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Creole refers to different population groups that emerged during the colonial era.

In the Spanish colonial empire , Creoles (criollos) were the descendants of Europeans - deliberately differentiating them from the Spaniards from the mother country (peninsulares) . Elsewhere, on the other hand, the term generally describes non-indigenous people born in the country, including those of African or mixed descent.

In Latin America, the adjective "criollo" is used today to designate all those cultural elements that are neither exclusively indigenous nor imported from Europe or Africa, but that arose in America under European or African influence. B. “Creole music” ( merengue , salsa , mambo , milonga etc.) or “Creole cuisine”.

Origin of the designation

The term Creole was coined during the early colonization of West Africa by the Portuguese crown, especially on the Cape Verde Islands and in Guinea-Bissau and is derived from the Portuguese “Crioulo” and the Spanish “Criollo”, both of which are based on the verb “criar”. (raise, raise, breed) based. So "Crioulos" and "Criollos" were "pupils". Despite the similarity of words, the Portuguese crioulo and the Spanish criollo denote fundamentally different social realities.

Portuguese crioulo

In the early colonial history of Portugal , Creole societies emerged from marriages of spouses of different origins from Europe and Africa and through the emergence of a new, independent culture and language.

This was only possible in the first decades of colonial history, as long as no secular or religious laws forbade family coexistence. The fathers of European descent mostly had no free wife and therefore no free children and therefore often the desire to release the enslaved members of their family.

In Cape Verde and Brazil , the testamentary release became a common practice under the influence of the Jesuits, and a free, mixed society with Creole culture and identity emerged, quite in contradiction to the rules of state and church. Today the members of these cultures in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau , Sierra Leone , São Tomé and Príncipe , Angola , Mozambique and other former Portuguese coastal settlements as well as in Brazil and Guyana call themselves Creoles.

Most of the time, the origin of these people is reflected in their appearance. They are mixed race. But families of purely European, African or other origins can also have been integrated into the culture and have adopted a Creole identity. The common link of Creole identity is primarily the common Creole language .

Spanish criollo

The term Criollo describes in Spanish-speaking Latin America :

  • the descendants of Spanish (or other European) parents born in the country, as opposed to those of non-European or mixed ancestry;
  • in a broader sense everyone who was born in Latin America and who has the characteristics typical of the country.

In the Spanish colonies , the higher positions in administration and church (governors, bishops and others) were initially mostly reserved for Spaniards born in their home country. The American-born Spaniards or “Criollos” therefore grew into a kind of middle class over the course of time, the influence of which increased more and more. Impoverished or illegitimate children of Spaniards, on the other hand, were often without possessions, learned handicrafts, went into trade or were employed as administrators on the Spanish estates.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the "Criollos" represented the largest number of Spanish colonies ( Cuba , Hispaniola ) or at least a very large population group in the metropolises ( Mexico , Peru ). They led the liberation struggles in the context of the South American wars of independence , because they wanted to free themselves from the tutelage of Spanish administrators and gain more economic and political influence.

Criollismo refers to the forms of Latin American epic literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries, especially from the period immediately after the Spanish-American War of 1898, in which the increased self-confidence of the classes of the population born and raised in the earlier colonies towards the culture and Politics of the motherland articulated. The authors of the Criollismo describe the customs and traditions of their home countries and often of rural life, they sometimes use dialect and emphasize their regional identity.

Creoles in the USA

In the USA , “criollo” became “creole”, which is a name for the descendants of French or Spanish immigrants or descendants of the inhabitants of the French Caribbean colonies in the southern states , particularly in Louisiana . In contrast, the descendants of the inhabitants of Acadia living there are the Cajuns .

The term is not clearly defined, for example, early German immigrants who settled on the German Coast along the Mississippi were also referred to as Creoles .

Atlantic creoles

Main article: Atlantic Creoles

The American historian Ira Berlin (* 1941), who published two monographs on the history of slavery in the United States , uses the term Atlantic creoles (German: "Creoles of the Atlantic") for (West) Africans who lived from 15. Century as interpreters, negotiators and merchants with European - especially Dutch, Portuguese, British and French - merchant ships and in many countries and colonies on this side and on the other side of the Atlantic established their own trading bases and settlements. The Europeans, who had recruited these Creoles because of their transcultural expertise, often kept them as slaves . The Atlantic creoles were often - but not always - of African and European descent and developed pidgin and later fully- fledged Creole languages that enabled them to communicate with a variety of different native speakers. As Ira Berlin describes, the first generation of black slaves recruited from the Atlantic creoles in the 17th and 18th centuries on what was to become the US territory.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Suzanne Romaine: Pidgin and Creole languages . Longman, London 1988, p. 38.
  2. Ira Berlin: Generations of Captivity. A History of African-American Slaves . The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge and London 2003, ISBN 0-674-01061-2 , pp. 21-49.