Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies


Southern Studies

First Advisor

Andy Harper

Second Advisor

Simone Delerme

Third Advisor

Charles Reagan Wilson

Relational Format



This thesis interrogates the datil pepper (capsicum chinense) as a potent cultural symbol against a backdrop of heritage tourism in St. Augustine, Florida, widely known as "the nation's oldest city." the datil is a locally popular and regionally unique heirloom pepper endemic to St. Augustine and the surrounding environs. A romantic origin story and local lore are embedded on this spicy pepper, tying it to north Florida's Minorcan population, a group descended from indentured workers brought to the area in the late 1700s. The prominence of this mythology speaks to heritage tourism's demand for consumable cultural emblems, and the datil pepper becomes a through line to the inner-workings of this market. This paper challenges notions of heritage in cultural tourism, highlighting the role that tourism proponents play in shaping representations of history.



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