This volume brings together a number of studies on the early stages of creolization which are entirely based on historical data. The recent (re)discovery of early documents written in creole languages such as Negerhollands, Bajan, and Sranan, allows for a detailed and empirically founded reconstruction of creolization as an historical-linguistic process. In addition, demographic and socio-historical evidence on some of the relevant former colonies, such as Surinam, Haiti, and Martinique, sheds new light on some crucial sociolinguistic aspects of creolization, such as the rate of nativization of the creole-speaking population. Both types of evidence relate to essential questions in the theory of creolization, such as: Is creolization a matter of first or second language acquisition? What are the respective roles of substrate, superstrate, and universal grammar in creole genesis? And, what, if any, are the differences between creole development and normal language change?The subjects discussed in this volume include: a comparative study of the historical development of seven pidgins and creoles (Baker); reflexives in 18th-century Negerhollands (Van der Voort & Muysken); the emergence of taki as a complementizer in Sranan (Plag); the historical development of relativization in Sranan (Bruyn); the cultural and demographic background of creolization in Haiti and Martinique (Singler); the creole nature of early Bajan (Field); a linguistic analysis of the so-called 'slave letters' in Negerhollands (Stein); and demographic factors in the formation of Sranan.