The common belief is that Western Europeans all share the same ancestry. It is true that the majority of Western Europeans share the same Haplogroup, R1b, spanning the entirety of the west of the continent from the Scottish Highlands to the tip of Gibraltar in Spain, from Ireland to much of the Italian peninsula. A shared Haplogroup means a shared ancestor and both the R1 Haplogroups, R1a and R1b, as it is widely believed, were introduced into Europe by the Yamnaya, a mysterious race of nomadic peoples with only partial Caucasian ancestry (read ‘Nordic Europeans Aren’t True Whites‘) from whom most modern Europeans derive their fair complexions and Indo-European languages. The R1b Haplogroup is believed to have originated in the southern tip of the Ural Mountains in modern day Russia, an area that was inhabited by the Yamnaya by the Copper Age.
Which surely means that all Western Euopeans have Yamnaya ancestry? Actually, no!
It is generally accepted that the Yamnaya migrated further west into the northern segment of Western Europe, bringing the Bell Beaker culture with them as well as their Indo-European languages and R1 Haplogroup, completely replacing the Caucasian Agricultural communities that settled there before them1, probably through genocide as they had done when establishing the Corded Ware culture in Central Europe2. This Yamnaya group, as their Corded Ware counterparts had done before them, eventually abandoned their nomadic lifestyles for the sedentary lifestyles of the Neolithic farmers they had wiped out; today only Irish Travelers retain this nomadic lifestyle.
What is interesting is that the people of Iberia, belonging to the same Bell Beaker culture3, and the Italian Peninsula where the Bell Beaker culture didn’t reach, remain genetically distinct from these Yamnaya groups and, more so, that the Basque people, who possesed the highest frequency of the R1b Haplogroup still speak their ancient, non Indo-European language.
The explanation for this is that the R1b Haplogroup is further divided into sub-clades4. The Basque people are a mixture of Neolithic Farmers from the Middle East and the native European Hunter-Gatherers and have no Yamnaya ancestry5. It is likely that the sub-clade to which they belong, R1b-DF27, was brought into Iberia by these Neolithic farmers. The sub-clade dominant in Italy, the R1b-S28 (U152), however seems a little controversial; it is associated with the Indo-European Hallstatt Culture. But the R1b-S28 (U152) is mostly predomiant in northern Italy, where the non-Indo European Etruscan and Rhaetic languages were spoken during the Bronze Age and where the Hallstatt Culture had limited influence. It is therefore more likely that it is derived from Middle Eastern migrant farmers like the Iberian R1b-DF27. It is spread across France and central Europe, but on a more limited basis, where the Yamnaya derived R1b-S21 (U106) is dominant. These two people interbred giving rise to the Alpine Race (the other two major races of Europe are the Nordic and Mediterranean races).
So many anthropologists make the amateurish assumption that because the R1b Haplogroup (and also the Bell Beaker culture) is spread accross all Western Europe, then ALL Western Europeans are derived from the Indo-European Yamnaya peoples. But as I have pointed out, that these people within that given part of Europe all share the same Haplogroup is by a freak coincidence and are in fact diverse in ancestry. Another R1b sub-clade, the R1b-ht35 (Z2103), is dominant in the Middle East and only has a limited presence in Europe. The only Indo-European languages spoken in the Middle East are the Armenian language, which is itself an isolated branch of the Indo-European languages, and the Indo-Iranian languages. All Indo-European languages and their relevant branches are unintelligible with each other and are likely to have evolved as substratums from one another. The Indo-European language wasn’t spread in the Middle East through conquest as it was in most of Europe but was adopted as a Lingua Franca by the indigenous peoples, who before then spoke their own distinct regional languages6.
It is our common belief that the Yamnaya populated most of Europe and killed off the indigenous populations, but this was neither feasible in the more densely populated regions in Southern Europe and Asia, and even in central Europe where their populations fused, nor necessary as resources were more abundant in these warmer, more hospitable climates and they may have chosen instead to engage in commercial activity with the indigenous populations, thereby helping to spread their Indo-European languages in these regions.
2 thoughts on “Do Southern Europeans Share the Same Ancestry as Northern Europeans?”
Why did you delete your Southern European articles?
Thanks for your comment. I’ve archived this article because it’s about a theory I no longer believe in (perhaps I should restore it and say it’s an old article?). My new theory in the relationship between northern and southern Europeans is summed up in this other article-