This article intends to show that a search for traces of Iberian influence on popular culture can also be productive in parts of the Americas that have a British, Dutch, French, or Danish colonial past. It does so by analyzing the cultural identity formation among the black population of the Antillean island of Curaçao, with a specific focus on Catholicism and Papiamentu. Few languages have generated more discussion among Creolists than Papiamentu, a language of Iberian parenthood spoken on an island with a Dutch colonial history starting in 1634. Strangely enough, religion and popular culture have received little attention, so far, in the discussion on the genesis of Papiamentu. Using research results from the field of linguistics on the influence of the Portuguese-based Creole of the Cape Verde islands on Papiamentu, this article argues that Afro-Iberian elements influenced the development not only of Curaçao's language but also of its cultural identity, and that Afro-Catholic mutual-aid and burial societies may have facilitated the transmission of that generation's key identity markers, including its language, to later generations.


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pp. 69-94
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