Criollo people Information
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|Regions with significant populations|
|Spanish colonial empire in the Americas|
|Predominantly Roman Catholic|
The Criollo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkɾjoʎo]) are Latin Americans who are of full or near full Spanish descent, distinguishing them from both multi-racial Latin Americans and Latin Americans of post-colonial (and not necessarily Spanish) European immigrant origin.
Historically, they were a social class in the hierarchy of the overseas colonies established by Spain beginning in the 16th century, especially in Hispanic America, comprising the locally born people of Spanish ancestry.  Although Criollos were legally Spaniards, in practice, they ranked below the Iberian-born Peninsulares. Nevertheless, they had preeminence over all the other populations: Amerindians, enslaved Africans and peoples of mixed descent. According to the Casta system, a criollo could have up to 1/8 (one great-grandparent or equivalent) Amerindian ancestry without losing social place (see Limpieza de sangre).  In the 18th and early 19th centuries, changes in the Spanish Empire's policies towards its colonies led to tensions between Criollos and Peninsulares.  The growth of local Criollo political and economic strength in their separate colonies coupled with their global geographic distribution led them to each evolve a separate (both from each other and Spain) organic national identity and viewpoint.
The word criollo and its Portuguese cognate crioulo are believed by some scholars, including the eminent Mexican anthropologist Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, to derive from the Spanish/Portuguese verb criar, meaning "to breed" or "to raise"; however, no evidence supports this derivation in early Spanish literature discussing the origin of the word.  Originally, the term was meant to distinguish the members of any foreign ethnic group who were born and "raised" locally, from those born in the group's homeland, as well as from persons of mixed ethnic ancestry. Thus, in the Portuguese colonies of Africa, português crioulo was a locally born white person of Portuguese descent; in the Americas, negro criollo or negro crioulo was a locally-born person of pure black ancestry. In Spanish colonies, an español criollo was an ethnic Spaniard who had been born in the colonies, as opposed to an español peninsular born in Spain.  Whites born in colonial Brazil, with both parents born in the Iberian Peninsula, were known as mazombos.
Limpieza de sangre or "cleanness of blood" was a legal concept in use since the Spanish Reconquista, and introduced to the Spanish colonies in the Americas. In 15th-century Spain, the concept was used to distinguish old Christians of "pure" unmixed Iberian Christian ancestry (either Southern Spanish Mozarabs or Christians from the northern kingdoms of Spain) from new Christians descending from converted Moriscos (Iberian Muslims) and Sephardim (Iberian Jews), together known as conversos (converts), whose real allegiance was institutionally distrusted.
The English word "creole" was a loan from French créole, which in turn is believed to come from Spanish criollo or Portuguese crioulo.
Criollo status was attained by people of full Spanish origin, and in very few cases in some administrative divisions within some Viceroyalties to people of a slight mixed origin (Castizo) who had one-eighth or less (the equivalent of a great grandparent) Amerindian ancestry, although in some cases individuals had more. Such cases might include the offspring of a Castizo parent and one Peninsular or Criollo parent.  This one-eighth rule, also in theory, did not apply to African admixture. In reality, officials assigned various racial categories to mix-raced people depending on their social status, what they were told or due to testimony from friends and neighbors.
Starting from the 1940s, certain historians have argued that to preserve the Spanish Crown's power in the colonies, the Spanish colonial society was based on an elaborate caste system, which related to a person's degree of descent from Spaniards. The highest-ranking castes were the españoles, Spaniards by birth or descent. The Peninsulares were the persons born in Spain, while the Criollo comprised locally born people of proven unmixed Spanish ancestry, that is, the Americas-born child of two Spanish-born Spaniards or mainland Spaniards ( peninsulares), of two Criollos, or a Spaniard and a Criollo.[ citation needed] People of mixed ancestry were classified in other castes — such as castizos, mestizos, cholos, mulatos, indios, zambos, and enslaved Africans, called blacks.
Recently, a number of historians have explicitly questioned the actual existence of this phenomenon, considering it a fabrication of Historians starting from the 1940s. Pilar Gonzalbo, in her study "The trap of the Caste", discards, on the basis of a careful revision of sources, the idea of the existence of a Caste society in New Spain, understood as a "social organization based on the race and supported by coercive power». Joanne Rappaport, in his book on New Granada, rejects the caste system as an interpretative framework for that time, discussing both the legitimacy of a model valid for the entire colonial world and the usual association between "caste" and " race ". In that same sense, the contribution of Berta Ares on the Peruvian case - the other great American viceroyalty - is going to review the term "Caste", its uses and possible meanings, returning to resume the sources, from employment in the peninsula to the Peruvian case and from the s. XVI to the s. XVIII. He can thus demonstrate his scanty use on the part of the virreinal authorities during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which would put into question such a period as the configuration and completeness of the "system". In the eighteenth century, its use would continue to be scarce and would normally appear in the plural, characterized by an ambiguity about who they were considered or not as caste: the word did not refer exclusively to the sectors of the population of mixed descent, but also to Spaniards and Indians, and appeared in addition to many other terms (commoners, nations, classes etc.)
As a whole, these recent contributions, which question the existence of a Caste system and review the use of Castes(s) and other terms in the sources, open new perspectives on the operability of these concepts as social practices in the colonial world. Discarding, or at least not assuming, the idea of the existence of a stable and coherent system, allows us to avoid getting stuck in an epistemological framework that limits and biases our interpretation, as indicated by the use of Gonzalbo's "trap" and explicit Rappaport in its conclusion.Berta Ares tells us to ask ourselves, then, whether "a society of caste existed" really or if we would be rather in the face of a construct of the historians of the 20th century. From that question my contribution is born, which also retakes a track left by Pilar Gonzalbo when he states: "In the twentieth century, the prestige of authors such as Angel Rosenblat and Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, who unreservedly admitted the concept of society of caste, has determined the perpetuation of a myth of social stratification based on race». 
While the casta system was in force, the top ecclesiastical, military and administrative positions were reserved for crown-appointed Peninsulares, most of the local land-owning elite and nobility belonged to the Criollo caste.
Poole argues that the Virgin Mary, especially as Our Lady of Guadalupe, became the chief religious devotion of the criollos. They used the story to legitimize their own social position and infuse it with an almost messianic sense of mission and identity. 
Until 1760, the Spanish colonies were ruled under laws designed by the Spanish Habsburgs which granted the American provinces great autonomy. That situation changed by the Bourbon Reforms during the reign of Charles III. Spain needed to extract increasing wealth from its colonies to support the European and global wars it needed to maintain the Spanish Empire. The Crown expanded the privileges of the Peninsulares, who took over many administrative offices which had been filled by Criollos. At the same time, reforms by the Catholic Church reduced the roles and privileges of the lower ranks of the clergy, who were mostly Criollos.[ citation needed] By the 19th century, this discriminatory policy of the Spanish Crown and the examples of the American and French revolutions, led the Criollos to rebel against the Peninsulares. With increasing support of the other castes, they engaged Spain in a fight for independence (1809–1826). The former Spanish Empire in the Americas separated into a number of independent republics.
The word criollo retains its original meaning in most Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas. In some countries, however, the word criollo has over time come to have additional meanings, such as "local" or "home-grown". For instance, comida criolla in Spanish-speaking countries refers to "local cuisine", not "cuisine of the criollos". In Portuguese, crioulo is also a racist slang term referring to blacks.  
In some countries, the term is also used to describe people from particular regions, such as the countryside or mountain areas:
- In Argentina, natives of the northwestern provinces are called criollos by their porteño counterparts from Buenos Aires. They are typically seen as more traditionally Hispanic in culture and ancestry than the melting pot of non-Hispanic European influences (particularly Italian and German) that define the people and culture of Buenos Aires. "Misa criolla" is the name of a very popular mass composed by Ariel Ramirez, and sung by Mercedes Sosa among others.
- In Perú, criollo is associated with the syncretic culture of the Pacific Coast, a mixture of Spanish, African, indigenous, and Gitano elements. Its meaning is, therefore, more similar to that of " Louisiana Creole people" than to the criollo of colonial times.
- In Puerto Rico, natives of the town of Caguas are usually referred to as criollos; professional sports teams from that town are also usually nicknamed Criollos de Caguas ("Caguas Creoles"). Caguas is located near Puerto Rico's Cordillera Central mountain area.
- In Venezuela, criollo is associated with the national culture of Venezuela. Pabellón criollo is Venezuela's national dish and the baseball Corporación Criollitos de Venezuela is a seeder to the well renowned Venezuelan Professional Baseball League among other examples. Música Criolla is a way to refer to Venezuelan traditional music i.e. joropo. In Venezuela, novelists like Rómulo Gallegos with his novel Doña Bárbara, Pedro Emilio Coll, and Luis Manuel Urbaneja Achelpohl with the novel Peonía were major exponents of the Criollismo movement.
As early as the sixteenth century in the colonial period in New Spain, criollos, or the "descendants of Spanish colonists,"  began to "distinguish themselves from the richer and more powerful peninsulares," who they referred to as gachupines (wearer of spurs), as an insult. At the same time, "Spanish-born Spaniards began to call native-born Spaniards criollos, usually by way of insult." However, over time, "those insulted began to turn the term around and use it as a slogan" or identity for themselves.  In 1563, the criollo sons of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, attempted to "remove Mexico from Spanish rule and place Martín," their half-brother, "on the throne." However, "the plot failed and the Spanish monarchy beheaded many of those involved," which suppressed expressions of open resentment from the criollos towards peninsulares for a short period. By 1623, "criollos were involved in a series of riots in Mexico." In response, a visiting Spaniard by the name of Martín Carrillo noted, "the hatred of the mother country's domination is deeply rooted, especially among the criollos." 
By the seventeenth century, criollos had become "a distinct ethnic group within Mexico," with their own Spanish dialect, cuisine, and religious beliefs. Despite being descendants of Spanish colonizers, many criollos in the period peculiarly "regarded the Aztecs as their ancestors and increasingly identified with the Indians out of a sense of shared suffering at the hands of the Spanish." Criollos felt that the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe, published by criollo priest Miguel Sánchez in Imagen de la Virgin Maria (Appearance of the Virgin Mary) in 1648, "meant that God had blessed both Mexico and those born there," and "particularly Criollos," as "God's new chosen people."  By the eighteenth century, although restricted from "holding some high government posts," the criollos formed the "wealthy and influential" class of major agriculturalists, "miners, businessmen, physicians, lawyers, university professors, clerics, and military officers." Because criollos were not perceived as equals by the Spanish peninsulares, "they felt they were unjustly treated and their relationship with their mother country was unstable and ambiguous: Spain was, and was not, their homeland." 
They [criollos] felt the same ambiguity in regard to their native land. It was difficult to consider themselves compatriots of the Indians and impossible to share their pre-Hispanic past. Even so, the best among them, if rather hazily, admired the past, even idealized it. It seemed to them that the ghost of the Roman empire had at times been embodied in the Aztec empire. The criollo dream was the creation of a Mexican empire, and its archetypes were Rome and Tenochtitlán. The criollos were aware of the bizarre nature of their situation but, as happens in such cases, they were unable to transcend it — they were enmeshed in nets of their own weaving. Their situation was cause for pride and for scorn, for celebration and humiliation. The criollos adored and abhorred themselves. [...] They saw themselves as extraordinary, unique beings and were unsure whether to rejoice or weep before that self-image. They were bewitched by their own uniqueness. 
Ongoing resentment between criollos and peninsulares erupted in the early nineteenth century as a consequence of French Emperor Napoleon I overthrowing Charles IV of Spain, which "led a group of peninsulares to take charge in Mexico City and arrest several officials, including criollos." This, in turn, "led the criollo priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla to begin a campaign for Mexican independence from Spain," launched in Hidalgo's home city of Dolores, Guanajuato in 1810. His campaign gained support among many "Indians and mestizos, but despite seizing a number of cities," his forces failed to capture Mexico City. In the summer of 1811, Hidalgo was captured by the Spanish and executed. Despite being led by a criollo, "many criollos did not join the independence movement" and it was reported that "fewer than one hundred criollos fought with Hidalgo." While many criollos in the period resented their "second-class status" compared to peninsulares, they were "afraid that the overthrow of the Spanish might mean sharing power with Indians and mestizos, whom they considered to be their inferiors." Additionally, due to their privileged social class position, "many criollos had prospered under Spanish rule and did not want to threaten their livelihoods." 
Criollos only undertook direct action in the Mexican independence movement when "a new regime in Spain threatened to attack church power and property in Mexico," which was "deplored by most criollos, who began to favor a split from Spain." It was therefore the "criollos' concern about their property and status that finally led to independence in 1821," under the authority of criollo Agustín de Iturbide. Iturbide was the son of a "wealthy Spanish landowner and a Mexican mother" who ascended through the ranks of the Spanish colonial army to become a colonel. Iturbide fought against "all the major Mexican independence leaders since 1810, including Hidalgo, José María Morelos y Pavón, and Vicente Guerrero," and according to some historians, his "reasons for supporting independence had more to do with personal ambition than radical notions of equality and freedom." 
Mexican independence from Spain in 1821 resulted in the beginning of criollo rule in Mexico as they became "firmly in control of the newly independent state." Although direct Spanish rule was now gone, "by and large, Mexicans of primarily European descent governed the nation."  The period was also marked by the expulsion of the peninsulares from Mexico, of which a substantial source of "criollo pro-expulsionist sentiment was mercantile rivalry between Mexicans and Spaniards during a period of severe economic decline," internal political turmoil, and substantial loss of territory.  Leadership "changed hands 48 times between 1825 and 1855" alone "and the period witnessed both the Mexican-American War and the loss of Mexico's northern territories to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase." Some credit the "criollos' inexperience in government" and leadership as a cause for this turmoil. It was only "under the rule of noncriollos such as the Indian Benito Juárez and the mestizo Porfiro Díaz" that Mexico "experienced relative [periods of] calm." 
By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the criollo identity "began to disappear," with the institution of mestizaje and Indigenismo policies by the national government, which stressed a uniform homogenization of the Mexican population under the "mestizo" identity. As a result, "although some Mexicans are closer to the ethnicity of criollos than others" in contemporary Mexico, "the distinction is rarely made." During the Chicano movement, when leaders promoted the ideology of the "ancient homeland of Aztlán as a symbol of unity for Mexican Americans, leaders of the 1960s Chicano movement argued that virtually all modern Mexicans are mestizos." 
As the United States expanded westward, it annexed lands with a long-established population of Spanish-speaking settlers, who were overwhelmingly or exclusively of white Spanish ancestry (cf. White Mexican). This group became known as Hispanos. Prior to incorporation into the United States (and briefly, into Independent Texas), Hispanos had enjoyed a privileged status in the society of New Spain, and later in post-colonial Mexico.[ citation needed]
Regional subgroups of Hispanos were named for their geographic location in the so-called "internal provinces" of New Spain:
- Californios in Las Californias ("The Californias"), and later Alta California ("Upper California")
- Nuevomexicanos in Spanish New Mexico, and later Mexican New Mexico (Nuevo México)
- Tejanos in Spanish Texas, and later Mexican Texas (Tejas)
Another group of Hispanos, the Isleños ("Islanders"), are named after their geographic origin in the Old World, namely the Canary Islands. In the US today, this group is primarily associated with the state of Louisiana.
- Donghi, Tulio Halperín (1993). The Contemporary History of Latin America. Duke University Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-8223-1374-X.
- Carrera, Magali M. (2003). Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture). University of Texas Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-292-71245-4.
- Mike Duncan (12 June 2016). "Revolutions Podcast" (Podcast). Mike Duncan. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
- Peter A. Roberts (2006). "The odyssey of criollo". In Linda A. Thornburg, Janet M. Miller (eds.). Studies in Contact Linguistics: Essays in Honor of Glenn G. Gilbert. Peter Lang. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8204-7934-7.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter ( link)
- Genealogical historical guide to Latin America - Page 52
- Stafford Poole, Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Origins and Sources of a Mexican National Symbol, 1531-1797 (1995)
- "Portugal: Autarca proíbe funcionária de falar crioulo - Primeiro diário caboverdiano em linha". A Semana. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Racismo na controversa UnB - Opinião e Notícia". Opiniaoenoticia.com.br. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- Paz, Octavio (1990). Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries. Bulfinch Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780821217979.
- Lasso de la Vega, Luis (1998). Sousa, Lisa; Poole C.M., Stafford; Lockhart, James (eds.). The Story of Guadalupe: Luis Laso de la Vega's Huei tlamahuiçoltica of 1649. Stanford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780804734837.
- Campbell, Andrew (2002). Stacy, Lee (ed.). Mexico and the United States. Marshall Cavendish Corp. pp. 245–246. ISBN 9780761474036.
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- Sims, Harold (1990). The Expulsion of Mexico's Spaniards, 1821-1836. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 18. ISBN 9780822985242.
- Will Fowler. Latin America, 1800-2000: Modern History for Modern Languages. Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-340-76351-3
- Carrera, Magali Marie (2003). Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings. Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture. Austin: University of Texas. ISBN 978-0-292-71245-4.
|Casta terms for miscegenation in Spanish America|