History of Latina and Latino People in the United States

The recent growth of the Latino population has transformed the United States. It has heightened debates about Latinas’ and Latinos’ political power, cultural influence, citizenship, civil rights, and ethnic and racial categorization. This increased attention may feel new, but Latino communities have played a pivotal role in US history for a long time. In this course, students will explore the history of Latinas and Latinos in the United States—and across the Americas—from the sixteenth century through the early twenty-first century, covering themes such as race, migration, labor, and empire.

Read the course outline here and listen to a history teacher introduce the course below.


Please create a free K–12 student account. Note: Only K–12 logged-in students will be able to access the registration form.


  • Twenty-nine videos led by Professor Geraldo Cadava
  • A certificate of completion for 12 hours of course time

Readings: Recommended readings related to the course are listed in the Resources link on the course page. You are not required to read or purchase any print materials. Quizzes are based on the content of the recordings rather than the readings.

Course Access: After registering, you may access your course by logging in and going to My Courses under My Account.


Geraldo L. Cadava, is a professor of history and the Wender-Lewis Teaching and Research Professor at Northwestern University. He specializes in the history of Latinos in the United States and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. His first book Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland, examines the creation of the transnational Sunbelt through the connections forged between Tuscon, Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora. His second book, The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of An American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump, published in 2020, elucidates the impact of the growth of Hispanic American Republican voters since the 1960s.

The views expressed in this course are those of Dr. Geraldo Cadava.