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Mestizo

MESTIZO


A Mestizo is a person of American Indian and (usually white) European ancestry. The word comes from the Spanish and means "mixed," but it can also refer to a person of French-Indian, Portuguese-Indian, or Dutch-Indian heritage. A race of Mestizos emerged in Latin America by the mid-1500s and changed the character of the region. Historian Arturo Rosales wrote (in The Hispanic-American Almanac, 1993) that in central Mexico the "sexual appetite of the Spaniards led to numerous liaisons with the native women. . . . The consequence was a large progeny of children who were half Spaniard and half Indian." By 1821, and the end of colonial rule of Mexico, the possible variations of Mestizo numbered more than 100. Mestizo populations spread northward from Mexico during the colonial era. They also emerged elsewhere, as Europeans arrived in new territories around the world and subjugated native populations. In Latin and North America Mestizos entered the rank-and-file of armies and were wage laborers who worked in mines and in the fields. It was a race that was created and, during colonial times, dominated by European incursion.

See also: New Spain (Viceroyalty of)

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mestizo

mestizo (māstē´sō) [Span.,=mixture], person of mixed race; particularly, in Mexico and Central and South America, a person of European (Spanish or Portuguese) and indigenous descent. The mestizos constitute a large part of the population in several Latin American countries; they are in various places also called by other names, e.g., ladinos in Guatemala, caboclos in Brazil. The word is primarily applied to a mixture of racial strains, but it has acquired social and cultural connotations; it may be applied to pure-blooded indigenous people who adopt European dress and customs. All persons of mixed race are called mestizos in the Philippines.

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mestizo

mes·ti·zo / meˈstēzō/ • n. (pl. -zos) (in Latin America) a man of mixed race, esp. the offspring of a Spaniard and an American Indian.

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mestizo

mestizo Sp. or Pg. half-caste; offspring of a Spaniard and an American Indian. XVI. — Sp.:- Rom. *mixtīcius, f. L. mixtus, pp. of miscēre MIX.

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