Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories


Conjunto Los Piratas, musical group from West St. Paul, ca. 1960. MNHS Photo Collection.

Latinos are the people of Latin America, which includes the Spanish speaking countries of North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean. Latinos started to arrive in Minnesota in significant numbers in the 1910s, when agricultural companies began recruiting them to the state. Today over 220,000 Latinos live in Minnesota. Most of these individuals are of Mexican heritage, followed by Ecuadorian, Puerto Rican, Salvadorian, Guatemalan, and Colombian. This population includes recent immigrants as well as citizens of long-established Mexican American ancestry. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to thriving Latino communities, and job opportunities have drawn Latinos to smaller cities and towns throughout the state.

"Latino" is a much more important term in the U.S. than it is in Latin America, where most individuals identify themselves by their country of origin rather than as members of a broader Spanish-influenced culture. The term "Latino" includes people from many different countries, cultures, ethnicities and races.

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