During the 15th century, European nations began venturing out to sea in search of better trade routes and the exotic trade goods of the East. The first sea route to India was discovered by Vasco da Gama at the turn of the century. Trading posts and settlements were established and crucial ports and cities were occupied as the 16th century dawned. The Portuguese arrived in Malacca in 1511, followed by the Dutch and British in the years after.
Portugal was ultimately not the most powerful of the Eurasian interlopers who came into the region but it did have the unusual policy of encouraging a high degree of interaction with local populations, most notably through marriage with the female inhabitants of the many locals where it set up shop – a way of life not replicated by later European arrivals.
Their children, born of these mixed heritages, came to be known as ‘Eurasians’. They served as intermediaries between the local people and the Europeans, as well as played vital roles in the adminstration and garrison of the colonies as they were better able than the native people to communicate with and gain positions of trust as they shared similar religion and heritage with the European colonists.
The word ‘Eurasian’ was originally coined by the British during their rule in India, to refer to people born to a British and an Indian parent. Today, it generally refers to anyone of mixed
European and Asian parentage. The Eurasians in Singapore can trace their origins to various trading ports in the region where Europeans have settled, including Malacca, Penang, Bencoolen, Goa, Ceylon and Macau.
Want to learn more?
- Eurasian History
Who are the Eurasians? Where did they come from and what are their historical connections with the region? Click here to delve into the rich history of early settlers and how the word ‘Eurasian’ was formed.
- Eurasian Surnames & Origins
It’s important to acknowledge your roots and many are proud to identify themselves as Eurasians. Find out the origin of more than 50 Eurasian surnames.
- Eurasian Celebrations & Wedding
Eurasians are music loving people due to their Western upbringing. The Christian religion and festivals have a significant impact on their way of life. Read more about their harmonious lifestyle.
- Eurasian Language
English is generally spoken as the first language by Eurasians, whilst amongst the older generation, the Kristang language is common. Click here to find more about their unique Kristang language.
- Eurasian Food
Food is a distinctive aspect of Eurasian culture. Eurasians have been creating their own style of hybrid dishes that involve blending exotic dishes from both Asia and Europe.
- Eurasian Attire & Music
There are quite a few Eurasians in the media, entertainment and fashion industry. Have you ever wondered what is their traditional attire or music?
To rent Eurasian costumes, click here.
- Eurasian Do’s & Don’ts
Click here to find out some unique facts about Eurasian culture and traditions.
- Eurasian Hobbies & Games
Like all communities everywhere, Eurasians have their unique set of hobbies and games!