Use of the term "negro" by the Portuguese

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Oct 21 03:42:49 UTC 2011

A book I am reading claims that:

[1] "... the Spanish and Portuguese, in using the word negro in the
late sixteenth century and for years thereafter, used the term with
respect to Indians and black people, and not just the latter."
[2] "The Portuguese even used the word negro to describe Indians in
India, as well as Chinese and Japanese."
[3]  "They used the word nigger as an epithet for black Africans, but
also for Chinese, Japanese, and Indians of India."
[4]  "In the 1750s Portugal made it illegal to call Indians in Brazil
negro or negroes 'and other insulting and opprobrious terms.'"  [The
citation for this statement, and perhaps for the three preceding, is
Jack D. Forbes, Black Africans & Native Americans (1988), p. 16.]

Are these statements wholly true, partially true, or completely
false?  ([1] above I can believe.)


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