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Thread: Genetic make-up of France

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    Post Genetic make-up of France



    France is an ethnically complex country. It is the largest country in Europe. It has been settled or invaded by all the great cultures of Europe : Celts, Basques, Greeks, Romans, Germans, Norses, etc. Furthermore, it is usually accepted that northern France is closer both culturally and ethnically to northern Europe, while the southern part of the country is definitely more southern European in every respect.

    But things get even more complicated once we try to divide France by region according to how people look, or what DNA tests tell us. There is no clear divide between all the peoples that have settled in France in history.

    The easiest group to spot are the Basques, around the western Pyrenees, who have managed to keep a strong cultural identity of their own.

    The Bretons are often considered to be the last "Celts" in France. Although they may be the last to speak a Celtic language, genetically they are far from being outsiders like the Basques. In fact, most of France used to be Celtic 2000 years ago, and Celtic genes can still be found in most of the country.

    The most "Celtic" parts of France are the remotest ones, deep into the mountains of the Massif Central, especially in Auvergne and the Cevennes. Brittany is in fact less genuinely Celtic due to the influx of Germanic people from Normandy or Britain.

    Notwithstanding a series of invasions by various Germanic tribes (Franks, Burgunds, Visigoths, Danish Vikings...), and territory gained over Germany (Alsace and Lorraine), the only region that is overwhelmingly of Germanic descent is the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, only annexed to France 350 years ago. Normandy, Picardy, Champagne, Lorraine and Alsace have all a lot of Germanic blood, although mixed with indigenous Celtic one.

    The Mediterranean coast of France was settled very early by the Greeks, who founded such cities as Nice, Marseilles or Montpellier. This was also the first region of France to come under Roman domination, and to be heavily settled by Roman people. Consequently, most of the people from the Languedoc to the Provence are closer to central Italians and Greeks than to central and northern French people.

    But the most surprising of all is to find people who look typically Mediterranean as far north as the Loire Valley, in the traditional provinces of Poitou, Anjou, Tourraine and Berry. This appears to be another region of France heavily settled by the Romans. Tests of the Y-chromosome have shown so far (although at an early stage of research) that a lot of people in this region indeed belonged to haplogroup J2, typical of Greco-Roman people.

    Here is a map of the ethnic division of France inspired by Prof. Montandon's work. Names of traditional provinces as well as a few key cities were added for an increased visibility.


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    More Euro BS

    <<France is an ethnically complex country.>>

    Name a country that isn't ethnically complex. And please don't say America. Whatever ethnic mix my Euro ancestors brought to the US got passed on to me. So realistically Europeans are no older than Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc. You Euros just think you are more diverse than everyone else.

    <<It is the largest country in Europe.>>

    I think the key words there are IN EUROPE. To most people outside of Europe (and it may come as a shock to you but there are more people OUTSIDE of Europe than INSIDE), European countries are the size of postage stamps. So it gives us a chance to giggle when Euros call/brag about their countries being big. Well sure France is big . . . if you're comparing it to Rhode Island.
    It has been settled or invaded by all the great cultures of Europe

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    Quote Originally Posted by WickedOne View Post
    <<France is an ethnically complex country.>>
    Name a country that isn't ethnically complex. And please don't say America. Whatever ethnic mix my Euro ancestors brought to the US got passed on to me. So realistically Europeans are no older than Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc. You Euros just think you are more diverse than everyone else.
    I think you are misunderstanding what I wrote. Keep in mind that this is a forum about Europe, so when I said that France is an ethnically diverse country, I meant by European standards. Recent DNA studies have revealed that Europeans are more genetically homogenous than Asians or Africans due to the fairly recent recolonisation of Europe from a few Ice Age refuges 10,000 years ago. In fact, there is more genetic diversity just in India that in all Europe (notwithstanding recent immigrants of course).
    <<It is the largest country in Europe.>>
    I think the key words there are IN EUROPE. To most people outside of Europe (and it may come as a shock to you but there are more people OUTSIDE of Europe than INSIDE), European countries are the size of postage stamps. So it gives us a chance to giggle when Euros call/brag about their countries being big. Well sure France is big . . . if you're comparing it to Rhode Island.
    It has been settled or invaded by all the great cultures of Europe
    I don't see your point. It is obvious that Europe is a tiny continent. It is 3x smaller than the USA. Is that a way for you to brag about how big your country is ? This is a place for serious discussions. If you are not mature enough to understand comparisons and arguments being made, please refrain from posting here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    France is an ethnically complex country. It is the largest country in Europe. It has been settled or invaded by all the great cultures of Europe : Celts, Basques, Greeks, Romans, Germans, Norses, etc. Furthermore, it is usually accepted that northern France is closer both culturally and ethnically to northern Europe, while the southern part of the country is definitely more southern European in every respect.

    But things get even more complicated once we try to divide France by region according to how people look, or what DNA tests tell us. There is no clear divide between all the peoples that have settled in France in history.

    The easiest group to spot are the Basques, around the western Pyrenees, who have managed to keep a strong cultural identity of their own.

    The Bretons are often considered to be the last "Celts" in France. Although they may be the last to speak a Celtic language, genetically they are far from being outsiders like the Basques. In fact, most of France used to be Celtic 2000 years ago, and Celtic genes can still be found in most of the country.

    The most "Celtic" parts of France are the remotest ones, deep into the mountains of the Massif Central, especially in Auvergne and the Cevennes. Brittany is in fact less genuinely Celtic due to the influx of Germanic people from Normandy or Britain.

    Notwithstanding a series of invasions by various Germanic tribes (Franks, Burgunds, Visigoths, Danish Vikings...), and territory gained over Germany (Alsace and Lorraine), the only region that is overwhelmingly of Germanic descent is the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, only annexed to France 350 years ago. Normandy, Picardy, Champagne, Lorraine and Alsace have all a lot of Germanic blood, although mixed with indigenous Celtic one.

    The Mediterranean coast of France was settled very early by the Greeks, who founded such cities as Nice, Marseilles or Montpellier. This was also the first region of France to come under Roman domination, and to be heavily settled by Roman people. Consequently, most of the people from the Languedoc to the Provence are closer to central Italians and Greeks than to central and northern French people.

    But the most surprising of all is to find people who look typically Mediterranean as far north as the Loire Valley, in the traditional provinces of Poitou, Anjou, Tourraine and Berry. This appears to be another region of France heavily settled by the Romans. Tests of the Y-chromosome have shown so far (although at an early stage of research) that a lot of people in this region indeed belonged to haplogroup J2, typical of Greco-Roman people.

    Here is a map of the ethnic division of France inspired by Prof. Montandon's work. Names of traditional provinces as well as a few key cities were added for an increased visibility.
    Hi Maciamo,

    Seems you are also interested in G&A. But please beware of inconsistencies made by anthropologists and historians.

    You say the most Celtic part of France is the "Central zone". But I disagree. Original Celtic region in is Central Europe shared by Southern Germany (especially some parts of Baden-W&#252;rttemberg, higher red hair frequency) and Northern Switzerland. These people are known for their tallness, long heads and light to moderate pigmentations. Very good examples are Edward Norton from the USA and Maria Furtwangler from Bavaria - Germany (Sorry, but I'm not allowed to attach pictures yet).

    Many French people from central zones are short, round headed and dark and are perfect examples of the Alpine race which emerged through reduction of large headed, tall Cro-Magnoids.

    And your map can't explain which people in the other "colors" live. Who are the violets or yellows? Mixed people of Italy and France or Spain? The Spanish is also Mediterranean, indeed.

    Hoping to hear from you soon..

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    Quote Originally Posted by billthebutcher View Post
    Hi Maciamo,
    Seems you are also interested in G&A. But please beware of inconsistencies made by anthropologists and historians.
    You say the most Celtic part of France is the "Central zone". But I disagree. Original Celtic region in is Central Europe shared by Southern Germany (especially some parts of Baden-W&#252;rttemberg, higher red hair frequency) and Northern Switzerland. These people are known for their tallness, long heads and light to moderate pigmentations. Very good examples are Edward Norton from the USA and Maria Furtwangler from Bavaria - Germany (Sorry, but I'm not allowed to attach pictures yet).
    Many French people from central zones are short, round headed and dark and are perfect examples of the Alpine race which emerged through reduction of large headed, tall Cro-Magnoids.
    I know that the "Celtic homeland" is around Baden--W&#252;rttemberg (West Hallstatt and La T&#232;ne area). However, these Celts have expanded and settled in many areas of France as well. I noticed that some people (but not all) in the isolated Auvergne and Cevennes regions of south-central France had quite Celtic features (long head, fair hair, tall stature). The Celts' preference for hilly areas to built oppida may explain that pockets of Celtic lineages survived to this day with minimum intermingling with the darker-haired, rounder-faced and shorter Alpine or Mediterranean types.

    I am looking forward to the Y-DNA analysis of remote regions of France to confirm or disprove this theory.

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    Exactly... The pictures you've posted from France are good examples of Celts (this journalist and of course Laetitia Casta, fair hair, fair skin, prominent nose).

    I think Maria Furtw&#228;ngler from Munich (M&#252;nchen) is a direct descendant of Celts who had inhabited Central Europe before Germans (better: Germanics) invaded the territory.

    Oliver Kahn from Karlsruhe is a stereotypical German, indeed. Note the differences (large head size, very masculine, "sinister" looking, 99% fair eyes, mostly fair hairs, etc...

    P.S.: 8 posts remaining, to be allowed URLs and pictures ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I know that the "Celtic homeland" is around Baden--W&#252;rttemberg (West Hallstatt and La T&#232;ne area). However, these Celts have expanded and settled in many areas of France as well. I noticed that some people (but not all) in the isolated Auvergne and Cevennes regions of south-central France had quite Celtic features (long head, fair hair, tall stature). The Celts' preference for hilly areas to built oppida may explain that pockets of Celtic lineages survived to this day with minimum intermingling with the darker-haired, rounder-faced and shorter Alpine or Mediterranean types.

    I am looking forward to the Y-DNA analysis of remote regions of France to confirm or disprove this theory.
    Lol if the CEVENNES are south-central France then the southern banuiel slums of Paris are north-central France. Geographical logic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Knatchbull View Post
    Lol if the CEVENNES are south-central France then the southern banuiel slums of Paris are north-central France. Geographical logic.
    If you wish. Paris is not really northern. For me northern France is any north of Paris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I know that the "Celtic homeland" is around Baden--Württemberg (West Hallstatt and La Tène area). However, these Celts have expanded and settled in many areas of France as well. I noticed that some people (but not all) in the isolated Auvergne and Cevennes regions of south-central France had quite Celtic features (long head, fair hair, tall stature). The Celts' preference for hilly areas to built oppida may explain that pockets of Celtic lineages survived to this day with minimum intermingling with the darker-haired, rounder-faced and shorter Alpine or Mediterranean types.

    I am looking forward to the Y-DNA analysis of remote regions of France to confirm or disprove this theory.
    Mediterranean types have longer heads- not round. The round headed individuals belong to the R Haplogroup:
    Interestingly, the regions inhabited today by I and J bearers are primarily found on a "corridor" from the Middle East through Asia Minor, the Balkans, Central Europe to Scandinavia. To the west of this region, haplogroup R1b is more important, and to the east, haplogroup R1a1.

    This same corridor has also been identified by physical anthropologists in the past as the route by which leptoprosopic southern Europoids migrated into Europe, forming a "wedge" between the indigenous broad-faced northern Europoids. Thus, the strong metrical similarity between modern Nordics (found principally in Scandinavia, a nexus of I concentration), and modern Mediterraneans (from West Asia and Southeastern Europe, a nexus of J concentration) can be interpreted as a consequene of their common descent. This suggestion is not new, having been proposed by Carleton Coon in his Races of Europe in 1939, although dating this common descent was obviously inaccurate before the advent of carbon dating and the molecular clock.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    If you wish. Paris is not really northern. For me northern France is any north of Paris.
    That is correct....most people I know with some knowledge of Europe ascribe to this philosophy.

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    the gauls/celts of ceasars time were described as blonde and much taller, even the WOMEN, than the roman soldiers.. they were also reffered to as very fair complected..
    also it was the GERMANS WHO HAD RED HAIR per the romans of that era.. they dyed gaulish slaves hair red to pass them off a germans during gladiator events.

    the french of today are seldom blonde, tall, or often even fair complected.

    the likelyhood is that the romanization was so thourough the the modern french are similar to the modern aluit in alaska..

    today, of all aluit/'eskimos' still living in tribal villages, 85% of their men have a european Y-dna Hg.. the modern population is almost entirely fathered by male caucasians..

    the romans describe teaching the women in gaul after conquest, to 'lie down along the road' as their legions passed through..
    this sounds a lot like keeping the soldiers happy and the women get to stay alive.. and it explains the short dark sometimes olive skinned modern french (similar in appearance to a average italian), where the ancient gauls were of a totally different appearance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpathia View Post
    the gauls/celts of ceasars time were described as blonde and much taller, even the WOMEN, than the roman soldiers.. they were also reffered to as very fair complected..
    also it was the GERMANS WHO HAD RED HAIR per the romans of that era..
    That's only the impression that the northern populations gave to the romans.
    French and Germans are not much different from what they looked like 2000 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpathia View Post
    the romans describe teaching the women in gaul after conquest, to 'lie down along the road' as their legions passed through..
    this sounds a lot like keeping the soldiers happy and the women get to stay alive..
    That's funny.
    Do you think that the legions stopped their march to rape the 6-7 women they met each 10 km?
    A legion it's thousands of men with all an economic system attached to it. Merchants followed them everywhere, and they had enough women and slaves to not stop the troop each time they found a group of villagers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpathia View Post
    the french of today are seldom blonde, tall, or often even fair complected.
    .. and it explains the short dark sometimes olive skinned modern french (similar in appearance to a average italian)
    From what i saw on tv during the Dacia-Renault strikes in Romania, it seems that romanians fit better your description than the French (and i'm living in the southern coast)

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpathia View Post
    the likelyhood is that the romanization was so thourough the the modern french are similar to the modern aluit in alaska..
    today, of all aluit/'eskimos' still living in tribal villages, 85% of their men have a european Y-dna Hg.. the modern population is almost entirely fathered by male caucasians..
    You have a simplistic reasoning, you believe silly stereotypes, you're posting at 4 AM (2 AM in Romania) and you have an interest in the Aleut tribes.

    Are you an american kid of romanian descent ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smertrius View Post
    From what i saw on tv during the Dacia-Renault strikes in Romania, it seems that romanians fit better your description than the French (and i'm living in the southern coast)
    I agree. I don't know what he really means...

    Clearly, there are darker native French people but skin tone runs from very pale to, say, medium olive. The French probably average out to medium tone in complexion. Certainly, they are lighter on average than Eastern Mediterraneans, many Balkan types, Southern and Central Italians and some populations in Southern Iberia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpathia View Post
    the gauls/celts of ceasars time were described as blonde and much taller, even the WOMEN, than the roman soldiers.. they were also reffered to as very fair complected..
    also it was the GERMANS WHO HAD RED HAIR per the romans of that era.. they dyed gaulish slaves hair red to pass them off a germans during gladiator events.
    the french of today are seldom blonde, tall, or often even fair complected.
    the likelyhood is that the romanization was so thourough the the modern french are similar to the modern aluit in alaska..
    today, of all aluit/'eskimos' still living in tribal villages, 85% of their men have a european Y-dna Hg.. the modern population is almost entirely fathered by male caucasians..
    the romans describe teaching the women in gaul after conquest, to 'lie down along the road' as their legions passed through..
    this sounds a lot like keeping the soldiers happy and the women get to stay alive.. and it explains the short dark sometimes olive skinned modern french (similar in appearance to a average italian), where the ancient gauls were of a totally different appearance.

    Can you provide the research sources you are using?

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    Don't forget that 58% of the french claim a foreign ancestry. If you take apart the 30% who are from north african and black african descent, and those who have one parent or grandparent mainly from spanish, portuguese, or south italian descent (Garcia is the n°1 surname in Languedoc for example), it's difficult to find real "ethnic french" in the big cities today. But those who are, are really different from the common stereotype the americans have about us. I think it's the same for every country, the "spanish/moor" stereotype is another funny one.
    Last edited by Smertrius; 16-07-09 at 18:10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smertrius View Post
    Don't forget that 58% of the french claim a foreign ancestry. If you take apart the 30% who are from north african and black african descent, and those who have one parent or grandparent mainly from south european descent (Garcia is the n°1 surname in Languedoc for example), it's difficult to find real "ethnic french" in the big cities today. But those who are, are really different from the common stereotype the americans have about us. I think it's the same for every country, the "spanish/moor" stereotype is another funny one.
    I meant only NATIVE, or native origin French. I'm not counting non-European, etc.

    Believe me, I know about stereotypes... People from the U.S. visit Northern Spain and Northern Portugal and they are surprised by how light people are in this region. In Portugal / Galicia and in the U.S., Americans many times ask me if I'm not English or Irish. I just tell them to visit Spain and Portugal and find out what REAL Iberians look like...

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    edited....

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    edited....

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    What happened to Smertrius' last two posts?

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    I deleted them.
    I don't want to fall into that light/dark antropologic stuff that i find so pathetic...

    The only thing i have to say is that the "real" french are the ones who still live in the remote countrysides. The rest of the country has seen so many waves of internal or foreign migrations that it is no more representative of anything today.
    Last edited by Smertrius; 17-07-09 at 00:33.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smertrius View Post
    I deleted them.
    I don't want to fall into that light/dark antropologic stuff that i find so pathetic...

    The only thing i have to say is that the "real" french are the ones who still live in the countryside. The cities have seen so many waves of internal or foreign migrations that they are no more significative of anything today.
    Ok, I hear you. It is rather ridiculous - this nonsense about who is lighter or darker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smertrius View Post
    I deleted them.

    The only thing i have to say is that the "real" french are the ones who still live in the remote countrysides. The rest of the country has seen so many waves of internal or foreign migrations that it is no more representative of anything today.

    I think that is a general rule for most countries

    When I visited Paris first time, a big percentage of the people I saw were non native French people. Many were clearly Northern/Southern Africans and some definately mixed.
    The picture was different outside Paris, at the countryside, where people looked more like what I have in mind when I think of French and clearly there were less non-French people. I didn't visit Southern France though where people probably look like typical Mediterraneans.

    It's the same in Greece. If you visit the center of Athens you will see only immigrands, Near Eastern or Africans. You get the impression that you are in a different country because most of the Greeks that live in Athens have moved to the suburbs.

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    By Maciamo in forum Chit-Chat
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 30-03-10, 12:15

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