Miscegenation definition sociology with types periods and influence


When we speak of mixing are referring to the process by which different people with different cultures are mixed together. The clearest case of mixing is occurring in the Americas after the Spanish conquest . With the discovery of America , the mixture between cultures and peoples begins, where Native Americans occupy the place of dominated and Europeans the place of dominator. In addition, the African population that was brought to America to work as slaves is included in this process . In this article we will give you the definition of  Miscegenation in sociology.

What is miscegenation?

The word miscegenation comes from the Latin mixticius which means mixture. Mestizaje is defined as the meeting of cultures and genes between several different ethnic groups, thus creating new ethnic groups . This began to occur after the colonization process carried out by the Europeans, in continents such as America, Asia and Africa. Behind mestizaje there are power relations, where some have control over others, in this way mestizaje also includes the elimination or invisibility of the culture of the dominated; the union occurs in an unequal context where the dominant culture ends up imposing itself. This is the case of Colonial America where European culture predominates eliminating the customs of the natives, for example, with the imposition of the Catholic religion., from which, the worship of indigenous gods is taken as heresy and is punished.

Much is said that miscegenation only occurred during colonial times, however this type of crossing of races has occurred since prehistoric times . A clear example of this was in Europe in the early Middle Ages .

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Some types of mestizos

Although when speaking of mestizos it refers to the fact of the meeting of different races, there are some crosses that acquired a specific name, each one based on the origin of each of its members. We must bear in mind that colonial society is based on a class organization divided into castes , where the condition of either mestizo, zambo or creole also determines the place they occupy in society.

  • Mestizo : it is the cross between an indigenous and a European .
  • Mulatto : it is the cross of an African with a European .
  • Zambo : it is the cross of an African with an indigenous .
  • Moorish : it is the crossing of a mulatto with a European .
  • Cholo : it is the cross of a mestizo with an indigenous .
  • Castizo : it is the cross of a mestizo with a European .
  • Creole : the children of Spaniards born in America were called in this way.

Period in which miscegenation developed

After the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 is where the period of miscegenation begins . With the clash between two very different civilizations, with cultures that were not related to each other since neither one nor the other knew of the existence of other peoples beyond the continent. The conquerors sexually exploited the Native Americans, there were also mutually agreed relationships, resulting in the emergence of a new mestizo population .

The miscegenation also included the African population who came to America as slaves . That they have been slaves does not mean that they were not related to other sectors of the population, so it was that the categories of zambo and mulatto emerged. The black population occupied the lowest place in the class society, this was changing as slavery was abolished and with the independence of the American countries ( Independence of Argentina – Independence of Mexico ), since it passes from a class society or one where by law all citizens are equal.

Influence of crossbreeding culture

After the invasion of the Spanish, the indigenous peoples were oppressed and any evolution in their indigenous civilizations was interrupted. The abrupt change in culture occurred given that they did not share absolutely anything regarding the hierarchical order, customs or religion, for which they forced the natives to adapt to the new norms that were imposed by the Spaniards with their arrival .

Thus we see that the process of miscegenation also includes the oppression of a large number of people. Miscegenation was carried out in a context of exploitation of the indigenous and slave population, where production was aimed at generating benefits for European powers . Indians and slaves opposed resistance to this domination, reaching rebel violently: the greatest example of these rebellions is the rebellion led by Tupac Amaru II in the area of the Viceroyalty of the Peru in 1780, this was the largest uprising against the Spanish crown of the colonial period. This rebellion was defeated by the Spanish authorities and Tupac Amarú II was sentenced to death.

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Using miscegenation by newly independent governments

With the use of the concept of miscegenation, an attempt was made to make the exploitation of the Americans and Africans invisible by the conquerors. Mestizaje appears as the process of joining the different cultures, all with the same degree of participation, resulting in a richer culture.

Mestizaje is taken as the basis for the construction of national identity in the new independent states of America. “In this nationalist sense, the ideology of miscegenation is based on the idea that the postcolonial nation was based on the mixture that occurred during the colonial era between Africans, indigenous people and Europeans. The new independent nation would take the mixing process further, towards an increasingly homogeneous nation ”. An attempt was made to hide the differences between American cultures and the exploitation they suffered, to put national identity first.

Influence of crossbreeding in religion

Both Europeans and Indians had different religious customs, the natives were polytheists and the Europeans monotheists . Even so, two great religions were maintained: Christianity, which was what Europeans professed, and some indigenous people were educated to adopt this religion; and the religious cults of the natives at that time . It was increasingly difficult for the natives to maintain the cult of their gods as they were persecuted by the conquerors. The official religion was Catholic , who did not profess this religion were seen as heretics .

Reaction of the crown to miscegenation

Before beginning the trips where the indigenous peoples of America were discovered, it had been made clear to the Spaniards that they were strictly prohibited from crossing with women of other races, in this case indigenous women. Therefore, the miscegenation caused great surprise for the government not only because they ignored the order that had been given to them, but also because they realized that the Spaniards decided to take care of their mestizo families, providing them with sustenance and shelter .

Privileges of being mestizo

In the first period of conquest, those who were born mestizos had quite a great social prestige because their parents were conquerors and, on the other hand, their mothers were women who had a high indigenous rank because they mostly offered them as a peace offering. An example of this is Garcilaso de la Vega who proudly admitted to being mestizo.

The category of mestizo was well positioned in society, to the detriment of the categories that were related to African people.

Consequences of miscegenation

If we speak from genetics, there are people who consider that the genetic crossing between ethnic groups generated great physical strength . On the other hand, after some negative aspects of the conquest, the descendants of these ethnic crosses had a certain suspicion with those who had a more Creole or European aspect . In some way, they carried a cultural and genetic resentment that was a consequence of the massacres that occurred in previous years.

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