The Latin Kings has its roots dating back to the 1940s in Chicago, Illinois. The Latin Kings first emerged in Chicago in the 1940s after several young Puerto Rican males on the north side—and later, Mexican males on the south side—organized into a self-defense group to protect their communities. The initial intention was to unite “all Latinos” into a collective struggle against “oppression” and to help each other overcome the problems of racism and prejudice that newly arriving Latino immigrants were experiencing. Hence, the name “Latin Kings and Queens”, which as it denotes, is a reference to members of all Latino heritages. They organized themselves as a vanguard for their communities.
The Latin Kings grew into one of the largest and most infamous criminal gangs in America. The group’s members became involved in crimes including murder, drug trafficking, robberies and other organized criminal activities.
The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation is the largest Hispanic street gang , and the largest Chicago-based street gang, in the United States. Although the original Chicago members were of Puerto Rican descent, most members are now Mexican-America. Unlike MS-13 and 18th Street gang—whose great portion of gang membership exists in Central and South America—the Latin Kings have a heavier presence within the United States. The ALKN has over 25,000 members in the city of Chicago alone, with another ten to fifteen thousand members in the surrounding suburbs of Illinois. They also have organized chapters of Latin Kings in over 41 states and several Latin American and European countries, including: Mexico, Spain, Dominican Republic, Canada, Italy, Ecuador, Peru, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom and others. The Latin Kings are mostly of Latino descent, with some Black, White, Asian and Middle Eastern members as well.