Chapter VI Part Three



NORWAY is predominantly Nordic, except for the districts inhabited by the Lapps, who are predominantly Inner Asiatic (?), with an East Baltic and Nordic admixture. There is sometimes in Norway, as also in Sweden, a dash of Inner Asiatic (?) blood in the non-Lappish population. There is something of the Alpine race in the islands of the west coast from Bergen to about Drontheim; Alpine, too, apparently, is a region between the Sogne Fjord and the Nord Fjord. But the largest region with an Alpine (and, it would seem, slight East Baltic) admixture lies along the Norwegian south-west and south coast; it starts in the north near Haugesund, and runs through Stavanger, always along the coast, to Kristianssand in the east. Behind Stavanger, however, it runs back far into the mountains. The mentality of the inhabitants of this district always strikes other Norwegians as peculiar. The relatively purest Nordic population of Norway lies in the Öster, Gudbrand, and Nume valleys, and also in the Telemark district, and in the Sete valley. The thickly wooded Tryssil district on the Swedish frontier has a predominantly East Baltic population; Ripley even ascribes to it a certain 'Mongolian' look. But we have here predominantly East Baltic immigrants from Finland (Quanes).


The Sogne Fjord shows a characteristic population: dark men, meso- to brachycephalic on the average, of middling to low stature, and of a 'southern' liveliness in speech and movements; when serving in the army they are marked by a fiery spirit of attack at manoeuvres, but by a want of discipline. It might well be that in the Sogne Fjord, which is quite shut off, there has arisen through selection (from Mediterranean, Alpine, and Nordic elements?) what is almost an hereditary combination of characters; unless, indeed, we have here a racial remnant of unknown origin. Norway as a whole has, owing to its shut-off valleys, been able to preserve clear tribal distinctions even within its Nordic population. In a valley of this kind all the dwellers may often go back to a few families. In Tydalen (Drontheim district) the Crô-magnon race even seems to be preserved.13


Fig. 179 - Björnstjerne Björnson, Nordic

Fig. 180 - Knud Bull, Poet, Nordic


If we except the districts settled by Lapps and Finns,14 to whom, as in Norway, a certain Inner Asiatic (?) and East Baltic strain in the population is due, Sweden is perhaps still more Nordic than Norway, and, therefore, the relatively purest Nordic land of all. There is an evident admixture, however, of Alpine race in the people of the two most southerly provinces; and an East Baltic strain can be noticed everywhere. The Nordic race seems at its purest in the provinces about Lake Vetter (Värmland, Örebrolän, Skaraborgslän, Jönköpingslän, Kronobärgslän), then in Härjedal, Jämtland, and Dalarna. Sweden has a brachycephalic average of 13 per cent. It can, therefore, be understood why science has always been inclined to look on Sweden as the true home of the Nordic race. Owing to the relations with Finland a good deal of East Baltic blood has soaked through from there, while on the other hand, much more Nordic blood has flowed from Sweden to Finland. We may, perhaps, take the Swedish blood to be over 80 per cent. Nordic, the Norwegian blood about 80 per cent.


Denmark as a whole is not so relatively pure Nordic as Schleswig-Holstein, and therefore not to be compared with Sweden and Norway. Jutland is the relatively purest Nordic region of Denmark. The Danish islands especially have an Alpine and East Baltic admixture, to such an extent that the general average for Denmark looks less Nordic than Scandinavia on the one hand and Schleswig-Holstein on the other. In Denmark the Jutlanders are looked on as the harder people, the Danes of the islands as the softer or more womanly. In later times, owing to marriages between Danes and Jews, Denmark would seem to have acquired a good deal of blood from outside Europe.


Iceland, whose population in the Middle Ages was 84 per cent. of Norwegian descent, 12.6 per cent. descended from the British Isles, and 3 per cent. of Swedish descent, is predominantly Nordic, but likewise with an admixture of Alpine, East Baltic (and Inner Asiatic?) race. We already find the skald Egill (900-982) joking at his own flat nose and dark hair.


The average height of the Icelanders is 1.735 metres; cephalic index, 78.13; facial index, 92.69. Blue eyes are found in 76.16 per cent., brown eyes in 9.5 per cent.15


The Lapps occupy the north of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and the Kola Peninsula. From olden times they have mixed particularly with the Finns; this is the source of the East Baltic strain which can be clearly seen in them.16 They seem to have kept their blood purest in northern Sweden. The 'pure' Lapps, that is, those free from East Baltic and Nordic blood, are seen to be very short, very short-headed, and broad-faced, with a lightly built under jaw, and a small, sharp chin. The skin is light with a brownish tone; the Mongolian fold is seldom found; projecting jaws as found in the Inner Asiatic peoples are also rare. The women have kept the original appearance of this people better than the men. The Lapps have a lively temperament. It is seen that they are not to be so easily reckoned among the peoples of Inner Asiatic race, or classed with the Samoyedes, with whom Giuffrida-Ruggeri17 would group them under the common name homo palaearcticus. In their case what suggests itself is a group of Asiatic origin, which has acquired its characteristics through selection and a high degree of isolation. The Lapps have taken their language (according to Wiklund's researches) from a Finnish tribe. The Samoyedes, in the farthest north-east of Europe, are seen to be predominantly representatives of the Inner Asiatic race.


To Chapter VI Part Four

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Footnotes for Chapter VI Part Three


13 Cp. Chapter Four; also Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes, chap. xix.; and Bryn, 'En Nordisk Crô-magnontype,' Ymer, 1901.


14 Lundborg, Racial Structure of the Finns of the Northernmost Part of Sweden.

 15 Hanneson, Körpermasse u. Körperproportionen der Isländer, Reykjavik, 1925.

 16 Cp. the colour Map VI, and the other Maps, VII-IX.

 17 Homo sapiens, 1913.