Interesting stuff about Berber % in modern Europeans and speculations about the Berbers being the remains of some of the most ancient proto-Caucasians. In other words, if you are White, the Berbers are like your most ancient grandparents.
Berber Genes in Europeans
It seems reasonable that Southern Europeans especially would have a considerable amount of Berber genes in them. This has been disputed by certain Southern European White racist bloggers like Dienekes Pontikos and Racial Reality. These bloggers are vociferously opposed to the notion that Southern Europeans are anything but pretty near pure White.
For instance, here Dienekes states gives Berber percentages in Europeans as follows:
Nation Berber % Spain 1% Italy 1.75% France 2%
I am going to disagree with this assessment, though I admit I am not an expert on the subject. Looking at this journal article (table here). we come up with something a lot different. From Cruciani et al 2004:
Ethnic Group Berber % Spain (Cantabrian Pasiegos) 30% Spain (Cantabria) 17% Southern Portugal 12.2% Northern Portugal 4% Spain (Basques) 3.6% France 3.5% Spain (Asturias) 2.2% Southern Spain 1.6% Northern Italy 1.5% Central Italy 1.2% Italy (Sicily) .7% Sardinia .5%
The Berber genes seem to have come to Europe for the most part in the past 3,000 yrs. Cantabria is an interesting place. The Cantabrians, in particular the Pasiegos, are said to be quite distinct genetically, almost like the Basques. No one really knows what this is all about.
During the Moorish invasion, they conquered all the way up to the southern mountains of Cantabria, a province in the far north of Spain on the coast next to the Basque region. Perhaps this is where the Moorish (Berber) genes came in.
Looking at the figures above, most Berber genes appear to have gone into Iberia in tandem with the Moorish conquest. Strangely, they are concentrated in the North of Spain. This doesn’t make much sense to me.
The Cantabrian language is still spoken here. It is said to be a dialect of Spanish, but actually it is part of the Extremaduran language spoken in Caceres in Extremadura. People say it is dying out, but in the mountains children are still being raised speaking Cantabrian. They show up in school as Cantabrian monolinguals and their teachers cannot understand them.
Extremaduran-Cantabrian is really just Eastern Leonese, which got cut off from the rest of Leonese ~400 years ago and came under heavy influence from Old Castilian. Nowadays East Leonese proper scarcely exists in either Asturias or Leon. Extremaduran itself spoken in Caceres is endangered, has no official status, and but has 500,000 speakers, including monolinguals (!). A Spanish informant who grew up in the region told me that Extremaduran has only 17% intelligibility with Spanish. And he has been hearing it off and on his whole life.
Leonese has only 50,000 speakers, is considered very endangered, but does have special status in Castile and Leon. And children are still being raised speaking Southeastern Leonese or Porteno. Leonese is part of the Asturian-Leonese language, with Asturian spoken in the north in Asturias and Leonese spoken to the south in Castile y Leon.
Asturian has 550,000 speakers, but is considered endangered.
A related language is Mirandese, spoken in Portugal. This language looks a lot like Portuguese, but it is actually a branch of Asturian-Leonese. It has 83% intelligibility with Southeastern Leonese or Porteno. It has only 15,000 speakers, but it seems to be recovering. It is spoken in Miranda do Douro state, and this is another name for the language.
About the Berbers, I consider them to be one of the most ancient, if not the most ancient, Caucasian groups in existence. Berbers go back at least 20,000 years and possibly up to 50,000 years in North Africa. Much of the Berber group may have come from the Middle East in the past 10,000 years. There is a huge split between Berbers and Sub-Saharan Africans.
The Mozabites, the Tuaregs and the Chenini-Douiret are quite different from the rest of the Berbers. Why? Probably genetic drift.
These men are Mozabites, possibly some of the most ancient Caucasians on Earth, with a genetic line going back up to 50,000 years. Though White nationalists probably freak out if you say these people are White, they are most definitely Caucasians. The fellow in the right forefront also looks Caucasian – he looks somewhat East Indian.
The two men standing at the top could be East Indians or some strange Mediterranean type. Given that East Indians are also one of the most ancient Caucasian groups on Earth, it figures that these Berbers resemble Indians. Both groups came out of the Middle East – the Berbers probably 42,000 years ago, and the East Indians about 17,000 years ago.
There are few genetic differences between Berbers and North African Arabs, which means that North African Arabs are simply Arabized Berbers. There are lots of great photos of Berbers at this link.
The origin of the Berbers is nevertheless quite obscure. This article suggests that both Berbers and Europeans came out of the Levant about 40-45,000 years ago. Obviously, prior to that, they came out of Africa. A date of 40-45,000 years is about right for the genesis of the Caucasian race. The homeland of the Caucasians is often said to be located in the Caucasus itself.
This line rose in Southwest Asia (the Caucasus) and then moved to Africa along the Mediterranean, not via Somalia – Yemen as the Out of Africans went. They moved first into the Levant, and from there went to Europe and to North Africa, both at the same time. This line went to the Cro-Magnon as well as the Berber, and both came out of the Levant about 40-45,000 years ago.
The Uighurs in Central Asia were also a source population for many diverse groups all over the place. The Uighurs may be the remains of ancient Caucasian-Asian hybrids that go back up to 40,000 years.
The first Caucasians were probably a mixture of 1/2 Africans (possibly Maasai and Tutsi types from Central Africa) mixed with ancient proto-Asians from China (who may have resembled the Ainu). From this strange mixture arose the original Caucasians, probably in the Caucasus and southern Russia, but maybe also in Iran.
There is good evidence that the first Caucasians, including the Cro-Magnons, looked a lot like Black Africans, in particular the Caucasoid-appearing Africans such as the Maasai and the Tutsi. Cro-Magnon skeletons look like the Masai more than any other modern skeleton. Cro-Magnon skulls are more likely to be confused with Negroid skulls than any other.
- Cruciani, F.; La Fratta, R.; Santolamazza, P.; Sellitto, D.; Pascone, R.; Moral, P.; Watson, E.; Guida, V.; Colomb, EB.; Zaharova, B.; Lavinha, J.; Vona, G.; Aman, R.; Cali, F.; Akar, N.; Richards, M.; Torroni, A.; Novelletto, A.; and Scozzari, R. 2004. “Phylogeographic Analysis Of Haplogroup E3b (E-M215) Y Chromosomes Reveals Multiple Migratory Events within and out of Africa.” American Journal of Human Genetics 74:1014-1022