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Luso-Africans are Africans who are people of mixed Portuguese and African heritage generally living in Africa. This ethnic identity arose from the sixteenth century as primarily male Portuguese settlers, often Lançados, settled in various parts of Africa, often marrying African women.[1]

Also a term for slaves from Brazil who were freed. "These individuals often established profitable trade links between Africa and Brazil. They were so numerous that their homes, characterized by what is known as Brazilian-style architecture, can still be seen in many port cities along the African coast. These individuals helped strengthen the cultural ties between African communities on both sides of the Atlantic."[citation needed]

In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, Portuguese traders settled in the Cape Verde Islands and along the West African coast from Senegal to Sierra Leone. Descendants of these traders and of local African women formed the nucleus of a Luso-African community that soon developed a distinctive culture, joining elements of European and local African culture. These Luso-Africans, or 'Portuguese' as they called themselves, were commercial middlemen, distinguished by their language (Portuguese and, later, Crioulo), architecture and Christian religion. As each of these characteristics could be shared by members of adjacent African communities, identity transformations in both directions were relatively common. 'Portuguese' identity remained both fluid and contextually defined through the seventeenth century. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century, however, 'Portuguese' were drawn increasingly into a European discourse on identity, one based upon a priori characteristics, primarily skin color. Forced to respond to this imposed identity, Luso-Africans continued to maintain that they were 'Portuguese'; now, however, they also began to define themselves negatively by reference to what they were not.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Newitt, Malyn. ""Portuguese" Style and Luso-African Identity: Precolonial Senegambia, Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries". Leeds University Centre for African Studies. Leeds University. Retrieved 18 March 2016.


  • Gilbert, E. & Reynolds, J.T. (2008). Africa in World History: From Prehistory to the Present. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.