(Chapter XI, section 15)

The Iberian Peninsula


The Mediterranean world, which we have studied in Asia and Africa, possesses little undisputed territory on European soil. Aside from the western islands, including the Balearics, Corsica, and Sardinia, the only truly Mediterranean country in Europe is that of the Iberian Peninsula. The main events in Iberian racial history, as far as we know them, may be summarized as follows. In Upper Palaeolithic times Spain and Portugal were backward regions, peripheral to both France and North Africa. Influences from the north came in the earliest Aurignacian times, and again during the maximum cold of the last glaciation, when reindeer migrated southward over the Pyrenees. The extent to which influences came from across Gibraltar before the Mesolithic invasions is not known, but such influences cannot have been extensive. In the absence of adequate skeletal material, it is useless to speculate seriously upon the racial diaracters of the Upper Palaeolithic people of Spain and Portugal. N there were tall, large-headed men of Crô-Magnon or Afalou type, they have long since disappeared. It is perhaps more likely that the pre-Mesolithic Iberians may have included people resembling the Téviec group in Brittany.

Spain felt the repercussions of the drying of the Sahara earlier than did any other region in western Europe. Mesolithic invaders of a small, rather primitive Mediterranean type brought with them microlithic rniltural traits; their racial characteristics are typified by the skeletal memains from Muge. During the third millennium B.C., food-producing peoples entered Spain from North Africa with swine, sheep, and goats, and with barley, emmer, and other plants. The physical type of these invaders is well known to us, not only through skeletal remains, but also by means of our study of the living peoples of North Africa. Some of these invaders remained in Spain and Portugal, where they became the basic populations of these countries; others passed northward over the Pyrenees into eastern France and Switzerland, while still others passed northward as far as Germany, and into the British Isles.

Toward the beginning of the second millennium B.C., if not earlier, these agricultural colonists were reënforced by a people of much higher culture, the megalith-building tall Mediterraneans, who came by sea, and many of whom went on from Spain as far as the British Isles and Scandinavia. Their settlements in Spain were located mostly upon the eastern seaboard, and on the northern Atlantic coast, particularly in the region of the Bay of Biscay. They are followed by other peoples of a general Mediterranean type, but coming from Asia Minor, as their exaggerated nasal form in-dicates. These new invaders brought the knowledge of metal with them from the east, and were the first of the prospectors to visit this metal-rich peninsula. They in turn were followed by round-headed compatriots with the same nasal peculiarities, who introduced the Dinaric racial type to western Europe. These Dinaric brachycephals, who settled in the same regions as their maritime predecessors, probably left Spain in large numbers after a brief sojourn, in favor of countries farther north. From Bronze Age time until the Roman conquest, there were only two known movements which may have affected Spain racially. One was that of the Phoenicians, a continuation of the prehistoric invasions from the eastern Mediterranean; the other was that of the Kelts into the north, to form the mixed nation of Kelto-Iberians known to the Roman& Many of the Kelts, however, also used Spain merely as a stopping place on their wanderings. In post-Roman times Germanic invaders, the Goths and Vandals, brought a second Nordic infusion to the peninsula. but the Vandals soon moved on to Algeria, thence to Carthage, and finally to Byzantium.

The invasions of the Goths and Vandals were shortly followed by a movement in the opposite direction, that of the Moors from across the Straits of Gibraltar. These Moors, who came in considerable numbers. were of two ethnic origins, Arab and Berber, and the latter group was without doubt the more numerous. During the eight centuries of Moorish rule in Spain, many people other than Arabs and Berbers came to live in the Iberian Peninsula; thousands of Sephardic Jews, some Slavs, a few Huns, and peoples of most of the nationalities which were in contact with the Moslem world. Persians were brought from Iran to make Shiraz wine, which is our present sherry; during the height of the Omeyyad caliphate in Spain, Andalusia became a center of world civilization and like all such centers, drew to it many people from many quarters. The expulsion of the Moors and of the Jews in 1492 robbed Spain of the forces which had brought it civilization, but gave the Spaniards the impetus to conquer the New World. The shifting of population from the wholly Christian north to the former Moorish territory, combined with the drainage of men into the New World, must have caused some changes in the racial distribution of the peninsula, especially in combination with the departure of thousands of Moslems and of Jews. Many of these, however, preferred baptism to expulsion, and the contribution at North Africans and of Asiatics to the Iberian racial body, in historic as in prehistoric times, must have been considerable.

Despite the complex political history of Spain, the living population is basically and almost wholly Mediterranean. As we have seen in Chapter VIII, the regional stature means vary from 161 cm. to 168 cm.; more than one Mediterranean strain is obviously involved.107 The head form is almost everywhere mesocephalic;108 not even in Andalusia does a Moorish or Arab degree of dolichocephaly prevail. Provincial index means as high a 80 occur in the coastal regions of the northwest, in Lugo and Oviedo; Galicia and the Asturias, mining country, are still inhabited by people some of whom preserve the head form of the prospectors of the Bronze Age.109

The cephalic index rises in Spain as stature increases,110 which would indicate that the Dinaric element is to a certain extent concerned with the coastal tallness, as is the early Atlanto-Mediterranean. In northern Spain, in the provinces which the Moors never occupied, blondism is commoner than in the south, where much of the population is as dark in skin and eye color as most non-Ruffian Berbers.111 Rufosity is rare in Spain except in the Asturias112 and Galicia. During the Ruffian war it was a common saying among the Ruffian soldiers, "The ordinary Spaniards are as nothing, but watch out for the small red-headed men, the Gallegos. They are shaitans, and do not know fear."

Any careful observer acquainted with the Spanish will recognize a number of distinct racial types; the honey-skinned Andalusian, with his medium stature, lithe body, flat temples, and finely modeled nose and chin; the hook-nosed Cappadocian type so well exemplified by General Francisco Franco; the large, sometimes fleshy approach to a brunet Dinaric; the rather small and delicate local variety of Nordic, with exaggerated narrowness of face and nose, pale skin, and golden rather than ashen blondness; and the coarse Mediterranean type found among the peasantry in most of Spain, short of stature, relatively thick-set, with a mesocephalic head form, a short, broad-looking face, and a short, broad, and often concave nose. This last type may, to a large extent, date back to the Mesolithic, with older accretions; it is the most primitive, most submerged element in the Spanish population. Alpines may be found, here and there, among Spaniards, but they are rare; it is their virtual absence which makes Spain a Mediterranean rather than a central European country, in the racial, as well as the geographical, sense.

Two widely observed racial characters serve to differentiate the Spaniards from most of the living inhabitants of Arabia and North Africa: hair color and nasal profile. In Spain, as a whole, some 29 per cent of the male population has black hair, some 68 per cent dark brown, while traces of blondism are visible in 17 per cent.113 In most of North Africa and Arabia, the black hair is commoner than the dark brown. The nasal profiles of some 120,000 Spaniards are convex in 15 per cent of cases, straight in 72 per cent, and concave in 13 per cent. In Arabia and North Africa east of Morocco, the commonest profile form is usually convex, and coneaves are very rare. The prevalence of these two features. dark brown hair and a straight nasal profile, indicates that the bulk of the Spanish population is derived from the earlier Mediterranean In-vasions of Mesolithic and Neolithic date. The Spaniards are more like the most marginal and fully sedentary of the brunet Berber groups in North Africa than like the more recently settled transhumant ones or the Arabs.

The eye color in the total Spanish group is listed as: blue, 18 per cent;114 brown, 68 per cent; black, 14 per cent. Dark-mixed eyes must undoubt-edly fall, in many cases, into the brown class; still it is doubtful that in most parts of southern Spain, Catalonia, and Portugal much more than 23 per cent of incipient eye blondism is to be found.115 In Spain as a whole. 46 per cent of definitely dark skin, in the very brunet-white and light brown category, again marks the population of this peninsula off from most of Europe. The regional variation in this is great; the darkest skins are in the south, in the country of Moorish occupation.

Several relatively complete anthropometric series give us a means of comparing Spaniards with other peoples. A series of 79 Spaniards measured in Madrid116 have head dimensions comparable to those of Yemenite Arabs, Oriental Jews, and Kabyles. The vault length (191 mm.) and breadth (150 mm.) yield a mean cephalic index of 78; the auricular height is 126 mm. Facially, the Mediterranean character of this group is pronounced; a menton-nasion height of 120 mm. and an upper face height of 73 mm. show the typical Mediterranean exaggeration of upper face length combined with the usual shallowness of jaw. The minimum frontal (105 mm.), bizygomatic (133 mm.), and bigonial (102 mm.) diameters, are likewise convincingly Mediterranean. The nose is high (56 mm.), narrow (33 mm.), and very leptorrhine - more so than with most Spanish groups. This sample could be used as a world standard of the central Mediterranean race, although it undoubtedly consists of an amalgam of several Mediterranean strains.117

Another useful series is one of 420 adult males from Andalusia, representing the most brunet population in Spain, and the one which supposedly contains the most Arab and Berber blood.118 These Andalusians have a mean stature of 166.5 cm., approximately the same as that of the smaller Moroccan Bcrbers, the Kabyles, and the modern Egyptians. Their mean relative sitting height, 50.6, relates them to North African and Asiatic Mediterraneans, rather than to most Europeans. The rest of their bodily proportions follow the same relationship. Cranially and facially, they differ little from the Madrid series, except in the possession of a wider bigonial (104.5 mm.) which may perhaps be a North African heritage.119

The skin color of the Andalusians is light brown, corresponding to #15 to #18 on the von Luschan chart, in 80 per cent of cases, while only one man in six has a pinkish-white skin of the type so frequent among Ruffians. Sixty per cent have dark brown hair, 30 per cent black hair. The remaining 10 per cent show some evidence of blondism or of rufosity. Only one man out of 420 was truly blond. The hair is straight in half the series, wavy in a third, and curly in a sixth. Six men in the entire group have negroid, frizzly hair; a minor absorption of negro blood, dating from Moorish times, is evident. As a whole, however, Andalusians are free from negroid traits. As among most Mediterraneans, beard and body hair are not abundant.

Sixty per cent of Andalusians have pure brown eyes, of which the majority are dark brown, although light brown and mixed-brown irises occur. Mixed-light eyes comprise 30 per cent of the series, with a prev-alence of greenish-brown shades, while 10 per cent of the whole sample possesses bluish-gray eyes, on the gray rather than blue side. A ratio of 40 per cent of light or incipiently light eyes is higher than one expects to find among racially pure Mediterraneans, and indicates the infusion of Nordic blood, from both North European and Berber sources. Probably if the rest of Spain were studied for eye color in the same way, higher ratios of eye blondism would appear elsewhere, since most of the green-brown eyes in this sample are predominantly dark.

Eyefolds among Andalusians are practically lacking. The opening of the eye lids is usually of moderate height, and of horizontal direction. A very small minority shows slanting eyes reminiscent of the Egyptian ideal of beauty. The eyebrows are moderately thick, and eyebrow concurrency occurs in 70 per cent of the series; since concurrent eyebrows are rare among present-day North African Mediterraneans, this suggests early influences from the eastern Mediterranean, as well, perhaps, as later ones from Arabia. Browridges are characteristically small to medium; foreheads are of only moderate height and breadth, and the forehead slope is, as a rule, slight; it is lacking or vertical in roughly 14 per cent of the total group. On the whole, the forehead form of these Andalusians is typically Mediterranean, and often infantile.

The nasion depression is small to medium; the nasal root is usually quite high and of moderate breadth; the nasal bridge is of moderate height and breadth, and the nasal profile is usually straight. As in the total Spanish series, 18 per cent show convex profiles, while concavity is limited to 15 per cent. The nasal tip is absolutely small or medium, and usually horizontal or slightly depressed. Nasal wings are usually compressed or medium. From these data we derive a picture of a high-rooted nose with a moderate bridge height and a straight profile, a thin tip, and compressed wings.

Lips are of medium integumental and membranous thickness; really thick lips are rare, and the lip seam is usually difficult to observe. Alveolar prognathism is almost always absent. The chin is of slight to medium prominence. The malars are of moderate forward prominence, and are usually compressed laterally, while the gonial angles show usually little or no flare. In the external morphology of the vault, the temporal region is frequently flattish, giving the skull an ill-filled appearance. The occipital protrusion is usually moderate, while 2 per cent are found with no protrusion, indicating an occiput of Armenoid or Dinaric shape. Lambdoid flattening occurs in 12 per cent of the series; this low incidence suggests that little if any of the Afalou element from North Africa is present in Andalusia.

The racial character of the richer, city-dwelling Moors of Andalusia. before the time of their expulsion, may be suggested by a study of the almost wholly unmixed descendants of these émigrés in Morocco. In the city of Sheshawen the old, aristocratic families are descended from the former aristocrats of Granada, and have lived endogamously since 1492. A little Ruffian blood has crept in, but aside from that the She-sbawen families remain an island of Andalusian Moors on Moroccan soil.

A small, homogeneous sample120 of these people shows a much closer relationship with Spain than with Morocco. They are a little longer-headed (194.5 mm.), a little more dolichocephalic (C. I. = 76.5) and a little longer-faced (123 mm.) than the Christian Andalusians; the bigonial diameter of 103 mm., although wide for Spain as a whole, is of Andalusian size. The Sheshawen Moors have predominantly dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, with brunet-white skin color. In facial morphology, they are fully Andalusian. The implication is that the Moors in Spain iinok more from the population of the peninsula, in a racial sense, than they gave. Our earlier conclusion that the Andalusians are Mediter-raneans of largely Neolithic derivation is supported by this unexpected evidence.

Portugal is, on the whole, fully as Mediterranean in race as is Spain and, perhaps, in some respects, it is more so.121 The chief differences between the two countries are: (1) that the Portuguese are almost urn-iormly brunet in pigmentation and (2) that there are no regions in Portugal in which brachycephaly is as important as in the Asturias and Galicia. In fact, Portugal contains some of the lowest cephalic index means on the continent of Europe.

Historically, Portugal has long been divided into two parts, a northern and a southern, with the river Tagus forming the boundary between the two. In pre-Roman times the Lusitanians lived in the northern half of the country, while other tribes inhabited the south. Later on, the Keltic invasions affected only the north, as did the inroads of the Germans. On the other hand, the Arabs and Berbers settled mostly in the south. Relations between Moslems and Christians lacked, in Portugal, the bitterness manifested in Spain, and many Portuguese Moslems were baptized at the time of the expulsion.

As in southern Spain, the skin color is evenly divided between a light brown, 45 per cent, and brunet-white, 45 per cent, while pinkish-white skins are found in only one-tenth of the population.122 Again as in Spain, the prevailing hair color is dark brown, which amounts to 68 per cent of the total; blond and red hair is limited to 2 per cent. Eye color, with 7 per cent of "blue," 15 per cent of "medium," 78 per cent of "dark," shows some correlation with latitude, which is not as clear in the cases of skin color and hair color. Blue eyes run to 13 per cent in the north, and as low as 1 and 2 per cent in the south. Dark eyes seem to range inversely from 71 per cent to 87 per cent. Portugal contains no more than the traditional 25 per cent of incipient blondism common to many groups of Mediterraneans.

Regional stature means in Portugal vary from 162 to 165 cm., while the mean for the whole country is 163.5 cm. The shortest statures are found in the Tagus valley; the tallest in both the north and the south. The stature curve for the entire country shows a slight skewness, with concentrations at 158 to 160 cm., and 164 cm. The second peak is by far the greater. The inference is that a short Mediterranean type has been absorbed by one of moderate stature. The mean relative span of the Portuguese is 102, a normal Mediterranean racial mean, but the relative sitting height rises to a mean of 53.2, which is high for Mediterraneans and more typical of Europeans outside the Iberian Peninsula. The cephalic index mean for the entire nation is 76.4, with two prominent peaks in the distribution curve, one at 74 and the other at 77. Regional variation is slight, with provincial means ranging from 75 to 78. The most dolichocephalic local groups live in the northwestern part of the country. The heads of the Portuguese are large in relationship to their stature, with a mean head length of 194 mm. and a breadth of 147 mm.

In a large series of modern Portuguese crania,123 while all are typically Mediterranean in morphology, a clear difference may be seen between several distinct types. In the first place, the head length has two definite modes at 179 mm. and 186 mm., while the head breadth has modes at 132 mm. and 141 mm. The cephalic index has modes at 70, 73. and 75. From this evidence, as from that of stature, we are led to the conclusion that two or more different Mediterranean strains are involved in the Portuguese population. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact that the orbital index of Portuguese crania is bimodal, with modes at 85 and 88. There is both a low-orbitted and a moderately high-orbitted element in this population.124

Returning to the living, we find that the upper facial index, the mean of which is 54.3 for the entire nation, shows regional differences, being consistently higher in the north and lower in the south. Two peaks at 49 and 54 are clearly differentiated, and the former is the larger. In most of Portugal the leptene tendency is associated with relatively great dolichocephaly, but in the coastal regions of the north, in Entre Douro and Minho, a leptene face is associated with brachycephaly and tall stature, indicating that in this region there is evidence of a submerged Dinaric element which may, presumably, be attributed to the early metal age invasions.

Detailed studies of small regional populations have been made in various parts of Portugal. A particularly interesting community is that of São Pedro Magodouro in a mountainous olive-growing section of Bragança, in the province of Tras os Montes.125 These people are the most dolichocephalic group in Portugal, and may serve as an illustration of one end type in the Portuguese population. Stature is short to moderate, with a mean of 163 cm., the relative sitting height is 51.9; the relative span, 102.5. The head length mean is 193 mm., that of head breadth 141 mm., the auricular height mean, 122 mm. Thus the cephalic index of 73.3 would be low even for North Africa; the absolute length is of a normal Mediterranean size, while the vault is low. The face is short, 119 mm., and narrow, 133 mm., while the bigonial has the relatively great breadth of 105 mm. The nasal dimensions, 55 mm. by 35 mm. are typically Mediterranean, and the length is particularly great in relationship to vertical facial dimensions. The nasal index of 67 is moderately leptorrhine. In almost all instances the nasal profile is straight. The skin is dark, the hair is dark brown, and the eyes are of a medium brown shade. This population conforms, in most respects, to Deniker's Ibero-Insular type, and may be taken as a relatively pure example of the shorter, longer-headed strain among the Portuguese. A few individuals in this group show Nordic influences, which manifest themselves in taller stature and mixed or light eye color.

Other local series, which represent the coastal regions of northern Portugal rather than the interior, are relatively Mediterranean, and are comparable metrically to Spanish groups. Some of the fishing villages along the coasts, however, contain locally differentiated populations as do fishing villages everywhere; one, Povoa de Varzin in Minho province,126 is distinguished by a slightly greater than usual degree of blondism, broad faces, and broad jaws (bizygomatic = 133 mm., bigonial, 108 mm.). Whence this broad-faced strain is derived is not known. It is curious that the Portuguese, like the Andalusians, are broader jawed than most Mediterraneans, and comparable in this respect to some Berbers.

The apparent homogeneity of the Portuguese, in a racial sense, masks the presence of several brunet Mediterranean strains, as Portuguese anthropologists are well aware. One may distinguish tall Atlanto-Mediterraneans, particularly in the southern provinces, as well as the small, extremely long-headed type found in São Pedro Magodouro. The coarser mesocephalic strain, which dates back to Muge, may also be identified.

Non-Mediterranean elements in the Portuguese population are rare and of little importance. A few Nordics are scattered throughout but are particularly concentrated in the north. Traces of Dinaric blood, as we have already seen, may likewise be found on the northern coast. Negroid blood, introduced into Portugal through the medium of freed slaves, has largely been absorbed. The liberated negroes settled mostly in the cities, where negroes from the Portuguese colonies are still to be seen in some numbers. The liberality of the Portuguese social attitude toward persons of different race has prevented the retention, as in Arabia and the United States, of a stigmatized negroid class. On the whole, the absorption of negroes by the Portuguese has had no appreciable effect on the racial position of the country. Portugal remains, as it has been since the days of the Muge shell-fish eaters, classic Mediterranean territory.


107 Oloriz y Aguilera, F., La Talla Humana en España.

108 Oloriz y Aguilera, F., BRSG, vol. 36, 1894, pp. 389-422.
Barras de Aragon, F. de las, MSAE, vol. 2, 1923, pp. 1-68.

109 Barras de Aragon, F. de las, MSAE, vol. 4, 1925, pp. 83-100.

110 MacAuliffe, L., and Marie, A., CRAS, Paris, vol. 171, 1920, pp. 1077-1079.

111 Hoyos Sainz, L., and Aranzadi, T. de, AFA, vol. 22, 1893-94, pp. 425-433.

112 Uria y Riu,J., MSAE, vol. 3, 1924, pp. 139-144.

113 Sanchez Fernandez, L., El Hombre Español. Résumé in MAGW, vol. 44, 1914, p. 330. This work covers a series of 119,571 20 year old male Spaniards.

114 Identical with the percentage of total light eyes found by Hoyos Sainz and Aran-zadi. In the north of Spain this percentage runs from 21 per cent in Castile to 35 per cent in Navarre and the Basque province.

115 An apparently accurate figure for Portugal is 28 per cent. Tamagnini, E., CEAP, vol. 1, Fact 3, 1936.

116 Barras de Aragon, F. de las, published in Williams, G. D., Maya Spanish Crosses in Yucatan.

117 Another good regional series, which is very similar, is that from Cacercs.
Aranzadi, T. de, ASE, ser. 2, vol. 3, 1891.

118 Unpublished thesis by Dr. Frederick S. Hulse, "The Comparative Physical An-thropology of Andalusians and Cubans," 1934, Cambridge.

119 Other differences seem to be of a technical nature.

120 Coon, C. S., Tribes of the Rif.

121 Some of the principal works on the physical anthropology of Portugal are:
Barros e Cunha, J. G. de, CEAP, vol. 2, Fact 6, 1931.
Cardosa, F., Portugalia, vol. 1, 1899-1903, pp. 23-56; vol. 2, 1905-08, pp. 179- 186, 517-539.
Dos Santos, J. R. Jr., TSPA, vol. 2, Facs. 2, 1924, pp. 84-1 86.
Mendes Correa, A., AAPP, vol. 10, 1915; ALJPA, vol. 2,1919, pp. 117-145.
Tamagnini, E., CEAP, vol. 1, Fact 3,1936; vol. 2, Facs. 7, 1932; vol. 2, Fact 10, 1933.
Themido, A. A., CEAP, vol. 2, Fact 5, 1931; vol. 2, Fact 9, 1933.
Sant'Anna Marques, S. de, Portugalia, vol. 1, 1899-1903, pp. 427-428.

122 Tamagnini, E., CEAP, vol. 1, Faa. 3, 1936.

123 Barros e Cunha, J. 0. de, CEAP, vol. 2, Fact 6, 1931.

124 Themido, A. A., CEAP, vol. 2, Faa. 5, 1931.

125 Dos Santos, TSPA, 1924.

126 Cardosa, F., Portugalia, vol. 2, 1905-08, pp. 517-539.