The term креол was adopted in Russian a couple of centuries back. Just possibly, it was introduced by Nikolai Rezanov after he visited Brazil and California. The term's origin is described as the similar Romance terms (créole, criollo, crioulo).

However, those terms reflect a new-world native born to immigrant stock, whereas the Russian word was immediately applied on the colonial frontier to half-Russians. A creole of Kodiak might have so had a Russian father and a Koniag mother, while a creole of Mexico had two parents of Spanish descent.

From Lydia Black's Russians in Alaska: "The offspring of [interethnic] unions acquired, in Russian eyes, a right to the father's family name, social estate, and property" (pp. 211). "The term was introduced sometime before 1816-1821 for use exclusively in Alaska" (pp. 215).

Why was the word adopted with a different meaning (i.e. encompassing those with a native mother) in Russian?

  • Can you please support your claim (that "the Russian word was immediately applied on the colonial frontier to half-Russians") with some evidence?
    – shabunc
    Jan 25, 2019 at 12:12
  • 1
    @shabunc I've added two quotes from an authoritative work on the Russian North Pacific colonies. Jan 25, 2019 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


Вторые <жители Америки> суть, которыи Криолы зовутся, от родителей Ишпанских в Америке рожденные. Пуф. Ист. 1718


On this link, you can see all the Russian dictionary meanings of this word.

Could you please make it more clear, from which of the more familiar to you meanings it is different?

But the title of the question sounds naive to me. Once a language has borrowed a word, this word becomes its property and part of its vocabulary, developing wordforms and meanings regardless of those from the initial language.

  • please, if you not sure what the question is about and request additional information for clarificaton - leave comment, don't post it as answer.
    – shabunc
    Jan 25, 2019 at 11:58
  • The Ожегов entry shows the two competing meanings. I agree that Russian speakers had every right to use the word the way they saw fit. But why was the agreed meaning for Alaska different from the rest? Jan 25, 2019 at 18:29

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