The Creole Culture: History and Contributions Essay
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The Creole culture has been part of American society for the past hundred of years. Its traditions and practices have greatly contributed to the development and evolution of its people. This seeks to elaborate the history of the Creole culture in America. It will look into how these people came to America and their development through the years. Also, thing that will be looked into are the struggles and difficulties faced by the people. Moreover, the important contributions and information regarding the Creole culture will be highlighted.
Before the formal elaboration of the history of Creole culture in America, one must be able to distinguish the definition of the word. It is important to emphasize the meaning of the word so that the idea of being Creole would be established and would not be misinterpreted. The idea will now focus on the conceptual definition of a Louisiana Creole. “The Louisiana Creole Heritage Center describes Creole people as those who are “generally known as a people of mixed French, African, Spanish, and Native American ancestry, most of whom reside in or have familial ties to Louisiana.
“” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) These people came to be known as free persons of color. “It was during that century that the mixed-race Creoles of Color (or gens de couleur libre, “free persons of color”) came into their own as an ethnic group, enjoying many of the legal rights and privileges of whites. ” (Encyclopedia of Cajun culture, 1999, p. 1) However some scholars argue that the idea of Creole seems to be varied depending on the orientation of the person.
“All the while, however, the word Creole persisted as a term also referring to white Louisianans, usually of upper-class, non-Cajun origin (although, confusingly, even Cajuns sometimes were called Creoles, primarily by outsiders unfamiliar with local ethnic labels). ” (Encyclopedia of Cajun culture, 1999, p. 1) The term that will be uses will be the one on the free people of color otherwise known as Creole. Now after carefully elaborating on the definition of a Creole, the history of the Creole culture in America will now be discussed.
“It is documented in the annals of history that Creoles of Senegal, whether as freemen or as slaves, traveled directly from Senegal and Mali to Louisiana. ” (Creole Culture, 2006, p. 1) The Majority came after 1716 (2,083 slaves from 1719-1723) on trading ships directly from West Africa, most through the Senegal concession held by the Company of the Indies until 1730. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) They were part of the community that lived in Louisiana and lived in control of the land. These people intermingled with the local natives and tried to set up a community in the so called “New World”.
It was also during this time that Spain occupied the territory. During the years that passed, the Creoles enjoyed a high status in society. These people enjoyed the benefits of wealth and control of land. “Creole people and Creole Culture have been around since the founding of the new world colonies and then some. In fact we are the oldest minority group here in America. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) It was during the civil war and annexation of Louisiana from the United States that some Creole’s lost their status in society. This led to the intermarriage of Creoles to other cultures (Cajun, Mulatto and Arcadians).
This event paved the way for a diverse Creole culture that in turn came to be known as Creoles of Color. These people were dispersed into different parts of America primarily in New Orleans and Louisiana. The next part will discuss about the issues surrounding the arrival of Creoles in America. These include hardships they had faced when they first arrived into America. Next is the prejudice/s they had faced. Looking at it, the early Creole settlers in Louisiana enjoyed the benefits of the “New World”. They were one of the people who have control over the land and resources.
Of course, being new to a place would be very difficult for these people especially in adjusting to the environment and the current development that place has. The element of adjusting to the location and fitting it to the individual’s lifestyle has been the primary problem that new inhabitants had. Moreover, another imposing problem present is the idea of continued sustenance by the people. It may be true that the Creole’s were able t control the land and have a high status in society, however, in the preliminaries of control, the question of sustenance comes into place.
How will people continue feeding and where will they get their food. These are some of the problems that Creole’s had probably faced during their early occupation in the land. The next part will look into is the bias or prejudice/s present when the Creoles arrived. The probable prevalent prejudice and bias present was discrimination and slavery. It has been noted before that the Creole’s are composed of French and Negro descent. It can be said that there is a discrimination of color between Creoles.
Since slavery is practiced during this time, there is an unequal treatment of individuals on the basis of color. In the other region such as New Orleans, slavery is limited and a slave has the opportunity to be freed. “The earliest record in Louisiana of a manumission procedure, or legal freeing of a slave by a master, was in 1733 when Bienville, the city’s founder, freed his slaves Jorge and Marie who had served him for twenty-six years. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) “From the earliest days of New Orleans history, free persons of color have coexisted with those of European extraction.
” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) “Slaves would be allowed to keep a portion of fees charged to “lessors” for themselves, eventually allowing them to buy their freedom. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) After looking at the history and the prevalent problems during that time, the contributions of the Creole culture will now be highlighted. The first part will try to highlight important Creole achievements in history. In Creole Architecture, it is “the only African style house in existence in the U. S. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) A Creole is also the “first citizen of Chicago.
” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) “Creole’s have fought in every military campaign that America has been involved in, but little is known of our achievements and even less of our military accomplishments. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) Other things that needed to be looked over are the relevant information regarding Creole culture. “The average free family of color, often headed by a single woman, had four to five members, and most free people of lived alone with their children, where as slave families were extensions of white households in which they served. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p.
1) “From the very beginning of New Orleans there were some free blacks who came either from the Caribbean or via France. A few are believed to have come as servants with the French families who settled in the city in the late 1720’s; others found their way along the trade routes from the West Indian record of a free man of color, Laroze, appears in New Orleans in a case of the colonial court. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) “The Louisiana Creole Language was created by the Descendant of the French colonists and African slaves brought to Louisiana and by their Creole children.
” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) To add it says that “It belongs to a special language group, the Atlantic Creoles, which are languages created by the Descendant of the French colonists and African slaves brought to the Americas. ” (frenchcreoles. com, p. 1) To conclude, the Creole people boasts a deep and fruitful culture that has evolved and developed throughout the years. It’s experiences in the past and it’s diverse and mixed orientations makes it a fruitful study.
A Creole must be proud of his/her cultural heritage, the depth of its idea’s practices and standards that had stood the test of time and further developed into the culture that is considered one of the mainstreams of American society. References C. E. N. T. R. A. L. (2006) Creole Culture. Retrieved September 18, 2007, from http://www. centralacadianatourism. com/CreoleCulture. html Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture. (1999). Creole. Retrieved September 18, 2007 from http://www. cajunculture. com/Other/creole. htm frenchcreoles. com. Creole Culture. Retrieved September 18, 2007 from http://www. frenchcreoles. com/CreoleCulture/creoleculture. htm