The racial history of Europe: an outline


In this chapter I propose to advance some ideas concerning the history of the origin of the races of Europe. These will concern almost only their later phases - namely from the Neolithic period onward. The earlier times are still largely shrouded in darkness.

The blond Nordid race evidanly has its origin in northern Europe - or at least not far to the southeast of this region. However, the Nordic tribes migrated quite early out of their poor homeland into the richer lands of the South. The northerners came as conquerors and colonists. In general however, they gradually disappeared into the earlier population, which was better adapted to the more southerly environment.

On purely linguistic grounds, the proto-Indo-Europeans appear to have originated through the mixture of at least two population-elements (Volkselemente), presumably a more southern and a more northern. If this view is correct, then the Indo-European group living furthest to the southeast, the Indo-Iranians, should be derived more from the southeast proto-element and less from the groups living further to the northwest. Now according to the ancient pictorial and literary representations, the early Indo-Iranians appear to have contained rather little of the blond racial element. In contrast, the rest of the Indo-European peoples appear to have been predominantly blond. Finally - and this is important - this applies also to the Tocharians. The Tocharians, who migrated to Central Asia, originally belonged to a western Indo-European group.

According to the ancient portraits, as well as the cranial evidence, the dark element of the early Indo-Europeans must have consisted predominantly of East-Mediterraneans. The blond Indo-European element, which derived from north-west Europe, must have been racially Nordid, if we employ this concept in its broadest sense.

The oldest certain Indo-European crania which we know from Central Germany to the southeast originate from the Stone-Copper-Age and the early Bronze Age. These crania are everywhere in this region always more or less longskulled and high-skulled. They are not long-skulled and lowskulled like the crania of the living Scando-Nordids. Extremely long and high were the crania of the late Neolithic East German Corded-Ceramic people. The Corded-Ceramic people are generally regarded as a rather important component of the Indo-European core.

We shall briefly survey the anthropological relations in northwest Germany and Scandinavia somewhat before 2000 B.C. This part of Europe nowadays constitutes the nuclear area of the Faelish and Scando-Nordid races. To the northwest of the Corded-Ceramic people, there lived in Germany the Megalith people. The Megalith people of Germany were typically long-skulled and low-skulled, and in relation to face and nose rather Faelish in race. On the Scandinavian peninsula we find among groups, who perhaps had not yet been Indo-Europeanized, likewise long and low crania, but narrower faces and noses.

These two groups, the one in northwest Germany and the other in Scandinavia, were thus racially related to one another, as well as to the blond proto-Indo-Europeans. We can perhaps consider the three groups as three subraces of the Nordid race - namely, the Faelish subrace, the Scando-Nordid subrace, and also the long- and high-skulled East-Nordid subrace. The East-Nordid should be regarded as a subrace of the Nordid race, since it resembled the other two subraces in so many anthropological traits. The region of origin of all three subraces evidently bordered on one another.

The racial and cultural position of the West-Indo-Europeans is well illustrated by the blond, long- and high-skulled type. Thereby, their region of origin is restricted to the border land between Central Europe and East Europe. In the earliest times the Indo-Europeans were probably still half-dressed in the summer. Blond men could not have lived long in areas further to the southeast in Europe. This is especially so because at that time the post-glacial dry and warm climate-maximum still continued.

In comparison, high-skulled populations have not penetrated far to the northwest of Europe. We find a rather strong racial and cultural contrast between the Thuringian Corded-Ceramic people and their Megalithic neighbors to the west. This indicates that the former are migrants from southeast Europe. Therefore, one could place the Indo-European homeland in the bess-earth and steppe-forests (at that time) east of Thuringia (see Map 20). On bio-climatological grounds, this Indo-European homeland should not be searched for much more to the east.

Map 20. The first migrations of the Indo-European peoples. (Lundman, according to Bosch-Gimpera, 1960). The large ellipse of the map designates the oldest known center of distribution of the Indo-Europeans. The point within the ellipse corresponds to the so-called Moravian portal. The arrows indicate the earliest migration-directions of the different Indo-European groups.

This proto-Indo-European East-Nordid race has now almost disappeared. This is evidently a consequence of the forceful - one might say "explosive"- expansion of the Indo-European peoples. Some living high-skulled Nordid types in Poland, Russia, Finland, and the East Baltic region can be derived from the proto-Indo-European East-Nordids. Thus, not all of the living high-skulled peoples of this part of Europe can be regarded as mixtures of the Scando-Nordid (or East-Mediterranean) and East-Baltid (or Dinarid) races. In addition, one must naturally keep in mind the slight blond elements still existing at present among the eastern Indo-European peoples. This is especially so in the case of the Kurds in northern Mesopotamia. But blond elements also occur further east - up to Kashmir in northwestern India.

The racial history of the Scandinavians after their eventual "Indo-Europeanization" can be briefly summarized as follows. The sharp deterioration in climate in northern Europe from 600 to 400 B.C. drove some of the Scandinavian tribes southward to Germany. In comparison, the migrations of the Anglo-Saxons to England and the Scottish lowlands occurred later in history, beginning around 400 A.D.

The grave-fields of the conquering Germanic tribes in large parts of Europe at that time show in a striking manner almost nlly Nordic burials in the older sections. We can recall in this respect the words of Tacitus in his famous work Germania. Naturally in the more recent burials, mixtures with the older European populations occur more frequently. The homogeneity of the early Germanic and many other Indo-European peoples was evidently favored by their "blond ideal of beauty" (blondes Schönheitsideal).

The Origin of the Races of Europe

Now we shall briefly outline the most important facts known to us of the still older history of the races of Europe. The present geographical distribution of these European races is shown in Map 17. The Palaeo-Atlantids are relatively unmixed and unaltered descendants of the Palaeolithic West European and North African Cro-Magnid race. The Cro-Magnids followed northwards the retreating ice boundary at the end of the Pleistocene. They lived as specialized hunters of the fauna inhabiting this part of Europe.

The Palaeo-Atlantids were never as depigmented as the Faelish and Scando-Nordid tribes who migrated after them. The latter two races have originated from other, later, closely-related Cro-Magnid proto-groups. The Faelids and Scando-Nordids were already at that time racially and culturally somewhat more highly developed. They gradually forced the Palaeo-Atlantids back into their present, barren places of refuge. The North-Atlantid race is probably only a variety of the North race. To be sure the North-Atlantid race is a native race, but more southerly accentuated and more pigmented. This is a result of a less cold, but damper climate and contact with the more pigmented European races. The southwestern European racial groups-Berids, West-Mediterraneans, and Alpines - evidently originated from shorter-statured and darker Cro-Magnids. These more southerly Cro-Magnids were less adapted to cold climate.

Most of the Berids live in the more unfavorable areas of southwestern Europe. In part they were forced there by other races. In the case of the Berids, we evidently have before us a more original type.

Hence, the more gracile West-Mediterraneans originated then in the more favorable regions of this part of Europe. Their present overly slender extreme-types are probably entirely late products of the environment. These body types - as in the case of similar types of other of the more slender races - were lacking in their actual rather near-peasant forefathers.

The Alpine race arose only rather late through brachycephalization in the poorer and colder regions of Berids and Berid-mixtures. The origins of this race can be traced back to the Neolithic period. But only in the Middle Ages is the Alpine race more strongly prominent.
The East-Mediterraneans and the East-Alpines have probably originated in an approximately similar manner from East European long-skulled and high-skulled old groups ("Brunnids"). These groups probably came across East Europe and southwestern Asia from northwestern - perhaps even central-India in the later Old Stone Age.

The ancestors of the Scando-Lappids, who are at the same time high-skulled and low in the frequency of blood type gene q, had probably already become separated at the end of the Ice Age somewhere in eastern Central Europe, possibly in the West Carpathian region. They then followed the retreating ice as hunting tribes of the reindeer and other wild life east of the Baltic Sea. Finally, the proto-Scando-Lappids became domiciled in the northern Scandinavian subpolar region. Consequently, they are also not strongly depigmented.

The Scando-Lappids are reduced in stature and unique in anthropological traits. However, they are not at all Mongolid. At most the Scando-Lappids are a parallel-developed, but very unique, sister-race of the East-Alpines.

In the northeastern portion of their homeland the Lapps have then probably been exposed to stronger Mongolid racial and also cultural influences at some unknown time. These were mostly of the Talgid race. Thus, have originated the East-Lapps.

The East-Baltid race developed out of the old type closely related to the Volgids. Their region of origin must have been located in a rather cold and frequently clouded region. This would have been close to the Baltic Sea and the depigmentation zone of the Nordic groups.

We find weak, but well-attested, Mongolid traits among the blondest East-Baltid groups. These traits show how old - in part before the process of depigmentation - a weak Mongolid admixture must be in northern Russia, from the northeast onward. Evidently, it is much older than the Mongolid admixture in the formerly East-Mediterranid southern Russia. In this part of Russia the present still somewhat weaker frequency of blood type gene q shows that the Scythians in antiquity had scarcely any Mongolid strains.

The East-Mediterranids probably originated in the northern part of southwest Asia. They then spread out northwards to southeast Europe and southern Central Europe. In part this already occurred in the Stone Age. Other branches of this race migrated eastward as far as Central Asia.

The Dinarids and Armenids have originated in a similar manner. These two races have also become brachycephalized only during a later stage of phylogenetic development.

However, we find most certain Armenid types, of almost modern stamping, already among several groups of the very active so-called Bell-Beaker people at the end of the Neolithic period. Perhaps they came as small groups of traders in metals and amber out of the now Armenid northern part of southwest Asia across Spain up to West and Central Europe.

Presumably, the development to Dinarids and to Armenids occurred in parallel. Still, some investigators want to localize a common center of origin in the Balkans, others in Armenia, or even in the Caucasus. The Carpathids are probably a parallel case to these Bell-Beaker people. They originated from Armenid metal-seekers in mixture with the Pre-East-Alpine older population in metal-rich northern Hungary. In this case, it must be remembered that the relatively large, somewhat curved nose is inherited as a dominant trait.

We also find some other old, eastern, round-skulled and high-skulled, dark strains, which are higher in the frequency of blood type gene q, in some of the coastal regions of West Europe. These strains are our Litorid race (See Map 18). They are approximately equivalent to Deniker's Litoral race. The coastal regions where these strains are found include: the Swedish western coast, northwestern Jutland, the Dutch province of Zeeland, Kent in England, northeastern Scotland (where the frequency of blood type gene q reaches almost 10%), the Isle of Man, southwestern Ireland (Valentia), western Wales, Cornwall, and western France (Brittany, Gironde).

There is an especially strong concentration of Litorids in the old mining regions of southwestern Spain. ("Tharsis" on the Rio Tinto is only the ancient name of a modern mine). The Litorids are found deep into the interior of Spain and further east on the south coast around Cadiz and Malaga.

In the Mediterranean Sea region, however, we so strongly approach on the island of Malta and around Naples, Italy the present area of dispersal of the Armenid race that the question is no more of the same interest. Naturally, many descendants of later migrants from the Near East also dwell in the above-named areas.

Peake and Fleure, who dealt with these problems in their ten-volume series The Corridors of Time, explained these racial occurrences in terms of seekers of noble metals and also amber coming from the Near East. In part, these migrations took place in the very early Bronze Age. However, at that time the coastal region of the eastern Mediterranean Sea was inhabited almost only by low-skulled and long-skulled Arabids.

Round-skulled and high-skulled Armenids (no one has thought of Dinarids) had just reached the innermost northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea in greater number from the northeastern part of the Near East in the early Bronze Age. This may possibly give an indication that the Armenids brought the art of copper-mining with them to Cyprus from their old home. All this is extremely problematical. Still many of the existing occurrences of Litorid strains in outlying regions of western Europe are not at all explainable through eventual migrations in historical times.

We have previously discussed the similar ancestors of the Carpathids in eastern Central Europe, as well as the Bell-Beaker people of prehistory. These two groups with their almost exclusively inland distribution still were not identical with the Litorids whose forefathers almost always settled near seacoasts. It appears probable that all three groups were only different parts of a great early-metallic culture-stream from the northern Near East.

The Etruscans migrated to Tuscany in Italy from adjacent regions in the Near East on the threshhold of history. The Etruscans came to Europe with similar goals. They also were characterized by an anthropological structure similar to the Litorids. The descendants of the Etruscans still survive in great number, especially in the metal-rich southern part of Tuscany. In this part of Italy we find relatively high values of blood type gene q.

Synopsis of European Racial History

From the above outline of the history of the origin of the races of Europe, we can determine seven fundamental facts for the racial history of Europe:

1. The probable late-Palaeolithic and Mesolithic (Ice Age and early post-Ice Age) depigmentation in northern Europe.
2. The contrast between the low-skulled Cro-Magnids in western Europe and the higher-skulled Brunnids in eastern Europe, which has existed at least from the Neolithic period onward.
3. The northward migrations in the early Neolithic period by agricultural, more or less, East-Mediterranean tribes out of the Near East into the Danube region up to southern Germany.
4. The southward migrations of the more or less strongly Nordid tribes of Indo-European peoples out of southeastern-most Germany to the north Carpathian region and other areas from the end of the Neolithic period onward.
5. The racially less significant northward migrations of smaller, predominantly noble-metal-seeking groups of traders out of the Near East from the late Neolithic to ancient times.
6. The Central European brachycephalization, which occurred predominantly in the Middle Ages.
7. Refinements in the face and bodily form produced by environmental and hereditary changes at different-and not only recent-times.

The two last-named changes work in part against one another. For if the brachycephalization goes in an "Alpine direction," it goes against a rounder-and also more roundbrowed-head. That is, it is to a certain degree an infantilization. But to judge from the anthropological finds, the brachycephalization is associated only to a small degree with a simultaneous infantilization of face and structure of the body. For the "Pre-Alpines" were evidently already rather small-faced and round-faced. (Unfortunately, we know less of their bodies). However, it holds up at least the rather general "linearization" ("Vershmälerung") trend. It probably often results in some physical changes in the reverse direction. Now we come to very important changes in the peoples of Europe, which are however still little known. Furthermore, through the processes of sifting and selection these changes have brought about a rearrangement of social strata in Europe. They are especially important in this way, so that apparently in part constitutional hereditary factors are often involved here. These can affect the hereditary psychological character of peoples.

We can present as an example just two contrasting counter-types, which are not only simply racial in origin, and still less only phenotypically environmentally conditioned. This is the contrast between the cool, hyper-leptosome, still near-sinewy, English aristocrat (predominantly Nordic, but still somewhat North-Atlantid or even Litoral mixed, in race) and the industrious, hypomanic, often aesthetic, south German provincial inhabitant.

The increase in stature, especially in northwestern Europe, in the last century is probably almost entirely phenotypical. It is also predominantly a consequence of modern industrial civilization. We shall not consider this phenomenon at this time. There has also been observed in very recent times a reverse trend toward "debrachycephalization."

The major racial contrasts in Europe are between the blond North and the brunet South and between the lowskulled West and the high-skulled East. These regional differences have remained approximately the same for several millennia.

The racial structure of the old historical European peoples-the Greeks, Romans, and Celts - has been treated at length in my book Geographische Anthropologie (1967). Certainly, these peoples had, at least in their upper social strata, stronger Nordic components than the present inhabitants of these lands. We shall not at this time discuss the racial changes in the peoples of Europe in the Middle Ages and in modern times, apart from what has been presented above.

Europid races are not found exclusively on the continent of Europe. Throughout the entire Near East region of Asia there are almost only races of our Europid or White primary race. Only in India and in the northernmost part of Africa exceed these in more compact measure. We have recognized that the last shaping of these groups-for the most part in their present regions of distribution, or in their vicinity - has resulted from different evolutionary and selective forces (See Map 21).

Map 21. The approximate coincidence of racial and natural boundaries within Europe (Lundman 1963 - according to different sources).

Natural Boundaries

1. Northern Forest Boundary
2. Boundary of the Western Base of the Ural Mountains
3. Salt-Steppes Boundary
4, Eastern Boundary of Stronger Oceanic Features in Climate
4a. "       "      "     "
5. Loess Belt-North Boundary

6. Alpine Region-East Boundary
7. Northern Boundary of Mediterranean Climate and Vegetation
8. Southern and Eastern Boundary of the Anatolian Mountains
A. No Features of Climate and Vegetation, but Strongly Pronounced Racial Boundary

Racial Boundaries

1. Mongolid Southern Boundary
2. Mongolid Western Boundary

3. Mongolid Southwestern Boundary
4. West-Atlantid Race Boundary

4a. Alpinoid Coastal Region
5. Northern Boundary of Stronge. Alpine Admixture
6. Dinarid Race Eastern Boundary
7. Mediterranean Race Boundary

8. Armenid Race Boundary

A. Western Boundary of Populations with High Skulls and Higher Frequency of Blood Type B

Geography and the Origin of Races

Thus, almost every racial nuclear region arose out of a unique natural population. But, occasionally one can also speak of the multiple, parallel origin of almost completely similar human groups. These groups embraced a series of similar homeland spaces, separated by regions df a different geographical nature and only loosely linked to one another.

In this regard I think above all of the Alpine and Dinaric "mountain-races ("Gebirgsrassen"). However, such mountain regions are situated too distant from one another. In addition, their populations become somewhat less similar to one another. This is as much due to a somewhat different origin, as to later molding.

In this respect I think, for example, of the West-Alpines and the East-Alpines. Another example is the "Taurid" group of races. These comprise the Dinarids, their Caucasian relatives (the "Mtebids"), and the Armenids, who are a little more distantly related to them.

Sometimes such a disjoint distribution has arisen geographico-anthropologically in this way. Consequently, the economic forms of these mountain peoples made easier a migration from mountain region to mountain region rather than settlement in the plains lying in between them. This is demonstrable in the case of the Dinaric groups from the western Balkans to the Carpathians. Naturally the reverse holds for the migrations of Asiatic steppe peoples into the Hungarian Pussta region.

Each of these pronounced natural regions ("Racial breeding-grounds") often retains and maintains its more or less distinct form of man. Of course, one frequently does not know the details of the causes of their particular formation. Chance "early migrations" and later adaptations to the homeland region are involved. Moreover, social selection and sexual selection are also active in these processes of race formation.

The results are, however, clear. The often high frequency of similarly directed genes at different loci is interesting in this respect. An example of this is the strong depigmentation of the Nordid race in skin, hair, and eyes. We also have the enlarged nose of the Taurids in relation to all other parts of the body.

However, a single individual seldom or never attained even in these places all the highest possible values of the traits. For example, in central Sweden the depigmented individual rarely reached the border of a less life-efficient albinism. Thus, the races are more or less dynamic systems. They are never fully finished. In part, races are only formulations to a development whose completion would be directly harmful, perhaps fatal, to them.

Smaller regional differences naturally have often occurred much later. They can frequently be explained historically through migration. Thus, occasionally we find poorer regions in Europe which are not at all like the usual breeding grounds of groups forced into these areas, such as the interior of Wales, Inner-Sardinia, and Lappland. To the contrary, these other regions were often populated by alien groups only late in history. Examples of such areas are certain sandy-soil regions in northwestern Germany and some bare mountain regions in western France. In the Swedish-Norwegian border-forests, there are besides some very early Palaeo-Atlantids also regions which only around 1600 A.D. were settled by forest-clearing Finns. These Finns mostly came from eastern Finland. Thus, racial geography is a complex, as well as interesting and productive science.