Mulatto

Last updated
Mulatto
Total population
No official worldwide estimates
Regions with significant populations
South America, Caribbean, Southern Africa, North America, Northwestern Europe
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil c. 42 million
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic c. 6.8 million
Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba c. 4.7 million (2012) [1]
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa c. 4.6 million (2011)
Flag of the United States.svg  United States c. 1.8 million (2010) [2]
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia c. 1.7 million
Flag of Angola.svg  Angola c. 1 million
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom c. ~600,000 (2011)
Languages
Languages of Africa, languages of Europe
Related ethnic groups
Pardos

Mulatto ( /mjˈlæt/ , /məˈlɑːt/ ) is a historical racial classification of people who are born of one white parent and one black parent, as well as mixed-race people in general. The term mulatto is now chiefly considered to be derogatory or offensive. [3] [4]

A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language and then to denote national affiliations. By the 17th century the term began to refer to physical (phenotypical) traits. Modern scholarship regards race as a social construct, an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society. While partially based on physical similarities within groups, race does not have an inherent physical or biological meaning.

White people is a racial classification specifier, used mostly and often exclusively for people of European descent; depending on context, nationality, and point of view. The term has at times been expanded to encompass persons of Middle Eastern and North African descent, persons who are often considered non-white in other contexts. The usage of "white people" or a "white race" for a large group of mainly or exclusively European populations, defined by their light skin, among other physical characteristics, and contrasting with "black people", Amerindians, and other "colored" people or "persons of color", originated in the 17th century. It was only during the 19th century that this vague category was transformed in a quasi-scientific system of race and skin color relations.

Black people is a skin group-based classification used for specific people with a mid to dark brown complexion. Not all black people have dark skin; however, in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification in the Western World, the term black is used to describe persons who are perceived as dark-skinned compared to other populations. It is mostly used for the people of Sub-Saharan African descent and the indigenous peoples of Oceania, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Contents

Etymology

Juan de Pareja by Diego Velazquez, 1650 CE. Retrato de Juan Pareja, by Diego Velazquez.jpg
Juan de Pareja by Diego Velázquez, 1650 CE.

The English term mulatto is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese mulato. The origin of mulato is uncertain, though it may derive from Portuguese mula (from the Latin mūlus), meaning mule, the hybrid offspring of a horse and a donkey. [5] [6] The Real Academia Española traces its origin to mulo in the sense of hybridity; originally used to refer to any mixed race person. [7]

Spanish, or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain, the Americas and a small part of Africa. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Jack D. Forbes suggests it originated in the Arabic term muwallad , which means "a person of mixed ancestry". [8] Muwallad literally means "born, begotten, produced, generated; brought up", with the implication of being born and raised among Arabs, but not of Arab blood. Muwallad is derived from the root word WaLaD (Arabic: ولد direct Arabic transliteration: waw, lam, dal), and colloquial Arabic pronunciation can vary greatly. Walad means, "descendant, offspring, scion; child; son; boy; young animal, young one".

The roots of verbs and most nouns in the Semitic languages are characterized as a sequence of consonants or "radicals". Such abstract consonantal roots are used in the formation of actual words by adding the vowels and non-root consonants which go with a particular morphological category around the root consonants, in an appropriate way, generally following specific patterns. It is a peculiarity of Semitic linguistics that a large majority of these consonantal roots are triliterals.

Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters in predictable ways.

Varieties of Arabic Family of language varieties

There are many varieties of Arabic in existence. Arabic is a Semitic language within the Afroasiatic family that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. What is considered 'Arabic' by the Library of Congress corresponds to 30 varieties, including the standard language, in Ethnologue. Some varieties of Arabic in North Africa, for example, are not easily comprehensible to an Arabic speaker from the Levant or Mesopotamia. Within these broad regions further and considerable geographic distinctions exist, within countries, across country borders, even between cities and villages. Modern Standard Arabic, which is generally not spoken as a mother tongue, is used as the literary standard throughout the Arab world.

In al-Andalus, Muwallad referred to the offspring of non-Arab/Muslim people who adopted the Islamic religion and manners. Specifically, the term was historically applied to the descendants of indigenous Christian Iberians who, after several generations of living among a Muslim majority, adopted their culture and religion. Notable examples of this category include the famous Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm. According to Lisan al-Arab, one of the earliest Arab dictionaries (c. 13th century AD), applied the term to the children of Non-Muslim (often Christian) slaves, or Non-Muslim children who were captured in a war and were raised by Muslims to follow their religion and culture. Thus, in this context, the term "Muwalad" has a meaning close to "the adopted". According to the same source, the term does not denote being of mixed-race but rather being of foreign-blood and local culture.

Al-Andalus The territories of the Iberian Peninsula under Moorish rule between 711 and 1492

Al-Andalus, also known as Muslim Iberia, or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory and cultural domain that in its early period included most of Iberia. At its greatest geographical extent, it occupied the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and a part of present-day southern France, Septimania, and for nearly a century extended its control from Fraxinet over the Alpine passes which connect Italy with the remainder of Western Europe. The name more generally describes the parts of the peninsula governed by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the Christian Reconquista progressed, eventually shrinking to the south and finally to the vassalage of the Emirate of Granada.

Ibn Hazm Arab theologian

Abū Muḥammad ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad ibn Saʿīd ibn Ḥazm (Arabic: أبو محمد علي بن احمد بن سعيد بن حزم‎; also sometimes known as al-Andalusī aẓ-Ẓāhirī; 7 November 994 – 15 August 1064 was an Andalusian poet, polymath, historian, jurist, philosopher, and theologian, born in Córdoba, present-day Spain. He was a leading proponent and codifier of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought and produced a reported 400 works, of which only 40 still survive. In all, his written works amounted to some 80 000 pages. The Encyclopaedia of Islam refers to him as having been one of the leading thinkers of the Muslim world, and he is widely acknowledged as the father of comparative religious studies.

In English, printed usage of mulatto dates to at least the 16th century. The 1595 work Drake's Voyages first used the term in the context of intimate unions producing biracial children. The Oxford English Dictionary defined mulatto as "one who is the offspring of a European and a Black". This earliest usage regarded "black" and "white" as discrete "species", with the "mulatto" constituting a third separate "species". [9]

<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> Premier historical dictionary of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

According to Julio Izquierdo Labrado, [10] the 19th-century linguist Leopoldo Eguilaz y Yanguas, as well as some Arabic sources [11] muwallad is the etymological origin of mulato. These sources specify that mulato would have been derived directly from muwallad independently of the related word muladí, a term that was applied to Iberian Christians who had converted to Islam during the Moorish governance of Iberia in the Middle Ages.

Moors Medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta

The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

The Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy) casts doubt on the muwallad theory. It states, "The term mulata is documented in our diachronic data bank in 1472 and is used in reference to livestock mules in Documentacion medieval de la Corte de Justicia de Ganaderos de Zaragoza, whereas muladí (from mullawadí) does not appear until the 18th century, according to [Joan] Corominas". [nb 1]

Scholars such as Werner Sollors cast doubt on the mule etymology for mulatto. In the 18th and 19th centuries, racialists such as Edward Long and Josiah Nott began to assert that mulattoes were sterile like mules. They projected this belief back onto the etymology of the word mulatto. Sollors points out that this etymology is anachronistic: "The Mulatto sterility hypothesis that has much to do with the rejection of the term by some writers is only half as old as the word 'Mulatto.'" [13]

Africa

Of São Tomé and Príncipe's 193,413 inhabitants, the largest segment is classified as mestiço, or mixed race. [14] 71% of the population of Cape Verde is also classified as such. [15] The great majority of their current populations descend from unions between the Portuguese, who settled the islands from the 15th century onward, and black Africans they brought from the African mainland to work as slaves. In the early years, mestiços began to form a third-class between the Portuguese colonists and African slaves, as they were usually bilingual and often served as interpreters between the populations.

In Angola and Mozambique, the mestiço constitute smaller but still important minorities; 2% in Angola [16] and 0.2% in Mozambique. [17]

Mulatto and mestiço are not terms commonly used in South Africa to refer to people of mixed ancestry. The persistence of some authors in using this term, anachronistically, reflects the old-school essentialist views of race as a de facto biological phenomenon, and the 'mixing' of race as legitimate grounds for the creation of a 'new race'. This disregards cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity and/or differences between regions and globally among populations of mixed ancestry. [18]

The Christmas Bands are a popular Cape Coloured cultural tradition in Cape Town. Christmas-bands-cape-town.jpg
The Christmas Bands are a popular Cape Coloured cultural tradition in Cape Town.

In Namibia, an ethnic group known as Rehoboth Basters, descend from historic liaisons between the Cape Colony Dutch and indigenous African women. The name Baster is derived from the Dutch word for "bastard" (or "crossbreed"). While some people consider this term demeaning, the Basters proudly use the term as an indication of their history. In the early 21st century, they number between 20,000 and 30,000 people. There are, of course, other people of mixed race in the country.

South Africa

In South Africa, Coloured is a term used to refer to individuals with some degree of sub-Saharan ancestry but subjectively 'not enough' to be considered black-African under the Apartheid era law of South Africa. Today people self-identify as 'Coloured'. Other Afrikaans terms used include Bruinmense (translates to "brown people"), Kleurlinge (translates to "Coloured") or Bruin Afrikaners (translates to "brown Africans" and is used to distinguish them from the main body of Afrikaners (translates to "African") who are white). Under Apartheid law through the latter half of the 20th century, the government established seven categories of Coloured people: Cape Coloured, Cape Malay, Griqua and Other Coloured - the aim of subdivisions was to enhance the meaning of the larger category of Coloured by making it all encompassing. Legally and politically speaking, all people of colour were classified "black" in the non-racial terms of anti-Apartheid rhetoric of the Black Consciousness Movement. [19]

In addition to European ancestry, the Coloured people usually had some portion of Asian ancestry from immigrants from India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, China and/or Saint Helena. Based on the Population Registration Act to classify people, the government passed laws prohibiting mixed marriages. Many people who classified as in the "Asian" category could legally intermarry with "mixed-race" people because they shared the same nomenclature. [19] There was extensive combining of these diverse heritages in the Western Cape.

In other parts of South Africa and neighboring states, the coloured usually were descendants of two primary ethnic groups - primarily Africans of various tribes and European colonists of various tribes, with generations of coloured forming families. The use of the term 'Coloured' has changed over the course of history. For instance, in the first census after the South African war (1912), Indians were counted as 'Coloured'. But before and after this war, they were counted as 'Asiatic'. [20]

In KwaZulu-Natal, most Coloureds (that were classified as "other coloureds") had British and Zulu heritage. Zimbabwean coloureds were descended from Shona or Ndebele mixing with British and Afrikaner settlers.

Griqua, on the other hand, are descendants of Khoisan and Afrikaner trekboers, with contributions from central Southern African groups. [21] The Griqua were subjected to an ambiguity of other creole people within Southern African social order. According to Nurse and Jenkins (1975), the leader of this "mixed" group, Adam Kok I, was a former slave of the Dutch governor. He was manumitted and provided land outside Cape Town in the eighteenth century. With territories beyond the Dutch East India Company administration, Kok provided refuge to deserting soldiers, refugee slaves, and remaining members of various Khoikhoi tribes. [19]

Afro-European clans

Latin America and the Caribbean

Mulattos in colonial Spanish America

Spaniard + Negra, Mulatto. Miguel Cabrera. Mexico 1763 Castas 04mulata max.jpg
Spaniard + Negra, Mulatto. Miguel Cabrera. Mexico 1763

Africans were transported by Portuguese slave traders to Spanish America starting in the early sixteenth century. Offspring of European Spaniards and African women resulted early on in mixed-race children, termed Mulattos. In Spanish law, the status of the child followed that of the mother, so that despite having a Spanish parent, their offspring were enslaved. The label Mulatto was recorded in official colonial documentation, so that marriage registers, censuses, and court documents allow research on different aspects of mulattos’ lives. Although some legal documents simply label a person a Mulatto/a, other designations occurred. In the sales of casta slaves in seventeenth-century Mexico City, official notaries recorded gradations of skin color in the transactions. These included mulato blanco or mulata blanca (white mulatto), for light-skinned slave. These were usually American-born (criollo) slaves. Some said categorized persons i.e.m 'mulata blanca.' used their light skin to their advantage if they escpaped their unlawful and bruatal incarceration from their criminal slave owners, thus 'passing' as free persons on color. Mulatos blancos often emphasized their Spanish parentage, and considered themselves and were considered separate from negros or pardos and ordinary mulattos. Darker mulatto slaves were often termed mulatos prietos or sometimes mulatos cochos. [22] In Chile, along with mulatos blancos, there were also españoles oscuros (dark Spaniards). [23]

There was considerable malleability and manipulation of racial labeling, including the seemingly stable category of mulatto. In a case that came before the Mexican Inquisition, a woman publicly identified as a mulatta was described by a Spanish priest, Diego Xaimes Ricardo Villavicencio, as "a white mulata with curly hair, because she is the daughter of a dark-skinned mulata and a Spaniard, and for her manner of dress she has flannel petticoats and a native blouse (huipil), sometimes silken, sometimes woolen. She wears shoes, and her natural and common language is not Spanish, but Chocho [an indigenous Mexican language], as she was brought up among Indians with her mother, from which she contracted the vice of drunkenness, to which she often succumbs, as Indians do, and from them she has also received the crime of [idolatry]." Community members were interrogated as to their understanding of her racial standing. Her mode of dress, very wavy hair and light skin confirmed for one witness that she was a mulatta. Ultimately though, her rootedness in the indigenous community persuaded the Inquisition that she was an India, and therefore outside of their jurisdiction. [24] Even though the accused physical features of a mulatta, her cultural category was more important. In colonial Latin America, mulatto could also refer to an individual of mixed African and Native American ancestry. [25]

English Dominican friar, Thomas Gage spent over a decade in Mexico and Central America in the early seventeenth century, who converted to Anglicanism and later wrote of his travels, often disparaging Spanish American society and culture. In Mexico City he observed in considerable detail the opulence of dress of women, saying "The attire of this baser sort of people of blackamoors and mulattoes (which are of a mixed nature, of Spaniards and blackamoors) is so light, and their carriage so enticing, that many Spaniards even of the better sort (who are too too [sic] prone to venery) disdain their wives for them... Most of these are or have been slaves, though love have set them loose, at liberty to enslave souls to sin and Satan." [26]

In the late eighteenth century, some mixed-race persons sought legal "certificates of whiteness" (cédulas de gracias al sacar), in order to rise socially and practice professions. American-born Spaniards (criollos) sought to prevent the approval of such petitions, since the "purity" of their own whiteness would be in jeopardy. They asserted their "purity of blood ( limpieza de sangre ) as white persons who had "always been known, held and commonly reputed to be white persons, Old Christians of the nobility, clean of all bad blood and without any mixture of commoner, Jew, Moor, Mulatto, or converso in any degree, no matter how remote." [27] Spaniards both American- and Iberian-born discriminated against pardos and mulattoes because of their "bad blood." One Cuban sought the grant of his petition in order to practice as a surgeon, a profession from which he was barred because of his mulatto designation. Royal laws and decrees prevented pardos and mulattoes from serving as a public notary, lawyer, pharmacist, ordination to the priesthood, or graduation from university. Mulattas declared white could marry a Spaniard. [28]

Mulattos in the modern era

Mulattoes represent a significant part of the population of various Latin American and Caribbean countries: [29] Dominican Republic (73%; all mixed-race people), [29] [nb 2] Brazil (49.1% mixed-race, Gypsy and Black, Mulattoes (20.5%), Mestiços, Mamelucos or Caboclos (21.3%), Blacks (7.1%) and Eurasian (0.2%)), [30] [31] Belize (25%), Colombia (10,4%), [29] Cuba (24.86%), [29] Haiti (15%). [29]

In the 21st century, persons with indigenous and black African ancestry in Latin America are more frequently called zambos in Spanish or cafuzo in Portuguese.

Brazil

A Redencao de Cam (Redemption of Ham), Modesto Brocos, 1895, Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. The painting depicts a black grandmother, mulatta mother, white father and their quadroon child, hence three generations of hypergamy through racial whitening. Redencao.jpg
A Redenção de Cam ( Redemption of Ham ), Modesto Brocos, 1895, Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. The painting depicts a black grandmother, mulatta mother, white father and their quadroon child, hence three generations of hypergamy through racial whitening.

Studies carried out by the geneticist Sergio Pena conclude the average white Brazilian is 80% European, 10% Amerindian, and 10% African/black. [32] Another study, carried out by the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, concludes the average white Brazilian is (>70%) European. [33]

According to the IBGE 2000 census, 38.5% of Brazilians identified as pardo, i.e. of mixed ancestry. [34] [35] This figure includes mulatto and other multiracial people, such as people who have European and Amerindian ancestry (called caboclos ), as well as assimilated, westernized Amerindians, and mestizos with some Asian ancestry. A majority of mixed-race Brazilians have all three ancestries: Amerindian, European, and African. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics census 2006, some 42.6% of Brazilian identify as pardo, an increase over the 2000 census. [36]

According to genetic studies, some of those who identify as White Brazilians (48.4%) also have some mixed-race ancestry (both Subsaharan African and Amerindian ancestry). Brazilians who identify as de raça negra or de cor preta, i.e. Brazilians of Black African origin, make up 6.9% of the population; genetic studies show their average total ancestry is still mixed: 40% African, 50% European, and 10% Amerindian, but they likely grew up within visibly black communities.

Such autosomal DNA studies, which measure total genetic contribution, continue to reveal differences between how individuals identify, which is usually based in family and close community, with genetic ancestry, which may relate to a distant past they know little about. [37] Such DNA studies were conducted of students at a school in the poor periphery of Rio de Janeiro. It found that the multiracial "pardos" were genetically more than 80% European in ancestry. "The results of the tests of genomic ancestry are quite different from the self made estimates of European ancestry", say the researchers. The test results showed that the proportion of European genetic ancestry was higher than students expected. When questioned before the test, students who identified as "pardos", for example, identified as 1/3 European, 1/3 African and 1/3 Amerindian. [38] [39] On the other hand, students classified as "white" tended to overestimate their proportion of African and Amerindian genetic ancestry. [38]

Hispaniola

Mulattoes account for up to 5% of Haiti's population. In Haitian history, such mixed-race people, known in colonial times as free people of color, gained some education and property before the Revolution. In some cases, their white fathers arranged for multiracial sons to be educated in France and join the military, giving them an advance economically. Free people of color gained some social capital and political power before the Revolution, were influential during the Revolution and since then. The people of color have retained their elite position, based on education and social capital, that is apparent in the political, economic and cultural hierarchy in present-day Haiti. Numerous leaders throughout Haiti's history have been people of color. [40]

The struggle within Haiti between the people of color led by André Rigaud and the black Haitians led by Toussaint Louverture devolved into the War of Knives. [41] [42] In the early period of independence, former slaves of majority-black ancestry led the government, as it was the many more numerous slaves who had done most of the fighting in the North, where the largest plantations were, to achieve independence.

In 1806, Haiti divided into a black-controlled north and a mulatto-ruled south. Jean-Pierre Boyer (1818–43), the son of a Frenchman and a former African slave, managed to unify a divided Haiti but excluded blacks from power. In 1847, a black military officer named Faustin Soulouque was made president, with the mulattoes supporting him; but, instead of proving a tool in the hands of the senators, he showed a strong will, and, although by his antecedents belonging to the mulatto party, he began to attach the blacks to his interest. The mulattoes retaliated by conspiring; but Soulouque began to decimate his enemies by confiscation, proscriptions, and executions. The black soldiers began a general massacre in Port-au-Prince, which ceased only after the French consul, Charles Reybaud, threatened to order the landing of marines from the men-of-war in the harbor.

General Pedro Santana had a strong strain of negro and also of Indian blood. In the Dominican Republic, the mulatto population absorbed remnants of the Taino Amerindians historically present in that country. Pedro Santana cph.3a03390.jpg
General Pedro Santana had a strong strain of negro and also of Indian blood. In the Dominican Republic, the mulatto population absorbed remnants of the Taíno Amerindians historically present in that country.

Ambitious to unite the two parts of the island, Soulouque invaded the Dominican territory in March, 1849, but was defeated in a decisive battle by Pedro Santana near Ocoa on 21 April and compelled to retreat. Haitian strategy was ridiculed by the American press:

[At the first encounter] ... a division of negro troops of Faustin ran, and their commander, Gen. Garat, was killed. The main body, eighteen thousand troops, under the Emperor, encountered four hundred Dominicans with a field piece, and notwithstanding the disparity of force, the latter charged and caused the Haytiens to flee in every direction ... Faustin came very near falling into the enemy's hands. They were once within a few feet of him, and he was only saved by Thirlonge and other officers of his staff, several of whom lost their lives. The Dominicans pursued the retreating Haytiens some miles until they were checked and driven back by the Garde Nationale of Port-au-Prince, commanded by Robert Gateau, the auctioneer. [44]

Despite the failure of the campaign, Soulouque caused himself to be proclaimed emperor on 26 August, 1849, under the name of Faustin I. Toward the close of 1855, he invaded the Dominican territory again at the head of an army of 30,000 men, but was again defeated by Santana, and barely escaped being captured. His treasure and crown fell into the hands of the enemy. Soulouque was ousted in a military coup led by mulatto General Fabre Geffrard in 1858–59. 

In the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, the mulattoes were an ever-growing majority group, and in essence they took over the entire Dominican Republic, with no organized black opposition.

Puerto Rico

Don Miguel Enriquez, a Puerto Rican privateer, is the only known mulatto knighted by the Monarchy of Spain. After being born illegitimate, he became a shoemaker and privateer, ultimately one of the wealthiest men of the New World. Miguel Enriquez.jpg
Don Miguel Enríquez, a Puerto Rican privateer, is the only known mulatto knighted by the Monarchy of Spain. After being born illegitimate, he became a shoemaker and privateer, ultimately one of the wealthiest men of the New World.

In a 2002 genetic study of maternal and paternal direct lines of ancestry of 800 Puerto Ricans, 61% had mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from an Amerindian female ancestor, 27% inherited MtDNA from a female African ancestor and 12% had MtDNA from a female European ancestor. [45] Conversely, patrilineal direct lines, as indicated by the Y chromosome, showed that 70% of Puerto Rican males in the sample have Y chromosome DNA from a male European ancestor, 20% inherited Y-DNA from a male African ancestor, and less than 10% inherited Y-DNA from a male Amerindian ancestor. [46] As these tests measure only the DNA along the direct matrilineal and patrilineal lines of inheritance, they cannot tell what total percentage of European, Indigenous, or African ancestry any individual has.

In keeping with Spanish practice, for most of its colonial period, Puerto Rico had laws such as the Regla del Sacar or Gracias al Sacar. A person with African ancestry could be considered legally white if he could prove that at least one person per generation in the last four generations had been legally white. People of black ancestry with known white lineage were classified as white, in contrast to the "one-drop rule" put into law in the early 20th century in the United States. In colonial and antebellum times in certain locations, persons of three-quarters or more white ancestry were considered legally white. [47] If born to slave mothers, however, this status did not overrule their being considered slaves, like Sally Hemings, who was three-quarters white, and her children by Thomas Jefferson, who were seven-eighths white, and all born into slavery.

United States

Colonial and Antebellum eras

Creole woman with black servant, New Orleans, 1867. FashionableMarquisB.jpg
Creole woman with black servant, New Orleans, 1867.

Historians have documented sexual abuse of slave women during the colonial and post-revolutionary slavery times by white men in power: planters, their sons before marriage, overseers, etc., which resulted in many multiracial children born into slavery. Starting with Virginia in 1662, colonies adopted the principle of partus sequitur ventrem in slave law, which said that children born in the colony were born into the status of their mother. Thus, children born to slave mothers were born into slavery, regardless of who their fathers were and whether they were baptized as Christians. Children born to white mothers were free, even if they were mixed-race. Children born to free mixed-race mothers were also free.

Paul Heinegg has documented that most of the free people of color listed in the 1790–1810 censuses in the Upper South were descended from unions and marriages during the colonial period in Virginia between white women, who were free or indentured servants, and African or African-American men, servant, slave or free. In the early colonial years, such working-class people lived and worked closely together, and slavery was not as much of a racial caste. Slave law had established that children in the colony took the status of their mothers. This meant that multi-racial children born to white women were born free. The colony required them to serve lengthy indentures if the woman was not married, but nonetheless, numerous individuals with African ancestry were born free, and formed more free families. Over the decades, many of these free people of color became leaders in the African-American community; others married increasingly into the white community. [48] [49] His findings have been supported by DNA studies and other contemporary researchers as well. [50]

A daughter born to a South Asian father and Irish mother in Maryland in 1680, both of whom probably came to the colony as indentured servants, was classified as a "mulatto" and sold into slavery. [51]

Historian F. James Davis says,

Rapes occurred, and many slave women were forced to submit regularly to white males or suffer harsh consequences. However, slave girls often courted a sexual relationship with the master, or another male in the family, as a way of gaining distinction among the slaves, avoiding field work, and obtaining special jobs and other favored treatment for their mixed children (Reuter, 1970:129). Sexual contacts between the races also included prostitution, adventure, concubinage, and sometimes love. In rare instances, where free blacks were concerned, there was marriage (Bennett, 1962:243–68). [52]

Historically in the American South, the term mulatto was also applied at times to persons with mixed Native American and African American ancestry. [53] For example, a 1705 Virginia statute reads as follows:

"And for clearing all manner of doubts which hereafter may happen to arise upon the construction of this act, or any other act, who shall be accounted a mulatto, Be it enacted and declared, and it is hereby enacted and declared, That the child of an Indian and the child, grand child, or great grand child, of a negro shall be deemed, accounted, held and taken to be a mulatto." [54]

But southern colonies began to prohibit Indian slavery in the eighteenth century, so, according to their own laws, even mixed-race children born to Native American women should be considered free. The societies did not always observe this distinction.

Certain Native American tribes of the Inocoplo family in Texas referred to themselves as "mulatto". [55] At one time, Florida's laws declared that a person from any number of mixed ancestries would be legally defined as a mulatto, including White/Hispanic, Black/Native American, and just about any other mix as well. [56]

In the United States, due to the influence and laws making slavery a racial caste, and later practices of hypodescent, white colonists and settlers tended to classify persons of mixed African and Native American ancestry as black, regardless of how they identified themselves, or sometimes as Black Indians. But many tribes had matrilineal kinship systems and practices of absorbing other peoples into their cultures. Multiracial children born to Native American mothers were customarily raised in her family and specific tribal culture. Federally recognized Native American tribes have insisted that identity and membership is related to culture rather than race, and that individuals brought up within tribal culture are fully members, regardless of whether they also have some European or African ancestry. Many tribes have had mixed-race members who identify primarily as members of the tribes.

If the multiracial children were born to slave women (generally of at least partial African descent), they were classified under slave law as slaves. This was to the advantage of slaveowners, as Indian slavery had been abolished. If mixed-race children were born to Native American mothers, they should be considered free, but sometimes slaveholders kept them in slavery anyway. Multiracial children born to slave mothers were generally raised within the African-American community and considered "black". [53]

Influence

Some mixed-race people in the South became wealthy enough to become slave owners themselves. At times they held family members in slavery when there were many restrictions against freeing slaves. By the time of the Civil War, many mixed-race persons, or free people of color, who were accepted in the society supported the Confederacy. For example, William Ellison owned 60 slaves. Andrew Durnford of New Orleans, which had a large population of free people of color, mostly of French descent and Catholic culture, was listed in the census as owning 77 slaves. In Louisiana free people of color constituted a third class between white colonists and the mass of slaves. [57]

Other multiracial people became abolitionists and supported the Union. Frederick Douglass escaped slavery and became nationally known as an abolitionist in the North.

In other examples, Mary Ellen Pleasant and Thomy Lafon of New Orleans used their fortunes to support the abolitionist cause. Francis E. Dumas, also a free person of color in New Orleans, emancipated all his slaves and organized them into a company in the Second Regiment of the Louisiana Native Guards. [58]

The men of color below spanned the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Contemporary era

Mulatto was used as an official census racial category in the United States, to acknowledge multiracial persons, until 1930. (In the early 20th century, several southern states had adopted the one-drop rule as law, and southern Congressmen pressed the US Census Bureau to drop the mulatto category: they wanted all persons to be classified as "black" or "white".) [59] [60] [61]

In the 2000 United States Census, 6,171 Americans self-identified as having mulatto ancestry. [62] Since then, persons responding to the census have been allowed to identify as having more than one type of ethnic ancestry.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama became America's first mulatto president. [63]

Colonial references

See also

Related Research Articles

The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from native sub-Saharan Africans or people from Sub-Saharan Africa, predominantly in the Americas. Historically, ethnographers, historians, politicians and writers have used the term particularly to refer to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, with their largest populations in Brazil, the United States, and Haiti. Some scholars identify "four circulatory phases" of this migration out of Africa. Prior to the Atlantic slave trade, the Arab slave trade also took many slaves from other parts of Africa, selling them to markets in North Africa and the Middle East.

<i>Mestizo</i> Term to denote a person with European and Native American blood

Mestizo or mestiza is a term historically used in Spain, Spanish America and the Philippines that originally referred to a person of combined European and Indigenous American descent, regardless of where the person was born. The term was used as an ethnic/racial category for mixed-race castas that evolved during the Spanish Empire. Although broadly speaking, Mestizo means someone of mixed European/indigenous heritage, and usually for someone considered a plebeian, the term did not have a fixed meaning in the colonial period. It was a formal label for individuals in official documentation, such as censuses, parish registers, Inquisition trials, and other matters. Individuals were labeled by priests and royal officials as mestizos, but the term was also used for self identification.

Melungeon

Melungeon is a term traditionally applied to one of numerous "tri-racial isolate" groups of the Southeastern United States. Historically, Melungeons were associated with the Cumberland Gap area of central Appalachia, which includes portions of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and eastern Kentucky. Tri-racial describes populations thought to be of mixed European, African and Native American ancestry. Although there is no consensus on how many such groups exist, estimates range as high as 200.

Multiracial is defined as made up of or relating to people of many races. Many terms exist for people of various multiracial backgrounds. Preferred terms include multiracial, biracial, multiethnic, polyethnic, Métis, Creole, Coloured, Dougla, mestizo, mulatto, Melungeon, quadroon, Chindian, zambo, Eurasian, hapa, hāfu, Garifuna and pardo. There are various other terms used that are sometimes considered insulting and offensive, such as "half," "half-and-half," and "mixed."

Quadroon a person with one quarter African and three quarters European ancestry

In the slave societies of the Americas, a quadroon or quarteron was a person with one quarter African and three quarters European ancestry.

In Brazil, Pardo, also known popularly as Moreno, is an ethnic/skin color category used by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in the Brazilian censuses. The term "pardo" is a complex one, more commonly used to refer to Brazilians of mixed ethnic ancestries. Pardo Brazilians represent a wide range of skin colours and backgrounds. They are typically a mixture of Europeans, West Africans, Native Brazilian and/or South Asian.

The one-drop rule is a social and legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States in the 20th century. It asserted that any person with even one ancestor of sub-Saharan African ancestry is considered black.

Free people of color persons of partial African and European descent who were not enslaved

In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color were people of mixed African, European, and sometimes Native American descent who were not enslaved. The term arose in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), St.Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, where a distinct group of free people of color developed. Freed African slaves were included in the term affranchis, but historically they were considered as distinct from the free people of color. In these territories and major cities, particularly New Orleans, and those cities held by the Spanish, a substantial third class of primarily mixed-race, free people developed. These colonial societies classified mixed-race people in a variety of ways, generally related to visible features and to the proportion of African ancestry. Racial classifications were numerous in Latin America.

Afro-Latin American or Black Latin American refers to Latin Americans of significant or mainly African ancestry. The term may also refer to historical or cultural elements in Latin America thought to have emanated from this community.

Afro-Brazilians are Brazilians who have partial or predominantly African ancestry. The term does not have widespread use in Brazil, where social constructs and classifications have been based on appearance; people with noticeable African features and skin color are generally referred to as negro or, less commonly, preto ("black"). Most members of another group of people, multiracial Brazilians or pardos, may also have a range of degree of African ancestry. Depending on the circumstances, the ones whose African features are more evident are always or frequently seen by others as "negros" - consequently identifying themselves as such, while the ones whom this evidence is lesser may not be seen as such so regularly. It is important to note that the term pardo, such as preto, is rarely used outside the census spectrum. Brazilian society has a range of words, including negro itself, to describe multiracial people.

Latin Americans are the citizens of the Latin American countries and dependencies. Latin American countries are multi-ethnic, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds. As a result, some Latin Americans do not take their nationality as an ethnicity, but identify themselves with both their nationality and their ancestral origins. Aside from the indigenous Amerindian population, all Latin Americans or their ancestors immigrated since 1492. Latin America has the largest diasporas of Spaniards, Portuguese, Black Africans, Italians, Lebanese and Japanese in the world. The region also has large German, French, and Jewish diasporas.

Multiracialism is a conceptual framework which emerged from a system of racial categorization that historically only acknowledged monoracial or single-race individuals as legitimate members of society. As an analytical tool, multiracialism strives to emphasize that societies are increasingly composed of multiracial individuals, warranting a broader consideration and recognition of those who do not fit into a society's clear-cut notions of race. Additionally, these aims are accomplished while upholding the understanding that race is a social and political construct. This was particularly pressing in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries where the emergence of a growing multiracial population was seen as a dire threat to theories of racial science, which had previously served as the basis for understanding the human race for decades.

<i>Mestiço</i> Ethnic group

Mestiço, in Colonial Brazil, the Portuguese-speaking part of Latin America, was initially used to refer to mamelucos, persons born from a couple in which one was an Indigenous American and the other a European. It literally translates as "mameluke", probably referring to the common Iberian comparisons of swarthy people to North Africans.

Marabou (ethnicity)

Marabou is a term of Haitian origin denoting multiracial admixture. The term, which comes originally from the african Marabouts, describes the offspring of a Haitian person of mixed race: Europeans, Africans, Taíno, and South Asians ancestry.

Brazilian society is made up of a confluence of people of several different origins, from the original Native Brazilians, with the influence of Portuguese colonists, Black African, and European, Arab, and Japanese immigration. Other significant groups include Koreans, Chinese, Paraguayans, and Bolivians.

Multiracial Americans are Americans who have mixed ancestry of two or more races. The term may also include Americans of mixed race ancestry who self-identify with just one group culturally and socially. In the 2010 US census, approximately 9 million individuals, or 2.9% of the population, self-identified as multiracial. There is evidence that an accounting by genetic ancestry would produce a higher number. Historical reasons, including slavery creating a racial caste and the European-American suppression of Native Americans, often led people to identify or be classified by only one ethnicity, generally that of the culture in which they were raised. Prior to the mid-20th century, many people hid their multiracial heritage because of racial discrimination against minorities. While many Americans may be considered multiracial, they often do not know it or do not identify so culturally, any more than they maintain all the differing traditions of a variety of national ancestries.

Afro-Mexicans Negroe Mexicans

Afro-Mexicans also known as Indigenous Black Mexicans, are Mexicans who have both a predominant heritage from Sub-Saharan Africa and identify as such. As a single population, Afro-Mexicans includes individuals descended from Spanish colonial era transatlantic African slaves brought to Mexico, as well as others of more recent immigrant African descent, including Afro-descended persons from neighboring English, French, and Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean and Central America, descendants of fugitive slaves who escaped to Mexico from the Southern United States, and to a lesser extent recent immigrants directly from Africa. Not all Afro-Mexicans are from Africa. Many have already resided generations after generations in Mexico even before Spaniard colonization. Afro-Mexicans are most concentrated in specific, largely isolated communities, including the populations of the Costa Chica of Oaxaca and Guerrero, Veracruz and in some cities in northern Mexico.

Ethnic groups in Latin America

The inhabitants of Latin America are from a variety of ancestries, ethnic groups and races, making the region one of the most diverse in the world. The specific composition of the group varies from country to country. Many have a predominance of European-Amerindian or Mestizo population; in others, Amerindians are a majority; some are dominated by inhabitants of European ancestry; and some countries' populations have large African or Mulatto populations.

Pardo is a term used in the Portuguese and Spanish colonies in the Americas to refer to the multiracial descendants of Europeans, Indigenous Americans, and West Africans. In some places they were defined as neither exclusively mestizo, nor mulatto, nor zambo. In colonial Mexico, pardo "became virtually synonymous with mulatto, thereby losing much of its indigenous referencing." In the eighteenth century, pardo might have been the preferred label for blackness. Unlike negro, pardo had no association with slavery. Casta paintings from eighteenth-century Mexico use the label negro never pardo to identify Africans paired with Spaniards.

References

Notes
  1. Corominas describes his doubts on the theory as follows: "[Mulato] does not derive from the Arab muwállad, 'acculturated foreigner' and sometimes 'mulatto' (see 'Mdí'), as Eguílaz would have it, since this word was pronounced 'moo-EL-led' in the Arabic of Spain. In the 19th century, Reinhart Dozy (Supplément aux Dictionnaires Arabes, Vol. II, Leyden, 1881, 841a) rejected this Arabic etymology, indicating the true one, supported by the Arabic nagîl, 'mulatto', derived from nagl, 'mule'." [12]
  2. In the Dominican Republic, the mulatto population absorbed remnants of the Taíno Amerindians historically present in that country, based on a 1960 census that included colour categories such as white, black, yellow, and mulatto. Since then, racial components have been dropped from the Dominican census.
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Further reading