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Hispanic Americans
The Teaching of the Indians
The Teaching of the Indians
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One of four murals painted on the walls of the Library of Congress' Hispanic Reading Room by Brazilian artist, Cândido Portinari. The scene is a 16th-century coastal settlement, a village where such Jesuit fathers as Anchieta and Nóbrega labored in peaceful penetration to instruct the Tupi Indians and save their souls.

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primary source set

This Primary Source Set includes maps, images, documents and a sound file to help teach about the age of exploration, specifically, the contributions and interactions of Hispanic peoples in America.

online resources
Especially for Teachers...

1492: An Ongoing Voyage - (Exhibition) This online exhibit focuses not only on the Northern hemisphere before 1492, but also on those who arrived from Europe and Africa in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

1562 Map of America by Diego Gutierrez, The - (Special Presentation) Learn more about this ornate 16th century map of the western hemisphere made by Spanish cartographer - Diego Gutierrez.

2006 Jay I. Kislak Lecture: Re-thinking Conquest: Spanish and Native Experiences in the Americas - (Cybercast) British historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto argues that Spanish empire building in the Americas was, by most standards, more dynamic and big-scale than any comparable event at the time.

450 Years of Spanish Poetry in the United States - (Cybercast) At this celebratory event, poet and translator Moraima de Semprun Donahoe read poems by Odon Betanzos. Tino Villanueva, Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Naomi Ayala and Maricel Mayor Marsan read from their own works.

Archive of Hispanic Culture - (Prints and Photographs) This photographic reference collection documents Latin American art and architecture. Selected images are available online. Thumbnails for others can be retrieved by entering "Archive of Hispanic Culture" in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog search box.

Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape - (Special Presentation) This collection includes original voice recordings of selections of the writings of contemporary Hispanic poets and prose writers. To date, about 660 authors have been recorded; among them are eight Nobel laureates. Authors are listed by country and researchers may listen to the recordings in the Hispanic Division Reading Room by appointment.

Country Profiles - (International) Link to information on a country’s historical background, geography, society, economy, transportation and telecommunications, government and politics, and national security. Updated information is available for Bolivia Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Mexico and Venezuela

Country Studies - (International) Link to information about countries in the Americas. See also Spain and Portugal.

Cuarderno de Ortographia - (Document) Browse through the pages of the first book published in New Mexico in 1834.

Culture and History of the Americas: The Jay Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress, The - (Exhibition) This exhibition focuses on the early Americas from the time of the indigenous people of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean through the period of European contact, exploration, and settlement.

Guide to the Law Online: Nations of the World - (Internet Resources) Select a nation from the alphabetical listing to learn more about its governmental resources.

Guide to the Mexican War, A - (Library of Congress Bibliography) This guide compiles links to digital materials related to the Mexican War that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site.

Guide to the Spanish-American War, A - (Library of Congress Bibliography) This guide compiles links to digital materials related to the Spanish-American War that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site.

Handbook of Latin American Studies - (Library of Congress Bibliography) Edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library, the Handbook is an annotated, searchable online bibliography on Latin America. The new interface links to items from Volume 50 (1990) to the present.

Hispanic Americans in Congress - (Special Presentation) This document provides details about Hispanic Americans who served in Congress from 1822 through the present.

Hispanic and Portuguese Collections: An Illustrated Guide - (Special Presentation) Explore this online overview of the Hispanic and Portuguese Collections at the Library of Congress. Visit the Hispanic Reading Room for additional online resources.

Hispanic Heritage Calendar - (Special Presentation) Developed by the Federal Research Division, the entries on people and events in this 1997 calendar are keyed to specific dates in history and can be reused year after year.

Images of Christopher Columbus and His Voyages - (Prints and Photographs) This list links to two dozen images related to Columbus.

Immigration: Mexican - (Feature) Learn about the Mexican American immigrant experience.

Immigration: Puerto Rican/Cuban - (Feature) Both of these immigrant American groups share Spanish origins.

Luso-Hispanic World in Maps , The - (Special Presentation) This guide includes information about selected pre-1900 cartographic objects depicting portions of five continents created by mapmakers from many countries.

Motion Picture Goes to War: The Spanish-American War and the Philippine Revolution, The - (Special Presentation) This presentation can be used as a resource for understanding how Americans experienced the Spanish-American War through the media coverage.

National Hispanic Heritage Month - (Internet Resources) Media-rich presentations and teaching resources from many U.S. cultural institutions, including the Library of Congress, pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have enriched our nation.

Other Luso-Hispanic Collections - (Special Presentation) Use this online guide to locate Luso-Hispanic materials across the Library of Congress Web site.

Portals to the World: Iberia, the Caribbean and Latin America - (International) Link to selected Internet resources related to Iberia, the Caribbean and Latin American countries.

Portuguese in the United States, The - (Special Presentation) This extensive online collection developed by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress documents the history of Portuguese immigration to the United States.

Prints and Photographs: An Illustrated Guide (Portfolio 4 The World at Large) - (Prints and Photographs) View a sampling of images from Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain.

Rhythms of Flamenco - (Library of Congress Live) Use these resources to help your students learn about the elements of flamenco dancing.

Selected Links to Additional Hispanic Reading Room Internet Resources - (Internet Resources) The Hispanic Division has compiled this list of links to helpful resources outside of the Library of Congress.

Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection - (Prints and Photographs) View a selection of images depicting the Spanish American War from the online version of Pictorial Americana.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo - (Library of Congress Bibliography) Use this bibliography as a guide for locating primary source documents relating to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican War.

War with Mexico - (Prints and Photographs) View a selection of images depicting the Mexican War from the online version of Pictorial Americana.

World of 1898: The Spanish-American War, The - (Special Presentation) This presentation provides resources and documents about the Spanish-American War, the period before the war, and some of the fascinating people who participated in the fighting or commented about it.

  Especially for your Students...

American Treasures: A Portuguese World View - (Exhibition) This manuscript atlas provides a comprehensive portrait of the Portuguese empire at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

American Treasures: Capturing the Spanish-American War - (Exhibition) View five sketches by American artist William Glackens. He was sent to Cuba in 1898 by McClure's Magazine to cover the Spanish-American War.

American Treasures: Caribbean Map - (Exhibition) The large island of Hispaniola, today shared by the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, became the first site for permanent European settlement in America.

American Treasures: Columbus Reports on Discoveries of Island of India - (Exhibition) Read Columbus’ report concerning his discoveries of "Islands of India beyond the Ganges."

American Treasures: Columbus's Book of Privileges - (Exhibition) Learn about the documents through which Isabel and Fernando granted titles, revenues, powers, and privileges to Columbus and his descendants.

American Treasures: Field Recordings in Spain - (Exhibition) Learn about Alan Lomax's pioneering Spanish field recordings, made in 1952 during the Franco regime.

American Treasures: History of New Spain - (Exhibition) In the 1570s Fray Diego Durán, a Spanish Dominican priest, recorded the history of the Aztec society. His manuscript was not published until the nineteenth century.

American Treasures: Huexotzinco Codex, 1531 - (Exhibition) Learn the history of this 1531 document, part of the testimony in a legal case against representatives of the colonial government in Mexico, ten years after the 1521 Spanish conquest.

American Treasures: Mapping the New Discoveries - (Exhibition) Read about the large map compiled by Diego Gutiérrez which provided 16th century Spanish travel information about the Americas.

American Treasures: Portinari Murals at the Library of Congress - (Exhibition) In 1941, Brazilian painter Cândido Portinari completed four murals on the walls of the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress.

Ballet Folklorico Mexicpan - (Local Legacies) This Arizona youth dance group formed in 1981 is dedicated to preserving the dances of Mexican folklore.

Dia de los Muertos Celebration - (Local Legacies) Read how residents in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California celebrate the Hispanic holiday - the Day of the Dead.

Different Drum , A - (Feature) The Spanish-speaking immigrants of the Caribbean brought creative new music - and new percussion instruments - to the United States. Play this game and name these instruments.

Explore the States: California (Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara) - (America's Library) Every year in August, the city of Santa Barbara celebrates its Mexican roots with the Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Explore the States: Colorado (Cinco de Mayo) - (America's Library) Learn more about Cinco de Mayo - Spanish for the 5th of May. This festival with storytelling, parades, food, and dancing is celebrated by people of Hispanic and Mexican descent.

Explore the States: Florida (Calle Ocho-Miami Carnival) - (America's Library) In Miami, Florida, there is a large Cuban American population, and every year they have a Calle Ocho festival. This is one of the largest celebrations of Latino culture in the United States.

Explore the States: New Mexico (The Spanish Market) - (America's Library) In 1926, the Spanish Colonial Arts Society started this Santa Fe Market for Hispanic artists to show and sell their traditional handmade objects.

Heritage of Hispanics - (Wise Guide) September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. This article highlights Hispanic cultural resources available through the Local Legacies project.

Jump Back in Time: October 18, 1898 - (America's Library) On this date American troops fighting the Spanish-American War raised the United States flag in Puerto Rico, and the U.S. officially took control of the former Spanish colony.

Jump Back in Time: October 30, 1815 - (America's Library) On this date Jose Manuel Gallegos was born in Spanish colonial Mexico. He later became the second Hispanic U.S representative in history.

Jump Back in Time: September 8, 1565 - (America’s Library) On this date a Spanish expedition established St. Augustine in Florida.

Rudolfo Anaya: Fiction, Plays and Children's Fiction - (Local Legacies) Famed for portraying the flavor of New Mexico through prose and storytelling, Rudolfo Anaya has been hailed as the father of Chicano literature in English.

Spanish’s Gift to English - (Feature) Many American English words have Spanish origins. In this game, find the words that come from Spanish?

Today in History (February 2) The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo - (Today in History) The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in Mexico City on February 2, 1848, ending the Mexican War and extending the boundaries of the United States west to the Pacific Ocean.

Today in History (July 17) The Spanish Civil War - (Today in History) The Spanish Civil War began on July 17, 1936 as a series of military insurrections throughout the country.

Today in History (October 12) Columbus Day - (Today in History) A sailor on board the Pinta sighted land early in the morning of October 12, 1492, and a new era of European exploration and expansion began.

Today in History (October 18) Puerto Rico - (Today in History) On October 18, 1898, American troops fighting the Spanish-American War raised the United States flag in Puerto Rico formalizing U.S. control of the former Spanish colony.

Today in History (October 30) Don Jose Manuel Gallegos - (Today in History) Gallegos, born on this date in 1815, later became New Mexico’s first delegate to Congress.

Today in History (September 27) The Quest of Ponce de Leon - (Today in History) On September 27, 1514, the Spanish crown granted explorer Juan Ponce de Leon the title Military Governor of Bimini and Florida. Ponce de Leon sailed for Florida in 1521.

lesson plans

Use these lesson plans (created by educators for educators) to explore women's history in America with your students in your classroom:

Exploring Cultural Rituals - (General Reference,) In this lesson, students investigate rituals and customs of various cultures and then explore their own cultural rituals through interviews with family. This lesson could be adapted to focus on Hispanic immigrants.

Learning About Immigration Through Oral History - (Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12,) Students engage in visual and information literacy exercises to gain an understanding of how to identify and interpret primary historical sources, specifically oral histories. This lesson could be adapted to focus on Hispanic immigrants.

Exploring Community Through Local History: Oral Stories, Landmarks and Traditions - (Grades 9-12,) Students explore the local history of their own community to learn the value of local culture and traditions as primary sources. This lesson could focus on Hispanic influences in a community.

Using Oral History - (Grades 7-12) Students study social history topics through interviews that recount the lives of ordinary Americans. This lesson could be adapted to include interviews with Hispanic Americans.

collection connections

Create your own collaborative lesson plans using material related to this month's theme assembled from The Learning Page Collection Connections:

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties. Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell - (Summary and Teaching Resources) This collection can be searched by ethnic group and includes recorded folk music of Basque, Mexican, Portuguese, Puerto Rican and Spanish origins.

Hispano Music and Culture from the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection - (Summary Only) This collection documents 1940s religious and secular music of Spanish-speaking residents of rural Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Essays in both English and Spanish are included.

Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures, The - (Summary and Teaching Resources) This collection contains the first movies made of American troops in wartime and features troops, ships, notable figures, parades, reenactments of battles and other war-time events.

South Texas Border, 1900-1920: Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection, The - (Summary and Teaching Resources) This collection features early 1900s photographs documenting the history and development of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. More than 350 images depict events in Northeastern Mexico during the Mexican Revolution.

Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States and the American Frontier - (Summary and Teaching Resources) This bilingual collection explores the history of the Spanish presence in North America from Columbus to the continued exploration and settlement of California and the American Southwest in the early 19th century.

United States and Brazil: Expanding Frontiers, Comparing Cultures, The - (Summary Only) This collection, presented in both English and Portuguese, studies the interactions that have taken place between the United States and Brazil and the parallels and contrasts in the histories of these countries.

Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake - (Summary Only) View items related to travels in Spanish America.

Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Perspectives - (Summary and Teaching Resources) This collection portrays the early history of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico through first-person accounts, political writings, and primary source items drawn from the American Memory collections.

search terms

These terms may be useful when searching for items related to this theme in the American Memory collections.



Names of Spanish explorers (Magellan, Vespucci)

Central America

Names of countries (Mexico, Spain)

Latin America


Names of early cultures (Aztec, Mayan)


Hispanic Americans

Names of events (Spanish-American War)

Spanish American

Latin America

Names of people (Cesar Chavez, Diego Rivera)

Spanish Dance

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Last updated 09/07/2007