Hispanic Americans and Latino Americans (Spanish: estadounidenses hispanos, pronounced [isˈpanos]) are Americans who are descendants of people from Spain and Latin America, respectively. More generally, it includes all Americans who speak the Spanish language natively, and who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino, whether of full or partial ancestry. For the 2010 United States Census, people counted as "Hispanic" or "Latino" were those who identified as one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the census questionnaire ("Mexican", "Puerto Rican" or "Cuban") as well as those who indicated that they were "other Spanish, Hispanic or Latino." The national origins classified as Hispanic or Latino by the United States Census Bureau are the following: Argentine, Cuban, Colombian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Costa Rican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Salvadoran, Bolivian, Spanish American, Chilean, Ecuadorian, Paraguayan, Uruguayan, and Venezuelan. Brazilian Americans, other Portuguese-speaking Latin American groups, and non-Spanish speaking Latin American groups in the United States are solely defined as "Latino" by some U.S. government agencies. The Census Bureau uses the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably.
"Origin" can be viewed as the ancestry, nationality group, lineage or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify as Spanish, Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. As one of the only two specifically designated categories of ethnicity in the United States (the other being "Not Hispanic or Latino"), Hispanics form a pan-ethnicity incorporating a diversity of inter-related cultural and linguistic heritages. Most Hispanic Americans are of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, Guatemalan or Colombian origin. The predominant origin of regional Hispanic populations varies widely in different locations across the country.
, also referred to as Latinos
, fought in every major battle in the European Theatre of World War II
in which the armed forces of the United States were involved, from North Africa to the Battle of the Bulge
, and in the Pacific Theater of Operations
, from Bataan
. According to the National World War II Museum
, between 250,000 and 500,000 Hispanic Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces
during World War II, out of a total of 12,000,000, constituting 2.3% to 4.7% of the U.S. Armed Forces. The exact number is unknown as, at the time, Hispanics were not tabulated separately, but were generally included in the general white
count. Separate statistics were kept for African Americans
and Asian Americans
On December 7, 1941, when the United States officially entered the war, Hispanic Americans were among the many American citizens who joined the ranks of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps as volunteers or through the draft. Not only did Hispanics serve as active combatants in the European and Pacific Theatres of war, but they also served on the home front as civilians. Hundreds of Hispanic women joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) and Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), serving as nurses and in administrative positions. Many worked in traditionally male labor jobs in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and materiel, replacing men who were away at war. (more...)
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