Eurasian (mixed ancestry)

Eurasian (mixed ancestry)

In the context of ethnic origins, Eurasian is a term for people and ethnic groups of mixed European and Asian ancestry.

The word was originally coined during 19th century British India to refer to persons born of European fathers, primarily British, and South Asian mothers, primarily IndiansFact|date=September 2008. The term has seen some use in anthropological literature from the 1960s. [Current Anthropology, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Feb., 1961), p. 64.]



Many Eurasian ethnic groups arose during colonial occupation of Asian regions by European states and private corporations, that started with the great wave of European naval expansion and exploration in the 16th century and continues to the present. The main European colonial powers were Spain and Portugal in the 16th century, followed by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France from the 17th century onwards.

In many regions, Eurasians tended to marry and socialize mostly among themselves --- thus forming a separate social and economic class, which eventually became a distinctive ethnic group.

Social and economic status

With their close ties to both the ruling Europeans and the local populations, Eurasians had a natural vocation to act as intermediaries --- clerks, administrators, police officers, and the like --- between the two classes; a position that sometimes gave them power and prosperity.

As European colonies gained their independence, different Eurasian groups met with different fortunes. Often they were discriminated and persecuted, being seen as alien and allied of the former rulers; this was the fate, for example, of the Anglo-Burmese in Burma, and of the Indo (Dutch-Malay) people of Indonesia. In other cases, where the Eurasians had citizen status in the colonial power, they chose to emigrate simply for economic reasons. In a few cases, the Eurasians able to retain their status after the transition, or even to take over the status the former colonial rulers --- as in the Philippines, for example, where the Mestizos are politically dominant to this day.


As seen with the given statistics on the ethnic group template, there are more Eurasians living in the Malay Archipelago as a region, more than any other region in the worldFact|date=September 2008. Perth, Western Australia has the largest community of Anglo-Burmese than in any other city in the world.

Today, many relatively small Eurasian communities exist in Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, and in Hong Kong, while large communities exist in The Philippines .

Specific groups


The Eurasians of the Philippines form a very tightly knit relationship with Amerasians and due to their cultural similarities and common Western world view. Both are considered as overrepresented in the entertainment industry, and are widely held in high esteem due to a generalized colonial mindset among Filipinos. Eurasians are viewed positively in the Philippines, and those with European phenotypes in particular are widely promoted as the standard of beauty. Most of the European introgression among Eurasians in the Philippines are of Spanish origin, while some, to a lesser degree, are of British origin. Meanwhile, contemporary migration and intermarriages between Filipinos (both male and female) with expatriates from Europe, Australia and the United States continue to result in an increasing number of Eurasians, particularly part white American, white Australian, British, French, German, Italian, Austrian, Swiss, Dutch, Greek, Portuguese, Slavic and Scandinavian, among others, in addition to the more common Spanish. A recent genetic study suggests that around 40% of the Filipino population have had at least one Spanish ancestor, although it is probable that counting back many generations, the percentage would be much higher.

United States

According to the United States Census Bureau, concerning multi-racial families in 1990:

"In the United States, census data indicate that the number of children in interracial families grew from less than one half million in 1970 to about two million in 1990. In 1990, for interracial families with one white American partner, the other parent...was Asian American for 45 percent..." [ [ U.S. Census Bureau, 2000] ]

According to James P. Allen and Eugene Turner from California State University, Northridge, by some calculations the largest part white bi-racial population is white/American Indian and Alaskan Native, at 7,015,017, followed by white/black at 737,492, then white/Asian at 727,197, and finally white/Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander at 125,628. []

US Census

The US Census categorizes Eurasian responses in the "Some other race" section as part of the Asian race. The Eurasian responses the US Census officially recognizes are Indo-European, Amerasian, and Eurasian.University of Michigan. Census 1990: Ancestry Codes. August 27, 2007. [] ]


After World War II, most Eurasians of European and Indonesian descent settled (after the overthrow of Dutch colonial rule) in The Netherlands and thereafter in America and elsewhere. Dutch Eurasians were typically Dutch citizens and were seen as having collaborated with the Dutch government by many Indonesians, whereas the Indonesian revolutionary leaders were seen as having collaborated with the Japanese invaders by many Dutch. Both of those perceptions were largely correct. These Dutch Eurasians, also called Indos or Indo-Europeans, have largely assimilated in the Netherlands and, with over 500,000 persons, are the largest ethnic minority in the Netherlands.


Eurasians will usually speak the native language of their home country, and may or may not speak the language(s) of an ancestral or parental ethnicity.

The overwhelming majority of all Eurasians with Filipino ancestry of the younger generations speak English as their first language, and have a basic command of at least one Philippine language. Many also speak Lan-nang (Philippine Hokkien), if they also have Chinese ancestry, as well as other European languages like Spanish, German, or French.

The Kristang and Macanese groups have also formed their own languages. The Kristang language is a dialect of Portuguese influenced by Malay as well as Petjo, a dialect compromised of Dutch words based on a Malay grammatical structure.


Eurasian culture is mostly tied-up with their ethnic affiliation.

In East Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan, most Eurasians choose to identify with the culture of the country they live in.

Eurasians in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Laos and Thailand have developed a separate culture from the rest of the indigenous populations in their respective countries, as they typically are regarded by both the foreign and indigenous communities in their respective countries as a separate entity. Many Eurasians with Chinese ancestry in Singapore nevertheless do share the same culture with their Chinese Singaporean counterparts.

Many Eurasians in The Philippines who have inherited a light-skinned trait from their ancestors, are considered beautiful. Eurasian Filipinos may be in lower, middle, or upper class.

In Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands, an annual Eurasian festival is organized under the name Pasar Malam Besar.


ee also

* List of Eurasians
* Afro-Asian
* Amerasian
* Anglo-Burmese
* Anglo-Indians
* Bhowani Junction
* Bui doi
* Burgher people
* Eurasian Singaporean
* Filipino mestizo
* Indo (Eurasian)
* Luk kreung
* Melungeon
* Mestiços (Sri Lanka)
* Peranakan

External links

* [ - Anglo-Indian resources & matrimony]
* []
* [ Eurasian Association of Singapore]
* [ Everything Eurasian]
* [ Resource on Mixed Asians]
* [ Malaysian Dutch Descendants Project]
* [ article on Malaysian Dutch Descendants]
* [ An Exploration into Eurasians, the Burghers of Sri Lanka]

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