Mestizo /mɛˈstizoʊ/ is a term traditionally used in Spain and Latin America for people of mixed heritage or descent. In some countries it has come to mean a mixture of European and Amerindian, while in others, such as Venezuela, mestizo means being mixed without specifying which admixture. The term was used as a racial category in the Casta system that was in use during the Spanish empire's control of their American colonies; it was used to describe those who had one European-born parent and one who was a member of an indigenous American population in some countries, while it was used to refer to people of European, African and Indigenous admixture in others like Venezuela. In the Casta system mestizos had fewer rights than European-born persons called "Peninsulares", and "Creoles" who were persons born in the New World of two European-born parents, but more rights than "Indios" and Negros. Also refers to the people of mixed race of native south american and spanish/european. During the colonial period, mestizos quickly became the majority group in much of what is today Latin America, and when the colonies started achieving independence from Spain, the mestizo group often became dominant. In some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, the concept of the "mestizo" became central to the formation of a new independent identity that was neither wholly Spanish nor wholly indigenous and the word mestizo acquired its current double meaning of mixed cultural heritage and actual racial descent.