Melungeon is a term traditionally applied to one of a number of 'tri-racial isolate' groups of the Southeastern United States, mainly in the Cumberland Gap area of central Appalachia, which includes portions of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and East Kentucky. Tri-racial describes populations thought to be of mixed European, sub-Saharan African and Native American ancestry. Although there is no consensus on how many such groups exist, estimates range as high as 200. Melungeons were often referred to as of Portuguese or Native American origin. Beginning in 1995, the researcher Paul Heinegg has published documentation of numerous families of free people of color in the Upper South, whose ancestors were free in colonial Virginia before the American...'
Contributions by Badagnani, S9arthur, and Ericross.