Cajuns won’t admit that they are not as “black blood-free” as they would like to believe

Always a controversial and confusing term, the word Creole, to put it simply, means many things to many people. It derives from the Latin creare, meaning “to beget” or “create.” After the New World’s discovery, Portuguese colonists used the word crioulo to denote a New World slave of African descent. Eventually, the word was applied to all New World colonists, regardless of ethnic origin, living along the Gulf Coast, especially in Louisiana. There the Spanish introduced the word as criollo, and during Louisiana’s colonial period (1699-1803) the evolving word Creole generally referred to persons of African or European heritage born in the New World. By the nineteenth century, black, white, and mixed-race Louisianians used the term to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and Anglo-American settlers. It was during that century that the mixed-race Creoles of Color (or gens de couleur libre, “free persons of color”) came into their own as an ethnic group, enjoying many of the legal rights and privileges of whites. They occupied a middle ground between whites and enslaved blacks, and as such often possessed property and received formal educations.

One comment

  1. Hi,It is my understanding that at one time Acadians (Cajun) who settled in Louisiana became slaveholders and also intermarried with
    the eilite Creoles. Because the Creoles were already
    a mixed race, wouldn’t this mean that some Cajuns have
    a black heritage? Also, is there any information about
    Acadian land holders intermixing with their slaves?
    Later on in history, their was a split between the Cajuns
    and Creoles and now the Cajuns are more homogeneous.

    I have a French-Canadian background with ties to Louisiana
    and I believe our family has African roots and I’m trying
    to trace the lineage. Can you help explain how Cajuns
    could have black roots? Thanks.

    9/4/2005 2:47:51 AM

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