel Hill
    Latin American Studies and Consortium in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
  • Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
    Latina/o Studies in the Global South
  • Hispanic Affairs Office-Office of the Governor
    The Hispanic Affairs Office works with the Hispanic community throughout North Carolina. (919) 733-5361
  • Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County, NC
    Our mission is to foster cultural understanding among Latinos/as and other residents of Chatham County and to empower Hispanics to overcome the challenges they face as immigrants and find their voice in the community.
  • North Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
    Advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of Hispanic businesses in collaboration with the business community at large.
  • North Carolina Latino Coalition
    The NC Latino Coalition is a nonpartisan, multi-issue network of organizations dedicated to building relational power among grassroots Latino leaders
  • North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals
    The mission of the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals is to promote the education of Hispanic students at all scholastic levels.
  • El Pueblo
    Non-profit statewide organization dedicated to strengthening the Latino community through advocacy, education, and promotion of cross-cultural understanding.
  • Que Pasa
    Link to and voice of the Hispanic community in North Carolina
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School-  “The Economic Impact of the Hispanic Population on the State of North Carolina.”
    The study assessed the economic impact of the state's growing Hispanic population and identified potential business opportunities provided by this fast-growing market.

back to topDemographics

back to topResources for Youth

  • two hispanic boys in cowboy hatsHispanic Heritage Month from Fact Monster
    Famous Firsts by Hispanic Americans, words loaned to us from Spanish, Spanish Accents, where Spanish is spoken, Hispanic Holidays, Notable Books by Mexican-American authors, plus Hispanic American hangman, Hispanic Heritage crossword, Latin Entertainer and Hispanic American quizzes.
  • Hispanic and Latino Heritage Books for Children and Adolescents
    These reading lists feature books for children and adolescents that are written by Hispanic-American authors and/or focus on Hispanic and Latino heritage.These books are too good to be limited to Hispanic Heritage Month. These books should be read and enjoyed year round.\


back to topLesson Plans

  • Two Worlds: Pre-history, contact, and the Lost Colony
    With the arrival of European explorers in the 1500s, two worlds collided in North Carolina. Peoples that had lived here for thousands of years — in a land that had existed for millions — were changed forever, and the stage was set for a new era that would link the peoples and cultures of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
  • Latino Immigration
    General Information about North Carolina's growing latino population.
  • Dig finds evidence of Spanish fort
    Near Morganton, North Carolina, archaeologists are excavating what they believe to be the remnants of Juan Pardo's outpost at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The 16th-century outpost, known as Fort San Juan, disappeared after Indians burned it to the ground.

back to topImage Credits

Page header image: Richard Burton, Department of Cultural Resources

History & Reference image 1: Fort San Juan Postcard, North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill