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Spanish-speaking people were part of America for more than three centuries before U.S. political hegemony engulfed the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The term Hispanic originates from the Spanish colonial period and is prevalent among the self-identifying Hispanos and Spanish Americans of New Mexico. The term gained popular usage after 1980, when the U.S. Census adopted the term to denote people of Spanish-speaking heritage, including Mexican Americans, South and Central Americans, and Puerto Rican and Cuban Americans. Self-identification is important among Hispanic Americans, and nationalist terms (e.g., Mexicano, Cubano, Puertorriqueño) are generally preferred by Hispanics. In the twenty-first century, the most popular term is Latino. In the American West, Hispanic is associated mostly with Mexican immigrants, although immigration from El Salvador ...

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