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Sun, 10.31.1441

The Creole Communities of Africa, an article

*Creole communities of Africa are celebrated on this date in 1441.  This article focuses on three creole communities, British and Portuguese Africa and the Indian Ocean.  The creation of this group of people was heightened through the 1884 invasion from the Berlin Conference, the high point of white European competition for territory in Africa, a process commonly known as the Scramble for Africa.  

In Sierra Leone, the mingling of newly free Black and mixed-race immigrants from the Western hemisphere and Liberated Africans such as the Akan, Bacongo, Igbo people, and Yoruba people over several generations in the late 18th and early 19th centuries led to the eventual creation of the aristocratic ethnic group now known as the Creoles. Thoroughly westernized in their manners and bourgeois in their methods, the Creoles established a comfortable dominance in the country through a combination of British colonial favoritism and political and economic activity. Their influence in the modern republic remains significant, and their language Krio serves as an important lingua franca.  The extension of these Sierra Leoneans' business and religious activities to neighboring Nigeria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries where many of them had ancestral ties subsequently caused the creation of an offshoot in that country, the Saros. Now often considered to be part of the wider Yoruba ethnicity, the Saros has been prominent in politics, the law, religion, the arts, and journalism.  

The Crioulos of Portuguese and African descent eventually gave rise to several major ethnic groups in Africa, especially in Cape Verde where the dominant ethnic group, is called Kriolus or Kriols in the local language; the language itself is also called "Creole";  In Guinea-Bissau, the dominant ethnic group, is called Crioulos and the same is true in São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea (especially Annobon Province), Ziguinchor (Casamance), Angola, Mozambique. Only a few of these groups have retained the name crioulo or any variations.   

Indian Ocean creoles refers to the country and the east African mainland islands in between.  Mauritian Creoles (also known as Black Creole Mauritians or Afro Mauritians) refer to those on the island who trace their roots to Bantu African slaves.  In the 21st century, a significant proportion of Mauritian Creoles are predominantly Black with varying amounts of French and Indian ancestry. The island communities of Rodriguais & Chagossians are usually incorporated within the creole ethnic group. The ancestors of this community were brought in as slaves to work in the plantations of Mauritius, Agaléga, Rodrigues & the Chagos Islands. The slaves were Bantus mostly brought from East African Mozambique and Madagascar. Some of these slaves eventually had offspring with French settlers and Indian indentured laborer’s, producing a people group of mixed heritage.  The Seychellois Creole people are a nation and ethnic group native to Seychelles island, who speak Seychellois Creole. They are the predominant ethnic group in the country.  The majority of the people living in the Seychelles are referred to as creole. They are mainly of East African and Malagasy origin. However, some are also of mixed East African, Malagasy, Indian, Chinese and French origins.  Originally, African slaves, from Mauritius, were transported to Seychelles to work on sugar and coffee plantations. They were the last slaves to be introduced to the Indian Ocean. Their origins lie in Africa. 

In the 21st century, Creoles are dispersed throughout Seychelles. They number roughly 76,000, which is more than 70% of the entire Seychellois population. Creoles are the dominant group in politics.  The Seychellois music genre of Sega is known as Moutia.  Seychellois Creoles are proud of their African heritage and set up a Creole institute in Mahé to help promote their culture and to help others understand it. Unlike Mauritius, where Creole has no official status, the Seychelles have made Creole one of their three official languages, along with French and English.  The usage of creole in the islands of the southwest of the Indian Ocean varies according to the Indian Ocean island. In Mauritius, the term Creole refers to people who have the ancestry of Africans with some French and Indian blood. The term also indicates the same to the people of Seychelles (900 miles east of Africa). On the  Indian Ocean island of Réunion the term creole applies to all people born on the island.  In all three societies, creole also refers to the new languages derived from French and incorporating other languages.  

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