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The term Creole and its cognates in other languages — such as crioulo, criollo, creolo, créole, kriolu, criol, kreyol, kreol, kriol, krio, etc. — have been applied to people in different countries and epochs, with rather different meanings. Typically they are partially or fully descended from Caucasian European colonial settlers. Their language, culture and/or racial origin represents the creolization resulting from the interaction and adaptation of colonial-era emigrants from Europe with non-European peoples, climates, and cuisines.
The English word creole derives from the French créole, which in turn came from Portuguese crioulo. The Spanish cognate criollo also derives from Portuguese crioulo. This word, a derivative of the verb criar ("to raise"), was coined in the 15th century, in the trading and military outposts established by Portugal in West Africa. According to Leite de Vasconcelos, it derives from criadouro (a Portuguese word still in existence meaning a place where something is raised, also spoken as criadoiro) and it soon changed through African influence to criaoiro - criooiro - crioilo - crioulo. It later came even to refer to slaves born in the Americas, according to Baltazar Lopes (1984). Originally, though, it meant descendants of Portuguese settlers who were born and raised overseas. Miscegenation, however, happened relatively quickly, as can be seen in the settlement of Cape Verde islands. While the early settlers were white Portuguese, the viability of the settlement could only be kept up by the agency of a mixed population, given the scarcity of Portuguese women in these new towns and the need of workers for the maintenance of the settlement. Portuguese Crown policy also encouraged mixed marriages in the colonies to create loyal colonial populations; this was done by bringing in house slaves, which the settlers got through trade with West Africa, namely in Mauritania's slave market. Later settlements in the islands were established by already mixed-race Portuguese settlers, who became known as "crioulos".
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