JEANNOT HILAIRE ] Introduction NVESTIGATION of what is presently understood as ‘creole’ requires a review of how this concept has evolved over the past four centuries. The I roots of the ‘creole’ lie in a sense of territorial belonging and a strong desire for connection with the community of origin beyond the ocean. In accordance with the defence of local interests against those of the metropole (whose sole concern was to take the riches of the colonies), creoleness was seen as an evolving pattern of new identity. This pattern stood in opposition to an earlier longing for a common origin. In this context, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean–Jacques Dessalines, Simón Bolívar and other liberators affirmed their identity as creoles engaged in defending the interests of their respective social groups. This identitarian connotation has been exploited effectively by liberation movements in European colonial territories of the New World since the end of the eighteenth century. As states gained their independence, they became better equipped to affirm their sense of identity on the basis of specific national realities. Since the nineteenth century, creoleness has been seen as a generic form with much less of a stake in such
Matatu – Brill
Published: Dec 7, 2003
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