These words, much older than the term miscegenation, are derived from the Late Latin mixticius for "mixed", which is also the root of the Spanish word mestizo.
Portuguese also uses miscigenação, derived from the same Latin root as the English word.
In Canada, however, the Métis, who also have partly Amerindian and partly white, often French-Canadian, ancestry, have identified as an ethnic group and are a constitutionally recognized aboriginal people.
The differences between related terms and words which encompass aspects of racial admixture show the impact of different historical and cultural factors leading to changing social interpretations of race and ethnicity.
The term miscegenation was coined to refer specifically to the intermarriage of blacks and whites, with the intent of galvanising opposition to the war. states, as well as laws in South Africa, also banned sexual relations between such individuals.
The word was coined in an anonymous propaganda pamphlet published in New York City in December 1863, during the American Civil War.
The pamphlet was entitled Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro.
Intermarriage occurred significantly from the very first settlements, with their descendants achieving high rank in government and society.
To this day, there are controversies if Brazilian class system would be drawn mostly around socio-economic lines, not racial ones (in a manner similar to other former Portuguese colonies).