Pardo is a term used in the Portuguese and Spanish colonies in the Americas to refer to the triracial descendants of Europeans, Indigenous Americans, and West Africans. They are defined as neither exclusively mestizo (Indigenous American-European descent), nor mulatto (West African-European descent), nor zambo (West African-Indigenous American descent). It is highly associated with the history of slavery and colonialism. From the 18th century, the term has been used more widely to identify a brown skin colour. But in general use, the physical characteristics may include brown skin ranging from dark brown to almost white. Similarly, the person's hair could be curly, straight, or other texture, and any colour. In Brazil, the word pardo has had a general meaning, since the beginning of the colonization. In the famous letter by Pero Vaz de Caminha, for example, in which Brazil was first described by the Portuguese, the Indigenous Americans were called "pardo": "Pardo, naked, without clothing". The word has ever since been used to cover African/European mixes, Amerindian/European mixes, and Amerindian/European/African mixes and Indigenous Americans themselves. For example, Diogo de Vasconcelos, a widely known historian from Minas Gerais, mentions the story of Andresa de Castilhos.
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