Hispanic-American surfmen Pablo Valent, Mariano Holland, and Indalecio Lopez were among those serving at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Texas-based Brazos Life-Saving Station (the present-day South Padre Island Station) who undertook a high-risk rescue operation in the Gulf of Mexico during a severe storm in September 1919. (Valent had entered the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1912... Continue Reading →

In 1986, astronaut Franklin R. Chang Díaz became the first Hispanic-American to travel into outer space when he flew on board the Space Shuttle Columbia. Chang Díaz, the son of a father of Chinese descent and a mother who is Costa Rican, was born in San José, Costa Rica, in 1950. He moved to the... Continue Reading →

Federico Fernández Cavada was born sometime around 1831 in the city of Cienfuegos on the southern coast of Cuba. After his father’s death in 1838, his U.S.-born mother brought him and his brothers with her to live in Philadelphia. Fernández Cavada, who became both an engineer and topographer, joined the Union Army shortly after the... Continue Reading →

By the late 1930s, Dragon Bottling Company was firmly established as a major force among Texas-based soft drink industries. This was due in large part to both the entrepreneurial skills of the company’s president Herlinda Morales Rodríguez and the extensive transportation network that she used for getting beverages to market.  Morales Rodríguez had been married... Continue Reading →

During the fall of 1822, a three-day election was held in the newly formed Territory of Florida to decide who would serve as the region’s first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Joseph Marion Hernández was selected for the position, and as a result, he became the first Hispanic-American member of Congress. Hernández, who... Continue Reading →

Pedro Aguirre, Jr., was one of the most influential and important Hispanic-American transportation pioneers in the southwestern United States during the 19th century. He was born in 1835 in the Mexican city of Chihuahua. Aguirre became heavily involved in transportation services after he moved with his family to Las Cruces in what was then the... Continue Reading →

In April 2007, U.S. Navy Commander Yvette Marie Gonzalez Davids assumed command of the frigate USS Curts. This assignment made Davids the first Hispanic-American woman to command a Navy ship. This milestone was commemorated during the 2008 Annual Las Primeras Awards Gala of the Mexican American Women’s National Association, and Davids used the occasion to... Continue Reading →

Aviation pioneer Félix Rigau Carrera was born in 1894 in the town of Sabana Grande in southwestern Puerto Rico. He developed a strong interest in mechanics and airborne transportation early on in his life. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecanicas (the present-day University of Puerto Rico),... Continue Reading →

During the course of the 19th century, businessman and politician Estévan Ochoa was among the Hispanic Americans who helped pioneer and sustain vital transportation services in what is now the southwestern United States. Ochoa was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, in 1831. His family’s enterprises included a freight-hauling business on the Santa Fe Trail, a major... Continue Reading →

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