The Associação - Crioulos de Base Lexical Portuguesa e Espanhola was founded in 2001, although the scholarly study of these languages goes back to the early days of the academic interest in language contact. Hugo Schuchardt, a German linguist teaching at the University of Graz (Austria) whose work from the 1880s to the 1920s made him the father of creole studies, focused particularly on the Portuguese-based creoles. His first study, published in 1882, was also the first article to document the Portuguese-based creole of São Tomé, and he went on to write articles describing the creoles of Annobón, Senegal, Cape Verde, Príncipe, as well as Indo-Portuguese and Malayo-Portuguese, but also the Spanish-based creoles of the Philippines. Schuchardt corresponded with the Portuguese philologist Adolpho Coelho, who wrote a series of articles between 1880 and 1886 on overseas varieties of Portuguese and Portuguese-based creoles. Their collaboration was very productive and encouraged the publication of the first descriptions of a number of Portuguese-based creoles written by scholars who were Portuguese in the sense that they lived in Portugal’s empire but were in fact speakers of or had privileged access to the creoles they described, e.g. António de Paula Brito (on Capeverdean), Marcellino Marques de Barros (on Guiné-Bissau Creole Portuguese) and Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado (on several varieties of Indo-Portuguese).
After the blossoming of creole studies in Portugal – from 1880 to 1920 – and a little later in the Spanish-speaking world, there was a distinctly barren period with not many Portuguese or Spaniards working in the field. Thus few Portuguese and Spanish linguists participated in the rapid growth of creole studies that began in the 1960s in the Caribbean area, the United States of America and northern Europe. Until the 1990s, most of the research on the Iberian-based creoles was carried out by a limited number of non-Iberian linguists, with only a few exceptions. However, in June of 1991, Alain Kihm and Ernesto d’Andrade organized the first colloquium on the Portuguese-based creoles to be held in Portugal, at the University of Lisbon. The participation of leading creolists from around the world boosted the visibility of the field in Portugal and planted the seed for the formation of ACBLPE.
By that time, learned associations for the study of creole languages had already been established, including the Society for Caribbean Linguistics (founded in 1972), the Comité International des Études Créoles (1976) and the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (1989). Finally, in 2001, they were joined by the Associação - Crioulos de Base Lexical Portuguesa e Espanhola, which held its first meeting at Coimbra University. Later that year, the Associação Brasileira de Estudos Crioulos e Similares was founded in Brazil. The ACBLPE regularly holds joint meetings with most of these associations, in the Iberian Peninsula and elsewhere (see “Past meetings”). It has been established that the yearly meetings of the ACBLPE should alternate between Portugal/Spain and other parts of the world, which has allowed the association to achieve the global reach it currently has while at the same time fulfilling its purpose to develop creole studies in the Iberian Peninsula.