The immigration explosion of the Hispanic/Latino community in Alaska parallels that in the Western U.S. making the ethnic group the second largest minority group in the state. Spanish is the common language which binds the dispirit cultures represented in this group. It is also the Spanish language that ties them historically to some of the very earliest Spanish explorers of the "Great Land."
The Spanish, through the viceroy of Mexico sent expeditions to Alaska in 1774, 1777, 1778, and 1790 to assess the Russian activity in the area but the Spanish never held any territory in Alaska. Among the explorers was Salvador Fidalgo who named Puerto Cordova (in Prince William Sound) after the Captain General, the great Don Luis De Cordova y Cordova, and Valdes (now Valdez), named after the Minister of the Spanish Navy, Don Antonia Valdes. The early Spanish legacy is in other place names such as Bucareli, Revillagigedo, and Malaspina. (Captain Alessandro Malaspina was an Italian navigator in the service of Spain.)
Map of significant Latin American populations
NUMBER OF HISPANICS OR LATINOS IN ALASKA BY ETHNICITY
|HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNIC ORIGIN
||NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS
Data from the United States Census 2000 as reported in "Guide to Alaska's Cultures," by the Alaska Conservation Foundation, 2004, p. 82.