In many states, Latinos have transformed the culture by introducing Latino products and services into everyday use and Spanish words into the common vernacular. Certainly this has happened in Georgia. More and more Georgians are eating salsa, speaking Spanish, and celebrating festivals such as Cinco de

Mayo. However, the biggest cultural contributions may be those that are less visibly Latino. Icons that people tend to think of as uniquely Georgian have been greatly influenced by Latinos. Peaches, peanuts, cotton, and Vidalia onions, all crops traditionally associated with Georgia, are harvested and packed by Latino migrant workers. Carpets, one of the state’s leading exports, and poultry, one of its major agricultural commodities, would not have remained an integral part of the Georgia economy without Latino labor. Coca-Cola, the state’s most ubiquitous soft drink, gained its market position, in part, due to Latino CEO Roberto Goizueta. Even the Georgia peach logo, seen both in the state’s capitol and also on Georgia residents’ license plates, is a design of Latino artist Dan Vargas.


1. Historical documents give evidence that many Spanish missions were established in Georgia. Although some have been recovered through archeological investigations, the names, dates, and locations of many of these remain speculative.

2. Coca-Cola is a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company.

3. Demographic information reported in this chapter is calculated based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 and Census 1990, Summary File 1 (SF1) and Summary File 3 (SF3), and U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2004, generated by Stephanie Bohon using American FactFinder, available online at http://factfinder. (accessed November 1, 2006).

4. The name of de Ayllon’s settlement has been recorded as Gualdape, Guandape, and Guadelupe. The exact site is also unknown. Some historians place the settlement in South Carolina or Virginia. Based on archeological evidence, most scholars maintain that the original site was in the Georgia Sea Islands and was likely named Gualdape.

5. Georgia territory was also claimed by France.

6. The distinction between the terms immigrant and migrant are important. In this chapter, immigrants refer to people who move to Georgia directly from other countries. Migrants are those who move to Georgia from other U.S. states or territories who may or may not have been born in the United States.

7. The largest concentration of Latinos is in metropolitan Atlanta, but there are large Latino settlements throughout the state.

8. Hoefer, Rytina, and Campbell, 2006.


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