Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(3,337 words)

1. South Asia

1.1. Principles and research

The use of the term caste in relation to the social order of South Asia dates back to the early 16th century, when Portuguese travelers to India began to use the word casta (from Latin castus, ‘pure,’ ‘chaste’), borrowed from Spanish, to refer to certain groups within the indigenous population [3] (see below, 2.1.). At first, it was applied relatively indiscriminately to a wide range of large groups differentiated by religion, ethnicity, or social status. Its exclusive app…

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Fischer-Tiné, Harald and Büschges, Christian, “Caste”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 04 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_021992>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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