The Marc Anthony "God Bless America" fiasco -- coming on the heels of the Sebastien de la Cruz national anthem fiasco -- offered a reminder that many people continue to view Latinos as foreigners. In both instances, people ignored these artists' awesome performances and instead spewed hate-filled tweets over the mistaken assumption that they were foreign because they have darker skin and can speak Spanish. In fact, Anthony was born in New York and de la Cruz is from San Antonio.
Despite the resurgence of nativism, no doubt fostered by an ugly immigration debate, Latinos are not newcomers to this country. The indigenous people to whom many Latinos trace their roots were in North America for thousands of years before any Europeans. Spaniards and Africans arrived in North America long before the English. The first European settlement in the United States is St. Augustine in Florida -- founded more than four decades before the English settled Jamestown.
The slew of Spanish and Spanish-derived words we use in English and the names of many of our cities and states testify to the fact that Latinos populated these lands before English-speakers, and have continued to do so continually until the present day.
It's hard to put it better than William Estrada, the lead curator of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum's "Becoming Los Angeles" project. Speaking to Fusion in a video interview that you should check out if you're into history, Estrada says:
Los Angeles was founded by 44 Mexicans who came from the present-day Sonora and Sinaloa regions of Mexico. They didn't come by boat, they walked.
Los Angeles isn't the only one. Check out 11 major cities founded by Latinos in the slideshow above.