The genetic contributions to breast cancer development among Latinas are not well understood. Here we carry out a genome-wide association study of breast cancer in Latinas and identify a genome-wide significant risk variant, located 5' of the Estrogen Receptor 1 gene (ESR1; 6q25 region). The minor allele for this variant is strongly protective (rs140068132: odds ratio (OR) 0.60, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53-0.67, P=9 × 10(-18)), originates from Indigenous Americans and is uncorrelated with previously reported risk variants at 6q25. The association is stronger for oestrogen receptor-negative disease (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.21-0.54) than oestrogen receptor-positive disease (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.49-0.80; P heterogeneity=0.01) and is also associated with mammographic breast density, a strong risk factor for breast cancer (P=0.001). rs140068132 is located within several transcription factor-binding sites and electrophoretic mobility shift assays with MCF-7 nuclear protein demonstrate differential binding of the G/A alleles at this locus. These results highlight the importance of conducting research in diverse populations.