In 1664, Maryland enacted a law which criminalized such marriages—the 1681 marriage of Irish-born Nell Butler to an African slave was an early example of the application of this law.Virginia (1691) was the first English colony in North America to pass a law forbidding free blacks and whites to intermarry, followed by Maryland in 1692.In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws (also known as miscegenation laws) were state laws passed by individual states to prohibit miscegenation, nowadays more commonly referred to as interracial marriage and interracial sex. In those of the original Thirteen Colonies that became states and enacted such laws, they were enacted as state law in the early 18th century; a century or more after the complete racialization of slavery.Anti-miscegenation laws were a part of American law in some States since before the United States was established and remained so until ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by the U. Typically defining miscegenation as a felony, these laws prohibited the solemnization of weddings between persons of different races and prohibited the officiating of such ceremonies.
Some historians have suggested that the at-the-time unprecedented laws banning "interracial" marriage were originally invented by planters as a divide-and-rule tactic after the uprising of European and African indentured servants in cases such as Bacon's Rebellion.
However, after white Democrats took power in the South during "Redemption", anti-miscegenation laws were re-enacted and once more enforced, and in addition Jim Crow laws were enacted in the South which also enforced other forms of racial segregation.
In Florida, the new Constitution of 1888 prohibited marriage between "a white person and a person of negro descent" (Article XVI, Section 24).
The term miscegenation was first used in 1863, during the American Civil War, by American journalists to discredit the abolitionist movement by stirring up debate over the prospect of interracial marriage after the abolition of slavery.
Sometimes, the individuals attempting to marry would not be held guilty of miscegenation itself, but felony charges of adultery or fornication would be brought against them instead.