Official global population numbers are unknown.
|Regions with significant populations|
Afro-Asians or African-Asians are persons of mixed African and Asian ancestry. Historically, Afro-Asian populations have been marginalized as a result of human migration and social conflict. Much has not changed for many within the global, present-day, Afro-Asian population.
During the 1970s, an increased demand for copper and cobalt attracted Japanese investments in the mineral-rich southeastern region of Katanga Province. Over a 10-year period, more than 1,000 Japanese miners relocated to the region, confined to a strictly male-only camp. Arriving without family or spouses, the men often sought social interaction outside the confounds of their camps. In search of intimacy with the opposite sex, sometimes resulting in cohabitation, the men openly engaged in interracial dating and relationships, a practice embraced by the local society. As a result, a number of Japanese miners fathered children with native Congolese women. However, most of the mixed race infants resulting from these unions died, soon after birth. Multiple testimonies of local people suggest that the infants were poisoned by a Japanese lead physician and nurse working at the local mining hospital. Subsequently, the circumstances would have brought the miners shame as most of them already had families back in their native Japan. The practice forced many native Katangan mothers to hide their children by not reporting to the hospital to give birth.
Today, fifty Afro-Japanese have formed an association of Katanga Infanticide survivors. The organization has hired legal counsel seeking a formal investigation into the killings. The group submitted official inquiry to both the Congolese and Japanese governments, to no avail. Issues specific to this group include having no documentation of their births, since not having been born in the local hospital spared their lives. The total number of survivors is unknown.[Africa-Congo 1]
The mid-19th century saw about 500 Chinese laborers and indentured servants, along with a handful from India stealthily imported to the island of Fernando Po through the once Portuguese occupied Macau.[Africa-EQ 1] While most of these servants returned to their homelands at the end of their servitude, a few remained, settling and marrying into the local population. One example is immigrant East Indian laborer Francisco Kashu who remained in Moka after the death of his last living relative. He married the daughter of one of the last Bubi kings, producing several Indo-Equatoguinean children.
In 1999, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reported a surprising encounter on the island of Pate, where he found a village of stone huts. He talked to an elderly man living in the village who said that he was a descendant of Chinese explorers who were shipwrecked there centuries before. The Chinese had supposedly traded with the locals, and had even loaded giraffes onto their ship to take back to China. However, the Chinese ran aground on a nearby reef. Kristof found evidence that confirmed the man's story. Such evidence included the Asian features of the people in the village, plus Asian-looking porcelain artifacts.[Africa-Kenya 1][Africa-Kenya 2] These descendents of Zheng He's fleet occupy both Pate and Lamu Islands.
New interest in Kenya's natural resources has attracted over $1 billion of investment from Chinese firms. This has propelled new development in Kenya's infrastructure with Chinese firms bringing in their own male workers to build roads.[Africa-Kenya 3] The temporary residents usually arrive without their spouses and families. Thus, a rise of incidents involving local college-aged females has resulted in an increased rate of Afro-Chinese infant births to single Kenyan mothers.[Africa-Kenya 4]
The population of Madagascar is primarily a mixture of various degrees of Austronesian and Bantu settlers from Southeast Asia (Borneo) and Southeast Africa (primarily Mozambique), respectively. Years of intermarriages created the Malagasy people. They primarily speak Malagasy, an Austronesian language with Bantu influences.
In the study of "The Dual Origin of the Malagasy in Island Southeast Asia and East Africa: Evidence from Maternal and Paternal Lineages" shows the Bantu maternal origin to be 38% and Paternal 51% while the Southeast Asian paternal to be 34% and maternal 62%.[Africa-Madagascar 1] In the study of Malagasy, autosomal DNA shows the highlanders ethnic group like Merina are almost an even mixture of Southeast Asian and Bantu origin, while the coastal ethnic group have much higher Bantu mixture in their autosomal DNA suggesting they are mixture of new Bantu migrants and the already established highlander ethnic group. Maximum-likelihood estimates favour a scenario in which Madagascar was settled approximately 1200 years ago by a very small group of women of approximately 30.[Africa-Madagascar 2] The Malagasy people existed through intermarriages between the small founding population.
Intermarriage between Chinese men and native Malagasy women was not uncommon.[Africa-Madagascar 3] Several thousands Cantonese men intermarried and cohabited with Malagasy women. 98% of the Chinese traced their origin from Guangdong more specifically Cantonese district of Shunde. For example, the census alone in 1954 census found 1, 111 "irregular" Chinese-Malagasy unions, and 125 legitimate, i.e., legally married. Registered by their mothers under a Malagasy name.
Approximately 68% of the population is of Indo-Pakistani origin. About 25% of the population is Creole (of mixed French and African descent), and there are small numbers of people of Chinese and Franco-Mauritian descent.
Since the 1970s, Nigeria has been a slow, but steady, increase in the immigrant Filipino population drawn by the oil industry. Established in 1973, the Philippine Barangay Society of Nigeria addresses issues specific to over 1700 Nigerized Filipinos living in the country. This acculturation has resulted in a small, but growing, number of biracial Nigerian-Filipinos births. Most of these children are parented by Filipino mothers and Nigerian fathers.[Africa-Nigeria 1]
The native Kaf population has a diverse range of ancestry stemming from colonial Chinese and Indian peoples. They also descent from African slaves brought to the island from countries like Mozambique, Guinea, Senegal, Madagascar, Tanzania and Zambia.
More than 70% of native population has Afro-Asian ancestry stemming from African, Malagasy, Indian and Chinese peoples, combined with additional French and British origins. However, the demographic is specifically proud of their African/Malagasy heritage and have formed an institute promoting their identity and cultural tolerance.
The Cape Coloured population descend from indigenous Khoisan and Xhosa peoples; European immigrants; and Malagasy, Ceylonese and South-East Asian (primarily Indonesian) laborers and slaves brought by the Dutch from the mid-17th Century to the late 18th Century. The majority of Coloureds, particularly in the Western Cape and Northern Cape, speak Afrikaans as a first language, while those in other parts of South Africa tend to speak English as well. Coloureds with Javanese or other Indonesian ancestry may often be regarded as Cape Malay and are primarily Muslims, while the majority of Coloureds are Christian (generally Protestant) or agnostic. Due to similar social adversities experienced under the Apartheid regime from the late 1940s to the late 1980s, Coloured and Indigenous South African communities generally fall under the Black social category when it comes to employment and affirmative action policies.[Africa-South-Africa 1]
The mtDNA study of ethnic people from South Africa shows substantial African genetic mtDNA contribution in both the Cape Malay and South African Indians. mtDNA of cape Malay shows 10% African mtDNA contribution in their gene pool including 20% (1 in 5) of South African Indians, there appears to be no African Y-DNA contribution detected but this could be due to the fact that the sample size was small. mtDNA study also revealed that about 1 in 10 South African Black people have mtDNA lineages derived from Eurasian (3.0%) and Asian of Indian origins (7.1%)[Africa-South-Africa 2]
There is significant genetic mixture of East/Southeast Asian, Indian, African and European DNA in the modern ethnic group of Cape coloured. The highest genetic contribution to the Cape coloured are from African maternal mtDNA displaying a very high frequencies at 79.04% followed by African Paternal Y-DNA frequencies at 45.18%. European Genetic contribution is the second highest after Africans with a high frequency of 37.72% from European Y-DNA but with low contribution of European mtDNA at 4.26%. The Indian genetics also displayed significant frequencies, the mtDNA contribution stands at 13.85% and Y-DNA at 9.65%, and lastly the East/South East Asian Y-DNA in the Cape coloured also displayed a significant frequency at 8.54% but with a very low contribution of Southeast East Asian mtDNA at only 1.6%, some of the Southeast Asian contribution from the Cape colored gene pool may have partially derived from both Southeast East Asian and Malagasy who both also exhibit haplogroups O1a and O2a and B4a, B5a, F1c. The only acception of the completely East/Southeast Asian lineage in Cape coloured are haplogroup O3-M122 (3.58%) and K-M9 (1.32%) both which are found among Chinese and Southeast Asians but not among the Malagasy.
In Central and South America, significant numbers of Chinese first started arriving in the mid-19th century as part of the Coolie slave trade. By the mid-20th century, Cuba, and Peru had the largest Chinese populations. By the end of WWII, there were considerable high numbers of Central and South America descended from Chinese fathers and local women. One of the most famous of these is the Chinese-Afro-Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, known as the Cuban Picasso. There are also small numbers of Central and South American residents of Asian and African descent in countries like Puerto Rico, Haiti and Dominican Republic.
120,000 Cantonese coolies (all males) entered Cuba under contract for 80 years, most did not marry, but Hung Hui (1975:80) cites there was a frequency of sexual activity between black women and Cantonese coolies. According to Osberg (1965:69) the free Chinese conducted the practice of buying slave women and freeing them expressly for marriage. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Chinese men (Cantonese) engaged in sexual activity with white Cuban women and black Cuban women, and from such relations many children were born. (For a British Caribbean model of Chinese cultural retention through procreation with black women, see Patterson, 322-31).[Americas-Cuba 1]
In the 1920s an additional 30000 Cantonese and small groups of Japanese also arrived; both immigrations were exclusively male, and there was rapid intermarriage with white, black, and mulato populations.[Americas-Cuba 2] CIA World Factbook. Cuba. 2008. 15 May 2008. claimed 114,240 Chinese-Cuban with only 300 pure Chinese.[Americas-Cuba 3]
In the study of Genetic origin, admixture, and asymmetry in maternal and paternal human lineages in Cuba. Thirty-five Y-chromosome SNPs were typed in the 132 male individuals of the Cuban sample. The study does not include any people with some Chinese ancestry. All the samples were White Cubans and Black Cubans. 2 out of 132 male sample belong to East Asian Haplogroup O2 which is found in significant frequencies among Cantonese people is found in 1.5% of Cuban population.[Americas-Cuba 4]
One of Cuba's most known Afro-Asians is artist Wifredo Lam.
In Haiti, there is a sizable percentage within the minority who are of Asian descent. Haiti is also home to Marabou peoples, a half East Indian and half African people who descent from East Indian immigrants who arrived from other Caribbean nations, such Martinique and Guadeloupe and African slave descendants. Most present-day descendants of the original Marabou are products of hypodescent and, subsequently, mostly of African in ancestry.
The country also has a sizable Japanese and Chinese Haitian population. One of the country's most notable Afro-Asians is the late painter Edouard Wah who was born to a Chinese immigrant father and Afro-Haitian mother.
About 100,000 Cantonese coolies (almost all males) in 1849 to 1874 migrated to Peru and intermarried with Peruvian women of mestizo, European, Amerindian, European/mestizo, African and mulatto origin. Many Peruvian Chinese today are of mixed Chinese, Spanish, and Ameridian lineages. Among this population exist many of African slave lineage. Estimates for Chinese-Peruvian is about 1.3–1.6 millions. Asian Peruvians are estimated to be 3% of the population, but one source places the number of citizens with some Chinese ancestry at 4.2 million, which equates to 15% of the country's total population.[Americas-Peru 1]
Brazil has the largest Japanese community outside Japan and a large Chinese and Korean minority as well. The country's Brown population which includes Mixed race Mestizo and Mulatto Brazilians is almost half of its own population, and it also includes people of Eurasian, Gypsy and Indigenous descent. Interracial marriages between Asians mostly Japanese and Brazilians of African descent are less common than those between East Asians and Brazilians of European, Arab and Jewish descent, which are not uncommon and known as hafu or ainoko. Most East Asians live in São Paulo and Paraná, Afro Asians can be found in Rio de Janeiro where there's a Chinese minority, as well as Vietnamese people and Indonesians, and Bahia where the majority of Blacks live.
In the 1860s, Chinese and East Indian immigrants arrived in the West Indies as indentured servants. Chinese male laborers and migrants went to Peru, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, and Trinidad where they often intermarried with local black women which resulted in a large population of racially mixed children. According to the 1946 Census from Jamaica and Trinidad alone, 12,394 Chinese were located between Jamaica and Trinidad. 5,515 of those who lived in Jamaica were Chinese Jamaican and another 3,673 were Chinese-Trinidadians living in Trinidad. The Chinese men who married African women in Guyana and Trinidad Tobago were mostly Cantonese, while the Chinese men who married African women in Jamaica were mostly Hakka.
During the mid-19th century, the British Empire imported approximately 14,000 Chinese indentured servants into Guyana as part of a broader colonial system aimed at recruiting sugar-plantation laborers. The majority of the male workers arrived without families, thus intermarried with local Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese women.
The country is known for having a large East Indian population stemming from the 18th and 19th century colonial plantation economy, and people of Indian descent now make up a narrow plurality. In Trinidad and Tobago, persons of African-Indian mixed descent are called "douglas". One of the country's most notable African-Asians is its former President George Maxwell Richards.
In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed and Chinese workers who chose to stay in the U.S. could no longer be with their wives who stayed behind in China. Because White Americans looked at Chinese labor workers as stealing employment, they were harassed and discriminated against. Many Chinese men settled in black communities and in turn married Black women.[Americas-US 2] In the mid-19th to 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Chinese men in the U.S, mostly of Cantonese origin from Taishan, migrated to the United States. Anti-miscegenation laws in many states prohibited Chinese men from marrying white women.[Americas-US 3] After the Emancipation Proclamation, many intermarriages in some states were not recorded and historically, Chinese American men married African American women in high proportions to their total marriage numbers due to few Chinese American women being in the United States. After the Emancipation Proclamation, many Chinese Americans immigrated to the Southern states, particularly Arkansas, to work on plantations. For example, in 1880, the tenth US Census of Louisiana alone counted 57% of interracial marriages between these Chinese Americans to be with African Americans and 43% to be with European American women.[Americas-US 4] Between 20 and 30 percent of the Chinese who lived in Mississippi married black women before 1940.[Americas-US 5] In a genetic study of 199 samples from African American males found one belong to haplogroup O2a ( or 0.5% ) It was discovered by historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr in the African American Lives documentary miniseries that NASA astronaut Mae Jemison has a significant (above 10%) genetic East Asian admixture. Gates speculated that the intermarriage/relations between migrant Chinese workers during the 19th century and black, or African-American slaves or ex-slaves may have contributed to her ethnic genetic make-up.
According to the 2010 United States Census, there are 185,595 people of Native African, or African-American, and Asian descent in the United States. Reports further offer the following break-down of all groups having Native African, or African-American, and Asian descent:
Currently, African-Asians births are on the incline resulting from the arrival of African students to cities like Nanjing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. Another contributing factor is the strengthened trade relationships between Africa and China which has invited an influx of African immigrants into China, primarily Nigerians who have formed a small, yet progressive, community in the country.[Asia-China 1] In October 2010, Chinese officials estimated about 500 mix marriages between African and Chinese.[Asia-China 2] In places such as Guangzhou, a progressive population of about 10,000 African entrepreneurs continue to thrive.[Asia-China 3]
China's new emerging population of Afro-Asians, also, includes Pate and Lamu Island descendants of ancient shipwrecked Chinese explorers. Awarded Chinese citizenship by the Chinese government, many students have been provided full scholarships to Universities in China.[Asia-China 4] Among China's most famous Afro-Asian natives are Shanghai born Lou Jing who, in 2009, garnered national gossip as she rose to fame competing on popular reality TV show Dragon TV's Go Oriental Angel,[Asia-China 5] and half Chinese and half South African volleyball player Ding Hui.
The more recently emerged Afro-Asian population, the Siddi, result from the slave trade during Muslim, Portuguese and British occupation in India between the 7th and 19th centuries. Under a slightly different slave system from that of the Atlantic slave trade, slaves usually worked as domestics, tradesmen or military personnel and were encouraged to assimilate and intermarry within the existing population. With their own unique cultural identity, the population is about 50,000 strong. About a third of the Siddi reside in the state of Karnataka.
In recent history, the hike in the African-Japanese population has been linked to the American occupation of Japan following the end of World War II, where African-Japanese children were born through either prostitution, or legally binding marriage. Thus, over the years, an increased number of African-American male/Japanese female unions has produced a culturally hybrid Black Japanese-American population living in Japan. Once given preferential treatment during the American Military presence in Japan, the currently biracial population faces severe public backlash and marginalization due to the reemergence of ethnic-based nationalism in Japan.[Asia-Japan 1] These unions between American GI's and Asian women have also contributed to the increase of the African-Asian orphan population. In some cases many Asian wives accompanied their husbands in returning and settling in the U.S. Subsequently, many African-Japanese are products of unions between native Japanese and continental Africans due to the increased numbers of immigrant Africans.
Notable African-Japanese include American author and playwright Velina Hasu Houston who was born in territorial waters off the coast of Japan to an African-American father and a native born Japanese mother of partial Japanese ancestry. Popular American-born enka singer Jero was born into a multi-generational African-Japanese-American family and immigrated back to the birth country of his grandmother. He has become one of the most famous Black/African descendants in the country. There are also native born wrestler Aja Kong, former professional basketball player Michael Takahashi and pop/r&b singer Thelma Aoyama who were all born to African-American fathers and Japanese mothers.
Other resident Black African descendants famous in Japanese media include native born ethnic African-American-Korean pop singer Crystal Kay and American born, ethnic African-American, actor Dante Carver and Beauty Queen Ariana Miyamoto.
Most Afro-Asians in the Philippines are products of foreign military occupation, mainly resulting from African-American GI parentage. However, in 2011 the The Nigerian Family Association notified the Republic of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs of its formation, opening membership to a growing number interracial Nigerian-Filipino/Filipino-Nigerian families, and their children, living in the country.[Africa-Philippines 1]
Currently, South Korea has the largest Afro-Asian population in the Far East.[Asia-Japan 1] The U.S. occupation in South Korea between 1950 and 1954 resulted in a multitude of Afro-Asian births, mostly between African-American servicemen and native South Korean women. While many of these births have been to married Black/Korean interracial couples, others have been born out-of-wedlock through prostitution. Already facing the dilemma of 85,000 children left homeless throughout the country after the Korean War, South Korea saw a spike in orphaned Black-Korean infants.[Asia-Korea 1] Often, the Afro-Korean orphans were purposely starved, as the society deemed mixed-raced children less worthy of food needed by non-mixed Korean children. In some areas, the mixed-raced youth were even denied education. In 1955, the U.S. State Department made a public plea asking American families to open their doors to the ostracized youth and in 1956 the Holt Adoption Program launched a gateway for Christian faith-based adoption of children of G.I. soldiers that also included Eurasian offspring. However, in addition to the race-based discrimination faced in their country of birth, Afro-Korean orphans were still picked over by adopting American families based on skin color preferences.[Asia-Korea 2] Adjacently, there is, general, stigma placed on Afro-Koreans based on illegitimacy, low socio-economic status, low educational attainment and aesthetics. [Asia-Korea 3]
Seoul, Korea houses a non-ethnic Korean, and non-Asian, descended (albeit, mostly hybridized in ancestry) African/Black descended population. Native-born, migrant and immigrant, most in this group have ties to the United States or to the United States Armed Forces. As a result, some have deeply rooted family ties in South Korea, for several generations. The population also includes Black continental African immigrants. Many work in the South Korean education system as foreign language teachers, mainly teaching English.
Notable Koreans of Black American descent:
The Sri Lanka Kaffirs are an ethnic group in Sri Lanka who are partially descended from 16th century Portuguese traders and Bantu slaves who were brought by them to work as labourers and soldiers to fight against the Sinhala Kings. They are very similar to the Zanj-descended populations in Iraq and Kuwait, and are known in Pakistan as Sheedis and in India as Siddis. The Kaffirs spoke a distinctive creole based on Portuguese, the Sri Lanka Kaffir language, now extinct. Their cultural heritage includes the dance styles Kaffringna and Manja and their popular form of dance music Baila.
During the Vietnam War, African-American servicemen had children with local Vietnamese women. Some of these children were abandoned by the Vietnamese family, or sent to orphanages. Many orphans and children were airlifted to adopting families in the United States in 1975 during "Operation Babylift" before the fall of South Vietnam. The Afro-Vietnamese (or Afro-Amerasian) children suffered much discrimination in Vietnam at that time.[Asia-Vietnam 1] There was also some controversy as to how these orphaned Afro-Amerasian children were placed in new homes in the United States.[Asia-Vietnam 2]
The Siddis or Makranis are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan. Members are descended from Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region. Some were merchants, sailors and mercenaries. Others were indentured servants, but the vast majority were brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by Arab and Portuguese merchants. The Siddi community is currently estimated at around 20,000–55,000 individuals, with Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan as the main population centres. Siddis are primarily Sufi Muslims, although some are Hindus and others Roman Catholic Christians.
Narang et al. (2011) examined the autosomal DNA of Siddis in India. According to the researchers, about 58% of the Siddis' ancestry is derived from Bantu peoples. The remainder is associated with local Indo-European-speaking North and Northwest Indian populations, due to recent admixture events. However, Guha et al. (2012) observed few genetic differences between the Makrani of Pakistan and adjacent populations. According to the authors, the genome-wide ancestry of the Makrani was essentially the same as that of the neighboring Indo-European speaking Balochi and Dravidian-speaking Brahui.
The British Mixed-Race population includes some African-Asian people. This ancestry may stem from multi-generational mixed Caribbean lineage, as well as interracial unions between Africans and Asians from prominent populations such as British-Nigerians and British Indians. Notable Afro-Asian Britons include multigenerational African-Chinese-Caribbean descended Naomi Campbell, first-generation biracial Iranian-Ghanaian descended actress Freema Agyeman and first-generation biracial Indo-Caribbean descended musician David Jordan.
Like many mixed-race children in Congo, they were born of a Japanese father who came to work in the mines of Katanga in south-east of the country. Today, they accuse their fathers of wanting to kill them so as not to leave behind any traces when they returned to Japan.
I decided one day to pay her a visit at Faye's Bakeshoppe at Ogui Road. Only her Nigerian staff was there, but the moment they saw me, they asked if I was looking for my 'sister'. (In Nigeria, a compatriot or fellow-countryman is described as 'my brother' or 'my sister'.)
Lou Jing was born 20 years ago in Shanghai to a Chinese mother and an African-American father. According to her mother, who asked not to be identified in this report, she met Lou's father while she was still in college. He left China before their daughter was born. Lou Jing's background became fodder for national gossip, sparking a vitriolic debate about race across a country that, in many respects, can be quite homogenous. There are 56 different recognized ethnic groups in China, but more than 90 percent of the population is Han Chinese. So people who look different stand out.
The products of both prostitution and legally binding marriages, these children were largely regarded as illegitimate. When the military presence returned to America, the distinction between the two was, for all practical purposes, null. As the American military departed, any previous preferential treatment for biracial people ended, and was replaced with a backlash due to the return of ethnically-based national pride.
The State Department announced that U.S. homes are needed for an estimated 200 children of Negro-Oriental romances who being "ostracized" and kept "hungry" in South Korean orphanages. The part-Negro tots, whose GI fathers fought with the UN forces, face a dismal future in Korea, where an estimated 85,000 children are homeless as a result of the recent war. Housed in poorly-equipped orphanages, they are "unwanted" and looked down upon by the Orientals. Government officials charged that some of the mixed-blood children are denied sufficient food by Koreans, who argue that "there is no need to give them food that is so much needed by our own children." In some places the children are not permitted to attend school. Because of the tragic situation, welfare aides believe that one of the best solutions to the problem is to bring the part-Negro orphans to the U. S. However, refugee program aide Harry B. Lyford said, "Very few inquiries have come so far from prospective adoptive parents." To spur such an adoption program, government officials announced they will help U.S. Negro families interested in adopting the children and that all inquiries should be addressed to Lyrford at the Refugee Relief Program, State Department, Washington, D.C.
This was especially problematic in the case of Korean-black children, whose coloring was so important to their placement. In a memo to ISS Korea, Margaret Valk asked bout the possibility of sending better quality photographs to facilitate the adoptions of Korean-black children. It has also been recently suggested to us by one of the agencies who may be able to suggest some Negro families for part-Negro children that if the snapshots of part-Negro children could be taken in color as well as in black and white, this would give the families and local agency here a much better idea of the child's skin coloring and help them in the matching process. Of course, this is not foolproof at all. Some colored photographs come out much darker and some much lighter depending upon the way in which they have been taken but with the black and white photograph (which must not be omitted). The adoption agency believes they could do a better job. As you know, the color of the skin is the most important when discussing a child with a Negro family. Do you have some access to colored film in Korea, or would we need to try to send this to you?