late 14c., "pertaining to position," originally medical: "confined to a particular part of the body;" from Old French local "local" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin localis "pertaining to a place," from Latin locus "a place, spot" (see locus).
The meaning "limited to a particular place" is from c. 1500. Local color is from 1721, originally a term in painting; the meaning "anything picturesque" is from c. 1900. Local option (1868, American English) is from the prohibition movement: "the right of a community to vote on whether to allow the sale of intoxicating liquor there." Local talent "attractive women thereabouts" is from 1947 in UK slang; earlier it was used in reference to entertainment acts in shows, radio broadcast, etc.
Thus, with the local talent, we have many factors which help "sell" is in quantities far beyond what the commercial market would carry. Pride in children, interest in relatives and friends, and pride in locality all give impetus to the development of home talent. [Horace Boies Hawthorn, "The Sociology of Rural Life," 1926]
word-forming element meaning "one who does or makes," also used to indicate adherence to a certain doctrine or custom, from French -iste and directly from Latin -ista (source also of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian -ista), from Greek agent-noun ending -istes, which is from -is-, ending of the stem of verbs in -izein, + agential suffix -tes.
Variant -ister (as in chorister, barrister) is from Old French -istre, on false analogy of ministre. Variant -ista is from Spanish, popularized in American English 1970s by names of Latin-American revolutionary movements.