WEST & CENTRAL EUROPE - 66%
Primarily located in: Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy
Also found in: Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Croatia, Bosnia, San Marino, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Andorra
The West and Central Europe cluster consists of present day countries of France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany. Modern Humans had populated West and Central Europe toward the end of the last ice age, when the ice sheets north of the Mediterranean coast began to retreat. This cluster displays an incredible history of migration, invasion, and colonization resulting in shared genetic relatedness with nearly all of the other European clusters. Experiencing ancient interactions and exchanges with cultures from Britain, Scandinavia, Asia, and Africa. Thus, populations in this cluster continue to display genetic, cultural, and linguistic influence from these ancient interactions. Long distance travel between continental Europe and populations in the British Isles are illustrated by the shared knowledge of specific pottery and metalworking technologies. More convincingly, archaeological remains of an individual (the Amesbury Archer from roughly 2000 BCE) buried near Stonehenge in England is known (through oxygen isotope analysis of his teeth) to have grown up in mainland Europe, thus illustrating the close connections between these two clusters. The development of complex city-states was first established along the southern coastlines of France. Colonies of Greek, Phoenician, and Carthaginian settlers were the first to establish these complex societies; Roman colonies were quick to follow transferring cultural practices – such as the importance of wine drinking for the elites in central and eastern France. To the north, Celtic bands maintained semi-nomadic settlements throughout most of the cluster. By roughly 300 CE, a Celtic sect, having originated in Scandinavia, was pushed westward by invading forces from Attila the Hun, further intensifying tension between the Romans and Celts. With the Germanic tribes pushed out of Eastern Europe, Slavic speaking peoples moved into these regions and settled in areas leading up to east Germany. Continual raids from Germanic tribes and Mongolian forces from Asia ended Roman occupation in this cluster by roughly 500 CE. During this time period, the Celts continued migration to further reaches of land. The Celts moved into and settled in regions southward. These regions included Northern Italy, most of Britain, modern day France, and Spain; they also conquered most of Northern Africa, Sardinia, and Rome in the process. It is after the Celtic spread that populations within this cluster began to establish complex and diverse civilizations that are later recognized as some of the most powerful and influential cultures in the world. These ancient histories continue to influence identities and histories of present day populations in this cluster.
SCANDINAVIA - 22%
Primarily located in: Norway, Sweden
Also found in: Denmark
The Scandinavia cluster consists of present day Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Due to the remaining ice sheets from the last Ice Age, modern humans did not settle permanently into this region until roughly 9000 BCE. During this time, Denmark and Sweden were connected via a land bridge that enabled migration from continental Europe to the Scandinavian Peninsula roughly 13,000 years ago. These early hunter-gatherer populations settled along the waterways – lakes, marshes, and rivers. By 6000 BCE, the Ertebolle peoples had established complex hunter-gatherer settlements and seasonal camps along the coastlines. The cultural and technological achievements of these peoples are paralleled in regions of the North European plains, eastward to regions in Ukraine and Siberia. By 2500 BCE, local populations in the Scandinavia cluster had begun farming, and soon established strong trade links with the continent, particularly with populations along the Danube River basin stretching from present day Moldova west to Germany, and south to the Roman empire. Chieftain tribes ruled ancient Scandinavia, and the Viking Age was born around 800 CE in the bay between the Gotta River in Sweden and Cape Lindesnes of Norway. Between 800 and 900 CE, Viking populations had taken control of trade from the Dnieper River to the Baltic Sea and Constantinople, connecting them to populations as far away as the Middle East, Western Russia, and Siberia to the east. During the Viking Age (800 – 1050 CE), Vikings spread throughout the Old World in raiding and settlement parties. Vikings traveling west spread as far as North America and conquered areas between (such as Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Iceland, and Greenland). Viking populations moving into the east maintained control in the Slavic states along the Baltic Sea, Russia, and Steppe regions until they were forced out by invading Mongol armies. By the 11th century, the Viking Age had ended and the powers of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway battled for control of the Scandinavia cluster until the Kalman Union in 1397 unified the three powers up to the early 16th century.
BRITISH ISLES - 10%
Primarily located in: England, Wales, Scotland
Also found in: Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands
Early hunter-gatherer populations were able to navigate into and out of this region until melting ice sheets caused sea levels to rise, and the connection between the populations on the British Isles and continental Europe was severed. Small agricultural communities persisted throughout the ancient time period and is even recorded as the primary lifestyle by Roman invaders in the early 1st century. By the second millennium BCE, trade intensified and under control of the Chieftains of Wessex trade spanned from Ireland into central and eastern continental Europe. The wealth amassed from this intensified trade likely enabled the Wessex Chieftains to begin construction on what would grow to become Stonehenge. These trade practices further solidified a deep genetic connection with populations in the West and Central Europe cluster and areas of Scandinavia. By 43 CE, Roman forces had conquered Britain; but by 500 CE, Celtic tribes (originated in Gaul and Scandinavia) and Asian forces toppled to Roman empire, and the subsequent Celtic Expansions brought Celtic Saxon tribes into the British Isles. Powers in the British Isles also conscripted mercenary populations from continental Europe. The Saxon, Angles, and Jutes came over to support Briton forces defend against the Picts and Scots in the 6th century. Between the 8th and 11th centuries, the British Isles were invaded and settled by Viking parties during the Viking expansion; after which Normandy invaded, thus solidifying cultural and economic connections between the British Isles and continental Europe. To this day, these ancient occupations and trading practices left a lasting impression on the genetic relatedness between populations in the British Isles cluster and Southeast Europe, Scandinavia, and West and Central Europe clusters.
ASIA MINOR - <2%
Primarily located in: Turkey, Armenia
Also found in: Azerbaijan
The Asia Minor cluster encompasses present day Turkey and Armenia. Home to the earlier migrations out of Africa, early settlements in the Turkish city of Catalhoyuk were also some of the first farming societies having been dated back to 7300 BCE. This region has an incredible history of short lived civilization, and has been at the center of trade – both cultural and material – from the Persian Gulf into Southern Europe. The early civilization of the Hittites (roughly 3,650 – 3,200 years ago) dominated most of modern day Turkey, and even reached south into Syria and the Levant. Tablets found at Hattusa – the capital city of the Hittite civilization – are written in seven or eight different languages, illustrating the prominent role this city and civilization played in international travel during its reign. What happened after the fall of the Hittites in the 13th century and before the Phrygians gained control in the 8th century has been lost to history. The Phrygian Empire came to power in the Asia Minor cluster roughly 2,800 years ago, and are noted for their immense mineral wealth, and their famously mythologized King Midas. Following the pattern of short lived rule in this region, the Phrygians began to lose power over modern Turkey in the early 5th century BCE, only about 300 years after they gained control. The demise of the Phrygians happened when the capital city of Gordion was destroyed by the Cimmerians – peoples having originated in the Steppes in southern Ukraine, who began to spread southward via the Black Sea. After which, it did not take long for the Persian Lydians to take control of the falling Phrygian empire in 547 BCE. The Lydian civilization, an arm of the Persian Empire, is credited with having developed the earliest known coinage, a practice later adopted by the Greeks and entire Persian Empire. Later, Turkey was considered part of the Roman Empire with the large cities of Troy and Constantinople (present day Istanbul) playing a significant role in the adoption of Greek and Roman culture in the Asia Minor cluster.