Free people of color

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Agostino Brunias Free Women of Color with their Children and Servants in a Landscape, ca 1764-1796

When talking about the colonies in the New World, the term free people of color was used for people who had both European, and African, and sometimes native American parents, but who were not slaves. This term applied to a large number of people in Louisiana (which was known as 'New France' at the time), and the Carribean islands. In the colonies, these people were classified in various ways, usually depending on what they looked like. The term became popular in the late 17th century. In the thirteen colonies, these people were sometimes called free negroes.

The term did not apply to freed slaves, which were usually known as affranchi, in French.