Hispanics can trace their heritage back nearly 500
years in Virginia,
almost a full century before the English landed at Jamestown
in 1607. In 1524, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón from Hispañola (Hispaniola), Dominican Republic, sailed up the Rio Guandape, which is known today as the James River
and Chesapeake Bay. In 1526, he founded the settlement of San Miguel de Guandape, which some
scholars believe was near present-day Jamestown. 600 people lived in that colony.
Today, an estimated 426,000+ people in Virginia
are Hispanic (estimated as of 2004 according to the US Census Bureau), with ancestral roots in El Salvador, Peru, Bolivia,
Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Spain, and various other countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. While this represents just under 6% of the total population of Virginia,
all indications are that this proportion will continue the increase seen in recent years.