Modern population genetics suggests that the ancestors of the majority of English people were not fifth-century Anglo-Saxon invaders, but actually came from the ‘Basque’ region of South West France and northern Spain. What is perhaps even more surprising is that they arrived on these shores thousands of years ago. This turns one prevailing view of English national identity on its head, argues Stephen Lewis.

If you ask a person in the United States what is means to be American, their first response is often couched in terms of values, perhaps freedom, human rights and democracy. The more historically aware might even make mention of the War of Independence or the articles and meaning of the American Constitution. The English language might just get a look in; but as America becomes more multilingual this seems less and less critical.

There is no doubt that numerous Americans seek their roots throughout the world, and can find a secondary identity in their national or racial origins: Italian American, Irish American, Japanese American, Native American, African American and so on. But individual, as opposed to national, identity has always been acknowledged to be a very complicated thing.

Deep down Americans know that they are all immigrants and celebrate the fact that their country is a melting pot. For sure, the country has suffered more than its fair share of racism, but this doesn’t negate the fact that today its citizens don’t primarily view their American identity in racial terms.

The situation in Britain is somewhat different. While the Scots and the Welsh tend to have a clearer understanding of what it means to them to be Scottish or Welsh – quite often defined by their opposition to the English oppressor – it is sometimes said that the English are suffering a ‘crisis of identity.’

Partially true though this might be, the heart of English identity isn’t nearly so fragile. It runs deeper and goes farther back than taking pride in the fact that a small people managed to rule a quarter of the world. Now here we get into a terribly British confusion of terms. The ‘Empire’ is usually described as the ‘British Empire’, yet most English people see it as theirs. After all didn’t the English conquer the Scots, Welsh and Irish first, before venturing into the rest of the world!

The legendary King Arthur

Now national identity, like that of individuals, is also a very varied construct. It has historical, linguistic, political, cultural and racial threads. These threads, mythic and even strange though many of them are, remain very real today. They were, until recently, taught to generations of English school children. Two very strange examples can be used as illustrations: those of King Arthur and Richard the Lion Heart. Both are often cited as having been important people for England and for what it means to be English. But Arthur was probably a British warlord, who fought against the English invaders; while King Richard was just another in a long line 0f thuggish French-speaking rulers who couldn’t have cared less about the English people – except as a source of fighting men and money.

But even if all the myths and falsifications that often pass as English history are stripped away, there still remains a core of “Englishness”. One widespread view is that this core is to be found in the language and racial origins of the English. Put as succinctly as possible, the English are the descendents of Dark Age Anglo-Saxon invaders, who slaughtered and replaced the indigenous British population, and brought with them their Germanic language, a language that would eventually become the English we speak today.

Vortigern meets Hengist and Horsa

Once the Roman legions had been withdrawn from Britain in the early fifth century, the British population, and the small remaining Romano-British elite, were faced by incursions and attacks from many sides – not least from the Picts and Irish (“Scots”). In response, Gildas, the sixth century British monk, tells us “they convened a council to decide the best and soundest way to counter the brutal and repeated invasions and plunderings…” They choose to invite the Saxons as mercenaries. Gildas continues:

Nothing more destructive, nothing more bitter has ever befallen the land. How utter the blindness of their minds! How desperate and crass the stupidity! Of their own free will they invited under the same roof a people whom they feared worse than death …

A pack of cubs burst forth from the lair of the barbarian lioness, coming in three keels, as they call warships in their language.

Later, the Saxons complained that they hadn’t been paid and “swore that they would break their agreement and plunder the whole island …. they put their threats into immediate effect.”

This is the ethnic ‘wipeout’ theory of English history. Although it is acknowledged that it took the Anglo-Saxons another three centuries to gain full control of most of what is now England, for many the facts seem plain.  The native Britons were either massacred and replaced or pushed back to more remote, and less fertile, mountainous areas, such as Wales, Cornwall or Cumbria. The hardy and adventurous English people settled ‘England’ – and we all speak English today as a result.

This is the English national origin story. Bloody and brutal though it is, it is what distinguishes the English from their ‘Celtic’ neighbours in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

While once common such a telling of history has not gone unopposed. Some have argued that the extent of Anglo-Saxon settlement was very modest and even (though not very convincingly) that there was no ‘invasion’ at all. These counter-arguments are generally based on different interpretations of the archaeological record. It is argued that the shifts in material culture that we can see, in no way indicate that they were ‘caused’ by the arrival of a new and ethnically distinct population – whether invaders or otherwise. Cambridge archaeologist Catherine Hills points out that “people can change their names, language, currency and political allegiances without the majority of the population being replaced”.

Archaeologist Francis Pryor puts his case as follows:

If Anglo-Saxon people and culture displaced ‘native’ practices, one would expect the latter to have vanished. They did not.

The problem in holding this view is twofold: 1) Although there is a paucity of historical documents, the ones we have, whether Anglo-Saxon or British, clearly state that the Anglo-Saxons did come, did rebel and fought many battles to secure their dominance and establish their Kingdoms, and 2) If there were no “wipeout” and, even more so, if there were no invasion at all, then how did English become the language of England while, tellingly, containing almost no vestige of the native British/Celtic languages?

How we are to interpret the historical chroniclers, and to which of them we should give the most credence, will likely remain a troublesome issue for historians of England, as for all historians, for years to come.

The question of how English came to be the only language in England seems even more intractable. Why this is a difficult issue can be illustrated by two other, rather different, invasions. Invasions where the invaders’ language did not replace the native language.

The Franks were a Germanic speaking people who entered what is now France at much the same time as the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain. Yet even four hundred years later, around the year 800, when the Frankish King, Charlemagne, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, he still spoke ‘German’, and had little grasp either of Latin or its offshoot: an early form of French. Despite the dominance of the Frankish invaders, there is almost no German influence in modern French – just a few, mostly military, words and quite a number of Germanic place names. This may be due to the fact that Roman Gaul retained a functioning Roman (and Latin speaking) administrative system even after the Western Empire had started to collapse. Whatever the reason, the French don’t speak German today!

Closer to home, and possibly more instructive, is the case of the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Although descended from Germanic speaking Vikings, William the Conqueror and his henchmen spoke Norman French. Over subsequent decades and centuries, as the Normans dispossessed and suppressed the English, their numbers were never very large. During all this time, they never failed to show disdain for the conquered English and their language. French remained the language of the kings, the lords and of much of the governance of the country. English, which in Anglo-Saxon times had been a great language of literature, religion and administration, was reduced to written silence. Yet despite all this English survived. It assimilated a huge swathe of French, which changed the language from the ‘Old English’ of King Alfred to the ‘Middle English’ of Chaucer, but it was still a predominantly Germanic language, as it remains to this day. Yet again a powerful and far-reaching invasion failed to lead to the wholesale adoption of the language of the victors by the indigenous population.

Let’s return to the ‘Saxon Advent’.  If, as Francis Pryor and others contend, there wasn’t really any Anglo-Saxon invasion and takeover, then how did English become so sweepingly and exclusively adopted? More traditional historians will concede that the number of Anglo-Saxons who came to Britain in the fifth century, and subsequently, was never very high in comparison to the existing native British population. Perhaps at most a few hundred thousand ‘English’ compared to a couple of million Celts. Unless the wipeout or pushback theory is in large measure correct, then how is it that the Germanic language of the invaders wasn’t eventually lost? As happened in Frankish Gaul. Or combined in some way with the native language or languages? As happened in post-conquest England.

And here we might be stuck if it weren’t for the population genetics.

Genetics has changed historical research!

Early attempts to use science to explore the origins of peoples and their historical movements had to rely on the analysis of blood groups. This approach was pioneered by the Italian population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza. He and others used it to examine, among other things, how early neolithic farmers spread from the fertile crescent into Europe. But blood group analysis has severe limitations and looking more rigorously at human origins, and the origins of specific peoples, had to wait till the science of genetics was refined enough to make a contribution. This it has certainly done. In terms of the origins of the British, or in our case the English, dozens of studies have now been conducted. These have been synthesised (and extended by his own research) by the Oxford geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer. He presented the rather startling results in his book The Origins of the British. Oppenheimer writes:

To summarize, the phylogeographic approach establishes three broad aspects of West European and British colonization in the past 16,000 years which have a bearing on the Anglo-Saxon question. First, all but a few per cent of male and female gene lines appear to have arrived in the British Isles before the historical period (i.e. before the Anglo-Saxons). Second, most British colonizers, including about two-thirds of English ancestors, came from the Iberian refuge soon after deglaciation, or at least during the Mesolithic. And third, the subsequent colonization of the British Isles during the Neolithic and the Bronze Age was complex in time and space, but mainly came from the other side of the North Sea.

Oppenheimer estimates that the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ account for “only 5.5%” of the ancestors of modern English people.  That means that about 19 out of 20 English people are not Anglo-Saxon at all! What is more, the ancestors of fully two-thirds of English people came from the “Iberian” refuge – that is, an area of southern France and northern Spain centred on the present day Basque Country.

Europe during the last Ice age

How did this come about? The answer is to be found in the climate history of Europe. Modern humans first arrived in Britain at least 25,000 years ago. But then, not much later, the Ice Age came back with a vengeance. During the so-called Last Glacial Maximum, between about 22,000 and 17,000 years ago, large tracts of northern Europe and Britain became covered with an ice sheet, while more southerly climes became freezing wind-swept polar desert or arctic tundra. In these conditions human life became impossible, and we are pretty sure that Britain became depopulated. Humans retreated south and found sanctuary in a number of so-called ice age refuges. Two of the main refuges were located in the Balkans/Ukraine region and in South West France and northern Spain – today the region occupied by the ‘Basques’. Today visitors to the latter region can still marvel at the wonderful cave paintings of this population; dating from periods known to archaeologists as Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian.

Around 16,000 years ago, as the climate began again to warm, and the ice and snow began to recede, groups of settlers started to move north. Predominantly sticking to the coastal route of western France, and finding the ‘English channel’ was still dry, they simply walked into Britain. With so much water still stored in the ice, it wasn’t just the ‘Channel’ that was dry, the same even applied to the North and Irish Seas. Britain was not yet an island, but rather a peninsular of the European continent.

At different times over the course of millennia, various ‘founder’ settler groups arrived in Britain. According to Oppenheimer, these early settlers came from a number of locations in Europe, at different times and via different routes. But the single largest ‘genetic origin’ of the English was the ‘Basque’ refuge’. As we have seen, these ‘Basque’ migrations account for two-thirds of the gene lines of the present-day English population.

The Basque Flag was based on the Union Flag

Now Oppenheimer’s conclusions are certainly not uncontested; although the evidence in their support is strong and compelling. But, if true, his analysis and results have profound implications for at least one view of English national identity; that of our ‘Anglo-Saxon origins. It seems the vast majority of English people can trace their distant ancestry not to a group of Dark Age Germanic invaders, the Anglo-Saxons, but rather to truly prehistoric settlers who came to Britain in the millennia following the last age. In this sense the English are truly more Basque than Anglo-Saxon!

This might be disappointing news for those who think that English and Anglo-Saxon are synonymous. But for others it is surely wonderful to know that our British or English ancestors have lived on this small island for millennia.

It needs to be acknowledged that many people, while perhaps accepting that speaking English is important for a sense of Englishness, would vociferously object to the contention that ‘being English’ has anything to do with ethnic or racial origins. The English people are not all immigrants, unlike the Americans, yet many feel absolutely no connection with the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ or any other racial version of English identity.  They might be recent immigrants themselves, or their ancestors could have arrived as French Huguenots, Flemish merchants, Jewish refugees or, more recently, as immigrants from the Indian sub-continent, the Caribbean, Africa or Eastern Europe. What does ‘being English’ mean to them? That is another question.

Perhaps if we want to value a sense of Englishness at all, we might find it in the supposed sense of decency and fairness of the English people, in their long struggle for social and political liberty and in their genius for invention and industry. Peoples throughout the world could, and indeed do, claim to share these qualities: the Americans, the French, the Dutch and many, many others. We need, however, to distinguish very clearly between some genuinely noble qualities of peoples and the actions of their rulers. The British or American governments, for example, have not always been a force for liberty, democracy and freedom in the world, nor have they even been so at home. Yet their peoples are predominantly decent and fair. As Francis Pryor nicely puts it:

If we are looking for English origins, we should forget the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ and turn instead to the resident population, who had been there in their millions and in their various cultures and communities, all the time. I refer of course, to the real heroes….: that diverse group of people – the British.

Watt tyler leader of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

All peoples should know their ‘real’ history; the history of vast majority rather than the myths of the powerful that have been propagated so effectively. Knowing that most of us are more Basque than Anglo-Saxon shouldn’t be a cause for regret – it just goes to show that we have a long and intimate relationship with the land we inhabit. Is it not better to have a national identity built around a feeling of empathy and respect for those of our ancestors, of whatever race, who have struggled, in the face of enormous opposition, to obtain some of the rights and privileges we enjoy today? This, in my view, certainly applies to England.

One final remark might be in order. Although genetic studies seem to have ‘proved’ that the Anglo-Saxon wipeout theory is wrong, genetics can tell us nothing about language. If only 5.5% of English people have Anglo-Saxon roots then why do we all speak English? This question has yet to be satisfactorily answered.

Sources:

Stephen Oppenheimer. The Origins of the British.  London: Constable & Robinson, 2006; Francis Pryor. Britain AD. London: Harper Perennial, 2005; Gildas. The Ruin of Britain. (Ed. John Morris).  London:Phillimore, 1978.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Josie says:

    It matters not where we come from; what matters is how we feel about it now we are here.

    ‘our British or English ancestors have lived on this small island for millennia’ – why British? British is a political citizenship born out of a union with Scotland in the 18th century – we are and always have been English.

    While modern Germans only became German in the late 1880’s, England; inhabited by the English, were a force to be reckoned with on the continent when the likes of France and Italy were a collection of Duchies.

    Being ‘British’ doesn’t cut it anymore – most of us are bored with being lectured about being ‘British’ and are becoming Excited about being English – that is English today – and I don’t care if we are descended from whoever whenever … however, it does put a dent in the claim of the ‘Celts’ to be er well ‘Celtic and different’ doesn’t it?

    • You are certainly right about the Celtic question. There is a lot more to say here. Stephen Oppenheimer discusses the issue of Celtic origins and identity at great length in his book The Origins of Britain.

      Regarding the use of the words Britain and British. These names didn’t in fact just appear with the Act of Union and are not purely “political”. The Romans called this island Britannia, and although we don’t know what it was called by the indigenous people (Celtic or not), they are terms used to denote both the island and its “pre-English” population.

      Thanks for your interest

      Stephen

      • Being a resident of Totnes, I am familiar with the legend of the Troyan (pre-Roman) Prince Brutus landing on was then called Albion, and renaming the island Britain after himself. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutus_of_Troy) Whether there is any truth in this I’m not sure, but does demonstrate that the island was called Britain before the country was called England. Being Cornish myself, I identify more with being British than English even though my ancestry is a mix of Norman and Basque.

      • Maria says:

        My ethnic identity is definitely West Briton, not English. I don’t identify with the English at all. My ancestry is Irish, Breton, a lot of French, probably some Viking and Norman, and of course Basque! And I’m from Plymouth, on the Cornish border.

  2. barça fan says:

    the basques(the original europeans and the descendants of the solutreans who 1st settled in america thousands of years before the indians moved there, they are from the tribe of judah…Jesus bloodline…the people who spread out around the world schooling people also known as hebrews n atlanteans…yes the basque country is atlantis….

    http://www.ensignmessage.com/basques.html

    http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/shepherd-kings-the-restoring-of-spains-ancient-history-on-the-basques/17526865

    http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/bronze/humanmig.htm

    spread the word please.

  3. Identity is a complex subject. Even if, as a Cornishman, I share a lot of my DNA with the Welsh and others ‘Celtic’ peoples I don’t see this as the corner stone of my identity as I consciously perceive it.

    Surely an adopted child from Nigeria brought up by a Cornish family in a Cornish community would have a very Cornish identity outwith DNA.

    DNA is interesting in that it can show us how populations have moved over time but culture is not genetically inherited.

  4. Alex says:

    I don’t think that Scots, Irish, Cornish and Welsh have ever claimed that they are genetically ‘Celtic’ but that they speak languages and have cultures that are labelled as ‘Celtic’. Where else did the Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Manx, Scottish and Breton languages come from? Linguists show that they have a language in common with those once spoken in France (Gaul) and central Turkey (Galatia). The only problem with Oppenheimer is he seems to think that just because many in England like to claim genetically they are Anglo-Saxon, he smears the Celtic nations with the same accusation, but genetics is irrelevant to Celts, anyone can be Celtic if they enjoy a Celtic language or culture.

    • Maria says:

      Do many English like to claim genetically that they are Anglo-Saxon? Can’t think why, they were reputedly very barbaric and destructive people.

      • the word England comes from angland, so yes, White English do tend to see themselves as being Germanic. Add to the mix, the Normans who were from Scandinavia, so the bulk of hte genes here are GermanicScandinavian. As for their barbarism, depends on who is writing the history, as ever.

        Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:27:03 +0000 To: texthistory@outlook.com

      • Maria says:

        @Barb: Probably everyone was cruel and barbaric in those days!

  5. Alex says:

    The Welsh were, ironically, the original British and were called Britons from at least Roman times to the 1700s, the word ‘Celtic’ was invented then to replace ‘British’ which had been annexed by England as a label to hide that the British Isles had now become essentially Greater England. Perhaps the Celts can reclaim their British/Brythonic heritage when England becomes independent. Many Welsh names continue to exist in England from Kent to Cumbria, from Winchester to Lincoln.

    • Alex
      You are absolutely right about most of this of course. I will craft a longer reply or write another essay on the subject of Celtic identity and origins. I deliberated avoided bringing up this in “Are the English Basque?”
      I’m glad you mentioned how many Welsh names continue to exist. Just look at mine! My family lived for hundreds of years in Shropshire, only metres from the “modern” Welsh border. My earliest known ancestor in the sixteenth century was called John ap Lewis – so he was Welsh speaking. Welsh was spoken in large parts of Shropshire until very recently.

      Stephen

  6. Well it’s good you point out how America was settled by people from this region following the Ice Age. That has been demonstrated without much doubt by archaeologists.

    As for the rest, I’ll leave that to you. The myths of Basque origins are even worse than those regarding the English, although genetics is being applied to this issue too. Hope one day to write about this.

    Milesker eta gau on

    Stephen

  7. John says:

    Quote –
    “After all didn’t the English conquer the Scots, Welsh and Irish first, before venturing into the rest of the world!”
    Answer – not really.
    The Romans, Vikings and later Normans invaded and settled parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland during the past two and a half thousand years, but ‘the English’ (however you define them) were not conquerors. I often feel that the real complaint of the Irish about the English is that they allowed the Norman conquest to happen !

  8. katazcrack says:

    This is so interesting, I had no clue! I wish I could write somethingmore philosophical like the other people who have commented, but it’s so well written and fascinating I am bewildered! 😮

  9. jlue says:

    Do you study genealogy and haplogroups? My father’s family came from England and I while I live in the states, I find it very intriguing to attempt to learn our family history prior to their coming to America.

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Hi jlue,

      Glad you liked this.

      I do study genealogy and if I can help you just email me on stephen.lewis@thewildpeak.com and I’ll help if I can. Maybe the blog I wrote on ‘How many ancestors do you have?’ might be of interest as well.

      Re haplogroups etc, yes to a point, but I’m not an expert on genetics,
      Stephen

  10. Too much to deal with here in a single blog. But the English language is not a single language. There are still a few worlds left from the celts – Avon as water is one of the most obvious. 40% of the dictionary words and about 60% of what we speak is of north german origin – ie a hybrid of the angles/saxons and a group you seem to have forgotten – the vikings who had a huge influence in the north of these isles. Recent scholarship is downplaying the violence of the migrations, suggesting more environmental migrations. A large part of our language comes from the Normans, ie is bad French, then proper French. hence duplications such as gaol/jail, then we have words from Latin church, and Greek for science, loads from other countries especially from what became the empire. English is also a language par excellence for coinages, which makes it the most flexible of the world’s tongues, and ideal to cope with the changes to come in the future.

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Hello, Well thanks for this. I’m well aware of of the origins and mix of modern English Barb as I studied Germanic and Romance languages for years – and Old German and Old French. The only point I’m asking in this article at the end is why if the migrations were so small or even, according to some, non-existant, did Old English become the language of England? (The Vikings and Normans, whose influence on the language was immense, came later). As far as I’m aware nobody has answered that question yet. What do you think? Good to be in touch. Stephen

      • I don’t think they were small. Look at the names in the domesday book – tons of saxon and viking terms. As for whether new comers were invaders, sometimes just being more advanced is enough to give an edge and allow the newbies to do better over time. – as in the neandertal/homo sapiens – no evidence of violence in their replacement, so maybe in tough times the more successful hunters were the ones that survived. and communication/language is always part of that success. cheers

  11. Barbara Welsh says:

    The R1b1 haplogroup of most Irish, British, and indeed Europeans has been traced to at least one Neolithic farmer of the Bell Beaker culture whose genes may have overcome the indigenous hunter gatherers as farming and apparently farmers spread west from the fertile crescent and Anatolia.

  12. I really desired to show this unique post, “Are the English
    Basque? The Wild Peak” with my own buddies on facebook.
    Ijust wanted to spread ur remarkable writing! Thx, Steven

  13. Rod Shelton says:

    I am writing a book on the history of the communities along the Darent River. (NW Kent)
    Hengist, Horsa & Verigen all feature naturally. Might I use your illustration to support the text? Naturally full credit included. Please let me know.
    Rod Shelton

  14. Marilynn Tanner says:

    I am an American of mostly English extraction. I recently had a DNA test done through 23andMe. My maternal haplogroup, showing the origin of my maternal ancestors around 15,000 years ago, is H1. According to the explanation of 23andMe, the H1 haplogroup originated on the Iberian Peninsula. Here is a what their site says:

    “The H1 mutation likely arose in a woman living on the Iberian peninsula. Even today, almost 25% of the Spanish population carries the H1 haplogroup. With the waning of the Ice Age, some populations grew rapidly and expanded northward from the Iberian refuge. Others turned southward, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar into northern Africa.

    Following the Atlantic coast northwards, hunter-gatherers carried H1 into what would become the British Isles. As the ice sheets retreated farther they carried the haplogroup as far as Scandinavia. The H1 haplogroup remains quite high in the present-day populations of Britain and Ireland as well, ranging from levels of 15% to 40%.”

    Your article about the Basque origins is right on in my case!

    I really enjoy reading your blog! Thank you!

    Marilynn Tanner

  15. Aptitude Design says:

    ” thier’s” ought to be theirs. [they their them theirs] Thiers is town in France. Interesting essay: Now, about the dolts who insist upon calling us Australians ” Anglo-Celtic”. Am I allowed to use their heads for footballs? bat bi hiru lahu.. aon do tri ceithre.. an twa tri fowar

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Well you are right of course it is theirs, although I have to say it doesn’t make much sense for an English genitive. But English is anything but logical. Glad you read my article closely enough to spot this error, I’d already changed it when I reblogged the article. Or did it just leap off the page and offend your maven-like sensibilities? I’d no idea some people call Australians Anglo-Celtic. What would you prefer? Convicts? (Only joking). I presume that’s Gaelic? Not one of my languages I’m afraid. I can only understand English (with my heinous mistakes), French, German, Spanish, Czech and a few words of Welsh (notice my name).

  16. Barbie says:

    The Basques came originally from Armenia and then Italy and Spain and France, then to Britain, Wales. The Welsh are Basque in my family as the surname is Peregrine, which means “stranger, foreigner” in Latin. My Welsh mother on her father’s side, was white skinned but had black hair and black/brown eyes.

  17. […] Los ingleses ¿de origen vasco? […]

  18. nick says:

    Did you know that “land” in Euskera (basque lenguage) says “landa” and “Irlanda or izlanda” (ireland) means “land of the sea” ?
    Like island; iz-landa: land of the sea.
    The basque lenguage (Euskera) is oldest lenguage on Europe and this basic words on a lenguage haven´t changed in thousands of years.
    think about this!

  19. Ben says:

    What if the ‘Angles’ who invaded Briton had the Basque DNA. That would then explain the genetic make up of this country
    It would also support the notion that the Angles slaughtered the local population and spread their own language in these isles.

    • Noel Stenner says:

      I had my dna done I was R1B and H1 I also had a Basque marker but did not have a Anglo Saxon marker and my ancesters were considered to have come here about !0,000 years ago

  20. traviers says:

    Remember, Normans killed much of the english off, and many have left Britain for colonies over the centuries, so present genetics tell nothing of the original invasion. Had few come, Britain would have repulsed the invaders
    Angeln was emptied. Saxons are not necessarily their relations, and perhaps angles were Celts from Denmark.

  21. Philip says:

    Did my DNA test on my paternal side and came back with the Basque origins, family tree research on my maternal side traceable all the way back to the Normans and before them Norwegian Viking. Family have lived in Cumbria (Cumberland) in NW England for around 800 years. I’ m very interested in local history here in Penrith and particularly the period after the Romans left when King Urien Rheged was fighting the Angles on Lindisfarne island off what is now Northumbria.

  22. James Moses says:

    Hi, Stephen – another American here who enjoyed your overview muchly, and you’re right; it’s a question you’ve posed that has yet to be satisfactorily answered, how the English language came to be so dominant given such a varied cultural backdrop…..while reading an article by Graham Phillips about his VERY compelling conclusions regarding Owen Ddantgwyn, who with an honoriam ‘The Bear’, he confidently pronounced to be none other than Arthur (which I realized only this morning, contains BOTH the Basque and Latin words for that totem animal) – being of confirmed Galician-Basque-Highland Scot-Irish descent myself, HAD to ask same, the question: with Ddantgwyn’s title ‘arth’, could the Britons (or should I say, ‘Brythons’) have come from Basque lands? After all, one of my Iberian surnames is the common and synonymous descriptive ‘Garcia’ – which is, funnily ENOUGH, properly enunciated in Spain as, ‘garTHEEEuh’ (as did my father from time to time, stepping in as his middle name at Ellis Island 103 years ago) following correspondent Welsh rules EXACTLY….you’ve answered it for me, and RESOUNDINGLY! Jim

  23. German says:

    The Basques are not to be confused with the Latin peoples of Spain and France. Once you understand the difference between Basque and Latin, it will be easier for you to accept the Basque origins of the British.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s