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Famous Hispanic American of the Past

Notable Hispanic Americans of the Past


Loreta Janeta Velázquez as a woman.

Loreta Janeta Velázquez
Civil War Soldier
Cuban American
1842–Year of Death Unknown

Loreta Janeta Velázquez wanted to fight for her side in the Civil War and didn't want to be stopped because she was a woman. She disguised herself as a man named Harry Buford, even wearing a fake mustache, and joined the Confederate forces. She was discovered only after she was injured in battle.


Harry Buford, Loreta's male alternate persona.

Cuban-born Loreta Janeta Velázquez is the first Hispanic female spy on record. After her female identity was discovered, she worked as a spy for the Confederacy, and later published her autobiography. Her identity is disputed: Some scholars believe the work is apocryphal, and that Velázquez is a figment of a male author's imagination.


Ezequiel Cabeza de Baca
Governor of New Mexico
Mexican American
1864–1917

Ezequiel Cabeza de Baca, New Mexico's second governor, was the first ever elected Latino governor in the United States. DeBaca County, New Mexico, is named for him.


Dennis Chávez
U.S. Senator
Mexican American
1888–1962

As a United States senator, Dennis Chávez battled for the rights of Hispanic residents and Native Americans in his home state, New Mexico. He was a senator for 27 years, from 1935 to 1962. Chávez tried to stop discrimination against workers based on their race, religion, or ethnic background. He played a major role in the establishment of an agency to protect workers, known as the Fair Employment Practices Commission.

Source: Latinos in History




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