Miscegenation (/mɪˌsɛˈnʃən/; from the Latin miscere "to mix" + genus "kind") is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, or procreation.[1] Because of the term's historical use in contexts that typically implied disapproval, more unambiguously neutral terms such as interracial, interethnic or cross-cultural are more common in contemporary usage.

The term miscegenation has been used since the 19th century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations,[1] and more generally to the process of genetic admixture. Historically, the term has been used in the context of laws banning interracial marriage and sex, known as anti-miscegenation laws.[2] The Latin term entered historical records during European colonialism and the Age of Discovery, but societies such as China and Japan also had restrictions on marrying with people whom they considered to be of a different race.


In the present day, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests a concrete biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships. The term's historical use in contexts that typically implied disapproval is also a reason why more unambiguously neutral terms such as interracial, interethnic or cross-cultural are more common in contemporary usage.[3] The term remains in use among scholars when referring to past practices concerning multiraciality, such as anti-miscegenation laws that banned interracial marriages.[4]

In Spanish, Portuguese and French, the words used to describe the mixing of races are mestizaje, mestiçagem and métissage. These words, much older than the term miscegenation, are derived from the Late Latin mixticius for "mixed", which is also the root of the Spanish word mestizo. Portuguese also uses miscigenação, derived from the same Latin root as the English word. These non-English terms for "race-mixing" are not considered as offensive as "miscegenation", although they have historically been tied to the caste system (Casta) that was established during the colonial era in Spanish-speaking Latin America. Some groups in South America, however, consider the use of the word mestizo offensive because it was used during the times of the colony to refer specifically to the mixing between the conquistadores and the indigenous people.

Today, the mixes among races and ethnicities are diverse, so it is considered preferable to use the term "mixed-race" or simply "mixed" (mezcla). In Portuguese-speaking Latin America (i.e., Brazil), a milder form of caste system existed, although it also provided for legal and social discrimination among individuals belonging to different races, since slavery for blacks existed until the late 19th century. Intermarriage occurred significantly from the very first settlements, with their descendants achieving high rank in government and society. To this day, there are controversies if Brazilian class system would be drawn mostly around socio-economic lines, not racial ones (in a manner similar to other former Portuguese colonies). Conversely, people classified in censuses as black, brown ("pardo") or indigenous have disadvantaged social indicators in comparison to the white population.[5][6]

The concept of miscegenation is tied to concepts of racial difference. As the different connotations and etymologies of miscegenation and mestizaje suggest, definitions of race, "race mixing" and multiraciality have diverged globally as well as historically, depending on changing social circumstances and cultural perceptions. Mestizo are people of mixed white and indigenous, usually Amerindian ancestry, who do not self-identify as indigenous peoples or Native Americans. In Canada, however, the Métis, who also have partly Amerindian and partly white, often French-Canadian, ancestry, have identified as an ethnic group and are a constitutionally recognized aboriginal people.

The differences between related terms and words which encompass aspects of racial admixture show the impact of different historical and cultural factors leading to changing social interpretations of race and ethnicity. Thus the Comte de Montlosier, in exile during the French Revolution, equated class difference in 18th-century France with racial difference. Borrowing Boulainvilliers' discourse on the "Nordic race" as being the French aristocracy that invaded the plebeian "Gauls", he showed his contempt for the lowest social class, the Third Estate, calling it "this new people born of slaves ... mixture of all races and of all times".

Etymological history

Miscegenation comes from the Latin miscere, "to mix" and genus, "kind". The word was coined in the U.S. in 1863, and the etymology of the word is tied up with political conflicts during the American Civil War over the abolition of slavery and over the racial segregation of African-Americans. The reference to genus was made to emphasize the supposedly distinct biological differences between whites and non-whites, though all humans belong to the same genus, Homo, and the same species, Homo sapiens.

The word was coined in an anonymous propaganda pamphlet published in New York City in December 1863, during the American Civil War. The pamphlet was entitled Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro.[7] It purported to advocate the intermarriage of whites and blacks until they were indistinguishably mixed, as a desirable goal, and further asserted that this was the goal of the Republican Party. The pamphlet was a hoax, concocted by Democrats, to discredit the Republicans by imputing to them what were then radical views that offended against the attitudes of the vast majority of whites, including those who opposed slavery. There was already much opposition to the war effort.

The pamphlet and variations on it were reprinted widely in both the north and south by Democrats and Confederates. Only in November 1864 was the pamphlet exposed as a hoax. The hoax pamphlet was written by David Goodman Croly, managing editor of the New York World, a Democratic Party paper, and George Wakeman, a World reporter.

By then, the word miscegenation had entered the common language of the day as a popular buzzword in political and social discourse. The issue of miscegenation, raised by the opponents of Abraham Lincoln, featured prominently in the election campaign of 1864.

In the United States, miscegenation has referred primarily to the intermarriage between whites and non-whites, especially blacks.

Before the publication of Miscegenation, the word amalgamation, borrowed from metallurgy, had been in use as a general term for ethnic and racial intermixing. A contemporary usage of this metaphor was that of Ralph Waldo Emerson's private vision in 1845 of America as an ethnic and racial smelting-pot, a variation on the concept of the melting pot. Opinions in the U.S on the desirability of such intermixing, including that between white Protestants and Irish Catholic immigrants, were divided. The term miscegenation was coined to refer specifically to the intermarriage of blacks and whites, with the intent of galvanising opposition to the war.[8]

The concept of miscegenation

Franz Boas (considered to be the father of American cultural anthropology) as well as many of his students, such as Ashley Montagu, considered race to be an invalid concept.[9] In that point of view, if the concept of race is invalid, then miscegenation as the crossing of races is equally invalid. In that view, there is only one race, the human race, and all differences in various people(s) are superficial. Such ideas are pursued in greater depth in Montagu's books on the subject.[10][11]

Laws banning miscegenation

Laws banning "race-mixing" were enforced in certain U.S. states from 1691[12] until 1967 (though still on the books in some states until 2000),[13] in Nazi Germany (the Nuremberg Laws) from 1935 until 1945, and in South Africa during the early part of the Apartheid era (1949–1985). All these laws primarily banned marriage between persons of different racially or ethnically defined groups, which was termed "amalgamation" or "miscegenation" in the U.S. The laws in Nazi Germany and laws in many U.S. states, as well as laws in South Africa, also banned sexual relations between such individuals.

In the United States, various state laws prohibited marriages between whites and blacks, and in many states they also prohibited marriages between whites and Native Americans or Asians.[14] In the U.S., such laws were known as anti-miscegenation laws. From 1913 until 1948, 30 out of the then 48 states enforced such laws.[15] Although an "Anti-Miscegenation Amendment" to the United States Constitution was proposed in 1871, in 1912–1913, and in 1928,[16][17] no nationwide law against racially mixed marriages was ever enacted. In 1967, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Loving v. Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional. With this ruling, these laws were no longer in effect in the remaining 16 states that still had them.

The Nazi ban on interracial sexual relations and marriages was enacted in September 1935 as part of the Nuremberg Laws, the Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre (The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour). The Nuremberg Laws classified Jews as a race, and forbade extramarital sexual relations and marriage between persons classified as "Aryan" and "non-Aryan". Violation of this was condemned as Rassenschande (lit. "race-disgrace") and could be punished by imprisonment (usually followed by deportation to a concentration camp) and even by death.

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act in South Africa, enacted in 1949, banned intermarriage between different racial groups, including between whites and non-whites. The Immorality Act, enacted in 1950, also made it a criminal offense for a white person to have any sexual relations with a person of a different race. Both laws were repealed in 1985.

History of ethnoracial admixture and attitudes towards miscegenation


Jean Ping the Deputy Prime Minister of Gabon who has a Chinese father and a black Gabonese mother was elected as Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union on 1 February 2008.
Jerry John Rawlings, an ex-president of Ghana, is the son of a Scottish father and a black Ghanaian mother.

Africa has a long history of interracial mixing with male Arab and European explorers, traders and soldiers having sexual relations with black African women as well as taking them as wives. Arabs played a big role in the African slave trade and unlike the trans-atlantic slave trade most of the black African slaves in the Arab slave trade were women. Most of them were used as sexual slaves by the Arab men and some were even taken as wives.[18]

Sir Richard Francis Burton writes, during his expedition to Africa, about relationships between black women and white men: "The women are well disposed toward strangers of fair complexion, apparently with the permission of their husbands." There are several mulatto populations throughout Africa mostly the results of interracial relationships between Arab and European men and black women. In South Africa there are big mulatto communities like the Coloureds and Griqua formed by White colonists taking native African wives. In Namibia there is a community called the Rehoboth Basters formed by the interracial marriage of Dutch/German men and black African women.

In the former Portuguese Africa (now known as Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde) racial mixing between white Portuguese and black Africans was fairly common, especially in Cape Verde where the majority of the population is of mixed descent.

There have been some recorded cases of Chinese merchants and labourers taking African wives throughout Africa as many Chinese workers were employed to build railways and other infrastructural projects in Africa. These labour groups were made up completely of men with very few Chinese women coming to Africa.

In West Africa, especially Nigeria there are many cases of Lebanese men taking African women. Many of their offsprings have gained prominent positions in Africa. Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, who has a Scottish father and a black Ghanaian mother became the president of Ghana. Jean Ping, the son of a Chinese trader and a black Gabonese mother, became the deputy prime minister as well as the foreign minister of Gabon and was the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union from 2009 to 2012. The president of Botswana, Ian Khama, is the son of Botswana's first president, Seretse Khama, and a white (British) woman, Ruth Williams.

Indian men, who have long been traders in East Africa, somettimes married among local African women. The British Empire brought many Indian workers into East Africa to build the Uganda Railway. Indians eventually populated South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Zaire in small numbers. These interracial unions were mostly unilateral marriages between Indian men and East African women.[19]


In the late 19th to early 20th century, Chinese men in Mauritius married Indian women due to a lack of Chinese women and the higher numbers of Indian women on the island.[20][21] Initially, the prospect of relations with Indian women was unappealing to the male Chinese migrants. However, due to the lack of Chinese females entering the country, the Chinese men eventually established sexual unions with Indian women.[22] A similar situation happened in Guyana, where the idea of sexual relations with Indian women was initially unappealing to the Chinese migrants. Eventually their attitudes changed as well and Chinese men established sexual relationships with Indian women.[23] The 1921 census in Mauritius counted that Indian women there had a total of 148 children fathered by Chinese men.[24][25][26] These Chinese were mostly traders.[27]


The majority of the population of Réunion is defined as mixed race. In the last 350 years, various ethnic groups (Africans, Chinese, English, French, Gujarati Indians, Tamil Indians) have arrived and settled on the island. There have been mixed race people on the island since its first permanent inhabitation in 1665.


There was frequent intermixing between the Austronesian and Bantu-speaking populations of Madagascar. A large number of the Malagasy today are the result of admixture between Austronesians and Africans. This is most evident in the Mikea, who are also the last known Malagasy population to still practice a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Additional information is that most of the African admixture is patrilineal while most of the Austronesian admixture is matrilineal. This means that the majority of the intermixing were between black African males and Austronesian females.[28][29]In the study of "The Dual Origin of the Malagasy in Island Southeast Asia and East Africa: Evidence from Maternal and Paternal Lineages" shows the Bantu maternal origin to be 38% and Paternal 51% while the Southeast Asian paternal to be 34% and maternal 62%.[30] In the study of Malagasy, autosomal DNA shows the highlanders ethnic group like Merina are almost an even mixture of Southeast Asian and Bantu origin, while the coastal ethnic group have much higher Bantu mixture in their autosomal DNA suggesting they are mixture of new Bantu migrants and the already established highlander ethnic group. Maximum-likelihood estimates favour a scenario in which Madagascar was settled approximately 1200 years ago by a very small group of women of approximately 30.[31] The Malagasy people existed through intermarriages between the small founding population.

Intermarriage between Chinese men and native Malagasy women was not uncommon.[32] Several thousand Cantonese men intermarried and cohabited with Malagasy women. 98% of the Chinese traced their origin from Guangdong—more specifically, the Cantonese district of Shunde. For example, the 1954 census found 1,111 "irregular" Chinese-Malagasy unions and 125 legitimate, i.e., legally married. Children were registered by their mothers under a Malagasy name. Intermarriage between French men and Native Malagasy women was not uncommon either.


United States

US President Barack Obama is the son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father.

Historically, "race mixing" between black and white people was taboo in the United States. So-called anti-miscegenation laws, barring blacks and whites from marrying or having sex, were established in colonial America as early as 1691.[12] The 1691 Virginia law was amended in 1705 to remove "Indian-white" from the prohibition. Thomas Jefferson's policy proposal for dealing with Native Americans was "to let our settlements and theirs meet and blend together, to intermix, and become one people."[33]

The historical taboo among American whites surrounding white-black relationships can be seen as a historical consequence of the oppression and racial segregation of African-Americans.[34][35] In many U.S. states, interracial marriage was already illegal when the term miscegenation was invented in 1863. The first laws banning interracial marriage were introduced in the late 17th century in the slave-holding colonies of Virginia (1691) and Maryland (1692). Later these laws also spread to colonies and states where slavery did not exist.

It has also been argued that the first laws banning interracial marriage were a response by the planter elite to the problems they were facing due to the socio-economic dynamics of the plantation system in the Southern colonies. The bans in Virginia and Maryland were established at a time when slavery was not yet fully institutionalized. At the time, most forced laborers on the plantations were predominately white indentured servants. Some historians have suggested that the at-the-time unprecedented laws banning interracial marriage were originally invented by planters as a divide and rule tactic after the uprising of servants in Bacon's Rebellion. According to this theory, the ban on interracial marriage was issued to split up the racially mixed, increasingly mixed-race labour force into whites, who were given their freedom, and blacks, who were later treated as slaves rather than as indentured servants. By forbidding interracial marriage, it became possible to keep these two new groups separated and prevent a new rebellion.[36]

U.S States, by the date of repeal of anti-miscegenation laws:
  No laws passed
  Before 1887
  1948 to 1967
  12 June 1967

In 1918, there was considerable controversy in Arizona when an Asian-Indian farmer B. K. Singh married the sixteen-year-old daughter of one of his white tenants.[37] During and after slavery, most American whites regarded interracial marriage between whites and blacks as taboo. However, during slavery many white American men and women did conceive children with black partners. These children automatically became slaves if the mother was a slave or were born free if the mother was free, as slavery was matrilineal. Some children were freed by their slave-holding fathers or bought to be emancipated if the father was not the owner. Many children of these unions formed enclaves under names such as Colored and Gens de couleur, etc. Most mixed-raced descendants merged into the African-American ethnic group during the Jim Crow era.

Genetic research suggests that a considerable minority of white Americans (estimated at 1/3 of the population by some geneticists such as Mark Shriver) has some distant African ancestry, and that the majority of black Americans have some European ancestry. After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery in 1865, the marriage of white and black Americans continued to be taboo, particularly in the former slave states.

The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930, also known as Hays Code, explicitly stated that the depiction of "miscegenation... is forbidden." One important strategy intended to discourage the marriage of white Americans and Americans of partly African descent was the promulgation of the one-drop theory, which held that any person with any known African ancestry, however remote, must be regarded as "black." This definition of blackness was encoded in the anti-miscegenation laws of various U.S. states, such as Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The plaintiffs in Loving v. Virginia, Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving became the historically most prominent interracial couple in the US through their legal struggle against this act.

Robert De Niro and his wife Grace Hightower. Census data showed 117,000 black wife-white husband couples in 2006.[38]

Throughout American history, there has been frequent mixing between Native Americans and black Africans. When Native Americans invaded the European colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1622, they killed the Europeans but took the African slaves as captives, gradually integrating them. Interracial relationships occurred between African Americans and members of other tribes along coastal states. During the transitional period of Africans becoming the primary race enslaved, Native Americans were sometimes enslaved with them. Africans and Native Americans worked together, some even intermarried and had mixed children. The relationship between Africans and Native-Americans was seen as a threat to Europeans and European-Americans, who actively tried to divide Native-Americans and Africans and put them against each other.[39]

During the 18th Century, some Native American women turned to freed or runaway African men due to a major decline in the male population in Native American villages. At the same time, the early slave population in America was disproportionately male. Records show that some Native American women bought African men as slaves. Unknown to European sellers, the women freed and married the men into their tribe. Some African men chose Native American women as their partners because their children would be free, as the child's status followed that of the mother. The men could marry into some of the matrilineal tribes and be accepted, as their children were still considered to belong to the mother's people. As European expansion increased in the Southeast, African and Native American marriages became more numerous.[40]

From the mid 19th to 20th centuries, many black people and ethnic Mexicans intermarried with each other in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in South Texas (mostly in Cameron County and Hidalgo County). In Cameron County, 38% of black people were interracially married (7/18 families) while in Hidalgo County the number was 72% (18/25 families). These two counties had the highest rates of interracial marriages involving at least one black spouse in the United States. The vast majority of these marriages involved black men marrying ethnic Mexican women or first generation Tejanas (Texas-born women of Mexican descent). Since ethnic Mexicans were considered white by Texas officials and the U.S. government, such marriages were a violation of the state's anti-miscegenation laws. Yet, there is no evidence that anyone in South Texas was prosecuted for violating this law. The rates of this interracial marriage dynamic can be traced back to when black men moved into the Lower Rio Grande Valley after the Civil War ended. They married into ethnic Mexican families and joined other black people who found sanctuary on the U.S./Mexico border.[41]

In the mid 19th to 20th centuries, the Chinese that migrated were almost entirely of Cantonese origin. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese men in the U.S, mostly of Cantonese origin from Taishan migrated to the United States. Anti-miscegenation laws in many states prohibited Chinese men from marrying white women.[42] After the Emancipation Proclamation, many intermarriages in some states were not recorded and historically, Chinese American men married African American women in high proportions to their total marriage numbers due to few Chinese American women being in the United States. After the Emancipation Proclamation, many Chinese Americans migrated to the Southern states, particularly Arkansas, to work on plantations. For example, in 1880, the tenth US Census of Louisiana alone counted 57% of interracial marriages between these Chinese to be with black and 43% to be with white women.[43] Between 20 and 30 percent of the Chinese who lived in Mississippi married black women before 1940.[44] In a genetic study of 199 samples from African American males found one belong to haplogroup O2a ( or 0.5% )[45] It was discovered by historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr in the African American Lives documentary miniseries that NASA astronaut Mae Jemison has a significant (above 10%) genetic East Asian admixture. Gates speculated that the intermarriage/relations between migrant Chinese workers during the 19th century and black, or African-American slaves or ex-slaves might have contributed to her ethnic genetic make-up. In the mid 1850s, 70 to 150 Chinese were living in New York City and 11 of them married Irish women. In 1906 the New York Times (6 August) reported that 300 white women (Irish American) were married to Chinese men in New York, with many more cohabited. In 1900, based on Liang research, of the 120,000 men in more than 20 Chinese communities in the United States, he estimated that one out of every twenty Chinese men (Cantonese) was married to a white woman.[46] In the 1960s census showed 3500 Chinese men married to white women and 2900 Chinese women married to white men.[47]

Accusations of support for miscegenation were commonly made by slavery defenders against Abolitionists before the Civil War. After the war, similar charges were used by white segregationists against advocates of equal rights for African Americans. They were said to be secretly plotting the destruction of the white race through miscegenation. In the 1950s, segregationists alleged a Communist plot funded by the Soviet Union with that goal. In 1957, segregationists cite the anti-semitic hoax A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century as evidence for these claims.

Bob Jones University banned interracial dating until 2000.[48]

Asians were specifically included in some state laws. California continued to ban Asian/white marriages until the Perez v. Sharp decision in 1948.

Tiger Woods refers to his ethnic make-up as "Cablinasian" (Caucasian, black, Indian, and Asian) to describe the racial mixture he inherited from his African-American father and Thai mother.[49]

In the United States, segregationists, including modern Christian Identity groups, have claimed that several passages in the Bible,[50] for example the stories of Phinehas and of the so-called "curse of Ham," should be understood as referring to miscegenation and that certain verses expressly forbid it. Most theologians read these verses and references as forbidding interreligious marriage, rather than interracial marriage.[51]

Interracial marriage has become increasingly accepted in the United States as a result of the Civil Rights movement.[52] Approval of mixed marriages in national opinion polls has risen from 4% in 1958, 20% in 1968 (at the time of the SCOTUS decision), 36% in 1978, to 48% in 1991, 65% in 2002, 77% in 2007, and 86% in 2011.[53][54] The most notable American of mixed race is the current President of the United States, Barack Obama, who is the product of a mixed marriage between a black father and white mother. Nevertheless, as late as 2009, a Louisiana justice of the peace refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, justifying the decision on grounds of concern for any children the couple might have.[55]


The majority of Hawaiian Chinese were Cantonese migrants from Guangdong with a minority from Hakka. If all people with Chinese ancestry in Hawaii (including the Chinese-Hawaiians) are included, they form about 1/3 of Hawaii's entire population. Many thousands of them married women of Hawaiian as well as Hawaiian/European and European origin. A large percentage of the Chinese men married Hawaiian and Hawaiian/European women. The 12,592 Asiatic-Hawaiians enumerated in 1930 were the result of Chinese men intermarrying with Hawaiian and part Hawaiian/European. Most Asiatic-Hawaiians men also married Hawaiians and European women (and vice versa). On the census some Chinese with little native blood would be classified as Chinese, not as Asiatic-Hawaiians due to dilution of native blood. Intermarriage started to decline in the 1920s.[56][57] Portuguese and other Caucasian women often married Chinese men.[58][59] These unions between Chinese men and Portuguese women resulted in children of mixed Chinese Portuguese parentage, called Chinese-Portuguese. For two years ending 30 June 1933, 38 of these children were born; they were classified as pure Chinese because their fathers were Chinese.[56] A large amount of mingling took place between Chinese and Portuguese, Chinese men married Portuguese, Spanish, Hawaiian, Caucasian-Hawaiian, etc.[60][61][62][63] Only one Chinese man was recorded marrying an American woman.[64][65] Chinese men in Hawaii also married Puerto Rican, Portuguese, Japanese, Greek, and half-white women.[66][67]

Latin America

Free Women of Color with their Children and Servants, oil painting by Agostino Brunias, Dominica, c. 1764–1796
A Brazilian family each generation becoming "whiter" (black grandmother, mulatto mother and white child), 1895

About 300,000 Cantonese coolies and migrants (almost all males) were shipped during 1849–1874 to Latin America; many of them intermarried and cohabited with the Black, Mestizo, and European population of Cuba, Peru, Guyana, and Trinidad.

In addition, Latin American societies also witnessed growth in both Church-sanctioned and common law marriages between Africans and the non colored.[68]


About 100,000 Chinese coolies (almost all males) during 1849–1874 migrated to Peru and intermarried with Peruvian women of Mestizo, European, Ameridian, European/Mestizo, African and mulatto origin. Thus, many Peruvian Chinese today are of mixed Chinese, Spanish, African, or Ameridian ancestry. One estimate for Chinese-Peruvian mixture is about 1.3–1.6 millions. Asian Peruvians are estimated to be 3% of the population, but one source places the number of citizens with some Chinese ancestry at 4.2 million, which equates to 15% of the country's total population.[69] In Peru non-Chinese women married the mostly male Chinese coolies.[70]

There were almost no women among the nearly entirely male Chinese coolie population that migrated to Peru and Cuba.[71][72] Peruvian women were married to these Chinese male migrants.[73][74][75][76][77] African women particularly had mostly no intercourse with Chinese men during their labor as coolies, while Chinese had contact with Peruvian women in cities, there they formed relationships and sired mixed babies, these women originated from Andean and coastal areas and did not originally come from the cities, in the haciendas on the coast in rural areas, native young women of indígenas (native) and serranas (mountain) origin from the Andes mountains would come down to work, these Andean native women were favored as marital partners by Chinese men over Africans, with matchmakers arranging for communal marriages of Chinese men to indígenas and serranas young women.[78] There was a racist reaction by Peruvians to the marriages of Peruvian women and Chinese men.[79] When native Peruvian women (cholas and natives, Indias, indígenas) and Chinese men had mixed children, the children were called injerto and once these injertos emerged, Chinese men then sought out girls of injertas origins as marriage partners, children born to black mothers were not called injertos.[80] Low class Peruvians established sexual unions or marriages with the Chinese men and some black and Indian women "bred" with the Chinese according to Alfredo Sachettí, who claimed the mixing was causing the Chinese to suffer from "progressive degeneration", in Casa Grande highland Indian women and Chinese men participated in communal "mass marriages" with each other, arranged when highland women were brought by a Chinese matchmaker after receiving a down payment.[81][82]

In Peru and Cuba some Indian (Native American), mulatto, black, and white women engaged in carnal relations or marriages with Chinese men, with marriages of mulatto, black, and white woman being reported by the Cuba Commission Report and in Peru it was reported by the New York Times that Peruvian black and Indian (Native) women married Chinese men to their own advantage and to the disadvantage of the men since they dominated and "subjugated" the Chinese men despite the fact that the labor contract was annulled by the marriage, reversing the roles in marriage with the Peruvian woman holding marital power, ruling the family and making the Chinese men slavish, docile, "servile", "submissive" and "feminine" and commanding them around, reporting that "Now and then...he [the Chinese man] becomes enamored of the charms of some sombre-hued chola (Native Indian and mestiza woman) or samba (mixed black woman), and is converted and joins the Church, so that may enter the bonds of wedlock with the dusky señorita."[83] Chinese men were sought out as husbands and considered a "catch" by the "dusky damsels" (Peruvian women) because they were viewed as a "model husband, hard-working, affectionate, faithful and obedient" and "handy to have in the house", the Peruvian women became the "better half" instead of the "weaker vessel" and would command their Chinese husbands "around in fine style" instead of treating them equally, while the labor contract of the Chinese coolie would be nullified by the marriage, the Peruvian wife viewed the nullification merely as the previous "master" handing over authority over the Chinese man to her as she became his "mistress", keeping him in "servitude" to her, speedily ending any complaints and suppositions by the Chinese men that they would have any power in the marriage.[84]


120,000 Cantonese coolies (all males) entered Cuba under contract for 80 years. Most did not marry, but Hung Hui (1975:80) states there was a frequency of sexual activity between black women and Cantonese coolies. According to Osberg, (1965:69) the Chinese often bought slave women and freed them, expressly for marriage. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Chinese men (Cantonese) engaged in sexual activity with white and black Cuban women, and from such relations many children were born. (For a British Caribbean model of Chinese cultural retention through procreation with black women, see Patterson, 322-31).[85] In the 1920s an additional 30000 Cantonese and small groups of Japanese arrived; both immigrations were exclusively male, and there was rapid mingling with white, black, and mulato populations.[86][87] In the CIA World Factbook: Cuba (15 May 2008) the authors estimated 114,240 people with Chinese-Cuban ancestry and only 300 pure Chinese.[88] In the study of genetic origin, admixture, and asymmetry in maternal and paternal human lineages in Cuba, 35 Y-chromosome SNPs were typed in the 132 male individuals of the Cuban sample. The study did not include any people with some Chinese ancestry. All the samples were white and black Cubans. 2 out of 132 male samples belong to East Asian Haplogroup O2 which is found in significant frequencies among Cantonese people.[89]

Costa Rica

The Chinese in Costa Rica originated from Cantonese male migrants. Pure Chinese make up only 1% of the Costa Rican population but, according to Jacqueline M. Newman, as much as ten percent of the people in Costa Rica are Chinese, if counting the people who are Chinese, married to a Chinese, or of mixed Chinese descent.[90] Most Chinese immigrants since then have been Cantonese, but in the last decades of the 20th century, a number of immigrants have also come from Taiwan. Many men came alone to work, married Costa Rican women, and speak Cantonese. However, the majority of the descendants of the first Chinese immigrants no longer speak Cantonese and think of themselves as full Costa Ricans.[91] They married Tican women (who are a blend of European, Castizo, Mestizo, Indian, Black).[92] A Tican is also a white person with small amount of non-white blood, like Castizo. The 1989 census shows about 98% of Costa Ricans were either White, Castizo, Mestizos, with 80% being White or Castizo. Up to the 1940s men made up the vast majority of the Costa Rican Chinese community.[93] Males made up the majority of the original Chinese community in Mexico and they married Mexican women.[94]

Many Africans in Costa Rica also intermarried with other races. In late colonial Cartago, 33% of 182 married African males and 7% of married African females were married to a spouse of another race. The figures were even more striking in San Jose' where 55% of the 134 married African males and 35% of the 65 married African females were married to another race (mostly mestizos). In Cartago itself, two African males were enumerated with Spanish wives and three with Indian wives, while nine African females were married to Indian males. Spaniards rarely cohabited with mulatto women except in the cattle range region bordering Nicaragua to the north. There as well, two Spanish women were living with African males.[68]

Mulatto child of a white father and black mother, Mexico, 18th century
British West Indies

Miscegenation has never been illegal in the British West Indies, and the populations of Guyana,[95][96][97] Belize,[98][99][100] Jamaica,[101][102] and Trinidad.[103][104][105][106][107] are today among the world's most diverse.

Castas painting showing the various race combinations of Colonial Mexico.

In Mexico, the concept of mestizaje (or the cultural and racial amalgamation) is an integral part of the country's identity. While frequently seen as a mixture of the indigenous and Spanish, Mexico has had a notable admixture of African and Asian heritage since the Colonial era.[108] Although reluctant at first, the Spanish government eventually legalized interracial marriage (which applied to all unions). Such relationships were still not accepted by the church however. Black female slaves also did not gain any freedom from such unions.[108]


In Buenos Aires in 1810, only 2.2 percent of African men and 2.5 percent of African women were married to the non colored (white). In 1827, the figures increased to 3.0 percent for men and 6.0 percent for women. Racial mixing increased even further as more African men began enlisting in the army. Between 1810 and 1820 only 19.9% of African men were enlisted in the army. Between 1850 and 1860, this number increased to 51.1%. This led to a sexual imbalance between African men and women in Argentine. Unions between African women and non-colored men became more common in the wake of massive Italian immigration to the country. This led one African male editorial commentator to quip that, given to the sexual imbalance in the community, black women who "could not get bread would have to settle for pasta".[68]


There were many instances when black and mulatto men would intermarry with Mayan and other native women in Guatemala. These unions were more common in some regions than others. In Escuintla (called Escuintepeque at the time), the Pipil-speaking natives who lived at higher elevations tended to live away from the lowland coastal hot lands where black and mulatto men were concentrated. Yet, as black men grew in number during this period (1671–1701), a tendency developed for them to marry native women. In Zapotitlán (also known as Suchitepéquez), Spaniards were proportionately more significant than in Escuintla. Thus the smaller African population had less opportunity for endogamy and was disappearing by the early 18th Century as blacks married Mayans and mulattoes married mestizos and lower-ranking Spaniards. Finally in Guazacapán, a Pipil district that was 10% non native, church marriages between Mayas or Pipils and free mulattoes were rare. But black men frequently married Mayan women in informal unions, which resulted in a significant population of mestizaje here and throughout the coastal region. In the Valle de las Vacas, black male slaves also intermarried with Mayan women.[109]

El Salvador

In El Salvador, there was frequent intermarriage between black male slaves and Amerindian women. Many of these slaves intermarried with Amerindian women in hopes of gaining freedom (if not for themselves, then their offspring). Many mixed African and Amerindian children resulted from these unions. The Spanish tried to prevent such Afro-Amerindian unions, but the mixing of the two groups could not be prevented. Slaves continued to pursue natives with the prospect of freedom. According to Richard Price's book Maroon Societies (1979), it is documented that during the colonial period that Amerindian women would rather marry black men than Amerindian men, and that black men would rather marry Amerindian women than black women so that their children will be born free. Price quoted this from a history by H.H. Bancroft published in 1877 referring to colonial Mexico. El Salvador's African population lived under similar circumstances, and the mixing between black men and native women was common during colonial times.[110]


During the colonial period, many black people often intermarried with the native population (mostly Aymara). The result of these relationships was the blending between the two cultures (Aymara and Afro-Bolivian).

After Bolivia's Agrarian Reform of 1953, black people (like indigenous people) migrated from their agricultural villages to the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz in search of better educational and employment opportunities. Related to this, black individuals began intermarrying with people of a lighter skin coloring such as blancos (whites) and mestizos. This was done as a means of better integration for themselves, and especially their children, into Bolivian society.[111]

Jamaica and Haiti

In Haiti, there is a sizable percentage within the minority who are of Asian descent. Haiti is also home to Marabou peoples, a half East Indian and half African people who descent from East Indian immigrants who arrived from other Caribbean nations, such Martinique and Guadeloupe and African slave descendants. Most present-day descendants of the original Marabou are products of hypodescent and, subsequently, mostly of African in ancestry.

The country also has a sizable Japanese and Chinese Haitian population. One of the country's most notable Afro-Asians is the late painter Edouard Wah who was born to a Chinese immigrant father and Afro-Haitian mother.

By some estimates, 80,000 North American and European women (most of them over the age of 40) visit Jamaica and Haiti every year for sex with young men (mostly in their 20s).[112] They're called "milk bottles."[113] While HIV/AIDS infection rates in the Caribbean are much higher than in Canada or the U.S., female sex tourists often ignore the risk and fail to use condoms.[114]

When black and Indian women had children with Chinese men the children were called chaina raial in Jamaican English.[115] The Chinese community in Jamaica was able to consolidate because an openness to marrying Indian women was present in the Chinese since Chinese women were in short supply.[116] Women sharing was less common among Indians in Jamaica according to Verene A. Shepherd.[117] The small number of Indian women were fought over between Indian men and led to a rise in the amount of wife murders by Indian men.[118] Indian women made up 11 percent of the annual amount of Indian indentured migrants from 1845–1847 in Jamaica.[119] Thousands of Chinese men and Indian men married local Jamaican women. The study "Y-chromosomal diversity in Haiti and Jamaica: Contrasting levels of sex-biased gene flow" shows the paternal Chinese haplogroup O-M175 at a frequency of 3.8% in local Jamaicans ( non-Chinese Jamaicans) including the Indian H-M69 (0.6%) and L-M20 (0.6%) in local Jamaicans.[120] Among the country's most notable Afro-Asians are reggae singers Sean Paul, Tami Chynn and Diana King.


Inter-ethnic marriage in Southeast Asia dates back to the spread of Indian culture, Hinduism and Buddhism to the region. From the 1st century onwards, mostly male traders and merchants from the Indian subcontinent frequently intermarried with the local female populations in Cambodia, Burma, Champa, Central Siam, the Malay Peninsula, and Malay Archipelago. Many Indianized kingdoms arose in Southeast Asia during the Middle Ages.[121]

From the 9th century onwards, a large number of mostly male Arab traders from the Middle East settled down in the Malay Peninsula and Malay Archipelago, and they intermarried with the local Malay, Indonesian and female populations in the islands later called the Philippines. This contributed to the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia.[122] From the 14th to the 17th centuries, many Chinese, Indian and Arab traders settled down within the maritime kingdoms of Southeast Asia and intermarried with the local female populations. This tradition continued among Portuguese traders who also intermarried with the local populations.[123] In the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of Japanese people also travelled to Southeast Asia and intermarried with the local women there.[124]

From the tenth to twelfth century, Persian women were to be found in Guangzhou (Canton), some of them in the tenth century like Mei Zhu in the harem of the Emperor Liu Chang, and in the twelfth century large numbers of Persian women lived there, noted for wearing multiple earrings and "quarrelsome dispositions".[125] Multiple women originating from the Persian Gulf lived in Guangzhou's foreign quarter, they were all called "Persian women" (波斯婦 Po-ssu-fu or Bosifu).[126] Some scholars did not differentiate between Persian and Arab, and some say that the Chinese called all women coming from the Persian Gulf "Persian Women".[127]

Some 100,000 Amerasians stayed in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon.[128] During and after the Indonesian National Revolution (1945–1965) around 300,000 people, pre-dominantly Eurasians, left Indonesia to go to the Netherlands.[129]

In the 19th century and early 20th century, there was a network of small numbers of Chinese and Japanese prostitutes being trafficked across Asia, in countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and British India, in what was then known as the ’Yellow Slave Traffic’. There was also a network of prostitutes from continental Europe being trafficked to India, Ceylon, Singapore, China and Japan at around the same time, in what was then known as the ’White Slave Traffic’.[130]

Rangoon, Burma. 8 August 1945. A young ethnic Chinese woman who was in one of the Imperial Japanese Army's "comfort stations" is interviewed by an Allied officer.

During World War II, Japanese soldiers engaged in war rape during their invasions across East Asia and Southeast Asia. The term "comfort women" is a euphemism for the estimated 200,000, mostly Korean and Chinese, women who were forced into prostitution in Japanese military brothels during World War II. Some Indo Dutch women, captured in Dutch colonies in Asia, were also forced into sexual slavery.[131] More than 20,000 Indonesian women[132] and nearly 300 Dutch women were so treated.[133]

Sex tourism has emerged in the late 20th century as a controversial aspect of Western tourism and globalization. Sex tourism is typically undertaken internationally by tourists from wealthier countries. Author Nils Ringdal alleges that three out of four men between the ages of 20 and 50 who have visited Asia or Africa have paid for sex.[134]

Female sex tourism also emerged in the late 20th century in Bali. Tens of thousands of single women throng the beaches of Bali in Indonesia every year. For decades, young Balinese men have taken advantage of the louche and laid-back atmosphere to find love and lucre from female tourists—Japanese, European and Australian for the most part—who by all accounts seem perfectly happy with the arrangement.[135]


There have been various periods in the history of China where a number of Arabs, Persians and Turks from the western regions (Central Asia and West Asia) migrated to China, beginning with the arrival of Islam during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. Due to the majority of these immigrants being male, some decided to intermarry with local Chinese females. Intermarriage was initially discouraged by the Tang Dynasty. In 836 Lu Chun was appointed as governor of Canton, he was disgusted to find Chinese living with foreigners and intermarriage between Chinese and foreigners. Lu enforced separation, banning interracial marriages, and made it illegal for foreigners to own property. Lu Chun believed his principles were just and upright.[136] The 836 law specifically banned Chinese from forming relationships with "dark peoples" or "people of colour", which was used to describe foreigners, such as "Iranians, Sogdians, Arabs, Indians, Malays, Sumatrans", among others.[137][138] The Song Dynasty allowed third-generation immigrants with official titles to intermarry with Chinese imperial princesses.[139]

Iranian, Arab and Turkic women also occasionally migrated to China and mixed with Chinese.[139] From the tenth to twelfth century, Persian women were to be found in Guangzhou (Canton), some of them in the tenth century like Mei Zhu in the harem of the Emperor Liu Chang, and in the twelfth century large numbers of Persian women lived there, noted for wearing multiple earrings and "quarrelsome dispositions".[125][140] Multiple women originating from the Persian Gulf lived in Guangzhou's foreign quarter; they were all called "Persian women" (波斯婦; Po-szu-fu or Bosifu).[141] Iranian female dancers were in demand in China during this period. During the Sui dynasty, ten young dancing girls were sent from Persia to China. During the Tang dynasty bars were often attended by Iranian or Sogdian waitresses who performed dances for clients.[136][142][143][144]

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (Wudai) (907–960), there are examples of Persian women marrying Chinese emperors. Some Chinese officials from the Song Dynasty era also married women from Dashi (Arabia).[145]

Of the Han Chinese Li family in Quanzhou, Li Nu, the son of Li Lu, visited Hormuz in Persia in 1376, married a Persian or an Arab girl, and brought her back to Quanzhou. He then converted to Islam. Li Nu was the ancestor of the Ming Dynasty reformer Li Chih.[146][147][148]

By the 14th century, the total population of Muslims in China had grown to 4 million.[149] After Mongol rule had been ended by the Ming Dynasty in 1368, this led to a violent Chinese backlash against West and Central Asians. In order to contain the violence, the Ming administration instituted a policy where all West and Central Asian males were required to intermarry with native Chinese females, hence assimilating them into the local population. Their descendants are today known as the Hui people.[139] 6.7% of Hui people's maternal genetics have a Caucasian origin, while slightly over 30% of paternal genetics also have a Caucasian origin.[150]

Han women who married Hui men became Hui, and Han men who married Hui women also became Hui.[151][152][153]

In the frontier districts of Sichuan, numerous half Chinese-Tibetans were found. Tibetan women were glad to marry Chinese traders and soldiers.[154] Some Chinese traders married Tibetan girls.[155] Traders and officials in ancient times were often forbidden to bring Chinese women with them to Tibet, so they tended to marry Tibetan women; the male offspring were considered Chinese and female offspring as Tibetan.[156][157][158] Special names were used for these children of Chinese fathers and Tibetan mothers.[159] They often assimilated into the Tibetan population.[160] Chinese and Nepalese in Tibet married Tibetan women.[161]

Chinese men also married Turkic Uyghur women in Xinjiang from 1880 to 1949. Sometimes poverty influenced Uyghur women to marry Chinese. These marriages were not recognized by local mullahs since Muslims women were not allowed to marry non-Muslim men under Islamic law. This did not stop the women because they enjoyed advantages, such as not being subject to certain taxes. Uyghur women married to Chinese also did not have to wear a veil and they received their husband's property upon his death. These women were forbidden from being buried in Muslim graves. The children of Chinese men and Uyghur women were considered as Uyghur. Some Chinese soldiers had Uyghur women as temporary wives, and after the man's military service was up, the wife was left behind or sold, and if it was possible, sons were taken, and daughters were sold.[162]

European travellers noted that many Han Chinese in Xinjiang married Uyghur (who were called turki) women and had children with them. A Chinese was spotted with a "young" and "good looking" Uyghur wife and another Chinese left behind his Uyghur wife and child in Khotan.[163][164][165][166]

After 1950, some intermarriage between Han and Uyghur peoples continued. A Han married a Uyghur woman in 1966 and had three daughters with her, and other cases of intermarriage also continued.[167][168]

Ever since the 1960s, African students were allowed by the Chinese government to study in China as friendly relations with Africans and African-related people was important to CCP's "Third World" coalition. Many African male students began to intermingle with the local Chinese women. Relationships between black men and Chinese women often led to numerous clashes between Chinese and African students in the 1980s as well as grounds for arrest and deportation of African students. The Nanjing anti-African protests of 1988 were triggered by confrontations between Chinese and Africans. New rules and regulations were made in order to stop African men from consorting with Chinese women. Two African men who were escorting Chinese women on a Christmas Eve party were stopped at the gate and along with several other factors escalated. The Nanjing protests lasted from Christmas Eve of 1988 to January 1989. Many new rules were set after the protests ended, including one where black men could only have one Chinese girlfriend at a time whose visits were limited to the lounge area.[169]

There is a small but growing population of mixed marriages between male African (mostly Nigerian) traders and local Chinese women in the city of Guangzhou where it is estimated that in 2013 there are 400 African-Chinese families.[170] The rise in mixed marriages has not been without controversy. The state, fearing fraud marriages, has strictly regulated matters. In order to obtain government-issued identification (which is required to attend school), the children must be registered under the Chinese mother's family name. Many African fathers, fearing that in doing so, they would relinquish their parental rights, have instead chosen to not send their children to school. There are efforts to open an African-Chinese school but it would first require government authorization.[170]


During the Siege of Fort Zeelandia in which Chinese Ming loyalist forces commanded by Koxinga besieged and defeated the Dutch East India Company and conquered Taiwan, the Chinese took Dutch women and children prisoner. Koxinga took Hambroek's teenage daughter as a concubine,[171][172][173] and Dutch women were sold to Chinese soldiers to become their wives. In 1684 some of these Dutch wives were still captives of the Chinese.[174]

Some Dutch physical looks like auburn and red hair among people in regions of south Taiwan are a consequence of this episode of Dutch women becoming concubines to the Chinese commanders.[175]

Hong Kong

Many Tanka women conceived children with foreign men. Ernest John Eitel mentioned in 1889 how an important change had taken place among Eurasian girls, the offspring of illicit connections: instead of becoming concubines, they were commonly brought up respectably and married to Hong Kong Chinese husbands. Many Hong Kong born Eurasians were assimilated into the Hong Kong society by intermarriage with the Cantonese population. A good example of a Cantonese Eurasian is Nancy Kwan, a Hollywood sex symbol. Kwan was of Eurasian origin, born in 1939 in Hong Kong to a father who was a Cantonese architect and mother who is a model of British and Scottish descent. The martial artist Bruce Lee had a Cantonese father and a Eurasian mother.

Main article: Tanka people

Ernest John Eitel controversially claimed that most "half caste" people in Hong Kong were descended exclusively from Europeans having relationship with Tanka women. The theory that most of the Eurasian mixed race Hong Kong people are descended only from Tanka women and European men, and not ordinary Cantonese women, has been backed up by other researchers who pointed out that Tanka women freely consorted with foreigners due to the fact that they were not bound by the same Confucian traditions as the Cantonese, and having a relationship with a European man was advantageous for Tanka women, but Lethbridge criticized it as "a 'myth' propagated by xenophobic Cantonese to account for the establishment of the Hong Kong Eurasian community". Carl Smith's study in late 1960s on the protected women seems, to some degree, to support Ernest John Eitel's theory. Smith says that the Tankas experienced certain restrictions within the traditional Chinese social structure. Being a group marginal to the traditional Chinese society of the Puntis (Cantonese), they did not have the same social pressure in dealing with Europeans. The ordinary Cantonese women did not sleep with European men, thus the Eurasian population was formed mostly from Tanka and European admixture.[176][177][178][179]

They invaded Hongkong the moment the settlement was started, living at first on boats in the harbour with their numerous families, gradually settling on shore. They have maintained ever since almost a monopoly of the supply of pilots and ships' crews, of the fish trade and the cattle trade, but unfortunately also of the trade in girls and women. Strange to say, when the settlement was first started, it was estimated that some 2,000 of these Tan-ka people had flocked to Hongkong, but at the present time they are abont the same number, a tendency having set in among them to settle on shore rather than on the water and to disavow their Tan-ka extraction in order to mix on equal terms with the mass of the Chinese community. The half-caste population in Hongkong were, from the earliest days of the settlement of the Colony and down to the present day, almost exclusively the off-spring of these Tan-ka people. But, like the Tan-ka people themselves, they are happily under the influence of a process of continuous re-absorption into the mass of the Chinese residents of the Colony.[180]

South Asians have been living in Hong Kong throughout the colonial period, before the independence in 1947 into the nations of India and Pakistan. They migrated to Hong Kong and worked as police officers as well as army officers during colonial rule. 25,000 of the Muslims in Hong Kong trace their roots back to what is now Pakistan. Around half of them belong to 'local boy' families, Muslims of mixed Chinese and South Asian ancestry, descended from early Indian/Pakistani Muslim immigrants who took local Chinese wives and brought their children up as Muslims.[181][182]


The early Macanese ethnic group was formed from Portuguese men intermarrying with Malay, Japanese and Indian women.[183] The Portuguese encouraged Chinese migration to Macao, and most Macanese in Macao were formed from intermarriages between Portuguese and Chinese. In 1810, the total population of Macao was about 4,033, of which 1,172 were white men, 1,830 were white women, 425 were male slaves, and 606 were female slaves. In 1830, the population increased to 4,480 and the breakdown was 1,202 white men, 2,149 white women, 350 male slaves and 779 female slaves. There is reason to speculate that large numbers of white women were involved in some forms of prostitution which would probably explain the abnormality in the ratio between men and women among the white population.[184]

Rarely did Chinese women marry Portuguese; initially, mostly Goans, Ceylonese (from today's Sri Lanka), Indochinese, Malay, and Japanese women were the wives of the Portuguese men in Macau.[185][186][187][188][189] Japanese girls would be purchased in Japan by Portuguese men.[190] Many Chinese became Macanese simply by converting to Catholicism, and had no ancestry from Portuguese, having assimilated into the Macanese people.[191] The majority of the early intermarriages of people from China with Portuguese were between Portuguese men and women of Tanka origin, who were considered the lowest class of people in China and had relations with Portuguese settlers and sailors, or low class Chinese women.[192][193][194] Western men were refused by high class Chinese women, who did not marry foreigners.[195] In fact, in those days, the matrimonial context of production was usually constituted by Chinese women of low socio-economic status who were married to or concubines of Portuguese or Macanese men. Very rarely did Chinese women of higher status agree to marry a Westerner. As Deolinda argues in one of her short stories, "even should they have wanted to do so out of romantic infatuation, they would not be allowed to. Macanese men and women also married with the Portuguese and Chinese; as a result some Macanese became indistinguishable from the Chinese or Portuguese population. Because the majority of the Chinese population who migrated to Macao was Cantonese, Macao became a Cantonese speaking society, and other ethnic groups became fluent in Cantonese. Most Macanese had paternal Portuguese heritage until 1974.[193] It was in the 1980s that Macanese and Portuguese women began to marry men who defined themselves ethnically as Chinese, which resulted in many Macanese with Cantonese paternal ancestry.[195]

Literature in Macao was written about love affairs and marriage between the Tanka women and Portuguese men, like "A-Chan, A Tancareira", by Henrique de Senna Fernandes.[196][197][198]

After the handover of Macao to China in 1999 many Macanese migrated to other countries. Of the Portuguese and Macanese women who stayed in Macao, many married local Cantonese men, and so many Macanese also now have Cantonese paternal heritage. There are between 25,000–46,000 Macanese, but only 5,000–8,000 live in Macao, while most live in Latin America, the U.S., Portugal. Unlike the Macanese of Macao who are strictly of Chinese and Portuguese heritage, many Macanese living abroad have intermarried with the local population of the U.S. and Latin America and have only partial Macanese heritage.

Indian subcontinent

The Indian actress Katrina Kaif is the daughter of an Indian father and a British (English) mother.
"Lakmé", the Opera deals with the romantic relationship between a British Officer and an Indian Brahmin woman.
An oil painting of Khair-un-Nissa by George Chinnery. c. 1805. Begum Khair-un-Nissa was a Muslim Indian Hyderabadi noblewoman who fell in love and married the British Lieutenant Colonel James Achilles Kirkpatrick.

The Indian subcontinent has a long history of inter-ethnic marriage dating back to ancient history. Various groups of people have been intermarrying for millennia in South Asia, including speakers of the Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burman languages.

The origins and affinities of the approximately 1 billion people living on the subcontinent of India have long been contested. This is owing, in part, to the many different waves of immigrants that have influenced the genetic structure of India. In the most recent of these waves, Indo-European-speaking nomadic groups from the Near East, Anatolia and the Caucasus migrated to India.[199] According to 19th-century British historians, it was these "Aryans" who established the caste system, an elitist form of social organization that separated the "light-skinned" Indo-Aryan conquerors from the "conquered dark-skinned" indigenous Dravidian population through enforcement of "racial endogamy". Much of this was simply conjecture, fueled by British imperialism;[200] British policies of divide and rule as well as enumeration of the population into rigid categories during the tenure of British rule in India contributed towards the hardening of these segregated caste identities.[201] Since the independence of India from British rule, the concept of a historical "Aryan Invasion and subjugation of the dark skinned Dravidians in India" has become a staple polemic in South Asian geopolitics, including the propaganda of Indophobia in Pakistan.[202] There is no decisive theory as to the origins of the caste system in India, and globally renowned historians and archaeologists like Jim Shaffer, J.P. Mallory, Edwin Bryant, and others, have disputed the claim of "Aryan Invasion".[203]

Some researchers claim that genetic similarities to Europeans were more common in members of the higher ranks.[204] Their findings, published in Genome Research, supported the idea that members of higher castes are more closely related to Europeans than are the lower castes.[205] According to the research, invading European populations were predominantly male who intermarried with local females and formed the upper castes, i.e., the local females had upward mobility in caste which was denied to local males. However, other researchers have criticized and contradicted this claim.[206] A study by Joanna L. Mountain et al. of Stanford University concluded that there was "no clear separation into three genetically distinct groups along caste lines", although "an inferred tree revealed some clustering according to caste affiliation".[207] A 2006 study by Ismail Thanseem et al. of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (India) concluded that the "lower caste groups might have originated with the hierarchical divisions that arose within the tribal groups with the spread of Neolithic agriculturalists, much earlier than the arrival of Aryan speakers", and "the Indo-Europeans established themselves as upper castes among this already developed caste-like class structure within the tribes."[208] A 2006 genetic study by the National Institute of Biologicals in India, testing a sample of men from 32 tribal and 45 caste groups, concluded that the Indians have acquired very few genes from Indo-European speakers.[209] More recent studies have also debunked the claims that so-called "Aryans" and "Dravidians" have a "racial divide". A study conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2009 (in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT) analyzed half a million genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 ethnic groups from 13 states in India across multiple caste groups.[210] The study establishes, based on the impossibility of identifying any genetic indicators across caste lines, that castes in South Asia grew out of traditional tribal organizations during the formation of Indian society, and were not the product of any Aryan invasion and subjugation of Dravidian people.

In Goa, a Portuguese colony in India, during the late 16th century and 17th century, there was a community of over thousand Japanese slaves and traders, who were either Japanese Christians fleeing persecution in Japan,[211] or young Japanese women and girls brought or captured as sexual slaves by Portuguese traders and their South Asian lascar crew members from Japan.[212] In both cases, they often intermarried with the local population in Goa.[211] Some Portuguese also intermarried with local Goans prior to Goa's annexation by India, as well as with Goan emigres that settled in Portugal.

One example of an interracial liaison during colonial times involved Hyderabadi noblewoman Khair-un-Nissa and her relationship to Scottish resident James Achilles Kirkpatrick.

The 600,000-strong Anglo-Indian community was formed by British and Indian relationships. Such relationships have had an influence on the arts. Lakmé, an opera by the Frenchman Léo Delibes, deals with the romantic relationship between the British officer Gérald and the daughter of a Hindu high priest Lakmé (Laxmi in Sanskrit). The novel "Two Leaves and a Bud" by Ananda depicts Indian laborer women in India being preyed upon and seduced by the British Manager Reggie Hunt after he gives them bangles and nose rings.[213]

In Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), interracial relationships between Dutch, British and Portuguese men and local women were common. The 65,000-strong Burgher community was formed by the interracial marriages of Dutch and Portuguese men with local Sinhalese and Tamil women. In addition to intermarriage, inter-ethnic prostitution in India was also fairly common at the time, when British officers would frequently visit Indian nautch dancers. In the mid-19th century, there were around 40,000 British soldiers but fewer than 2,000 British officials present in India.[214] Many British and other European officers had their own harems made up of Indian women similar to those the Nawabs and kings of India had. In the 19th century and early 20th century, thousands of women and girls from continental Europe were also trafficked into British India (and Ceylon), where they worked as prostitutes servicing both British soldiers and local Indian (and Ceylonese) men.[130][215][216]

As British females began arriving in British India in large numbers from the early-to-mid-19th century, interracial marriage became increasingly uncommon in India. Interracial relationships were also despised after the events of India's First War of Independence, where Indian sepoys rebelled against the British East India Company.

The idea of protecting British female chastity from the "lustful Indian male" had a significant influence on the policies of the British Raj in order to prevent racial miscegenation between the British females and the native Indian male population. While some restrictive policies were imposed on British females in order to protect them from miscegenation, most of these policies were directed against native Indian males.[217][218]

For example, the 1883 Ilbert Bill, which would have granted Indian judges the right to judge British offenders, was opposed by many British colonialists on the grounds that Indian judges cannot be trusted in dealing with cases involving British females.[219] In the aftermath of the 1919 Amritsar Massacre, the long-held stereotype of Indian males as dark-skinned rapists lusting after white British females was challenged by several novels such as A Passage to India (1924) and The Jewel in the Crown (1966), both of which involve an Indian male being wrongly accused of raping a British female.[220]

When Burma was ruled under the administration of British India, millions of Indians, mostly Muslim, migrated there. The small population of mixed descendants of Indian males and local Burmese females are called "Zerbadees", often in a pejorative sense implying mixed race.[221]

In Assam, local Indian women married several waves of Chinese migrants during British colonial times, to the point where it became hard to physically differentiate Chinese in Assam from locals during the time of their internment during the 1962 war, and the majority of these Chinese in Assam were married to Indian women, and some of these Indian women were deported to China with their husbands.[222][223][224][225][226][227][228][229][230][231]

In the 19th century, when the British Straits Settlement shipped Chinese convicts to be jailed in India, the Chinese men then settled in the Nilgiri mountains near Naduvattam after their release and married Tamil Paraiyan women, having mixed Chinese-Tamil children with them. They were documented by Edgar Thurston.[232][233] Paraiyan is also anglicized as "pariah".

Thurston described the colony of the Chinese men with their Tamil pariah wives and children: "Halting in the course of a recent anthropological expedition on the western side of the Nilgiri plateau, in the midst of the Government Cinchona plantations, I came across a small settlement of Chinese, who have squatted for some years on the slopes of the hills between Naduvatam and Gudalur, and developed, as the result of ' marriage ' with Tamil pariah women, into a colony, earning an honest livelihood by growing vegetables, cultivating coffee on a small scale, and adding to their income from these sources by the economic products of the cow. An ambassador was sent to this miniature Chinese Court with a suggestion that the men should, in return for monies, present themselves before me with a view to their measurements being recorded. The reply which came back was in its way racially characteristic as between Hindus and Chinese. In the case of the former, permission to make use of their bodies for the purposes of research depends essentially on a pecuniary transaction, on a scale varying from two to eight annas. The Chinese, on the other hand, though poor, sent a courteous message to the effect that they did not require payment in money, but would be perfectly happy if I would give them, as a memento, copies of their photographs."[234][235] Thurston further describe a specific family: "The father was a typical Chinaman, whose only grievance was that, in the process of conversion to Christianity, he had been obliged to 'cut him tail off.' The mother was a typical Tamil Pariah of dusky hue. The colour of the children was more closely allied to the yellowish tint of the father than to the dark tint of the mother; and the semimongol parentage was betrayed in the slant eyes, flat nose, and (in one case) conspicuously prominent cheek-bones."[236][237][238][239] Thurston's description of the Chinese-Tamil families were cited by others, one mentioned "an instance mating between a Chinese male with a Tamil Pariah female"[240][241] A 1959 book described attempts made to find out what happened to the colony of mixed Chinese and Tamils.[242]


Europeans accompanied by Japanese courtesans in Dejima, the Dutch trading colony in the harbor of Nagasaki, early 19th century.

Inter-ethnic marriage in Japan dates back to the 7th century, when Chinese and Korean immigrants began intermarrying with the local Japanese population. In the 1590s, over 50,000 Koreans were forcibly brought to Japan during Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea, where they intermarried with the local population. In the 16th and 17th centuries, around 58,000 Japanese travelled abroad, many of whom intermarried with the local women in Southeast Asia.[124] During the anti-Christian persecutions in 1596, many Japanese Christians fled to Macau and other Portuguese colonies such as Goa, where there was a community of Japanese slaves and traders by the early 17th century. Intermarriage with the local populations in these Portuguese colonies also took place.[211] Portuguese traders in Japan also intermarried with the local Christian women.[243]

From the 15th century, Chinese, Korean and other Far Eastern visitors frequented brothels in Japan.[244] This practice later continued among visitors from the "Western Regions", mainly European traders.[212] This began with the arrival of Portuguese ships to Japan in the 16th century. Portuguese visitors and their South Asian (and sometimes African) crewmembers often engaged in slavery in Japan, where they bought Japanese slaves who were then taken to Macau and other Portuguese colonies in Southeast Asia, the Americas,[212] and India.[211] Later European East India companies, including those of the Dutch and British, also engaged in prostitution in Japan.[245] Marriage and sexual relations between European merchants and Japanese women was usual during this period.[246]

A large-scale slave trade developed in which Portuguese purchased Japanese as slaves in Japan and sold them to various locations overseas, including Portugal itself, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[247][248] Many documents mention the large slave trade along with protests against the enslavement of Japanese. Japanese slaves are believed to be the first of their nation to end up in Europe, and the Portuguese purchased large amounts of Japanese slave girls to bring to Portugal for sexual purposes, as noted by the Church in 1555. King Sebastian feared that it was having a negative effect on Catholic proselytization since the slave trade in Japanese was growing to massive proporations, so he commanded that it be banned in 1571.[249][250]

Japanese slave women were even sold as concubines to black African crewmembers, along with their European counterparts serving on Portuguese ships trading in Japan, mentioned by Luis Cerqueira, a Portuguese Jesuit, in a 1598 document.[251] Japanese slaves were brought by the Portuguese to Macau, where some of them not only ended up being enslaved to Portuguese, but as slaves to other slaves, with the Portuguese owning Malay and African slaves, who in turn owned Japanese slaves of their own.[252][253]

In the early part of the Shōwa era, Japanese governments executed a eugenic policy to limit the birth of children with inferior traits, as well as aiming to protect the life and health of mothers.[254] Family Center staff also attempted to discourage marriage between Japanese women and Korean men who had been recruited from the peninsula as laborers following its annexation by Japan in 1910. In 1942, a survey report argued that "the Korean laborers brought to Japan, where they have established permanent residency, are of the lower classes and therefore of inferior constitution...By fathering children with Japanese women, these men could lower the caliber of the Yamato minzoku."

In 1928, journalist Shigenori Ikeda promoted 21 December as the blood-purity day (junketsu de) and sponsored free blood tests at the Tokyo Hygiene laboratory. By the early 1930s, detailed "eugenic marriage" questionnaires were printed or inserted in popular magazines for public consumption. Promoters like Ikeda were convinced that these marriage surveys would not only ensure the eugenic fitness of spouses but also help avoid class differences that could disrupt and even destroy marriage. The goal was to create a database of individuals and their entire households which would enable eugenicists to conduct in-depth surveys of any given family's genealogy.[255]

To prevent venereal diseases and rape by Japanese soldiers and to provide comfort to soldiers and head off espionage, the Imperial Japanese Army established "comfort stations" in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere where around 200,000 women, mostly from Korea and China, were recruited or kidnapped by the Kempeitai or the Tokeitai as comfort women.[256]

One of the last eugenic measures of the Shōwa regime was taken by the Higashikuni government. On 19 August 1945, the Home Ministry ordered local government offices to establish a prostitution service for Allied soldiers to preserve the "purity" of the "Japanese race". The official declaration stated that: "Through the sacrifice of thousands of "Okichis" of the Shōwa era, we shall construct a dike to hold back the mad frenzy of the occupation troops and cultivate and preserve the purity of our race long into the future...."[257]

According to Peter Schrijvers in "The GI War against Japan: American Soldiers in Asia and the Pacific during World War II",[258] rape "reflects a burning need to establish total dominance of the enemy". According to Xavier Guillaume, US soldiers' rape of Japanese women was "general practice". Schrijvers states regarding rapes on Okinawa that "The estimate of one Okinawan historian for the entire three-month period of the campaign exceeds 10,000. A figure that does not seem unlikely when one realizes that during the first 10 days of the occupation of Japan there were 1,336 reported cases of rape of Japanese women by American soldiers in Kanagawa prefecture alone".[258]

However, despite being told by the Japanese military that they would suffer rape, torture and murder at the hands of the Americans, Japanese civilians "were often surprised at the comparatively humane treatment they received from the American enemy."[259][260] According to Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power by Mark Selden, the Americans "did not pursue a policy of torture, rape, and murder of civilians as Japanese military officials had warned."[261]

Japanese society, with its ideology of homogeneity, has traditionally been intolerant of ethnic and other differences.[262] Men or women of mixed ancestry, foreigners, and members of minority groups face discrimination in a variety of forms. In 2005, a United Nations report expressed concerns about racism in Japan and that government recognition of the depth of the problem was not realistic.[263][264] In 2005, Japanese Minister Taro Aso called Japan a "one race" nation.[265]

The Japanese public was thus astounded by the sight of some 45,000 so-called "pan pan girls" (prostitutes) fraternizing with American soldiers during the occupation.[266] In 1946, the 200 wives of U.S. officers landing in Japan to visit their husbands also had a similar impact when many of these reunited couples were seen walking hand in hand and kissing in public.[267] Both prostitution and marks of affection had been hidden from the public until then, and this "democratization of eroticism" was a source of surprise, curiosity, and even envy. The occupation set new relationship models for Japanese men and women: the practice of modern "dating" spread, and activities such as dancing, movies, and coffee were not limited to "pan pan girls" and American troops anymore, and became popular among young Japanese couples.[268]


Inter-ethnic marriage in Korea dates back to the arrival of Muslims in Korea during the Middle Ages, when Persian and Turkic navigators, traders and slaves settled in Korea and married local Korean people. Some assimilation into Buddhism and Shamanism eventually took place, owing to Korea's geographical isolation from the Muslim world.[269]

There are several Korean clans that are descended from such intermarriages. For example, the Deoksu Jang clan, claiming some 30,000 Korean members, views Jang Sunnyong, a Central Asian who married a Korean female, as their ancestor.[270] Another clan, Gyeongju Seol, claiming at least 2,000 members in Korea, view a Central Asian (probably an Uyghur) named Seol Son as their ancestor.[271][272]

There are even cases of Korean kings marrying princesses from abroad. For example, the Korean text Samguk Yusa about the Gaya kingdom (it was absorbed by the kingdom of Silla later), indicate that in 48 AD, King Kim Suro of Gaya (the progenitor of the Gimhae Kim clan) took a princess (Princess Heo) from the "Ayuta nation" (which is the Korean name for the city of Ayodhya in North India) as his bride and queen. Princess Heo belonged to the Mishra royal family of Ayodhya. According to the Samguk Yusa, the princess had a dream about a heavenly fair handsome king from a far away land who was awaiting heaven's anointed ride. After Princess Heo had the dream, she asked her parents, the king and queen of Ayodhya, for permission to set out and seek the foreign prince, which the king and queen urged with the belief that God orchestrated the whole fate. That king was no other than King Kim Suro of the Korean Gaya kingdom.

6,423 Korean women married US military personnel as war brides during and immediately after the Korean War. The average number of Korean women marrying US military personnel each year was about 1,500 per year in the 1960s and 2,300 per year in the 1970s.[273] Since the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, nearly 100,000 Korean women have immigrated to the United States as the wives of American soldiers. Based on extensive oral interviews and archival research, Beyond the Shadow of the Camptowns tells the stories of these women, from their presumed association with U.S. military camptowns and prostitution to their struggles within the intercultural families they create in the United States.[274]

International marriages now make up 13% of all marriages in South Korea. Most of these marriages are unions between a Korean male and a foreign female[275] usually from China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, United States, Mongolia, Thailand, or Russia. On the other hand, Korean females have married foreign males from Japan, China, the United States, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, and Nepal. Between 1990 and 2005, there have been 159,942 Korean males and 80,813 Korean females married to foreigners.[276][277]

South Korea is among the world's most ethnically homogeneous nations.[278] Koreans have traditionally valued an unmixed blood as the most important feature of Korean identity. The term "Kosian", referring to someone who has a Korean father and a non-Korean mother, is considered offensive by some who prefer to identify themselves or their children as Korean.[279][280] Moreover, the Korean office of Amnesty International has claimed that the word "Kosian" represents racial discrimination.[281][282] Kosian children, like those of other mixed-race backgrounds in Korea, often face discrimination.[283] There are an estimated 35,000 mixed-raced South Koreans, most of them half Caucasian, according to the Pearl Buck Foundation. Discrimination is far worse against those who have African American fathers.[284]


Much of the business conducted with foreign men in Southeast Asia was done by the local women, who engaged in both sexual and mercantile intercourse with foreign male traders. A Portuguese and Malay speaking Vietnamese woman who lived in Macao for an extensive period of time was the person who interpreted for the first diplomatic meeting between Cochin-China and a Dutch delegation, she served as an interpreter for three decades in the Cochin-China court with an old woman who had been married to three husbands, one Vietnamese and two Portuguese.[285][286][287] The cosmopolitan exchange was facilitated by the marriage of Vietnamese women to Portuguese merchants. Those Vietnamese woman were married to Portuguese men and lived in Macao which was how they became fluent in Malay and Portuguese.[288]

Alexander Hamilton said that "The Tonquiners used to be very desirous of having a brood of Europeans in their country, for which reason the greatest nobles thought it no shame or disgrace to marry their daughters to English and Dutch seamen, for the time they were to stay in Tonquin, and often presented their sons-in-law pretty handsomely at their departure, especially if they left their wives with child; but adultery was dangerous to the husband, for they are well versed in the art of poisoning."[289]

Malaysia and Singapore

In West Malaysia and Singapore, the majority of inter-ethnic marriages are between Chinese and Indians. The offspring of such marriages are informally known as "Chindian", although the Malaysian government only classifies them by their father's ethnicity. As the majority of these intermarriages usually involve an Indian groom and Chinese bride, the majority of Chindians in Malaysia are usually classified as "Indian" by the Malaysian government. As for the Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, legal restrictions in Malaysia make it uncommon for them to intermarry with either the Indians, who are predominantly Hindu, or the Chinese, who are predominantly Buddhist and Taoist.[290] Non-Muslims are required to convert to Islam in order to marry Muslims. However, this has not entirely stopped intermarriage between the Malays and the Chinese and Indians. The Muslim Chinese community is small and has only a negligible impact on the socio-economy and demography of the region.

It is common for Arabs in Singapore and Malaysia to take local Malay and Jawi Peranakan wives, due to a common Islamic faith.[122] The Chitty people, in Singapore and the Malacca state of Malaysia, are a Tamil people with considerable Malay descent, which was due to the first Tamil settlers taking local wives, since they did not bring along any of their own women with them. According to government statistics, the population of Singapore as of September 2007 was 4.68 million, of whom multiracial people, including Chindians and Eurasians, formed 2.4%.

In the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, there have been many incidents of intermarriage between Chinese and native tribes such as the Murut and Dusun in Sabah, and the Iban and Bisaya in Sarawak. This phenomenon has resulted in a potpourri of cultures in both states where many people claiming to be of native descent have some Chinese blood in them, and many Chinese have native blood in them. The offspring of these mixed marriages are called 'Sino-(name of tribe)', e.g. Sino-Dusun. Normally, if the father is Chinese, the offspring will adopt Chinese culture and if the father is native then native culture will be adopted, but this is not always the case. These Sino-natives are usually fluent in Malay and English. A smaller number are able to speak Chinese dialects and Mandarin, especially those who have received education in vernacular Chinese schools.

Myanmar (Burma)

Burmese Muslims are the descendants of Bengalis, Indian Muslims, Arabs, Persians, Turks, Pathans, Chinese Muslims and Malays who settled and intermarried with the local Burmese population and other Burmese ethnic groups such as the Rakhine, Shan, Karen, and Mon.[291][292]

The oldest Muslim group in Burma (Myanmar) are the Rohingya people, who some believe are descended from Bengalis who intermarried with the native females in the Rakhine State after the 7th century, but this is just a theory. When Burma was ruled by the British India administration, millions of Indians, mostly Muslim, migrated there. The small population of mixed descendants of Indian males and local Burmese females are called "Zerbadees", often in a pejorative sense implying mixed race. The Panthays, a group of Chinese Muslims descended from West Asians and Central Asians, migrated from China and also intermarried with local Burmese females.[221]

In addition, Burma has an estimated 52,000 Anglo-Burmese people, descended from British and Burmese people. Anglo-Burmese people frequently intermarried with Anglo-Indian immigrants, who eventually assimilated into the Anglo-Burmese community.

The All India Digest said that when a Chinese man married a Burmese woman, it must be proved that he adopted and followed the Burmese form of Buddhism before assuming that he followed Burmese Buddhism and that since many Chinese in Burma adopted Burmese names, adoption of a Burmese name was not proof enough for his adopting Burmese Buddhism, therefore, Chinese Buddhist customary law must be followed in cases involving.[293]


A Filipina bride and Nigerian groom walk down the aisle.

Historically, admixture has been an ever present and pervasive phenomenon in the Philippines. The Philippines were originally settled by Australoid peoples called Negritos (different from other australoid groups) which now form the country's aboriginal community. Some admixture may have occurred between this earlier group and the mainstream Malayo-Polynesian population.[294]

A considerable number of the population in the town of Cainta, Rizal, are descended from Indian soldiers who mutinied against the British Indian Army when the British briefly occupied the Philippines in 1762–63. These Indian soldiers, called Sepoy, settled in towns and intermarried with native women. Cainta residents of Indian descent are very visible today, particularly in Barrio Dayap near Brgy. Sto Niño.

There has been a Chinese presence in the Philippines since the 9th century. However, large-scale migrations of Chinese to the Philippines only started during the Spanish colonial era, when the world market was opened to the Philippines. It is estimated that among Filipinos, 10%–20% have some Chinese ancestry and 1.5% are "full-blooded" Chinese.[295]

According to the American anthropologist Dr. H. Otley Beyer, the ancestry of Filipinos is 2% Arab. This dates back to when Arab traders intermarried with the local Malay Filipina female populations during the pre-Spanish history of the Philippines.[122] Major Arab migration to the Philippines coincided with the spread of Islam in the region. Filipino-Muslim royal families from the Sultanate of Sulu and the Sultanate of Maguindanao claim Arab descent even going as far as claiming direct lineage from Muhammad.[296] Such intermarriage mostly took place around the Mindanao island area, but the arrival of Spanish Conquistadors to the Philippines abruptly halted the spread of Islam further north into the Philippines. Intermarriage with Spanish people later became more prevalent after the Philippines was colonized by the Spanish Empire.

When the Spanish colonized the Philippines, a significant portion of the Filipino population mixed with the Spanish. When the United States took the Philippines from Spain during the Spanish–American War, much intermixing of Americans, both white and black, took place on the island of Luzon where the US had a Naval Base and Air Force Base, even after the USA gave the Philippines independence after World War II. First children and descendants of male Filipino population with Spanish surnames who intermarried with white American female population may be considered Spanish mestizos. The descendants of Filipinos and Europeans are today known as mestizos, following the term used in other former Spanish colonies.

Much mixing with the Japanese also took place due to the war rapes of Filipina women during World War II. Today there is an increasing number of Japanese men marrying Filipina woman and fathering children by them whose family remain behind in the Philippines and are financially supported by their Japanese fathers who make regular visits to the Philippines. Today mixed-race marriages have a mixed perception in the Philippines. Most urban centers like Manila and Cebu are more willing to accept interracial marriages than rural areas.



Poster of the Nazi paper Der Stürmer (1935)
Chart used to explain the Nuremberg race laws
1940 poster in German and Polish describing "Obligations of Polish workers in Germany" including death sentence to every man and woman from Poland for sex with a German.

During the years following World War I, the French Army occupied the Rhineland, utilising African soldiers amongst their forces. Their children were known as "Rhineland Bastards".

Beginning in 1933, the mainstream Nazi anti-Semitism considered the Jews as being a group of people bound by close, so-called genetic (blood) ties, to form a unit, which one could not join or secede from. The influence of Jews had been declared to have a detrimental impact on Germany, in order to justify the discriminations and persecutions of Jews. To be spared from those, one had to prove one's affiliation with the group of the Aryan race, as conceived by the Nazis.

It was paradoxical that neither genetic tests nor allegedly racial outward features in one's physiognomy determined one's affiliation, although the Nazis talked a lot about physiognomy, but only the records of the religious affiliations of one's grandparents decided it. However, while earlier the grandparents had still been able to choose their religion, their grandchildren in the Nazi era were compulsorily categorised as Jews, thus non-Aryans, if three or four grandparents had been enrolled as members of a Jewish congregation, regardless of whether the persecuted themselves were Jews according to the Halachah (roughly meaning: Jewish by birth from a Jewish mother or by conversion), apostates, irreligionists or Christians.

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 forbade persons racially regarded as so-called Aryans and non-Aryans to marry; this included all marriages where at least one partner was a German citizen. Non-Aryans comprised mostly Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent. The official definition of "Aryan" classified all non-Jewish Europeans as Aryans,[297] sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans now became punishable as Rassenschande (race defilement).[298]

Eventually children—whenever born—within a mixed marriage, as well as children from extramarital mixed relationships born until 31 July 1936, were discriminated against as Mischlinge or crossbreed. However, children later born to mixed parents, not yet married as at the passing of the Nuremberg Laws, were to be discriminated against as Geltungsjuden, regardless of whether the parents had meanwhile married abroad or remained unmarried. Eventually children who were enrolled in a Jewish congregation were also subject to discrimination as Geltungsjuden.

Geltungsjuden were subjected to varying degrees of forced labour in 1940, partly ordered for all Jewish-classified spouses, either only for Jewish-classified husbands or only exempting Jewish-classified wives taking care of minor children. No documents indicate the exemption of a mixed marriage and especially of its Jewish-classified spouse from some persecutions.[299]

Systematic deportations of Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent started on 18 October 1941.[300] German Jews and German Gentiles of Jewish descent living in mixed marriages were in fact mostly spared from deportation.[301] In the event that a mixed marriage ended by the death of the so-called Aryan spouse or the divorce of the Jewish-classified spouse, the Jewish-classified spouse residing within Germany was usually deported soon after unless the couple still had minor children not counted as Geltungsjuden.[302]

In March 1943 an attempt to deport the Berlin-based Jews and Gentiles of Jewish descent, living in non-privileged mixed marriages, failed due to public protest by their in-laws of so-called Aryan kinship (see Rosenstraße protest). Also the Aryan-classified husbands and Mischling-classified children (starting at the age of 16) from mixed marriages were taken by the Organisation Todt for forced labour, starting in autumn 1944.

A last attempt, undertaken in February/March 1945, ended because the extermination camps were already liberated. However, 2,600 from all over the Reich were deported to Theresienstadt, of whom most survived the last months until their liberation.[303]

After the war began, the race defilement law was extended to include all foreigners.[304] The Gestapo harshly persecuted sexual relations between Germans and workers from Eastern Europe on the grounds of "risk for the racial integrity of the German nation".[304] A decree dated on 7 December 1942 stated any "unauthorized sexual intercourse" would result in the death penalty.[305] Foreign workers brought to Nazi Germany were treated as a danger to German blood.[306] Polish workers and Eastern Workers who had sexual relations with a German were punished with the death penalty.[307] During the war, hundreds of Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian men were executed for their relations with German women.[308][309]

Boris Becker with Barbara Feltus in 1992

With the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 the laws banning so-called mixed marriages were lifted again. If couples who had already lived together during the Nazi era had remained unmarried due to the legal restrictions then got married after the war, their date of marriage was legally retroactively backdated if they wished it to the date they formed a couple.[310] Even if one spouse was already dead, the marriage could be retroactively recognised. In the West German Federal Republic of Germany 1,823 couples applied for recognition, which was granted in 1,255 cases.


The Hungarians are thought to have originated in an ancient Finno-Ugric population that originally inhabited the forested area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains.[311] At the time of the Magyar migration in the 10th century, the present-day Hungary was inhabited by Slavs, numbering about 200,000,[312] who were either assimilated or enslaved by the Magyars.[312]

During the Russian campaign in the 13th century, the Mongols drove some 40,000 Cuman families, a nomadic tribe, west of the Carpathian Mountains.[313] The Iranian Jassic people came to Hungary together with the Cumans after they were defeated by the Mongols. Over the centuries they were fully assimilated into the Hungarian population.[314]

Starting in 1938, Hungary under Miklós Horthy passed a series of anti-Jewish measures in emulation of Germany's Nuremberg Laws. The first, promulgated on May 29, 1938, restricted the number of Jews in each commercial enterprise, in the press, among physicians, engineers and lawyers to twenty percent. The second anti-Jewish law (May 5, 1939), for the first time, defined Jews racially: people with 2, 3 or 4 Jewish-born grandparents were declared Jewish. Their employment in government at any level was forbidden, they could not be editors at newspapers, their numbers were restricted to six per cent among theater and movie actors, physicians, lawyers and engineers. Private companies were forbidden to employ more than 12% Jews. 250,000 Hungarian Jews lost their income. Most of them lost their right to vote as well: before the second Jewish law, about 31% of the Jewish population of Borsod county (Miskolc excluded), 2496 people had this right. At the next elections, less than a month after this new anti-Jewish legislation, only 38 privileged Jews could vote.[315]

Iberian Peninsula

Hadith Bayad wa Riyad (12th century) was an Arabic love story about an Andalusian female and a foreign Damascene male.

In ancient history, the Iberian Peninsula was frequently invaded by foreigners who intermarried with the native population. One of the earliest foreign groups to arrive in the region were the Indo-European Celts who intermarried with the pre-Indo-European Iberians in prehistoric Iberia. They were later followed by the Semitic Phoenicians and Carthaginians and the Indo-European Romans who intermarried with the pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula during Classical Antiquity.

They were in turn followed by the Germanic Visigoths, Suebi and Vandals and the Iranian Sarmatians and Alans who also intermarried with the local population in Hispania during late Antiquity. In the 6th century, the region was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire), when Byzantine Greeks also settled there, before the region was lost again to the Visigothic Kingdom less than a century later.

The offspring of marriages between Arabs and non-Arabs in Iberia (Berbers or local Iberians) were known as Muladi or Muwallad, an Arabic term still used in the modern Arab world to refer to people with Arab fathers and non-Arab mothers.[316] Some sources consider this term the origin for the Spanish word Mulatto.[317][318] However, the Real Academia Española does not endorse such etymology.[319] This is because the term was mainly used during the time period of al-Andalus to refer to local Iberians (Christians and pagans) who converted to Islam or whose ancestors had converted. An example is the Banu Qasi, a Muslim dynasty of Basque origin. In addition, many Muladi were also descended from Saqaliba (Slavic) slaves taken from Eastern Europe via the Arab slave trade. Collectively, Christian Europeans named all the Muslims of Iberia, "Moors", regardless of ethnic origin.

After the Reconquista, which was completed in 1492, most of the Moors were forced to either flee to Islamic territories or convert to Christianity. The ones who converted to Christianity were known as Moriscoes, and they were often persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition as suspects of heresy on the basis of the Limpieza de sangre ("Cleanliness of blood") doctrine, under which anti-miscegenation laws were implemented in the Iberian Peninsula.[320]

Anyone whose ancestors had miscegenated with the Moors or Jews were suspected of secretly practicing Islam or Judaism, so were often particularly monitored by the Inquisition. The claim to universal hidalguía (lowest nobility) of the Basques was justified by erudites like Manuel de Larramendi (1690–1766)[321] because the Arab invasion had not reached the Basque territories, so it was believed that Basques had maintained their original purity, while the rest of Spain was suspect of miscegenation. Hidalguía helped many Basques to official positions in the administration.[322] In December 2008, a genetic study of the current population of the Iberian Peninsula, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, estimated that about 10% have North African ancestors and 20% have Sephardi Jews as ancestors. Since there is no direct link between genetic makeup and religious affiliation, however, it is difficult to draw direct conclusions between their findings and forced or voluntary conversion.[323] Nevertheless, the Sephardic result is in contradiction[324][325][326][327][328] or not replicated in all the body of genetic studies done in Iberia and has been later questioned by the authors themselves[323][329][330][331] and by Stephen Oppenheimer who estimates that much earlier migrations, 5000 to 10,000 years ago from the Eastern Mediterranean might also have accounted for the Sephardic estimates: "They are really assuming that they are looking at his migration of Jewish immigrants, but the same lineages could have been introduced in the Neolithic".[332] The rest of genetic studies done in Spain estimate the North African contribution ranging from 2.5/3.4% to 7.7%.[333]

Italian Peninsula

"Othello and Desdemona", a painting by Alexandre-Marie Colin in 1829

As was the case in other areas occupied by Muslims, it was acceptable in Islamic marital law for a Muslim male to marry Christian and Jewish females in southern Italy when under Islamic rule - namely, the Emirate of Sicily between the 8th and 11th centuries; and, of least importance, the short-lived Emirate of Bari between 847 and 871. In this case, most intermarriages were between Arab and Berber males from North Africa and the local Greek, Roman and Italian females. Such intermarriages were particularly common in the Emirate of Sicily, where one writer visiting the place in the 970s expressed shock at how common it was in rural areas.[334] After the Norman conquest of southern Italy, all Muslim citizens (whether foreign, native or mixed) of the Kingdom of Sicily were known as "Moors". After a brief period when the Arab-Norman culture had flourished under the reign of Roger II of Sicily, later rulers forced the Moors to either convert to Christianity or be expelled from the kingdom.

In Malta, Arabs and Italians from neighbouring Sicily and Calabria intermarried with the local inhabitants,[335] who were descended from Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Vandals. The Maltese people are descended from such unions, and the Maltese language is descended from Siculo-Arabic.

At times, the Italian city-states also played an active role in the Arab slave trade, where Moorish and Italian traders occasionally exchanged slaves.

During World War II, France's Moroccan troops known as Goumiers committed war rapes in Italy after the Battle of Monte Cassino[336] and in Germany. In Italy, victims of the mass rape committed after the Battle of Monte Cassino by Goumiers are known as Marocchinate. According to Italian sources, more than 7,000 Italian civilians, including women and children, were raped by Goumiers.[337]

An artistic depiction of Ruthenian slave girl Roxelana with Suleiman the Magnificent, by German painter Anton Hickel (1780).


Already in the 17th century there were many marriages between Russian settlers and aborigines of Siberia. The Metis Foundation estimates that there are about 40,000 mixed-race Russians.[338]

Many Chinese men, even those who had left wives and children behind in China, married local women in the 1920s, especially those women who had been widowed during the wars and upheavals of the previous decade. Their mixed race children tended to be given Russian forenames; some retained their fathers' Chinese surnames, while others took on Russian surnames, and a large proportion also invented new surnames using their father's entire family name and given name as the new surname.

Southeastern and Eastern Europe

Vikings explored and eventually settled in territories in Slavic-dominated areas of Eastern Europe. By 950 AD these settlements were largely Slavicized through intermarriage with the local population. Eastern Europe was also an important source for the Arab slave trade at the time, when Saqaliba (Slavic) slaves were taken to the Arab World, where the women and girls often served in harems, some of whom married their Arab masters. When the Mongol Empire annexed much of Eastern Europe in the 13th century, the Mongols also intermarried with the local population and often engaged in war rape during the Mongol invasion of Europe.


Imaginary scene from the sultan's harem

In the 11th century, the Byzantine territory of Anatolia was conquered by the Seljuq Turks, who came from Turkestan in Central Asia. Their Ottoman Turkish descendants went on to annex the Balkans and much of Eastern Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Due to Islamic marital law allowing a Muslim male to marry Christian and Jewish females, it was common in the Ottoman Empire for Turkish males to intermarry with European females. For example, various sultans of the Ottoman Dynasty often had Greek (Rûm), Slavic (Saqaliba), Venetian, Northcaucasian and French wives.

In the Ottoman Empire, in addition to the Ottoman elites often taking large numbers of European wives and concubines (see Southeastern and Eastern Europe section), there were also opportunities for the reverse, when the empire recruited young Christian boys (Europeans and Christian Arabs) to become the elite troops of the Turkish Empire, the Janissaries. These Janissaries were stationed throughout the Turkish empire including the Middle-East and North Africa leading to inter-ethnic relationships between European men and women from the Middle East and North Africa.

The concubines of the Ottoman Sultan consisted chiefly of purchased slaves. Because Islamic law forbade Muslims to enslave fellow Muslims, the Sultan's concubines were generally of Christian origin. The mother of a Sultan, though technically a slave, received the extremely powerful title of Valide Sultan, and at times became effective ruler of the Empire (see Sultanate of women). One notable example was Kösem Sultan, daughter of a Greek Christian priest, who dominated the Ottoman Empire during the early decades of the 17th century.[339] Another notable example was Roxelana, the favourite wife of Suleiman the Magnificent.

Some of these European wives exerted great influence upon the empire as Valide Sultan ("Mother-Sultan"), some famous examples including Roxelana, a Ukrainian harem slave who later became Suleiman the Magnificent's favourite wife, and Nakşidil Sultan, wife of Abdul Hamid I, who according to legend may have been Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, cousin of French Empress Josephine. Due to the common occurrence of such intermarriages in the Ottoman Empire, they have had a significant impact on the ethnic makeup of the modern Turkish population in Turkey, which now differs from that of the Turkic population in Central Asia.[340] In addition to intermarriage, the large harems of Ottoman sultans often consisted almost entirely of female concubines who were of Christian European origin.[341] Sultan Ibrahim the Mad, Ottoman ruler from 1640 to 1648, is said to have drowned 280 concubines of his harem in the Bosphorus.[342] At least one of his concubines, Turhan Hatice, Ukrainian girl captured during one of the raids by Tatars and sold into slavery, survived his reign.

United Kingdom

Intermarriage with non-European populations began as early as the Agricultural Revolution. According to the Daily Mail (London) researchers have claimed to have found that a majority of British males have DNA that can be traced back to Middle Eastern male farmers (from around present-day Iraq and Syria) who around 8000 BC began migrating to Britain, introducing agriculture to the island, and settling down with local British females.[343]

Seal with ex-wife Heidi Klum.

In the late 15th century, the Romani people, who have Indian origins, arrived in Britain. The Romani in Britain intermarried with the local population and became known to the Romani as the Romanichal. In India, the British East India Company and other European soldiers intermarried with Indian women. The offspring of these mixed marriages between the British and Indians were known as Anglo-Indians.[344] Indian wives sometimes accompanied their husbands back to Britain.[345] The British East India Company brought many South Asian lascars to Britain, where many settled down with local white British wives, due to a lack of Asian women in Britain at the time.[346]

Inter-ethnic relationships have become increasingly accepted over the last several decades. As of 2001, 2% of all marriages in Britain are inter-ethnic. Despite having a much lower non-white population (9%), mixed marriages in the United Kingdom are as common as in the United States, although America has many fewer specific definitions of race (four racial definitions as opposed to the United Kingdom's 86).[347] As of 2005, it is estimated that nearly half of British-born African-Caribbean males, a third of British-born African-Caribbean females, and a fifth of Indian and African males, have white partners.[348] As of 2009, one in 10 children in the UK lives in a mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity family (families headed by one white-British parent and one white parent not of British origin are included in the figure) and two out of five Chinese women have partners of a different race.[349] One out of five Chinese men have partners of a different race. According to the UK 2001 census, black British males were around 50% more likely than black females to marry outside their race. British Chinese women (30%) were twice as likely as their male counterparts (15%) to marry someone from a different ethnic group.

Middle East

The Slave Market, painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, c. 1884

A Stanford team found the greatest diversity outside Africa among people living in the wide crescent of land stretching from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean to northern India. Not only was the region among the first colonized by the African migrants, they theorize, but the large number of European and East Asian genes among the population indicates that it has long been a human highway, with large numbers of migrants from both directions conquering, trading and generally reproducing along its entire length. The same team also found out that the Bedouin nomads of the Middle East actually have some similarities to Europeans and South Asians

Inter-ethnic sexual slavery was common during the Arab slave trade throughout the Middle Ages and early modern period, when women and girls captured from non-Arab lands often ended up as sexual slaves in the harems of the Arab World.[350] Most of these slaves came from places such as Sub-Saharan Africa (mainly Zanj), South Asia (Hindus), the North Caucasus (mainly Circassians),[351] Central Asia (mainly Turks), and Central and Eastern Europe (mainly Saqaliba).[352] The Barbary pirates also captured 1,250,000 slaves from Western Europe and North America between the 16th and 19th centuries.[353][354] It was also common for Arab conquerors, traders and explorers to marry local females in the lands they conquered or traded with, in various parts of Africa, Asia (see Asia section) and Europe (see Europe section).

Inter-ethnic relationships were generally accepted in Arabic society and formed a fairly common theme in medieval Arabic literature and Persian literature. For example, the Persian poet Nizami, who had himself married his Kipchak slave girl, wrote The Seven Beauties (1196). Its frame story involves a Persian prince marrying seven foreign princesses, including Byzantine, Chinese, Indian, Khwarezmian, Maghrebian, Slavic and Tartar princesses. Hadith Bayad wa Riyad, a 12th-century Arabic tale from Al-Andalus, was a love story involving an Iberian girl and a Damascene man. The One Thousand and One Nights tale of "The Man of Al-Yaman and His Six Slave-Girls" involves a Yemeni man's relationship with foreign slave girls, four of which are white, black, brown and yellow.[355] Another One Thousand and One Nights tale, "The Ebony Horse", involves the Prince of Persia, Qamar al-Aqmar, rescuing his lover, the Princess of Sana'a, from the Byzantine Emperor who also wishes to marry her.[356]

One study found that some Arabic-speaking populations—Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians, Iraqis, and Bedouins—have what appears to be substantial mtDNA gene flow from sub-Saharan Africa, amounting to 10–15% of lineages within the past three millennia.[357][358] In the case of Yemenites, the average is higher at 35%.[357]

A slave market in Khartoum, Sudan, c. 1876

In 1814, Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt wrote of his travels in Egypt and Nubia, where he saw the practice of slave trading:

I frequently witnessed scenes of the most shameless indecency, which the traders, who were the principal actors, only laughed at. I may venture to state, that very few female slaves who have passed their tenth year, reach Egypt or Arabia in a state of virginity.[359]

A genetic anthropological study known as The Genographic Project has found what is believed to be faint genetic traces left by medieval Crusaders in the Middle East. The team has uncovered a specific DNA signature in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan that is probably linked to the 7th and 8th Christian crusades. The Crusaders originated from European kingdoms, mostly France, England and the Holy Roman Empire.[360]

Inter-ethnic sexual slavery still continues today in a smaller form in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, where women and children are trafficked from the post-Soviet states, Eastern Europe, Far East, Africa, South Asia and other parts of the Middle East.[361][362][363]


The modern State of Israel was established as a nation-state for the Jewish people. The Jewish identity contains elements of religion (Judaism), ethnicity, and a sense of a common lineage.

Israeli law concerns itself with miscegenation based on Jewish ethnicity, not miscegenation based on race. Therefore, there are no restrictions on interracial marriages between Jews of different Jewish ethnic divisions, or between other co-religionists of different races, although social stigma may still exist. Furthermore, there is no legal impediment to inter-ethnic or inter-religious marriage per se, only that the state does not recognize them when they are solemnized within Israel.

Thus in Israel, all marriages must be approved by religious authorities, while civil marriages are legally recognized if performed abroad. Rules governing marriage are based on strict religious guidelines of each religion. Under Israeli law, authority over all issues related to Judaism in Israel, including marriage, falls under the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which is Orthodox. Orthodox Judaism is the only form of Judaism recognized by the state, and marriages performed in Israel by non-Orthodox Rabbis are not recognized.

The Rabbinate prohibits marriage in Israel of halakhic Jews (i.e. people born to a Jewish mother or Jewish by conversion), whether they are Orthodox Jews or not, to partners who are non-Jewish or who are of Jewish descent that runs through the paternal line (i.e. not Jewish according to halakha), unless they undergo a formal conversion to Judaism. As a result, in the state of Israel, people of differing religious traditions cannot legally marry someone in another religion and multi-faith couples must leave the country to get married.

The only other option in Israel for the marriage of a halakhic Jew (Orthodox or not) to a non-Jew, or for that matter, a Christian to a non-Christian or Muslim to a non-Muslim, is for one partner to formally convert to the other's religion, be it to Orthodox Judaism, a Christian denomination or a denomination of Islam. As for persons with patrilineal Jewish descent (i.e. not recognized as Jewish according to halakha) who wish to marry a halakhic Jew (i.e., born to a Jewish mother or is Jewish by Orthodox conversion) who is Orthodox or otherwise, is also required to formally convert to Orthodox Judaism or they cannot legally marry.

According to a Haaretz article "Justice Ministry drafts civil marriage law for ‘refuseniks’" 300,000 people, or 150,000 couples, are affected by marriage restrictions based on the partners' disparate religious traditions or non-halakhic Jewish status.[364]

Many Israeli Jews oppose mixed relationships between Jews and non-Jews, although it should be noted that this is not so much an Israeli phenomenon as a Jewish one, through fear of assimilation. There may also be an element in Israel that mixed relationships with Arabs represent an additional danger, politically as well as religiously: a 2007 opinion survey found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage is equivalent to "national treason". A poll in 2014 found that three quarters of Israeli Jews and two thirds of Israeli Arabs would not marry someone from a different religion. Inter-faith relationships were opposed by 95 percent of Haredi Jews, 88 percent of traditional and religious Jews and 64 percent of secular Jews.[365]

A group of 35 Jewish men, known as "Fire for Judaism", in Pisgat Ze'ev have started patrolling the town in an effort to stop Jewish women from dating Arab men. The municipality of Petah Tikva has also announced an initiative to prevent interracial relationships, providing a telephone hotline for friends and family to "inform" on Jewish girls who date Arab men as well as psychologists to provide counselling. The town of Kiryat Gat launched a school programme in schools to warn Jewish girls against dating local Bedouin men.[366][367]

In February 2010 Maariv has reported that the Tel Aviv municipality has instituted an official, government-sponsored "counselling program" to discourage Jewish girls from dating and marrying Arab boys. The Times has also reported on a vigilante parents’ group policing the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev to intimidate and discourage local Arab-Jewish couples. The Jewish anti-missionary group Yad L'Achim has also performed paramilitary "rescue operations" of Jewish women from non-Jewish husbands and celebrates the "rescued women" on their website.[368]

In the 2014 the marriage of a Muslim groom and a bride who had converted from Judaism to Islam attracted attention when the wedding was protested by Lehava, an organisation opposing Jewish assimilation. An Israeli court allowed the protest to go ahead but ordered protesters to stay at least 200 metres away from the wedding venue in Rishon LeZion. In response a demonstration in support for the couple was also held.[369]


German immigrant Hermann A. Widemann had a large family with his Hawaiian wife Mary Kaumana, 1886


Miscegenation was a deliberate policy of the Western Australian Protector of Aborigines, A. O. Neville, who hoped to "breed out" Aboriginal characteristics from the growing "half caste" population of Aborigines in Western Australia. As a result, he failed to prosecute cases where half caste girls were sexually abused or raped by European Australian, who sought an evening on "the black velvet". The children of such unions were often taken from their mothers and confined to "concentration camps" at Moore River and Carrolup, as a part of the policy known as Stolen Generations.

New Zealand

Miscegenation is a politically charged topic in New Zealand, although mixed marriages are very common and almost universally accepted. People who identify as Māori typically have ancestors ('tīpuna'[370]) from at least two distinct ethnicities. Historically this has leant itself to the majority belief that "real" Māori were gradually disappearing from New Zealand and "one people" were forming.[371] This view held sway in New Zealand until the late 1960s and 70s, when a revival and re-establishment of Māori culture and tradition coincided with a rejection of the majority opinion.[372]

The belief that Māori were disappearing was partially founded on the reality of high and ongoing rates of intermarriage between Europeans and Māori before and since colonisation. During the revival of Māori culture and tradition this belief began to be challenged by redefining "Māori" as an ethnic identity as opposed to a racial category.[373] As a result, a person may have one European/Asian/Pacific parent and one Māori parent, but be considered no less "authentically Māori" than a descendent of two Māori.

Two-thirds of Māori births, half of Pacific births, and a third of white and Asian births belonged to more than one ethnic group.[374]

Portuguese colonies

See also: Orfas del Rei

According to Gilberto Freyre, a Brazilian sociologist, interracial marriage was commonplace in the Portuguese colonies, and was even supported by the court as a way to boost low populations and guarantee a successful and cohesive settlement. Thus, settlers often released African slaves to become their wives. The children were guaranteed full Portuguese citizenship, provided the parents were married. Some former Portuguese colonies have large mixed-race populations, for instance, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Timor Leste, Macau and São Tomé and Príncipe. In the case of Brazil, the influential "Indianist" novels of José de Alencar (O Guarany, Iracema, and Ubirajara) perhaps went farther than in the other colonies, advocating miscegenation in order to create a truly Brazilian race.[375] Mixed marriages between Portuguese and locals in former colonies were very common in all Portuguese colonies. Miscegenation was still common in Africa until the independence of the former Portuguese colonies in the mid-1970s.

Demographics of ethnoracial admixture


According to the U.S. Census,[376] in 2000 there were 504,119 Asian-white marriages, 287,576 black-white marriages, and 31,271 Asian-black marriages. The black-white marriages increased from 65,000 in 1970 to 403,000 in 2006,[377] and 558,000 in 2010,[378] according to Census Bureau figures.[379]

New Jersey, 2008

In the United States, rates of interracial cohabitation are significantly higher than those of marriage. Although only 7% of married African American men have Caucasian American wives, 13% of cohabitating African American men have Caucasian American partners. 25% of married Asian American women have Caucasian spouses, but 45% of cohabitating Asian American women are with Caucasian American men. Of cohabiting Asian men, slightly over 37% of Asian men have white female partners over 10% married White American women.[52][380] Asian American women and Asian American men who live with a white partner, 40 and 27 percent, respectively (Le, 2006b). In 2008, of new marriages including an Asian man, 80% were to an Asian spouse and 14% to a White spouse; of new marriages involving an Asian woman, 61% were to an Asian spouse and 31% to a White spouse.[381] Almost 30% of Asians and Latinos outmarry, with 86.8 and 90% of these, respectively, being to a white person.[382] According to Karyn Langhorne Folan, "...although the most recent census available reported that 70% of African American women are single, African American women have the greatest resistance to marrying 'out' of the race."[383]

One survey revealed that 19% of black males had engaged in sexual activity with white women.[384] A Gallup poll on interracial dating in June 2006 found 75% of Americans approving of a white man dating a black woman, and 71% approving of a black man dating a white woman. Among people between the ages of 18 and 29, the poll found that 95% approved of blacks and whites dating, and about 60% said they had dated someone of a different race.[385] 69% of Hispanics, 52% of blacks, and 45% of whites said they have dated someone of another race or ethnic group.[386] In 1980, just 17% of all respondents said they had dated someone from a different racial background.[387]

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous is the son of a white father and a black mother

However, according to a study from the University of California at Berkeley, using data from over 1 million profiles of singles from online dating websites, whites were far more reluctant to date outside their race than non-whites. The study found that over 80% of whites, including whites who stated no racial preference, contacted other whites, whereas about 3% of whites contacted blacks, a result that held for younger and older participants. Only 5% of whites responded to inquiries from blacks. Black participants were ten times more likely to contact whites than whites were to contact blacks, however black participants sent inquiries to other blacks more often than otherwise.[388][389]

Interracial marriage is still relatively uncommon, despite the increasing rate. In 2010, 15% of new marriages were interracial, and of those only 9% of Whites married outside of their race. However, this takes into account inter ethnic marriages, this meaning it counts white Hispanics marrying non-Hispanic whites as interracial marriages, despite both bride and groom being racially white. Of the 275,000 new interracial marriages in 2010, 43% were white-Hispanic, 14.4% were white-Asian, 11.9% were white-black and the rest were other combinations.[390] However, interracial marriage has become more common over the past decades due to increasing racial diversity, and liberalizing attitudes toward the practice. The number of interracial marriages in the U.S. increased by 65% between 1990 and 2000, and by 20% between 2000 and 2010.[391] "A record 14.6% of all new marriages in the United States in 2008 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another. ... Rates more than doubled among whites and nearly tripled among blacks between 1980 and 2008. But for both Hispanics and Asians, rates were nearly identical in 2008 and 1980.", according to a Pew Research Center analysis of demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.[392]

According to studies by Jenifer L. Bratter and Rosalind B. King made publicly available on the Education Resources Information Center, White female-Black male and White female-Asian male marriages are more prone to divorce than White-White pairings.[393] Conversely, unions between White males and non-White females (and between Hispanics and non-Hispanic persons) have similar or lower risks of divorce than White-White marriages, unions between white male-black female last longer than white-white pairings or white-Asian pairings.[393]


See also: Race in Brazil

Multiracial Brazilians make up 42.6% of Brazil's population, 79.782 million people, and they live in all regions of Brazil. Multiracial Brazilians are mainly people of mixed European, African, East Asian (mostly Japanese) and Amerindian ancestry.

Interracial marriages comprised 22.6% of all marriages in 2000. 15.7% of blacks, 24.4% of whites and 27.6% of Pardos (mixed-race/brown) married someone whose race was different from their own.[394]

Genetic admixture

Main article: Genetic admixture

Sexual reproduction between two populations reduces the genetic distance between the populations. During the Age of Discovery which began in the early 15th century, European explorers sailed all across the globe reaching all the major continents. In the process they came into contact with many populations that had been isolated for thousands of years. The Tasmanian aboriginals were one of the most isolated groups on the planet.[395] Many died from disease and conflict, but a number of their descendants survive today, often as mixed aboriginal and British. This is an example of how modern migrations have begun to reduce the genetic divergence of the human species.

New world demographics were radically changed within a short time following the voyage of Columbus.[395] The colonization of the Americas brought Native Americans into contact with the distant populations of Europe, Africa and Asia.[395] As a result, many countries in the Americas have significant and complex multiracial populations. Furthermore, many who identify themselves by only one race still have multiracial ancestry.

Admixture in the United States

Admixture in European-American population
% European admixture Frequency
90–100 68%
80–89.9 22%
70–79.9 8%
60–69.9 < 1%
50–59.9 < 1%
40–49.9 < 1%
0–39.9 0

Some claim the vast majority of African-Americans possess varying degrees of European admixture (the average Black American is 20% European) although studies suggest the Native American admixture in Black Americans is highly exaggerated; some estimates put average African-American possession of European admixture at 25% with figures as high as 50% in the Northeast and less than 10% in the south. A recent study by Mark D. Shriver of a European-American sample found that the average admixture in the white population is 0.7% African and 3.2% Native American. However, 70% of the sample had no African admixture. The other 30% had African admixture ranging from 2% to 20% with an average of 2.3%. By extrapolating these figures to the whole population some scholars suggest that up to 74 million European-Americans may have African admixture in the same range (2–20%).

Dr Mark Shriver, the team leader of the study, found that he had 11% West African ancestry though he identifies as white. Studies based on skin reflectance have shown the color line in the US applied selective pressure on genes that code for skin color but did not apply any selective pressure on other invisible African genes. Since there are an estimated 6 genetic loci involved in skin color determination it is possible for someone to have 15–20% African admixture and not possess any of alleles that code for dark skin. This is the basis of the passing phenomenon. Thus, the percentage of African admixture amongst white Americans can be relatively high without any significant change in skin tone.

Within the African-Americans population, the amount of African admixture is directly correlated with darker skin since less selective pressure against dark skin is applied within the group of "non-passing" individuals. Thus, African-Americans may have a much wider range of African admixture (>0–100%), whereas European-Americans have a lower range (2–20%).

A small overlap exists such that it is possible that someone who identifies himself as white may have more African admixture than a person who identifies himself as black.[396][397]

The Trapper's Bride shows a trapper, Francois, paying $600 in trade goods for an Indian woman to be his wife, ca. 1837

A statistical analysis done in 1958 using historical census data and historical data on immigration and birth rates concluded that 21% of the white population had black ancestors. The growth in the white population could not be attributed to births in the white population and immigration from Europe alone, but had received significant contribution from the African American population as well.[398] The author states in 1958:

The data presented in this study indicate that the popular belief in the non-African background of white persons is invalid. Over twenty-eight million white persons are descendants of persons of African origin. Furthermore, the majority of the persons with African ancestry are classified as white.

In the United States intermarriage among Filipinos with other races is common. They have the largest number of interracial marriages among Asian immigrant groups, as documented in California.[399] It is also noted that 21.8% of Filipino Americans are of mixed blood, second among Asian Americans, and is the fastest growing.[400]

Admixture in Latin America


Prior to the European conquest of the Americas the demographics of Latin America was naturally 100% American Indian. Today those who identify themselves as Native Americans are small minorities in many countries. For example, the CIA lists Argentina's native population at 0.9%, Brazil's at 0.4%, and Uruguay's at 0%.[401] However, the range varies widely from country to country in Latin America with some countries having significantly larger Amerindian minorities. According to official statistics —as reported by the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples or CDI— Amerindians make up 10-14%[402] of the population of Mexico.

Depiction of casta system in Mexico, 18th century

The early conquest of Latin America was primarily carried out by male soldiers and sailors from Spain and Portugal. Since they carried very few European women on their journeys the new settlers married and fathered children with Amerindian women and also with women imported from Africa. This process of miscegenation was even encouraged by the Spanish monarchy and it led to the system of stratification known as the Casta. This system had Europeans (Spaniards and Portuguese) at the top of the hierarchy followed by those of mixed race. Unmixed Blacks and Native Americans were at the bottom. A philosophy of whitening emerged in which Amerindian and African culture was stigmatized in favor of European values. Many Amerindian languages were lost as mixed race offspring adopted Spanish and Portuguese as their first languages. Only towards the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century did large numbers of Europeans begin to migrate to South America and consequently altering its demographics.

In addition many Africans were shipped to regions all over the Americas and were present in many of the early voyages of the conquistadors. Brazil has the largest population of African descendants outside Africa. Other countries such as Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador still have sizeable populations identified as Black. However countries such as Argentina and Chile do not have a visible African presence today. Census information from the early 19th century shows that people categorized as Black made up to 30% of the population, or around 400,000 people.[403] Though almost completely absent today, their contribution to Argentine culture is significant and include the tango, the milonga and the zamba, words of Bantu origin.[404]

Demographics of Brazil in 1835, 1940, 2000 and 2008[405][406]
Year White Brown Black
1835 24.4% 18.2%51.4%
1940 64% 21%14%
2000 53.7% 38.5%6.2%
2008 48.8% 43.8%6.5%

The ideology of whitening encouraged non-whites to seek white or lighter skinned partners. This dilution of non-white admixture would be beneficial to their offspring as they would face less stigmatization and find it easier to assimilate into mainstream society. After successive generations of European gene flow, non-white admixture levels would drop below levels at which skin color or physical appearance is not affected thus allowing individuals to identify as white. In many regions, the native and black populations were simply overwhelmed by a succession of waves of European immigration.

Historians and scientists are thus interested in tracing the fate of Native Americans and Africans from the past to the future. The questions remain about what proportion of these populations simply died out and what proportion still has descendants alive today including those who do not racially identify themselves as their ancestors would have. Admixture testing has thus become a useful objective tool in shedding light on the demographic history of Latin America.

Recent studies

A Spaniard plays with his mixed-race daughter while his Mulatta wife looks on, Miguel Cabrera, 1763, Colonial Mexico.

Unlike in the United States, there were no anti-miscegenation policies in Latin America. Though still a racially stratified society there were no significant barriers to gene flow between the three populations. As a result, admixture profiles are a reflection of the colonial populations of Africans, Europeans and Amerindians. The pattern is also sex biased in that the African and Amerindian maternal lines are found in significantly higher proportions than African or Amerindian Y chromosomal lines. This is an indication that the primary mating pattern was that of European males with Amerindian or African females. According to the study more than half the white populations of the Latin American countries studied have some degree of either Native American or African admixture (MtDNA or Y Chromosome). In countries such as Chile and Colombia almost the entire white population was shown to have some non-white admixture[407][408][409][410]

Frank Moya Pons, a Dominican historian documented that Spanish colonists intermarried with Taíno women, and, over time, these mestizo descendants intermarried with Africans, creating a tri-racial Creole culture. 1514 census records reveal that 40% of Spanish men in the colony of Santo Domingo had Taíno wives.[411] A 2002 study conducted in Puerto Rico suggests that over 61% of the population possess Amerindian mtDNA.[412]

Admixture in the Philippines

Historically, admixture has been a common phenomenon in the Philippines. The Philippines were originally settled by Australoid peoples called Negritos which now form the country's aboriginal community. Admixture occurred between this earlier group and the mainstream Malayo-Polynesian population.[294]

There has been Indian migration to and influence in the Philippines since the precolonial era. About 25% of the words in the Tagalog language are Sanskrit terms and about 5% of the country's population possess Indian ancestry from antiquity.[413] There has been a Chinese presence in the Philippines since the 9th century. However, large-scale migrations of Chinese to the Philippines only started during the Spanish colonial era, when the world market was opened to the Philippines. It is estimated that among Filipinos, 10%–20% have some Chinese ancestry and 1.5% are "full-blooded" Chinese.[295]

According to the American anthropologist Dr. H. Otley Beyer, the ancestry of Filipinos is 2% Arab. This dates back to when Arab traders intermarried with the local Malay Filipina female populations during the pre-Spanish history of the Philippines.[122] A recent genetic study by Stanford University indicates that at least 3.6% of the population are European or of part European descent from both Spanish and United States colonization.[414]

Admixture among the Romani people

Interior of a gipsy's house in Brazil c. 1820, by Debret
Romani dancers in Romania

Genetic evidence has shown that the Romani people ("Gypsies") originated from the Indian subcontinent and mixed with the local populations in Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In the 1990s, it was discovered that Romani populations carried large frequencies of particular Y chromosomes (inherited paternally) that otherwise exist only in populations from South Asia, in addition to fairly significant frequencies of particular mitochondrial DNA (inherited maternally) that is rare outside South Asia.

47.3% of Romani males carry Y chromosomes of haplogroup H-M82 which is rare outside of the Indian subcontinent.[415] Mitochondrial haplogroup M, most common in Indian subjects and rare outside Southern Asia, accounts for nearly 30% of Romani people.[415] A more detailed study of Polish Romani shows this to be of the M5 lineage, which is specific to India.[416] Moreover, a form of the inherited disorder congenital myasthenia is found in Romani subjects. This form of the disorder, caused by the 1267delG mutation, is otherwise only known in subjects of Indian ancestry. This is considered to be the best evidence of the Indian ancestry of the Romanies.[417]

The Romanis have been described as "a conglomerate of genetically isolated founder populations",[418] while a number of common Mendelian disorders among Romanies from all over Europe indicates "a common origin and founder effect".[418] See also this table:[419]

A study from 2001 by Gresham et al. suggests "a limited number of related founders, compatible with a small group of migrants splitting from a distinct caste or tribal group".[420] Also the study pointed out that "genetic drift and different levels and sources of admixture, appear to have played a role in the subsequent differentiation of populations".[420] The same study found that "a single lineage ... found across Romani populations, accounts for almost one-third of Romani males. A similar preservation of a highly resolved male lineage has been reported elsewhere only for Jewish priests".[420] See also the Cohen Modal Haplotype.

A 2004 study by Morar et al. concluded that the Romani are "a founder population of common origins that has subsequently split into multiple socially divergent and geographically dispersed Gypsy groups".[417] The same study revealed that this population "was founded approximately 32–40 generations ago, with secondary and tertiary founder events occurring approximately 16–25 generations ago".[417]

See also

Notes and references

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  176. Maria Jaschok; Suzanne Miers, eds. (1994). Women and Chinese patriarchy: submission, servitude, and escape. Zed Books. p. 223. ISBN 1-85649-126-9. Retrieved 1 November 2011. He states that they had a near-monopoly of the trade in girls and women, and that: The half-caste population in Hong Kong were, from the earliest days of the settlement of the Colony and down to the present day, almost exclusively the offspring of these Tan-ka people. But, like the Tan-ka people themselves, they are happily under the influence of a process of continuous re-absorption in the mass of Chinese residents of the Colony (1895 p. 169)
  177. Helen F. Siu (2011). Helen F. Siu, ed. Merchants' Daughters: Women, Commerce, and Regional Culture in South. Hong Kong University Press. p. 305. ISBN 988-8083-48-1. Retrieved 2 November 2011. The half-caste population of Hongkong were . . . almost exclusively the offspring of these Tan-ka women. EJ Eitel, Europe in , the History of Hongkong from the Beginning to the Year 1882 (Taipei: Chen-Wen Publishing Co., originally published in Hong Kong by Kelly and Walsh. 1895, 1968), 169.
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  196. Christina Miu Bing Cheng, p. 173: Her slave-like submissiveness is her only attraction to him. A-Chan thus becomes his slave/mistress, an outlet for suppressed sexual urges. The story is an archetypical tragedy of miscegenation. Just as the Tanka community despises A-Chan's cohabitation with a foreign barbarian, Manuel's colleagues mock his 'bad taste' ('gosto degenerado') (Senna Fernandes, 1978: 15) in having a tryst with a boat girl … As such, the Tanka girl is nonchalantly reified and dehumanized as a thing (coisa). Manuel reduces human relations to mere consumption not even of her physical beauty (which has been denied in the description of A-Chan), but her 'Orientalness' of being slave-like and submissive.
  197. Christina Miu Bing Cheng, p. 170: We can trace this fleeting and shallow relationship in Henrique de Senna Fernandes' short story, A-Chan, A Tancareira, (Ah Chan, the Tanka Girl) (1978). Senna Fernandes (1923–), a Macanese, had written a series of novels set against the context of Macao and some of which were made into films.
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  231. Edgar Thurston; K. Rangachari (1909). Castes and tribes of southern India, Volume 2 (PDF). Government press. p. 99. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 99 CHINESE-TAMIL CROSS in the Nilgiri jail. It is recorded * that, in 1868, twelve of the Chinamen " broke out during a very stormy night, and parties of armed police were sent out to scour the hills for them. They were at last arrested in Malabar a fortnight
  232. Government Museum (Madras, India) (1897). Bulletin …, Volumes 2–3. MADRAS: Printed by the Superintendent, Govt. Press. p. 31. Retrieved 2 March 2012. ON A CHINESE-TAMIL CKOSS. Halting in the course of a recent anthropological expedition on the western side of the Nilgiri plateau, in the midst of the Government Cinchona plantations, I came across a small settlement of Chinese, who have squatted for some years on the slopes of the hills between Naduvatam and Gudalur, and developed, as the result of 'marriage' with Tamil pariah women, into a colony, earning an honest livelihood by growing vegetables, cultivating cofl'ce on a small scale, and adding to their income from these sources by the economic products of the cow. An ambassador was sent to this miniature Chinese Court with a suggestion that the men should, in return for monies, present themselves before me with a view to their measurements being recorded. The reply which came back was in its way racially characteristic as between Hindus and Chinese. In the case of the former, permission to make use of their bodies for the purposes of research depends essentially on a pecuniary transaction, on a scale varying from two to eight annas. The Chinese, on the other hand, though poor, sent a courteous message to the effect that they did not require payment in money, but would be perfectly happy if I would give them, as a memento, copies of their photographs. The measurements of a single family, excepting a widowed daughter whom I was not permitted to see, and an infant in arms, who was pacified with cake while I investigated its mother, are recorded in the following table:
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  238. Sarat Chandra Roy (Rai Bahadur) (1954). Man in India, Volume 34, Issue 4. A.K. Bose. p. 273. Retrieved 2 March 2012. Thurston found the Chinese element to be predominant among the offspring as will be evident from his description. 'The mother was a typical dark-skinned Tamil Paraiyan. The colour of the children was more closely allied to the yellowish
  239. Mahadeb Prasad Basu (1990). An anthropological study of bodily height of Indian population. Punthi Pustak. p. 84. Retrieved 2 March 2012. Sarkar (1959) published a pedigree showing Tamil-Chinese-English crosses in a place located in the Nilgiris. Thurston (1909) mentioned an instance of a mating between a Chinese male with a Tamil Pariah female. Man (Deka 1954) described
  240. Sarat Ch; ra Roy (Rai Bahadur), eds. (1959). Man in India, Volume 39. A. K. Bose. p. 309. Retrieved 2 March 2012. d: TAMIL-CHINESE CROSSES IN THE NILGIRIS, MADRAS. S. S. Sarkar* (Received on 21 September 1959) iURING May 1959, while working on the blood groups of the Kotas of the Nilgiri Hills in the village of Kokal in Gudalur, enquiries were made regarding the present position of the Tamil-Chinese cross described by Thurston (1909). It may be recalled here that Thurston reported the above cross resulting from the union of some Chinese convicts, deported from the Straits Settlement, and local Tamil Paraiyan
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