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Miscegenation (Latin miscere "to mix" + genus "kind") is the mixing of different racial groups, that is, marrying, cohabiting, having sexual relations and having children with a partner from outside one's racially or ethnically defined group.

The term "miscegenation" has been used since the nineteenth century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sex, and more generally to the process of racial admixture, which has taken place since ancient history but has become more global through European colonialism since the Age of Discovery. Historically the term has been used in the context of laws banning interracial marriage and sex, so-called anti-miscegenation laws. It is therefore a loaded and potentially offensive word.


Today, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests a distinct biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships. The word is considered offensive by many and other terms such as "interracial," "interethnic" or "cross-cultural" are more common in contemporary usage. However, the term is still used by scholars when referring to past practices concerning multiraciality, such as anti-miscegenation laws that banned interracial marriages.

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. However, some groups in South America consider the use of the word mestizo offensive due to the fact that it was used during the times of the colony to just refer to the mixes between the conquistadores and the indigenous people.

Today the mixes among races and ethnicities are diverse so it is preferable to use the term "mixed-race" or simply "mixed" (mezcla).It should be mentioned that in Portuguese-speaking Latin America (i.e., Brazilmarker), 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 Black people existed until the late 19th century. In fact, miscegenation occurred significantly from the very first settlements, leading to high-ranking individuals of mixed ancestry. As a result, up to this day, the Brazilian classes system is drawn mostly around socio-economic lines, not racial ones (in a manner similar to other former Portuguesemarker colonies), albeit the fact that the upper classes are almost exclusively formed by descendants of Europeans, while almost all Blacks belong to the lower classes.

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.Thus, 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, are a constitutionally recognized aboriginal people.

The differences between related terms and words that 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 eighteenth 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. In fact, all humans belong to the same genus, Homo, to the same species, Homo sapiens and to the same subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.

The word was coined in an anonymous propaganda pamphlet published in New York Citymarker 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.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 in fact 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, in New York in particular the opposition reached heights of the Draft Riots, that included numerous lynchings.

The pamphlet and variations on it were reprinted widely in both the North and the Confederacy by Democrats and rebels. 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 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 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.

Laws banning miscegenation

Laws banning "race-mixing" were enforced in Nazi Germany (the Nuremberg Laws) until 1945, in certain U.S. states from the Colonial era until 1967 and in South Africa during the early part of the Apartheid era. All these laws primarily banned marriage between spouses of different racially or ethnically defined groups, which was termed "amalgamation" or "miscegenation" in the U.S. The laws in Nazi Germany and many of the U.S. states, as well as South Africa, also banned sexual relations between such individuals.

In the United States, the various state laws prohibited the marriage of whites and blacks, and in many states also the intermarriage of whites with Native Americans or Asians. 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. Although an "Anti-Miscegenation Amendment" to the United States Constitution was proposed in 1871, in 1912–1913, and in 1928, no nation-wide law against racially mixed marriages was ever enacted. In 1967, the United States Supreme Courtmarker 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 laws in U.S. states were established to maintain "racial purity" and white supremacy. Such laws were passed in South Africa to prevent the white minority from being "bred-out" by a black majority.

The Nazi ban on interracial marriage and interracial sex 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 marriage and extramarital sexual relations between persons of Jewish origin and persons of "German or related blood". Such intercourse 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


Africa has a long history of interracial mixing with Arabs and later European men having sexual affairs with black African women as well as taking them as wives. Arab played a big role in the African slave trade and unlike the trans-atlantic 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.

Sir Richard Francis Burton writes during his expedition to Africa about relationships between black women and White men. He writes, “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 Griquas formed by White colonists taking native African wives. In Namibia there is a community called the Rehobother Basters formed by the interracial marriage of Dutch/German men and black African women.

In the former Portuguese Africa (now known as Angolamarker, Mozambiquemarker and Cape Verdemarker) 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. Many black people in Africa today may have the blood of Europeans due to interracial marriages from colonial times. Many children of such liaisons were not accepted by their White paternal side resulting in them being brought up by their black maternal side and have been absorbed by the black community.

There have even been several 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 such mixed people have gained prominent positions in Africa. Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, who has a Scottish father and a black Ghanaian mother became the President and Head of State 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 is currently the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union in 2009. Ian Khama son of a black leader from Botswana and an English mother is the President of Botswana and the paramount chief of the Bamangwato people.

Indian men, who have long been traders in East Africa, at times 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, Kenyamarker, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawimarker, Rwandamarker, Zambiamarker, Zimbabwemarker and Zairemarker in small numbers. These interracial unions were mostly unilateral marriages between Indian men and East African women.


A large percentage of the population of Réunion is of mixed race. There have been mixed race people on the island since its first permanent inhabitation in 1665.In 1862, Louis Maillard, an inhabitant of the island, said:
The mixture of races and castes among the slaves on Bourbon greatly contributed to peace in the country


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 Cambodiamarker, Burmamarker, Champa, central Siammarker, the Malay Peninsula, and Malay Archipelago. Many Indianized kingdoms arose in Southeast Asia during the Middle Ages.

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, Indonesianmarker and Filipina female populations. This contributed to the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia. From the 14th to the 17th centuries, many Chinesemarker, 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. In the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of Japanese people also travelled to Southeast Asia and intermarried with the local women there.

The white men who sailed to Asia in the 16th century left a generation of mixed-race offspring that, at the high point of empire building, was more than one-million strong. Some 100,000 Eurasians stayed in Vietnammarker after independence. During and after the Indonesian National Revolution (1945–1965) around 300,000 people, pre-dominantly Eurasians, left Indonesia to go to the Netherlands.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a network of Chinese prostitutes being trafficked across Asia, in countries such as Chinamarker, Japanmarker, Koreamarker, Singaporemarker 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’.

During World War II, Japanesemarker 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 Dutch women, captured in Dutch colonies in Asia, were also forced into sexual slavery.

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


There have been various periods in the history of China where large numbers of Arabs, Persians and Turks from the "Western Regions" (Central Asia and West Asia) migrated to Chinamarker, beginning with the arrival of Islam during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. Due to the majority of these immigrants being male, they often intermarried with local Chinese females. While intermarriage was initially discouraged by the Tang Dynasty, it was later encouraged during the Song Dynasty, which allowed third-generation immigrants with official titles to intermarry with Chinese imperial princesses. Immigration to China increased under the Mongol Empire, when large numbers of West and Central Asians were brought over to help govern Yuan Chinamarker in the 13th century.

By the 14th century, the total population of Muslims in China had grown to 4 million. After Mongol rule had been overthrown by the Ming Dynastymarker 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.

Hong Kong

South Asians have been living in Hong Kong throughout the colonial period, before the partition of India into the nations of Indiamarker and Pakistanmarker. They migrated to Hong Kongmarker 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.

Indian subcontinent

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 groups as diverse as the Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman peoples. Invading Macedonians, Greeks, Scythians, Huns, Persians, Mongols (known as Mughals), and Europeans took Indian wives.

An international study led by Michale J. Bamshad of the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Utahmarker of caste origins has found that members of the upper castes in India are genetically more similar to Eastern Europeans, whereas the lower castes are more similar to Asians. This finding is in tune with the expectations based on historical reasoning and the prevalent views of many social historians. The authors believe their results support the notion that Europeans who migrated into India between 3,000 and 8,000 years ago may have merged with or imposed their social structure on the native northern Indians and placed themselves into the highest castes. This suggests that the Europeans who entered India were predominantly male who married local women.

Rape of Hindu women by invading Islamic armies was very common. Most of these Muslim soldiers were Turks, Afghans, Persians, Mongols (Mughals), other Central Asians and Arabs. The Mughal Emperors, who were descended from the Mongols, had a tradition of taking Hindu wives, many of them Rajputs. The Great Mughal Emperor of India Akbar married the Hindu Rajput princess Harka Bai of Amber. Harka Bai was rechristened with a Islamic name Mariam-uz-Zamani after her marriage. After her marriage, she was treated as an outcast by her own Hindu family and for the rest of her life never visited Amber. The Hindu Rajputs who married their daughters to Mughals still did not treat Mughals as equals, as they would not dine with Mughals or take Muslim wives.

There are even cases of Indian princesses marrying kings 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 Ayodhyamarker 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 Ayodhyamarker, 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.

In Goamarker, a Portuguese colony in Indiamarker, during the late 16th and 17th centuries, there was a community of Japanese slaves and traders, who were either Japanese Christians fleeing persecution in Japanmarker, or young Japanese women and girls brought or captured as sexual slaves by Portuguese traders and their South Asian lascar crewmembers from Japan. In both cases, they often intermarried with the local population in Goa.

Interracial marriages between European men and Indian women were very common during colonial times. According to the historian William Dalrymple, about one in three European men had Indian wives in colonial India. This was primarily because the Europeans (mostly Dutch, British, French and Portuguese and up to a lesser extent Swedes and Danes) — came to India when they were young and there were very few white women available in India. The most famous of such interracial liaisons was between the Hyderabadi noblewoman Khair-un-Nissa and the Scottish resident James Achilles Kirkpatrick. 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.

Though many Indian Muslim women frequently had sexual relationships with European men, marriage was generally not possible until the men converted to Islam. Thus many children of their sexual liaisons with White men were brought up as Indian Muslims, probably unaware of their European ancestry. The 600,000 strong Anglo-Indian community was formed by British soldiers taking Indian women as wives. Such relationships have had a strong 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).

In Ceylon (present day Sri Lankamarker), 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. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, 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.

As British females began arriving in British India in large numbers from the early to mid-19th century, miscegenation became increasingly uncommon in India and was later despised after the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, known as "India's First War of Independence" to the Indians and as the "Sepoy Mutiny" to the British, 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 elite and the native Indian population. While some restrictive policies were imposed on British females in order to "protect" them from miscegenation, most of these discriminatory policies were directed against native Indians.

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. 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.

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


Inter-ethnic marriage in Japan dates back to the 7th century, when Chinesemarker and Koreanmarker immigrants began intermarrying with the local Japanese population. By the early 9th century, over one-third of all noble families in Japan had ancestors of foreign origin. In the 1590s, over 50,000 Koreans were forcibly brought to Japan, where they intermarried with the local population. In the 16th and 17th centuries, around 58,000 Japanese travelled abroad, many of which intermarried with the local women in Southeast Asia. During the anti-Christian persecutions in 1596, many Japanese Christians fled to Macaumarker and other Portuguese colonies such as Goamarker, 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. Portuguese traders in Japan also intermarried with the local Christian women.

From the 15th century, Chinese, Korean and other Far Eastern visitors frequented brothels in Japan. This practice later continued among visitors from the "Western Regions", mainly European traders who often came with their South Asian lascar crew (in addition to some African crewmembers in some cases). This began with the arrival of Portuguese ships to Japan in the 16th century, when the local Japanese people assumed that the Portuguese were from Tenjiku ("Heavenly Abode"), the Japanese name for the Indian subcontinent (due to its importance as the birthplace of Buddhism), and that Christianity was a new "Indian faith". These mistaken assumptions were due to the Indianmarker city of Goa being a central base for the Portuguese East India Company and also due to a significant portion of the crew on Portuguese ships being Indian Christians.

Portuguese visitors and their South Asian (and sometimes African) crewmembers often engaged in slavery in Japan, where they brought or captured young Japanese women and girls, who were either used as sexual slaves on their ships or taken to Macau and other Portuguese colonies in Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Indiamarker. Later European East India companies, including those of the Dutch and British, also engaged in prostitution in Japan.

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. 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 the 21 December as the "blood-purity day" (junketsu de) and sponsored free blood-test at the Tokyo Hygiene laboratory. By 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 insure 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.

One of the last eugenic measure 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...."

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.Yuki Tanaka, Hidden Horrors, Japanese War Crimes in World War II, 1996, p. 94-98., Evidence documenting sex-slaves coercion revealed, "An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 women across Asia, predominantly Korean and Chinese, are believed to have been forced to work as sex slaves in Japanese military brothels", ;

"Historians say thousands of women – as many as 200,000 by some accounts – mostly from Korea, China and Japan worked in the Japanese military brothels", ;


According to Peter Schrijvers in "The GI War against Japan: American Soldiers in Asia and the Pacific during World War II", rape "reflects a burning need to establish total dominance of the other" 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 Okinawanmarker 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 Kanagawamarker prefecture alone".

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." 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."

Japanese society, with its ideology of homogenity, has traditionally been intolerant of ethnic and other differences. Men or women of mixed ancestry, foreigners, and members of minority groups faced 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 total. In 2005, Japanese Minister Taro Aso has called Japan a “one race” nation.


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

There are several Korean clans that are descended from such intermarriages. For example, the Deoksu Jang clan, claiming some 30,000 Korean members, view Jang Sunnyong, an Arab or Central Asian who married a Korean female, as their ancestor. 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.

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 usually from Chinamarker, Japanmarker, Vietnammarker, the Philippinesmarker, United Statesmarker, Mongoliamarker, Thailandmarker, and Russiamarker. On the other hand, Korean females have married foreign males from Japan, China, the United States, Bangladeshmarker, Pakistanmarker, Philippines, and Nepalmarker. Between 1990 and 2005, there have been 159,942 Korean males and 80,813 Korean females married to foreigners.

South Koreamarker is among the world's most ethnically homogeneous nations. 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. Moreover, the Korean office of Amnesty International has claimed that the word "Kosian" represents racial discrimination. Kosian children, like those of other mixed-race backgrounds in Korea, often face discrimination. 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.

Malaysia and Singapore

In West Malaysiamarker and Singaporemarker, the majority of inter-ethnic marriages are between Chinese and Indians. The offspring of such marriages are informally known as "Chindian", though 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.

It is common for Arabs in Singapore and Malaysia to take local Malay wives, due to a common Islamic faith. The Chitty people, in Singapore and the Malaccamarker 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%.

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.

The oldest Muslim group in Burmamarker (Myanmar) are the Rohingya people, who are mostly descended from Bengalis who intermarried with the native females in the Rakhine Statemarker after the 7th century. When Burma was ruled by the British Indian administration, millions of Indians, mostly Muslim, migrated there. The 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.

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.


A Filipina bride and Nigerian groom walk down the aisle.
Historically, admixture has been an ever present and pervading phenomenon in the Philippines. The Philippinesmarker 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.

There has been Indian migration and influence in the Philippinesmarker since the precolonial era. The impact of Indian civilization on the Philippines profoundly affected the culture of the Filipinos. 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. A considerable number of the population in the town of Cainta, Rizalmarker, are descended from Indian soldiers who mutinied against the British Indian Army when the British briefly occupied the Philippines in 1762 to 1763. These Indian soldiers called Sepoy settled in town and intermarried with native females. The Sepoy ancestry of Cainta is very visible today, particularly in Barrio Dayap near Brgy. Sto Nino. Their unique physical characteristics make them distinct from the average Filipinos.

There has been a Chinese presence in the Philippinesmarker since the ninth 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.

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 and Filipina female populations during the pre-Spanish history of the Philippines. 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 the prophet Mohammad. Such intermarriage mostly took place around the Mindanaomarker island area, but the arrival of Spanish Conquistadors to the Philippinesmarker abruptly halted the spread of Islam further north into the Philippines. Intermarriage with Spanish people later became more prevalent after the Philippinesmarker 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 Statesmarker took the Philippines from Spain during the Spanish-American War, much intermixing of Americans, both white and black, took place on the island of Luzonmarker where the USA had a Naval Base and Air Force Base even after the USA gave the Philippines independence after World War II. 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 reaction in the Philippines, most urban centers like Manila and Cebu are more willing to accept interracial marriages than rural areas, plus there is more approval if the Filipina marries out than a Filipino male.



During World War I, there were 135,000 soldiers from British India, a large number of soldiers from French North Africa, and 20,000 labourers from South Africa, who served in Francemarker. Much of the French male population had gone to war, leaving behind a surplus of French females, many of whom formed interracial relationships with non-white soldiers , mainly Indian and North African. British and French authorities allowed foreign Muslim soldiers to intermarry with local French females on the basis of Islamic law, which allows marriage between Muslim males and Christian and Jewish females. On the other hand, Hindu soldiers in France were restricted from intermarriage on the basis of the Indian caste system.

While the French were not as concerned about interracial relationships, the Britishmarker made attempts to prevent their Indian troops from engaging in such relationships with white females, by implementing curfews and preventing female nurses from attending wounded Indian troops in British hospitals. On the other hand, French hospitals had no problem with having female nurses attending wounded Indian and North African soldiers, though contacts with black African labourers and soldiers were more severely restricted by both British and French authorities.


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 so-called 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 Jewess 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. However, Germans of extra-European and especially of African descent and Germans regarded as belonging to the minority group of Sinti and Roma were also considered as non-Aryans.

Eventually children - whenever born - within a mixed marriage, as well as children from extramarital mixed relationships born until July 31, 1936, were discriminated against as Mischlinge. 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.Meldungen aus dem Reich: Auswahl aus den geheimen Lageberichten des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS 1939 - 1944 (11965; Reports from the Reich: Selection from the secret reviews of the situation of the SSmarker 1939-1944; 1984 extended to 14 vols.), Heinz Boberach (ed. and compilator), Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv), 21968, (dtv-dokumente; vol. 477) p. 208. ISBN B0000BSLXR

Systematic deportations of Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent started on October 18, 1941. German Jews and German Gentiles of Jewish descent living in mixed marriages were in fact mostly spared from deportation. 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.

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 Theresienstadtmarker, of whom most survived the last months until their liberation.

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. Even if one spouse was already dead, the marriage could be retroactively recognised. In the West German Federal Republic of Germanymarker 1,823 couples applied for recognition, which was granted in 1,255 cases.


The Avars, Asiatic nomads who during the late 6th and 7th centuries had formed an extensive empire largely inhabited by conquered Slavs, made the agricultural Slavs pay taxes, and used their wives and daughters as concubines.

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 Mountainsmarker. At the time of the Magyar migration in the 10th century, the present-day Hungary was inhabited by Slavs, numbering about 200,000, who were either assimilated or enslaved by the Magyars.

During the Russian campaign in the 13th century, the Mongols drove some 40,000 Cumans, a nomadic tribe of pagan Kipchaks, west of the Carpathian Mountains. 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.

Iberian Peninsula

In ancient history, the Iberian Peninsulamarker was frequently invaded by foreigners who intermarried with the native population. One of the earliest foreign groups to arrive to 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 Phoeniciansmarker and Carthaginiansmarker 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 Iranic 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.

After the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the 8th century, the Islamic state of Al-Andalusmarker was established in the Iberian Peninsula. Islamic marital law is by itself an anti-miscegenation law, since it allows a Muslim male to marry Christian and Jewish females but not a Muslim female to marry a Christian or Jewish male. According to these rules, it became common for African, Arab and Berber males from North Africa to intermarry with the local Jewish, Germanic, Roman and Iberian females of Hispania.

The offspring of such marriages 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. This term was also the origin for the Spanish word Mulato. In addition, many Muladi were also descended from Saqaliba (Slavic) slaves taken from Eastern Europe via the Arab slave trade.

By the 11th or 12th century, the Muslim population of Al-Andalus had merged into a homogeneous group of people known as the "Moors". After the Reconquista, which was completed in 1492, most of the Moors were forced to either flee to Moroccomarker 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") or "blue blood" doctrine, under which anti-miscegenation laws were implemented in Spainmarker.

Anyone whose ancestors had miscegenated with the Moors or Jews were suspicious 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) because the Arab invasion hadn't reached the Basque territories, so it was believed that Basques had maintained their original purity, while the rest of Spain was suspect of miscegenation. In fact, the Arab invasion also reached the Basque country and there had been a significant Jewish minority in Navarre, but the hidalguía helped many Basques to official positions in the administration.. In December 2008, an important genetic study revealed that the religious conversions of Jews and Muslims have had a profound impact on the population of the Iberian Peninsula. This study indicated a Sephardic Jewish mean admixture of about 20% and a North African admixture of about 11%. However, the findings contradict previous studies, and many in the field find the conclusions questionable.

Italian Peninsula

As was the case in other regions conquered 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 between the 8th and 11th centuries. In this case, most intermarriages were between Arab and Berber males from North Africa and the local Greek, Roman and Italian females of Sicily and southern Italy. 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. 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 of Arab-Norman culture had flourished under the reign of Roger II of Sicily, later rulers had forced the Moors to either convert to Christianity or be expelled from the kingdom.

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

In the Republic of Venicemarker in northern Italy, it was common for foreign Arab and Berber traders, known to Europeans as the "Moors", to take local Italian wives. This became a subject matter in several William Shakespeare plays, most notably Othello, involving an inter-ethnic relationship between a Moorish Othello and his Venetian wife Desdemona, based on Giovanni Battista Giraldi's "Un Capitano Moro" which was itself inspired by an actual incident that occurred in Venice around 1508. At times, the Italianmarker city-states also played an active role in the Arab slave trade, where Moorish and Italian traders occasionally exchanged slaves. Leonardo da Vinci's mother Caterina, for example, was most likely a slave from the Middle East.

During World War II, France's Moroccanmarker troops known as Goumiers committed war rapes in Italy after the Battle of Monte Cassinomarker and in Germanymarker. 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.

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.

In the 11th century, the Byzantine territory of Anatoliamarker 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), Venetianmarker, Caucasian and Frenchmarker wives.

Some of these European wives exerted great influence upon the empire as Valide Sultan ("Mother-Sultan"), some famous examples including Roxelana, a Slavic harem slave who later became Suleiman the Magnificent's favourite wife, and Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, wife of Abdul Hamid I and 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 Turkeymarker, which now differs from that of the Turkic population in Central Asia.

The degree of miscegenation is very high in the former Soviet Unionmarker. Interethnic marriages made up about 22% of all marriages in Moscowmarker, according to the figures from 1995. The number of unions between Slavic women and Caucasus men has skyrocketed, according to the Institute of General Genetics.

Vladivostokmarker in the Russian Far East is a destination for Asian sex tourists. Annually, many Russian women end up as prostitutes in Chinamarker, Japanmarker, or South Koreamarker. Bars in major Chinese cities now offer blond, blue-eyed Russian "hostesses," while in Tokyomarker, Russian girls are the latest addition to the menu in fancy "hostess" bars. Russian prostitutes are found everywhere in Macaumarker. Their customers are almost exclusively wealthy Chinese, Japanese and Korean businessmen. Eastern European women also end up in Turkeymarker and United Arab Emiratesmarker.

Low levels of mixed ancestry are, in some areas (especially urban), almost universal, and generally go entirely ignored and unnoticed unless persons wish to identify themselves with ethnic minorities. Highly visible divergence from the local ethnic majority is also treated differently, depending on whether the individual identifies with the local culture or not. In modern times, attitudes towards miscegenation in the former Soviet Union vary greatly, depending on the race and gender of each partner. For example, unions between white/Slavic males and Asian/Oriental or Turkic women are almost universally tolerated, and their children are generally identified and treated as members of the local ethnic majority.

However, unions between Slavic women and visibly non-Slavic men may meet varying degrees of discrimination, from light to none for Asian men (depending also on origin, whether they are immigrants or were born in the Soviet Union, and where in the Soviet Union they were born), to some hostility for Turkic men (although much of this is against their real or perceived Muslim faith) and Jews, and quite high intolerance towards those who marry blacks or have children by them (young African-Russians in Moscowmarker are often scornfully called 'Children of the Olympics', under the assumption that they were conceived by visiting tourists during the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games). The situation is also highly affected by self-identification, since many people of Asian or Turkic blood have assimilated to the point where they identify themselves as Russian/Ukrainian/etc. and are socially accepted as such.

United Kingdom

Even though 80 percent of the genetic characteristics of most white Britons today have been passed down from a few thousand Ice Age hunters and the genetic makeup of today's white Britons is much the same as it was 12,000 years ago, Britainmarker has a fairly long history of inter-ethnic marriage among the various European populations that inhabited the island, including the Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman peoples. Intermarriage with non-European populations began in the late 15th century, with the arrival of the Romani people, who have Indian origins. The Romani in Britain intermarried with the local population and became known to the Romani as the Romnichal. 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. Indian wives sometimes accompanied their husbands back to Britain.

Intermarriage has been fairly common in Britainmarker since the 17th century, when the British East India Company began bringing over thousands of Indian scholars, lascars and workers (often Bengali and/or Muslim) to Britain, a large number of whom married or cohabited with local white British females, due to the lack of Indian women in Britain at the time. This later became an issue, as a magistrate of the London Tower Hamletsmarker area in 1817 expressed disgust at how many local English women and girls there were marrying or cohabiting with foreign South Asian lascars. Nevertheless, there were no legal restrictions against inter-ethnic marriage at the time.

In addition to inter-ethnic marriage and cohabitation, inter-ethnic prostitution in the United Kingdom was also common at the time. In the London Docklandsmarker area, white British and African-Caribbean sex workers specialized in entertaining Asiatic seamen, who formed a majority of the clients in the area, mostly South Asian lascars as well as Arabs, Malaysians, Chinese and Greeks. Frequent intermarriage and cohabitation led to the breeding of “mixed raceEurasian (Anglo-Indian) children in Britain, which challenged the British elite efforts to "define them using simple dichotomies of British versus Indian, ruler versus ruled." By the mid-19th century, there were more than 40,000 Indian seamen, diplomats, scholars, soldiers, officials, tourists, businessmen and students who had arrived in Britain. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were around 70,000 South Asian visitors in Britain, 51,616 of whom were lascar seamen (when World War I began).
Following World War I, which left 885,000 British soldiers dead, there was a large surplus of females in Britain, and there were increasing numbers of seamen arriving from the Indian subcontinent, Arab World, Far East and Caribbeanmarker. This led to increased intermarriage and cohabitation with local white females, which raised concerns over miscegenation and led to several race riots at the time. By World War II, any form of intimate relationship between a white woman and non-white man was often considered offensive.

Concerns were repeatedly voiced regarding white adolescent girls forming relationships with coloured men, including South Asian seamen in the 1920s, Muslim immigrants in the 1920s to 1940s, African American GIs during World War II, Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s to 1960s, and South Asian immigrants in the 1960s.

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 Statesmarker, though America has much less specific definitions of race (four racial definitions as opposed to the United Kingdom's 86). 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. As of 2009, one in 10 children in the UK lives in a mixed-race family and two out of five Chinese women have partners of a different race.

Middle East

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 fierce and proud Bedouin nomads of the Middle East actually have a lot of European and South Asian blood.

In ancient times a Celtic people known as Galatians settled in what is present day Turkey and thus interbred with the people there. During the empire of Alexander the Great, many Macedonian/ Greek soldiers had interracial relationships with women throughout the Middle East all the way to Northern Indiamarker. Later North Africa and parts of the Middle East were part of the Roman Empire and many European men (mostly Romans, Dacians, Germanics (Franks, Alamannis, Saxons, Goths, Vandals etc...), Sarmatians, Scythians, Celts from Gaul, Iberiamarker, Britania etc..., Greeks and Armenians) were posted as soldiers here. Many of them had interracial relationships with local middle-Eastern women. The Germanic people known as the Vandals conquered North Africa during the great migration period which led to opportunities of interracial relationships between Germanic men and local North African women.

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. Most of these slaves came from places such as Sub-Saharan Africa (mainly Zanj), South Asia (Hindus), the Caucasus (mainly Circassians), Central Asia (mainly Tartars), and Central and Eastern Europe (mainly Saqaliba). The Barbary pirates also captured 1.25 million slaves from Western Europe and North America between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was also common for Arab conquerors, traders and explorers to marry local females in the lands they conquered or traded with, in various different parts of Africa, Asia (see Asia section) and Europe (see Europe section).

Medieval Western Asia was repeatedly invaded by Europeans (Crusades) and Mongols (Mongol Empire) which led to opportunities for interracial relationships between European, Mongol and other Central Asia/ East Asia soldiers and local Arab women. As well as many Europeans, there were North Africans, South Asians and Central Asians who worked as mercenaries and traders in the area, most of them converting to Islam and taking local women as wives.

From 839 AD, Viking Varangian mercenaries who were in the service of the Byzantine Empire, notably Harald Sigurdsson, campaigned in North Africa, Jerusalemmarker and other places in the Middle East during the Byzantine-Arab Wars, and interbred with the local population as spoils of warfare or through eventual settling with many Scandinavian and Slavic Viking men taking Arab or Anatolian women as wives. There is archaeological evidence these Vikings had established contact with the city of Baghdadmarker, at the time the center of the Islamic Empire, and connected with the populace there.

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 Lebanon that is probably linked to the Christian crusades of the 7th and 8th centuries.It is believed the Crusaders were welcomed by Christian Arabs long suffering under Islamic rule and many offered their daughters in marriage to the European Crusaders who originated from European kingdoms mostly Francemarker, Englandmarker anf the Holy Roman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire exclusively recruited young Christian European boys (Bulgarian, Armenian, Croat, Bosnian, Serbs, Romanian, Georgian, Pole, Ukrainian and Russian) to become the elite troop of the Turkish Empire, the Janissaries. These Janissaries were stationed throughout the Turkish empire including the Middle-East and North Africa leading to further interracial relationships between European men and women from the Middle East and North Africa. Further interracial marriages took place during the European colonial age when Great Britainmarker, Francemarker, Spainmarker and Italymarker ruled various parts of this region. Most of these marriages were between European men and local Arab and Berber women.

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 Kurdish poet Nezami, 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, Chinesemarker, Indian, Khwarezmian, Maghrebian, Slavic and Tartar princesses. Hadith Bayad wa Riyad, a 12th-century Arabic tale from Al-Andalusmarker, was a love story involving an Iberian girl and a Damascenemarker man. The One Thousand and One Nights tale of "The Man of Al-Yaman and His Six Slave-Girls" involves a Yemenimarker man's relationship with foreign slave girls, four of which are white, black, brown and yellow. 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'amarker, from the Byzantine Emperor who also wishes to marry her.

Portuguese colonies

According to Gilberto Freyre, a Brazilian sociologist, miscegenation 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, Brazilmarker, Cape Verdemarker, Timor Lestemarker, Macaumarker and São Tomé and Príncipemarker. 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. 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.


By some estimates, 80,000 North American and European women (most of them over the age of 40) visit Jamaicamarker every year for sex with young men (mostly in their 20s). They're called "milk bottles". HIV/AIDS infection rates in the Caribbean are much higher than in Canada or the U.S. Even so, female sex tourists in the Caribbean are not especially preoccupied by the risk.

United States

Historically, "race mixing" between black and white people was taboo in the United States (see also Racism in the United States). In the past, the taboo centered more on white-black marriages than on sexual relations between whites and blacks, because most white Americans refused to accept African-Americans as social equals.

The taboo among American whites surrounding white-black intermarriage can be seen as a historical consequence of the oppression and racial segregation of African-Americans. 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 seventeenth 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 indentured servants, and they were mostly white. 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.

In 1918, there was considerable controversy in Arizonamarker when an Indian farmer B. K. Singh married the sixteen year-old daughter of one of his white tenants.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 Jim Crow, while over the centuries a minority of mixed-raced Americans passed and became white, and others exist to this day in small mixed enclaves of Mestees such as the Melungeons, Lumbee, Jackson Whites, etc.

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-American ancestry, and that the majority of black Americans have some European ancestry. Some claim marriage records show that in 60% of American white-black intermarriages, the woman is white.After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery in 1865, the intermarriage of white and black Americans continued to be taboo, especially but not only 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.
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 Unionmarker with that goal. In 1957, segregationists cite the anti-semitic hoax A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century as evidence for these bogus claims.

In 1958, the Christian fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell, at the time a defender of segregation, in a sermon railed against integration, warning that it would lead to miscegenation, which would "destroy our [white] race eventually.". Even later, in 1973, President Richard Nixon went so far as to suggest the children of an inter-racial couple should be aborted in saying that, "There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white."

Asians were also specifically included in some state laws. California continued to ban Asian/white marriages until 1948 until the Perez v. Sharp decision, and other US states banned Asians from marrying whites until 1967.

In the United States, segregationists and Christian identity groups have claimed that several verses in the Bible, for example the story of Phinehas and the so-called "curse of Ham", should be understood as referring to miscegenation and that these verses expressly forbid it. Most theologians read these verses as forbidding inter-religious marriage, rather than inter-racial marriage.

Miscegenation has become increasingly accepted in the United States since the Civil Rights movement and up to the present day. 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 Louisianamarker 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.

In recent years, interracial pornographic films, which most commonly refers to black male/white female films, have increased in popularity, becoming one of the fastest-growing and biggest-selling genres. Interracial films that include black men and white women together have a majority audience of white male viewers, which has led some people within the porn industry to speculate that the largest orders for interracial porn comes from the Southern U.S.

Demographics of ethnoracial admixture


According to the U.S. Census, in 2000 there were 1,432,908 Hispanic Origin-white marriages., 504,119 Asian-white marriages, 287,576 black-white marriages, 97,822 Hispanic Origin-black marriages, 40,317 Asian-Hispanic Origin marriages, and 31,271 Asian-black marriages. The black-white marriages increased from 65,000 in 1970 to 422,000 in 2005, according to Census Bureau figures.

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. In 2006, 41% of Asian American-born women were registered as having White husbands.

In the 1997 poll, nearly two-thirds (64%) of black, Hispanic, or Asian teens, who had ever dated and who attended schools with students of more than one race, said they had dated someone who was white. 17% of white teens said they had dated a black person and 44% of black teens said they had dated a white person. A Gallup poll on interracial dating in June 2006 found that 95% of 18- to 29-year-olds approve of blacks and whites dating. About 60% of that age group said they have dated someone of a different race. In 1980, just 17% said they had dated someone of another race.


Multiracial Brazilians make up 42.6% of Brazil's population, 79.782 million people, and they live in all regions of Brazilmarker. Multiracial Brazilians are mainly people of mixed European, African (Afro-Brazilian) and Amerindian ancestry.

Genetic studies of racial admixture

Miscegenation 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. It is generally accepted that the Tasmanian aboriginals were the most isolated group on the planet. They were driven to extinction by European explorers, however a number of their descendants survive today as a result of admixture with Europeans. This is an example of how modern migrations have begun to reduce the genetic divergence of the human race.

The demographic composition of the old world has not changed significantly since the age of discovery. However, the new world demographics were radically changed within a short time following the voyage of Columbus. The colonization of Americas brought Native Americans into contact with the distant populations of Europe, Africa and Asia. 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 phenomena. Thus African admixture amongst white Americans can increase without any significant change in skin tone. Conversely amongst African-Americans, an amount of African Admixture is directly correlated with darker skin since no selective pressure is applied; as a result, 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 so that it is possible that someone who identifies themself as white may have more African admixture than a person who identifies themself as black.

A statistical analysis done in 1958 using historical census data and historical data on immigration and birth rates, concluded that 21 percent 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.The author states in 1958:

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. It is also noted that 21.8% of Filipino Americans are of mixed blood, second among Asian Americans, and is the fastest growing.

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 Argentinamarker's native population is 0.9%, Brazilmarker is 0.4%, and Uruguaymarker is 0%.

The early conquest of Latin America was primarily carried out by male soldiers and sailors from Spainmarker and Portugalmarker. 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 twentieth 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. Brazilmarker has the largest population of African descendants outside Africa. Other countries such as Jamaicamarker, Cubamarker, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republicmarker, Haitimarker, Venezuelamarker, Colombiamarker, and Ecuadormarker still have sizeable populations identified as Black. However countries such as Argentinamarker and Chilemarker 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. Though almost completely absent today, their contribution to Argentine culture is significant include the Tango, the Milonga and the Zamba, words of Bantu origin.

Demographics of Brazil in 1835, 1940, 2000 and 2008
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

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

Following the dispersal of Humans from Africa 50,000 - 70,000 years ago South America was the last continent to be occupied by humans. Thus the largest geographic distance between continents is between Africa and South America. Since genetic distance increases with geographic distance the two most genetically divergent groups are Africans and Native Americans based on distance. The arrival of Africans in Brazil and subsequent mixing with native South Americans entails the creation of intermediate populations, such as the Zambo or Garifuna between the two divergent groups.

Admixture in the Philippines

Historically, admixture has been an ever present and pervading phenomenon in the Philippines. The Philippines was 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.

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 Indianmarker ancestry from antiquity. There has been a Chinese presence in the Philippinesmarker since the ninth 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.

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 and Filipina female populations during the pre-Spanish history of the Philippines. A recent genetic study by Stanford Universitymarker indicates that at least 3.6% of the population are European or of part European descent from both Spanish and United Statesmarker colonization.

Admixture among the Romani people

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 Roma men carry Y chromosomes of haplogroup H-M82 which is rare outside of the Indian subcontinent. Mitochondrial haplogroup M, most common in Indian subjects and rare outside Southern Asia, accounts for nearly 30% of Roma people. A more detailed study of Polish Roma shows this to be of the M5 lineage, which is specific to Indiamarker. 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.

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

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". 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". 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". See also the Cohen Modal Haplotype.

A 2004 study by Morar et al. concluded that the Roma are "a founder population of common origins that has subsequently split into multiple socially divergent and geographically dispersed Gypsy groups". 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".

See also

Notes and references

Other sources

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