The Signares by Fabrice Monteiro

Since the end of XV century The Signares existed in the Portuguese counters. In Saint-Louis, in spite of the drastic rules of the Company, not allowing their employees to bring their families from France, the inevitable happened: the two communities started to mix. A few years later, Europeans living in Senegal could openly practise the “marriage with the mode of the country” and their descendants to get profit from the heritage rights. A white living with a “Signare” (of Portuguese Senhora), i.e. a woman (black or mongrel), familiarized with the French language and manners, enjoyed the best possible conditions. These women were African noble (“guêloware”), the equivalent of the French nobility and never married with simple sailors but with middle-class executives or French and English aristocrats.

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