National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15 in the US, recognizes the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively. Hispanic Heritage Month also celebrates the long and important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in North America, starting with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America!