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In colonial Brazil, the Portuguese-speaking part of Latin America, Mestiço initially was used to refer to a person with both European and Native South American Amerindian blood only. Later with the introduction of black African slavery by the Portuguese to Brazil and interracial mixing, other categories emerged in Brazil. The most common ones were the following: Mulatto, a person with European and African blood;[1] Zambo, a person with South American Amerindian and African blood, and Pardo evolved to mean a person with blood from all 3 races. As the Portuguese Empire expanded to Africa and Asia, the word Mestiço came to mean a mixed individual regardless of what racial category he is in. Today the word caboclo has replaced the word mestiço to mean an individual who has a mixed European and Amerindian background.

Mestiço – Brazil

An image describing Brazil, at the end of the 19th century, by Nouveau Larousse illustré, in France: Indians, mestiços, examples of the fauna and flora of the country

In Brazil, the word mestiço was substituted for "pardo" in the 1890 census, alongside "caboclo" (brown).[2] but then returned to "pardo" in subsequent censuses.[3]

The term was and is used to describe individuals born from any mixture of different ethnicities. Mainly these individuals usually have a blend in African, Native American, and European Caucasian. there are specific groups like - European/Portuguese and Native American parents are commonly known as caboclo or, more commonly in the past, mameluco. Individuals of European and African ancestry are described as mulato. Cafuzos (known as zambo in the English language) are the production of Native American and African ancestors. if someone has a mix of all three they are known as "pardo". Brazil celebrates The Mixed Race Day (Dia do Mestiço) (June 27 is an official date in States of Amazonas) to celebrate racial unity in the nation, Paraíba and Roraima. The Day of the Caboclo (Dia do Caboclo) occurs June 24.[4]

Mestiço – Angola

The Mestiço are primarily of mixed European, native born indigenous Angolan and/or other indigenous African lineages. They tend to be Portuguese culturally and to have full Portuguese names.

Although they make up about 2% of the population, they are the socially elite, and racially privileged, group in the country. Historically, Mestiços formed social and cultural allegiances with Portuguese colonists, subsequently identifying with the Portuguese over and above their indigenous identities.[5] Despite their loyalty, the ethnic group faced economic and political adversity at hands of the white population during times of economic hardship for whites. These actions lead to ostracizing Mestiços from their inherited economic benefits which sparked the group to take a new sociopolitical direction. However, since the over 500 year Portuguese presence in the country, the ethnic group has retained their position of entitlement which is highly evident in the political, economic and cultural hierarchy in present-day Angola. Their phenotype range is broad with a number of members possessing physical characteristics that are close to others within the indigenous black non-mixed population. Since the Mestiços are generally better educated than the rest of the indigenous black population, they exercise influence in government disproportionate to their numbers.

Mestiço – Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde

In Guinea-Bissau 1% of the population is of mixed African Native and Portuguese descent. In Cape Verde mestiço designated an individual of mixed European and Asian, i.e. Indian, descent.[6]

Mestiço – Mozambique

A minority of the population of Mozambique are of mixed Bantu and Portuguese heritage.

Mestiço – São Tomé and Príncipe

Mestiços of São Tomé and Príncipe are descendants of Portuguese colonists and African slaves brought to Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe islands during the early years of settlement from modern Benin, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola (these people also are known as filhos da terra or "children of the land").

Mestiços – Portuguese India and Portuguese Ceylon

In Portugal's colonies in India from the seventeenth century, the term "castiço" came to be applied used for Portuguese persons born in India without any racial mixing, while "mestiço" applied to anyone with any European ancestor, however remote.[7] In Portuguese Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the names Mestiços (Portuguese for "Mixed People") or Casados ("Married") were applied to people of mixed Portuguese and Sri Lankan (Sinhalese and Tamil) descent, starting in the 16th century.


  1. Cheryl Sterling African Roots, Brazilian Rites: Cultural and National Identity in Brazil p226 note 22 "Jacque uses the term... instead of mulato"
  2. Edward E. Telles Race in Another America: The Significance of Skin Color in Brazil 140083743X 2014 - "The 1890 census, like the previous census, used the color categories white, black, and caboclo, but the term mestiço was substituted for pardo. Thus, I combine mestiço and caboclo to form an equivalent brown category for 1890.
  3. G. Reginald Daniel Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian ... 0271052465 2012 p.148 "The Dia do Mestiço occurs on June 27, three days after the Day of the Caboclo (Dia do Caboclo), the caboclos ... although the 1890 census used the term "mestiço", subsequent censuses replaced it with "pardo", reflecting a return to previous ..."
  4. Anadelia A. Romo Brazil's Living Museum: Race, Reform, and Tradition in ... 2010 0807895946- Page 33 "THE ROLE OF THE ENVIRONMENT IN DEFINING RACE. In establishing the framework for the "problem" of racial mixing, Nina Rodriguex ... His broad definition of mestiçagem came in part from what he viewed as a long history of genetic intermingling and intermixing in Brazil's population. He believed that the crossing of races created a "truly mestiço, intermediate way of being" ..."
  5. Jacopo Corrado The Creole Elite and the Rise of Angolan Protonationalism 1604975296 2008 "That is why, instead of a term which is quite shocking for delicate spirits, society tends to prefer more ethically correct words or expressions, such as mestiço, “African” or “coloured man”."
  6. Patricia Ferraz de Matos The Colours of the Empire: Racialized Representations 0857457632 2013 p.120 "If a White father did not recognize a Mestiço child as his own, the child would be treated as Black, a bastard who belonged neither to the world of White ... The term Mestiço designated an individual of mixed European and Asian descent."
  7. Anjana Singh Fort Cochin in Kerala, 1750-1830 9004168168 2010 p.92 "In the seventeenth century, the term Castiço came to be applied to Portuguese people born in India without any infusion of Asian blood, and the term Mestiço to anyone who had a European ancestor, however remote."

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