PBS’s The Latino Americans traces the long history of Spanish-speaking people in North America. Indeed, the first European language spoken in what is now the United States was Spanish. First, Spain and later Mexico settled on Indigenous people’ss land in what is now the Southwestern part of the United States. After the treat of Guadalupe-Hildalgo, much of that territory is incorporated in the United States. This episode of the Latino Americans details that history and allows us to reflect on the consequences of those changes. PBS describes the episode this way:
[This expisode] Explores the period from 1565-1880, as the first Spanish explorers enter North America, the U.S. expands into territories in the Southwest that had been home to Native Americans and English and Spanish colonies, and as the Mexican-American War strips Mexico of half its territories by 1848
We suggest using the following guiding questions to drive inquiry:
- How do borders shape people’s lives?
- Are you and your family immigrants if you are living in the same region where your family has lived for generations?
- Are you a newcomer when the border crosses you instead of you crossing the border?