Earlier this month the California Department of Finance issued a report that predicted Latinos will be a majority in the state by early 2014.
But as new exhibit at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum points out: Mexicans have always been a big part of California’s history.
The Florida Key is actually an anglicization of "Cayo Hueso" or "Bone Key." <em>IMAGE: In this Saturday, April 27, 2013 photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, competitors endeavor to avoid a collision during the Conch Republic Red Ribbon Bed Race in Key West, Fla. The zany contest was staged as a facet of the 31st Conch Republic Independence Celebration. The tongue-in-cheek Conch Republic was formed in 1982, when residents protested a surprise U.S. Border Patrol roadblock at the top of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Rob O'Neal)</em>
That most famous of U.S. monuments, <a href="http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/adp/history/mission_period/valero/valeroname.html" target="_blank">the Alamo</a>, also has a name that dates from the days of Spanish settlement. It refers to a tree of the family "populus" (poplars, for instance).
"San" means "saint" in Spanish, and the extremely Catholic early Spanish conquerors named a whole bunch of cities after saints -- Saint Antonio, Saint Diego, San Fernando, etc.
"Santa" is the feminine version of "San," so the same rule goes for all those places like Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Santa Clara... <em>IMAGE: A view of the mountains on September 5, 2007 from Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)</em>
It means "the angels," as you might imagine if you've heard Los Angeles referred to as the "City of Angels." <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2005/mar/26/local/me-name26" target="_blank">The original Spanish name</a> was likely a little longer: "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula," or the Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of Porciúncula" has been posited by some historians, according to the Los Angeles Times. <em>IMAGE: Painting crews set up on the base of the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. </em>
Fresno means "ash tree" in Spanish. Early Spanish explorers named the river from which the city would take its name for the trees growing along its banks, <a href="http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/05/16/1935606/fresno-river-is-named-for-ash.html" target="_blank">according to the Fresno Bee</a>. <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fresno_skyline.jpg" target="_blank">Photo from Qymekkam</a> at WikiCommons.
The city takes its name from Spanish colonial governor and general <a href="http://www.galveston.com/history/" target="_blank">Bernardo de Gálvez</a>.
The name comes from the days of Spanish exploration and settlement of North America in the sixteenth century, but may not mean what you think. Literally, in Spanish the term means Rat Mouth. But navigators back then <a href="http://www.bocahistory.org/boca_history/br_history.asp" target="_blank">used the term Boca de Ratones referred</a> to a jagged inlet.
The oldest European settlement in what is today the United States was founded by the Spanish in 1565 as 'San Augustín.'
It means "sacrament" -- again, as you might expect from the Spanish.
The name of one of the most famous prisons in the history of the United States comes from the Spanish word for "gannet," a bird that looks like <a href="http://www.redorbit.com/media/uploads/2004/10/45_59a0ecd7a1503284de94afe67500e3b6.jpg" target="_blank">this</a>. <em>IMAGE: A view of the former warden's house at Alcatraz Island on March 21, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The National Park Service marked the 50th anniversary of the closure of the notorius Alcatraz federal penitentiary with an exhibit of newly discovered photos by Los Angeles freelance photographer Leigh Wiener of the prison's final day in 1963. Alcatraz was first a fort and later became an Army disciplinary barracks before being taken over by the Bureau of Prisons in 1934. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)</em>
The word "California" was first mentioned <a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/california?s=t" target="_blank">in the Spanish book "Exploits of Espladán," published in 1510</a>. The term referred to a mythical land, which influenced the Spanish explorers to use the word to name what would become the states of California in the United States, as well as Baja California and Baja California Sur in Mexico. <em>IMAGE: Horseback riders pass the burned area of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Newbury Park, Calif. on May 6, 2013, where some cactus survived the spring fire. </em>