Wednesday, July 19, 2006

England v Scotland: Legacy of ancient apartheid?

Interesting article from Bloomberg:

The modern-day English gene pool contains 50 to 100 percent Germanic Y-chromosomes, says Mark Thomas, a geneticist at University College London. The reason can be traced back to a medieval segregation system, set up some 1,600 years ago to keep Anglo-Saxon overlords separate from the native Celts, Thomas says in a new study, co-authored with German academics.

The apartheid theory explains why the English don't share more genes with their Scottish and Welsh compatriots, even though Anglo Saxons came to Britain in fairly small numbers, Thomas said in a telephone interview.

``We wrote a computer simulation to see if it could actually explain the discrepancy,'' he said. ``We found that apartheid is just the perfect explanation.''

The 10,000 to 200,000 Anglo Saxons who began coming to Britain in the fifth century used their military and economic might to force the majority Celts into a system of servitude, similar to the one that recently ended in South Africa, Thomas said.

``We believe that they also prevented the native British genes getting into the Anglo-Saxon population by restricting intermarriage,'' he said. The Anglo Saxons' superior social standing allowed more of their children to survive into adulthood, populating the land with people who speak a primarily Germanic language, he said.

The English have the closest genetic ties with people living in Friesland in the northern Netherlands, Thomas said.

It's possible that the English nationalism we are currently seeing is a remnant of a memory of ancient apartheid - which is why it's even more important not to succumb to it and not to let the UK break up.


beethoven writes said...

I always wondered why I liked dutch beer so much....

Anonymous said...

The minority language spoken in Friesland is apparently the closest linguistic relative to English as well.