Today marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. In 1968 President Johnson established National Hispanic Heritage Week to recognize and celebrate the cultures of Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Spanish-speaking regions and countries of Central and South America. The week long event was expanded to 30 days in 1988 by President Reagan and National Hispanic Heritage Month is now celebrated annually from September 15- October 15. The month begins on September 15th to recognize the independence anniversaries of several Latin American Countries. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua all declared independence on September 15, 1821. Three additional countries celebrate their independence in September: Mexico on September 16th, Chile on September 18th and Belize on September 20th. Over the course of the month, a different event, individual or resource will be highlighted on the Now @MPL blog in celebration of Hispanic heritage.