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In the 16th–18th centuries, a person born in Spanish America of Spanish parents, as distinguished from one born in Spain but residing in America. Under Spanish colonial rule, Creoles suffered from discrimination; it was consequently Creoles who led the 19th-century revolutions against Spain and became the new ruling class. Today Creole has widely varying meanings. In Louisiana it can mean either French-speaking white descendants of early French and Spanish settlers, or people of mixed descent who speak a form of French and Spanish. In Latin America the term may denote a local-born person of pure Spanish extraction or a member of the urban Europeanized classes as opposed to rural Indians. In the West Indies it refers to all people, regardless of ancestry, who are part of the Caribbean culture. See alsoCreole language.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Creole, visit Britannica.com.