Popular Science Monthly/Volume 50/April 1897/The Racial Geography of Europe: Blondes and Brunettes III

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 50 April 1897  (1897) 
The Racial Geography of Europe: Blondes and Brunettes III
By William Zebina Ripley



(Lowell Institute Lectures, 1896.)


THE color of the skin has been from the earliest times regarded as a primary means of racial identification. The ancient Egyptians were accustomed to distinguish the races known to them by this means both upon their monuments and in their inscriptions. Notwithstanding this long acquaintance, the phenomenon of pigmentation remains to-day among the least understood departments of physical anthropology. One point alone seems to have been definitely proved: however marked the contrasts in color between the several varieties of the human species may be, there is no corresponding difference in anatomical structure discoverable.

Pigmentation arises from the deposition of coloring matter in a special series of cells, which lie just between the translucent outer skin or epidermis and the inner or true skin known as the cutis. It was long supposed that these pigment cells were peculiar to the dark-skinned races; but investigation has shown that the structure in all types is identical. The differences in color are due, not to the presence or absence of the cells themselves, but to variations in the amount of pigment therein deposited. In this respect, therefore, the negro differs physiologically, rather than anatomically, from the European or the Asiatic. Yet this trait, although superficial so to speak, is exceedingly persistent, even through considerable racial intermixture. The familiar legal test in our Southern States in the ante-bellum days for the determination of the legal status of octoroons was to look for the bit of color at the base of the finger nails. Under the transparent outer skin in this place the telltale pigmentation would remain, despite a long-continued infusion of white blood.

In respect of the color of the skin, we may roughly divide the human species into four groups indicated upon our world map.

PSM V50 D780 Global map of skin color distribution.jpg

The jet or coal black color is not very widespread. It occurs in a narrow and more or less broken belt across Africa just south of the Sahara Desert, with a few scattering bits farther south on the same continent. Another center of dissemination of this characteristic, although widely separated from it, occurs in the islands southeast of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean, in the district which is known from this dark color of its populations as Melanesia. Next succeeding this type in depth of color is the main body of negroes, of Australians, and of the aborigines of India. This second or brownish group in the above-named order shades off from deep chocolate through coffee-color down to olive and light or reddish brown. The American Indians fall within this class, because, while reddish in tinge, the skin has a strong brown undertone. In the Americas we find the color quite variable, ranging all the way from the dark Peruvians and the Mexicans to the aborigines north of the United States. The Polynesians are allied to this second group, characterized by a red-brown skin. A third class, in which the skin is of a yellow shade, covers most of Asia, the northern third of Africa, and Brazil, including a number of widely scattered peoples such as the Lapps, the Eskimos, the Hottentots and Bushmen of South Africa, together with most of the people of Malaysia. Among these the skin varies from a dull leather color, through a golden or buff to a muddy white. In all cases the shading is in no wise continuous or regular. Africa contains all three types of color from the black Dinkas to the yellow Hottentots. In Asia and the Americas all tints obtain except the jet black. There are all grades of transitional shading. Variations within the same tribe are not inconsiderable, so that no really sharp line of demarcation anywhere occurs.

The fourth color group which we have to study in this paper is alone highly concentrated in the geographical sense. It forms the so-called white race, although many of its members are almost brown and often yellow in skin color. As we shall show, its real determinant characteristic is, paradoxically, not primarily the skin but the pigmentation of the hair and eyes. Nevertheless, so far as it may be used in classification, the very light shades of skin are restricted to Europe, including perhaps part of modern Africa north of the Sahara, which geologically belongs to the northern continent. There is a narrow belt of rather light-skinned peoples running off to the southeast into Asia, including the Persians and some high-caste Hindus. This offshoot vanishes in the Ganges Valley in the prevailing dark skin of the aboriginal inhabitants of India. The only entirely isolated bit of very light skin elsewhere occurs among the Ainos in northern Japan; but these people are so few in number and so abnormal in other respects that we are warranted in dismissing them from further consideration in this place.

Anthropologists have endeavored for a long time to find the cause of these differences in the color of the skin.[1] Some have asserted that they were the direct effects of heat; but our map shows that the American stock, for example, is in no wise affected by it. A consideration of all the races of the earth in general shows no correspondence whatever of the color of the skin with the isothermal lines. The Chinese are the same color at Singapore as at Pekin and at Kamchatka. Failing in this explanation, scientists have endeavored to connect pigmentation of the skin with humidity, or with heat and humidity combined; but in Africa, as we saw, the only really black negroes are in the dry region near the Sahara Desert, while the Congo basin, one of the most humid regions on the globe, is distinctly lighter in tint. Others have attempted to prove that this color, again, might be due to the influence of the tropical sun, or perhaps to oxygenation taking place under the stimulation of exposure to solar rays. This has at first sight a measure of probability, since the color which appears in tanning or freckles is not to be distinguished physiologically from the pigment which forms in the main body of the skin of the darker races. The objection to this hypothesis is that the covered portions of the body are equally dark with the exposed ones, and that certain groups of men whose lives are peculiarly sedentary, such as the Jews, who have spent much of their time for centuries within doors, are distinctly darker than other races whose occupations keep them continually in the open air. This holds true whether in the tropics or in the northern part of Europe. This local coloration in tanning, moreover, due to the direct influence of the sun is not hereditary, as far as we can determine. Sailors' children are not darker than those of the merchant, even after generations of men have followed the same profession. Each of these theories seems to fail as a sole explanation. The best working hypothesis is, nevertheless, that this coloration is due to the combined influences of a great number of factors of environment working through physiological processes, none of which can be isolated from the others. One point is certain, whatever the cause may be — that this characteristic has been very slowly acquired, and has to-day become exceedingly persistent in the several races.

Study of the color of the skin alone has nothing further to interest us in this inquiry than the very general conclusions we have just outlined. We are compelled to turn to an allied characteristic — namely, the pigmentation of the hair and eyes — for more specific results. There are three reasons which compel us to take this action. In the first place, the coloration of the hair and eyes appears to be less directly open to disturbance from environmental influences than is the skin, and variations in shading may be at the same time more easily and delicately measured. Secondly, the color or, if you please, the absence of color, in the hair and eyes is more truly peculiar to the European race than is the lightness of its skin. There are many peoples in Europe who are darker skinned than certain tribes in Asia or the Americas; but there is none in which blondness of hair and eyes occurs to any considerable degree. It is in the flaxen hair and blue eye that the peculiarly European type comes to its fullest physical expression. This at once reveals the third inducement for us to focus our study upon these apparently subordinate traits, Europe alone of all the continents is divided against itself. We find blondness in all degrees of intensity scattered among a host of much darker types. A peculiar advantage is herein made manifest. Nowhere else in the world are two such distinct varieties of man in such intimate contact with one another. From the precise determination of their geographical distribution we may gain an insight into many interesting racial events in the past.

The first general interest in the pigmentation of the hair and eyes in Europe dates from 1865, although Dr. Beddoe began nearly ten years earlier to collect data from all over the continent. His untiring perseverance led him to take upward of one hundred thousand personal observations in twenty-five years. During our own civil war about a million recruits were examined in this respect, many of them being immigrants from all parts of Europe. The extent of the work which has been done since these first beginnings is indicated by the following approximate table:

Number of Observations.
PSM V50 D783 Number of observations for data collection.png

It thus appears that the material is ample in amount. The great difficulty in its interpretation lies in the diversity of the systems which have been adopted by different observers. It is not easy to give an adequate conception of the confusion which prevails. Here are a few of the obstacles to be encountered. As the table indicates, the countries north of the Alps have been mainly studied through their school children. In the Latin half

PSM V50 D784 Hair color frequency in europe.jpg

of Europe adults alone are included. Secondly, it is a matter of common observation that flaxen hair and blue eyes are characteristic of childhood. As it has been proved that from ten to twenty per cent of such blond children at maturity develop darker hair or eyes, the fallacy of direct comparison between the north and south of Europe again becomes apparent. In the third place, it is not easy to correct for the personal equation of different observers. A seeming brunette in Norway appears as quite blond in Italy because there is no fixed standard by which to judge. The natural impulse is to compare the individual with the general population round about. The precision of measurements upon the head is nowise attainable.

There are two principal modes of determining the pigmentation of a given population. One is to discover the proportion of so-called pure brunette types — that is to say, the percentage of individuals possessed of both dark eyes and hair. The other system is to study brunette traits without regard to their association in the same individual. This latter method is no respecter of persons. The population as a whole, and not the individual, is the unit. North of the Alps they have mapped the pigmentation in the main by types; in France, Norway, Italy, and the British Isles they have chosen to work by dissociated traits. Here again is a stumbling-block in the way of comparisons. The absolute figures for the same population gathered in these two ways will be widely different. Thus in Italy, while only about a quarter of the people are pure brunette types, nearly half of all the eyes and hair in the country are dark. That is to say, a large proportion of brunette traits are to-day found scattered broadcast without association one with another. In Europe, as a whole, upward of one half of the population is of a mixed type in this respect. In America the equilibrium is still further disturbed. Nor should we expect it to be otherwise. Intermixture, migration, the influences of environment, and chance variation have been long at work in Europe. The result has been to reduce the pure types, either of blonde or brunette, to an absolute minority. Fortunately for us, in despair at the prospect of reducing such variant systems to a common base, the results obtained all point in the same direction whichever mode of study is employed. In those populations where there is the greatest frequency of pure dark types there also is generally to be found the largest proportion of brunette traits lying about loose, so to speak. And where there are the highest percentages of these unattached traits, there is also the greatest prevalence of purely neutral tints, which are neither to be classed as blond or brunette. So that, as we have said, in whichever way the pigmentation is studied, the results in general are parallel, certainly at least so far as the deductions in this paper are concerned. Our map is indeed constructed in conformity with this assumption.[2]

By reason of the difficulties above mentioned, our map is intended to convey an idea of the relative brunetteness of the various parts of Europe by means of the shading rather than by concrete percentages. It is, in fact, impossible to reduce all the results to a common base for exact comparison. What we have done is to patch together the maps for each country, adopting a scheme of tinting for each which shall represent, as nearly as may be, its relation to the rest. In the scale at the left the shades on the same horizontal line are supposed to represent approximately equal degrees of pigmentation. The arrangement of the colors in separate groups, it will be observed, corresponds to national systems of measurement. Thus the five tints used in Germanic countries and the six in Italy are separately grouped, and are each distinct from those used for the coloration of France. It will be observed that these separate national groups often overlap at each end. This arrangement indicates, for example, that the darkest part of Scandinavia contains about as many brunette traits as the lightest portion of Germany, and that they are both lighter than any part of Scotland ; or that the fourth zone of brunetteness in Germany contains about as high a proportion of dark traits as the lightest part of France, and that they are both about as dark areas as the middle zone in England. As the diagram shows, central France is characterized by a grade of brunetteness somewhat intermediate between the south of Austria and northern Italy. In other words, the increase of pigmentation toward the south is somewhat more gradual there than in the eastern Alps. To summarize the whole system, equally dark tints along the same horizontal line in the diagram indicate that in the areas

thus equally shaded there are about the same proportions of traits or types, as the case may be, which are entitled to be called brunette.

In a rough way, the extremes in the distribution of the blond and brunette varieties within the population of Europe are as follows. At the northern limit we find that about one third of the people are pure blondes, characterized by light hair and blue eyes; about one tenth are pure brunettes; the remainder, over one half, being mixed with a tendency to blondness. On the other hand, in the south of Italy the pure blondes have almost entirely disappeared. About one half the population are pure brunettes, with deep brown or black hair, and eyes of a corresponding shade ; and the other half is mixed, with a tendency to brunetteness.[3] The half-and-half line seems to lie about where it ought, not far from the Alps. Yet it does not follow the parallels of latitude. A circle, described with Copenhagen as a center, sweeping around near Vienna, across the middle of Switzerland, thence up through the British Isles, might serve roughly to indicate such a boundary. North of it blondness prevails, although always with an appreciable percentage of pure brunettes. South of it brunetteness finally dominates quite exclusively. It should not fail of 'note that toward the east there is a slight though constant increase of brunetteness along the same degrees of latitude and that the western portion of the British Isles is a northern outpost of the brunette type.

Thus we see at a glance that there is a gradual though constant increase in the proportion of dark eyes and hair from north to south. There are none of those sharp contrasts which appeared upon our map showing the distribution of the long and broad heads in Europe. On that map the extremes were separated by only half a continent in either direction from the Alps; whereas in this case the change from dark to light covers the whole extent of the continent. It is as if a blending wash had been spread over the map of head form, toning down all its sharp racial division lines. Some cause other than race has evidently exerted an influence upon all types of men alike, tending to obliterate their physical differences. It is not a question of Celt, Slav, or Teuton. It lies deeper than these. The Czechs in Bohemia are as much darker than the Poles to the north of them, both being Slavic; as the Bavarians exceed the Prussians in the same respect, although, the last two are both Germans. It would be unwarranted to maintain that any direct relation of climate to pigmentation has been proved. The facts point, nevertheless, strongly in that direction. We do not know in precisely what way the pigmental processes are affected. Probably other environmental factors are equally important with climate. To that point we shall return in a few pages. We may rest assured at this writing that our map for Europe corroborates in a general way testimony drawn from other parts of the earth that some relation between the two exists.

It seems to be true that brunetteness holds its own more persistently over the whole of Europe than the lighter characteristics. Probably one reason why this appears to be so is because the dark traits are more striking, and hence are more apt to be observed. Yet, after making all due allowance for this fact, the relative persistency, or perhaps we might say penetrativeness, of the brunette traits seems to be indicated. Our map shows that, while in Scandinavia seldom less than one quarter of all the eyes and hair are dark, in the south the blond traits often fall below ten per cent of the total. Thus in Sardinia there are only about three per cent of all the eyes and hair which are light. The same point is shown with added force if we study the distribution of the pure blond or brunette types, and not of these traits independently. In the blondest part of Germany there are seldom less than seven per cent of pure brunette children. Among adults this would probably not represent less than fifteen per cent of pure brunettes, to say the least. As our table shows, in Scotland direct observations on adults indicate nearly a quarter of the population to be pure brunettes. On the other hand, the pure blondes become a negligible quantity long before we reach the

Percentage of —
PSM V50 D788 Percentage of blondes and brunettes.png
bottom of the table at the south. Thus, among two thousand and fifty natives of Tunis in North Africa, true Europeans as we must repeat, Dr. Collignon found that, while blond hair or eyes were noticeable at times, in no single case was a pure blonde with both light hair and eyes to be discovered. Similarly, in Sardinia, less than one per cent of the population was found by Dr. Livi to be of this pure blond type. The interest and significance of this undoubted fact lie in its bearing upon the theory, propounded by Dr. Brinton, that northern Africa was the center of dispersion of the blond invaders of Europe, who introduced a large measure of its culture. The same thesis is upheld in the latest comprehensive work in anthropology: I refer to Keane's Ethnology. We

shall return to this theory at a later time. It is sufficient here to notice how completely this blond type vanishes among the populations of the south of Europe and northern Africa to-day. Such blondes do occur. Each one in so dark a general population as here prevails is a host itself in the observer's mind. The true status is revealed only when we consider men by hundreds or even thousands.


Thus far we have been mainly concerned with the pigmentation of the hair and eyes as a result of climatic or other environmental influences. Let us now consider the racial aspect of the question. Is there anything in our map which might lead us to suspect that certain of these gradations of pigmentation are due to purely hereditary causes? In other words, do the long heads and the short heads differ from one another in respect of the color of the hair and eyes, as well as in cephalic index? In the preceding paper we took occasion to point out in a general way the remarkable localization of the round-headed element of the European population in the Alps. The great central highland seemed indeed to constitute a veritable focus of this peculiar physical type. In this way it divided two similar centers of long-headedness — Teutonic in the north, Mediterranean in the south — one from another. This geographical characterization of the broad-headed variety entitled it, in our opinion, to be called the Alpine type, in distinction from the two others above mentioned. It will now be our purpose to inquire whether or not the physical traits of pigmentation stand in any definite and permanent relation to the three types of head form we have thus separated from one another in the geographical sense.

Many peculiarities in our color map point to the persistence of racial differences despite considerable similarity of environment. Thus the Walloons in the southeastern half of Belgium, with a strip of population down along the Franco-German frontier, are certainly darker than the people all about. Among these Walloons brunette traits are upward of a third more frequent than among the Flemish in northern Belgium. This is especially marked by the prevalence of dark hair in the hilly country south of Brussels. The British Isles offer another example of local differences in this respect which can not be ascribed to environment. Wales and Ireland, Cornwall and part of Scotland are appreciably brunette, as compared with other regions near by. The contrast between Normandy and Brittany in France is of even greater value to us in this connection. Dark hair is more than twice as common in the Breton cantons as it is along the English Channel in Normandy. These differences can not be due to the Gulf Stream mildness of the western climate or to the physical environment in any other way. If we may judge from our scanty data for Spain, another racial break occurs here as well, which seems to justify the statement that "beyond the Pyrenees begins Africa." In the other direction, among the Hungarians, we begin to scent an Asiatic influence in the dark population of the southeast of Europe.

Perhaps the most conspicuous example of the racial fixity of this trait of pigmentation is offered by the Jews. They have preserved their Semitic brunetteness through all adversities. Socially ostracized and isolated, they have kept this coloration despite all migrations and changes of climate. In Germany to-day forty-two per cent of them are pure brunettes in a population containing only fourteen per cent of the dark type on the average. They are thus darker by thirty per cent than their Gentile neighbors. As one goes south this difference tends to disappear. In Austria they are less than ten per cent darker than the general population; and finally in the extreme south they are even lighter than the populations about them. This is especially true of the red- haired type common in the East. To discover such differences requires minute examination. The reward has been to prove that pigmentation in spite of climate is indeed a fixed racial characteristic among the people of Europe. We are therefore encouraged to hope that great racial groups of population may still yield us evidence of their relationship or lack of it in this respect, as well as in the head form.

It will be necessary, before considering this matter further, for us to turn aside for a moment to study the population of central Europe a little more in detail than we have thus far been able to do. We shall attempt to prove a point of great significance. The broad-headed type not only forms the bulk of the present population of the Alpine highlands. This was established in the preceding paper. We have now to prove that it at the same time is clearly the oldest or most primitive element among the inhabitants of this region; that it lies so near the soil that the racial character of the population of the Alps varies in direct relation with the physical geography of the country.

The Austrian Tyrol is one of the most favored spots in Europe for the study of the order and succession of the long and the broad heads respectively. It is the geographical center of the continent. It holds strategically the great highway of communication — the Brenner Pass — between the north and the south of Europe. As our map shows, it is also the crest of the great European

PSM V50 D791 Cranial index map of central europe.jpg

watershed. From it flow the Inn River and the Drave into the Danube, thence to the Baltic Sea on the east; the Adige is an affluent of the Po, running due south to the Adriatic; and on the west the branches of the Rhine carry its waters into the Atlantic. Each of these great river systems has marked a line of human immigration and has directed racial movement to this spot. By the Danube the Slavs have come, and by Innsbruck, over the Brenner, the Teutons have passed across into the valley of the Adige and thence directly into the plain of Italy. Back over the same route have flowed many phases of Mediterranean culture into the north from the time of the Phœnicians to the present. The Tyrol, for these reasons, is the one spot in Europe in which racial competition has come to a focus. The population is exceedingly mixed. I have seen men of the purest Italian type speaking the German tongue; and at Botzen blond Teutons who made use of good Italian. Despite this circumstance of racial intermixture, there are within the Tyrol at the same time a number of areas of isolation which possess very marked individuality. We thus have the sharpest contrasts between mixed and pure populations. The Oetztal Alps, in the very center of the country, are as inaccessible as any part of Europe. So rugged is this latter district that the dialects differ from valley to valley, and the customs and social institutions as well.

Turning now to the anthropological map of this region, based upon a measurement of over twelve thousand skulls, it will be found that in nearly every case the broad heads become numerous in direct proportion to the increase in altitude. In other words, the broad open valleys leading out toward the great river systems of Europe are relatively dolichocephalic; while the side branches in the Oetztal Alps, isolated from foreign influences, show a marked preponderance of round-headedness. Thus in the Stanzerthal and the valley of the Schnals, indicated upon our map by the solid black tint, are two of the broadest-headed spots in the world. Over seventy per cent of all the heads measured from these two districts had indices above 85. These both lie, it will be observed, well off the main line of travel, either by the Inn Valley or over the Brenner. At their outlets they contain many heads of medium breadth, but these become less frequent as we penetrate the highlands. Like them are nearly all the side valleys in this part of the Alps. So closely, indeed, does this physical trait follow the topography that Ranke of Munich, as we have already said, has endeavored to connect the broad-headedness and altitude as cause and effect. For us the true explanation of this phenomenon is entirely racial. It is a product of genuine social selection. The two great branches of narrow-headedness, the blond Teuton at the north and the Mediterranean at the south with dark eyes and hair, have invaded the Alps all the way from France to the Balkan states. At the time of their coming a broad-headed population, as it would appear, occupied the whole mountain chain. The result is that to-day its main peculiarity has become attenuated exactly in proportion to the degree to which it has been exposed to racial intermixture with the newcomers.

Here is an example, then, of purely human stratification. The Alpine type has been overlaid by the newcomers, or else has been gradually driven up and back into the areas of isolation. Those who remained along the great routes of travel have been swamped in a flood of foreign intermixture. The only exceptions to the rule we have observed of a primitive broad-headed layer of population isolated in the uplands are offered by the two valleys of the Ziller in the northeast and of the Isel and Kalserthals just across the main chain of the Alps by Linz. In these places the converse of our proposition is true, since, as one ascends the valleys the broad heads become less frequent. No explanation for this has been offered; but I have a suspicion that it points to still a third layer of population. The Slavic peoples immigrating within the historic period are all very broad-headed. It is not impossible that this racial element which has overlaid the Teutons in parts of eastern Europe may have followed them into these valleys. Certain it is that Slavic skulls begin to occur in this region. It may have happened in this way: When the long-headed Teutons came, they drove the primitive Alpine population into the side valleys. Then, when the Slavs followed the Teutons, these latter types drifted up and back as well, merging with the original broad-headed stock to produce an intermediate type of head form. This would obviously be less broad than the new Slavic type in relative purity along the main channels of immigration.

The evidence from the Tyrol that in this part of the Alps the broad heads lie nearest the soil is sustained by similar testimony from the other end of the same mountain chain. Dr. Bedot has studied in some detail the population of the Valais — the valley of the upper Rhone in western Switzerland.[4] Here precisely as in the Tyrol the side valleys are distinctly broader-headed than that of the Rhone. Wherever the foreigner has come he has lowered the cephalic index. Thus, for example, in the open valley of the Rhone the average index is but 82, while in the Gorge du Trient, leading over toward Chamounix, it rises 87. Few of the villages investigated are as isolated to-day as those in the Oetztal valleys of the Tyrol; but in proportion as they lie off the main track the index rises appreciably. The evidence is indubitable that the broad-headed type is the oldest and most primitive all through the Alps.

The fact which we have just indicated namely, that the racial type of the population of the Alpine areas changes with the character of the country will now serve us as a foothold for another advance in our argument. By it we shall hope to prove that while the Alpine racial type is intermediate in the pigmentation of the hair and eyes between the Teutonic populations on the north and the Mediterranean at the south, at the same time this physical trait is open to profound modification by the direct influences of environment. We shall hope to prove directly what we have already inferred from consideration of our general map of Europe; namely, that certain factors, either climate, economic status, or habits of life, are competent to produce appreciable changes in the color of the hair and eyes.

Since, at this point, we are venturing forth upon an uncharted sea, it behooves us to stop a moment and examine what store of argument we have on hand. Two theses we hope to have proved respecting those portions of central Europe which are characterized by the broad-headed Alpine type of population. The first is that this racial element being the most ancient, becomes relatively more frequent in the areas of isolation, where natural conditions have been least disturbed by immigrants. In the byways, the primitive inhabitant; in the highways, the marauding intruder! This principle is as old as the hills. It is certainly true of languages and customs, why not likewise of race? We shall be able to establish its verity for all parts of Europe in due time. It forms the groundwork of our socio-geographical theory. The second thesis, no less important, is that this primitive Alpine type of population normally tends to be darker in hair and eyes than the blue-eyed, flaxen-haired, and long-headed Teutonic peoples on the north; and that, on the other hand, by its grayish hazel eyes and brownish hair, this broad-headed type is to be distinguished from its more thoroughly brunette neighbor at the south. The geographical evidence afforded by our map of Europe all gives tenability to this view that the Alpine type is intermediate in the color of hair and eyes. It will serve as proof provisionally at least. In the next paper we shall discuss the matter of the association of separate traits into racial types from another point of view. We shall run up against some contradictory evidence, to be sure, but satisfactory disposition may be made of this when it appears. In the meantime we assume it to be geographically, if not indeed as yet anthropologically, proved beyond question.

What deduction is to be made from these two theses we have just outlined? The third side of our logical triangle seems to be fixed. If the areas of isolation are essentially Alpine by race, and if this ethnic type be truly intermediate in pigmentation, the byways, nooks, and corners of central Europe ought normally to be more brunette than the highways and open places all along the northern Teutonic border. Contrariwise, toward the south the indigenous undisturbed Alpine populations ought to be lighter than the heterogeneous ones, infused with Mediterranean brunette blood, if we may use the term. Since mountainous areas are less exposed to racial contagion by virtue of their infertility and unattractiveness as well as by their inaccessibility or remoteness from dense centers of population, we may express our logical inference in another way. Where the Teutonic and the Alpine racial types are in contact geographically the population of mountainous or isolated areas ought normally to contain more brunettes than the people of the plains and river valleys, since blond traits have had lesser chance of immigration. The opposite

PSM V50 D795 Hair color index in central west europe.jpg
rule would obtain south of the Alps. If this relation does not hold, there must obviously be something environmentally the matter. Let us examine the facts.

The Black Forest in southwestern Germany affords us a good opportunity for the comparison of relatively pure and mixed

PSM V50 D796 Pure blonde teutonic type with cephalic index of 75.jpg

Pure Blond Teutonic Type. Cephalic Index, 75.

populations. This mountainous, heavily wooded district, shown in our map, lies close by the upper courses of the two principal rivers of Europe, which have both formed great channels of racial migration. The Rhine encircles it on the west and south, and an important affluent of the same river bounds it on the east; for the Neckar drains the fertile plains of Würtemberg, or Swabia, which lie about Stuttgart. This capital city, it should be observed, lies not far from the point of that blond Teutonic wedge which, we have already shown, penetrates central Europe from the north. Finally, the Danube, not shown upon the map, takes its source in the southeastern part of the Forest, and has therefore opened up still another route of racial immigration from this quarter.

There is every evidence that here in the Black Forest is a mountainous area of isolation containing a people which is distinctly Alpine in type of head form as compared with the mixed populations of the fertile plains and valleys round about it. For example, the cephalic index in Wolfach in its center is above 86, three units and more above the average for the Rhine Valley communes.[5] This difference is almost appreciable to the eye; it may be approximately shown by the three portraits in our text. The first one represents a pure Teutonic blond type with the relatively narrow head and long face characteristic of the race of northern Europe. The second is the average type found in Baden, probably about half Teutonic and half Alpine by race. The breadth of the head compared with its length as well as the roundness of the face appear to be well marked. It should be added that it was characterized by brown hair and blue eyes. The third portrait, unfortunately not of a native of the most retired upland of the Forest, is nevertheless fairly typical of the extreme breadth of head form which there prevails. In this particular case the face is rather long for the breadth of the head, a combination not uncommon in southern Germany. For reasons given in the preceding paper, this facial feature may be regarded as less important than the proportions of the cranium itself. Judged by this latter standard, there is every indication that the Black Forest

PSM V50 D797 Mixed baden type with cephalic index 83.jpg
Mixed Baden Type. Cephalic Index, 83.

contains the broad-headed Alpine type in comparative purity. Dr. Ammon, of Baden, has very kindly placed his unpublished data at my disposition. These have been suitably mapped[6] by communes, proving that in so far as Baden itself is concerned there is no doubt about the increased broad-headedness as one penetrates the innermost recesses of the Schwarzwald.

For Würtemberg and the Neckar Valley we have no modern researches upon living men to offer as evidence. In place of it we possess results obtained upward of thirty years ago from a study of the crania of modern populations.[7] At that time von

PSM V50 D798 Alpine type with cephalic index of 87.jpg
Alpine Type. Cephalic Index, 87.

Hölder discovered the existence of two distinct types of head form in the population of Swabia, and he found them severally clustering about the two "areas" outlined upon the map. In the northern one, lying just outside the old Roman wall which cut diagonally across the map from the southeast not far from Stuttgart, he found traces of a long-headed population, deemed by him typical of the barbarians of Germany. Within the "Limes Romanus" were mixed populations infused with Roman characteristics, but pointing to an isolated center of broad-headedness. This is shown by the "Alpine area." It will be observed at once that these results for Würtemberg and Baden are a check upon one another, despite the fact that the two researches were made over thirty years apart — one upon skulls, the other upon living men. That in this Black Forest area of isolation we have to do with an island of the Alpine type is also rendered more probable by the relative shortness of its people. Our next paper will deal with bodily stature as an ethnic trait. We may here anticipate enough to assert that a tall stature is one of the most constant characteristics of the Teutonic type. The Alpine race is distinctly shorter. Therefore this third physical trait helps to confirm us in our deduction.

Probability is rendered certainty by corroborative evidence from a large part of Europe that the Alpine type for some reason always takes to the woods and hills when in competition with the Teutonic race. We shall be able to show it in detail for France, Germany, Austria, and elsewhere, as we have already done for the Tyrol. Just across the Rhine in the Vosges it is true, and in Belgium it determines the division line of Walloons from Flemings. We may accept the law as proved beyond reasonable doubt.

This population of the inner Black Forest being Alpïne, ought racially to be dark in the color of the hair and eyes. Nevertheless, the evidence all goes to show that, instead of being darker, it really manifests a distinct tendency toward blondness. Here, again, we are able to draw proof from two separate sources which serve as a check upon one another. The ground tints upon our map represent the percentage of pure blondes among the school children, as gathered in the great census conducted by Virchow. They show that a considerable part of the "Alpine area," measuring the head form, contains an abormal number of blond children. For example, forty-two hundred children in this Alpine area comprised but fifteen per cent of blond types, as compared with an average of nearly twenty-five per cent in the Rhine and Neckar Valleys. For Baden, however, the blondness of the upland interior region does not appear upon this map. Fortunately, we possess detailed results for this side of even greater value, since Dr. Ammon has studied the adult population. He asserts that there is a regularly increasing blondness toward the center of the Forest.[8] Why did this not appear among the thousands of school children in Baden studied by Virchow? To venture a rash hypothesis, may it not have been because the influences of environment had not had time to produce their effects so strongly in childhood, and that they appeared in accentuated form at a later period of life? Before we proceed to discuss the exact cause of this surprising reversal of racial characteristics, let us consider one other example of a similar character.

Some years ago Dr. Stucler conducted a great investigation upon the color of the hair and eyes of some ninety-four thousand school children in the canton of Berne, in Switzerland.[9] As a result he discovered another one of these confusing phenomena of racial improbabilities. It appeared that here also there was an appreciable tendency toward blondness in the high Alps, racial tendencies to the contrary notwithstanding. Topographically, the canton of Berne extends over three regions quite distinct in character. A middle strip along the valley of the Aar as far as the city of Berne consists of an elevated, not infertile table-land, with a rolling, hilly surface. This becomes gradually more rugged, until it terminates in the high mountains of the Bernese Oberland south of Interlaken. Here in this chain we have the most elevated portion of Switzerland; and, we may add, one of the most unpropitious for agriculture or industry. The peasants hereabouts must live upon the tourist or not at all. The northern

PSM V50 D800 Racial map of central west switzerland.jpg

third of Berne covers the Jura Mountains, quite high, but of such geological formation that the soil yields not ungraciously to agriculture. Thus from the economic point of view we may divide the canton into two parts, setting aside the southern third— the Oberland—as decidedly inferior to the rest. The people of this region in the ante-tourist era could not but be unfavorably affected by their material environment.

Our map shows that this economic contrast is duplicated in the anthropological sense by a considerable increase of blondness within the Oberland, which becomes more marked as the fastnesses of the mountains are approached. North of the city of Berne there are from seven to eleven per cent of pure blondes; in the Oberland sometimes upward of three times as many. Is it possible that this blondness in the mountains may be due to race? If so, it must be Teutonic. Our map of Europe shows that Switzerland is cut in halves at just this point by an intrusive strip of northern blondness. Dr. Studer explained it on the assumption that this blondness migrating to the south along the Rhine, and then up the Aar, had heaped itself up, so to speak, against this great geographical barrier. This supposition might be tenable were not the evidence of the head form for all Europe flatly opposed to it. There is nothing to show that the law of segregation of the Alpine type in the areas of isolation does not hold here as in the Tyrol, in western Switzerland, and the Black Forest. Central Switzerland was historically overrun by the Helvetians, who have been identified as Teutonic by race. The Rhætians were the more primitive Alpine type. Every principle of human nature and ethnology opposes the supposition that these conquering Helvetians would be content to leave the darker Rhætians in full possession of the fertile plain of the Aar while they betook themselves to the barren valleys of the Oberland. Everywhere else in Europe the rule is, "To the conqueror belong the plains, to the vanquished the hills." The blondness of the Oberland must therefore be regarded as racially anomalous. Another explanation for it must be found in the influence of environment.

Our final example, tending to prove that in mountainous areas of isolation some cause is at work which tends to disturb racial equilibrium in the color of the hair and eyes, is drawn from Dr. Livi's monumental treatise on the anthropology of Italy. In entire independence of my own inferences, he arrived at an identical conclusion that blondness somehow is favored by a mountainous environment. From a study of three hundred thousand recruits he found that fourteen out of the sixteen compartimenti into which Italy is divided conformed to this law. There was generally from four to five per cent more blondness above the four-hundred-metre line of elevation than below it.[10] The true significance of these figures is greater than at first appears, for we have again to consider the contrasts in the light of racial probability. In northern Italy the mountains ought to be lighter than the plains, because the Alps are here as elsewhere a stronghold of a racial type relatively blond as compared with the Mediterranean brunettes. Environment and race here join hands to produce greater blondness in the mountains. It is in the south of Italy that the two work in opposition, and here we turn for test of our law. In the south the mountains should contain the Mediterranean brunette type in relatively undisturbed purity, for the northern blondes are more frequent in the attractive districts open to immigration. Even here in many cases this racial probability is reversed or equalized by some cause which works in opposition to race, so that we find comfort at every turn.

The law which we have sought to prove is not radically new. Many years ago Waitz asserted that mountaineers tended to be lighter in color of skin than the people of the plains,[11] educing some interesting evidence to that effect from the study of primitive peoples. He held that the true cause lay in the modifying influences of climate. Much of the data which we have here collected does not prove this. In fact, climatic changes can not be related to some of the variations in blondness which have been outlined. It seems as if some other factor had been at work. Dr. Livi ascribes the blondness of mountain peoples rather to the unfavorable economic environment, to the poor food, unsanitary dwellings, and general poverty of such populations. This explanation fits neatly into our social theory: for we assert that the population of mountains is relatively pure because there is no incentive for immigration of other types. Thus a pure population implies poverty of environment — a poverty which may stand in direct relation to the lack of pigmentation. It is yet too early to assert that this is the main cause. For the present it will suffice to have proved that appreciable differences in pigmentation exist, leaving the cause for future discussion. Much interesting material drawn from comparisons of urban with rural populations may help to throw light upon it. Our main purpose here has been to prove that pigmentation is a trait which is affected by environment. If, as we hope to have shown, the shape of the head is not open to such modification, we shall know where to turn when conflict of evidence arises. We shall pin our faith to that characteristic which pursues the even tenor of its racial way, unmoved by outward circumstances.


commenting on the possibilities foreshadowed by the opening of the Niagara water power and foreseeing the extension of the principle to other cataracts, the London Spectator suggests that we shall perhaps as in the future not "Has the country got coal?" but "Has it got waterfalls?"
  1. Th. Waitz: Anthropologic der Naturvölker, vol. i. p. 55 seq., contains some interesting remarks on this subject.
  2. Dr. Livi, in his atlas to the superb Anthropometria Militare, has shown the parallelism very clearly in Charts VI to IX, inclusive. The method employed in reducing the widely differing systems to a common base, so that comparisons may properly be drawn, is simple. In many areas along the border line of systems the same population has been studied from each side. Thus, in the Tyrol, Tappeiner (Zeit. für Ethnologie, xii, p. 269) has studied adults, so that his results may be correlated with those of Livi in Italy (Anthropometria Militare, Rome, 1896). At the same time Schimmer has studied the children (Mitt, der anth. Ges. in Wien, Supp., 1884), so that his data from the same people may bind them to the German-Austrian populations, Weisbach, from adults in Austria, also works near by (Mitt, der anth. Ges. Wien, xxv, p. 73). Dr. Beddoe, in his monumental work, The Races of Britain, with results of personal observation from all over Europe, gives data for international comparison, showing, for example, that southern England equals Alsace, and that Zurich equals London (p. 73, seq.). In another place he gives opportunity for comparison with the French system (Bull, de la Soc. d'Anth., Paris, 1882, p. 146; and Revue d'Anthopologie, Series III, iv, p. 513). Topinard (Eléments, pp. 338,339), from the same observations, has shown that Normandy, Vienna, and Cornwall are about equally pigmented, and that the Walloons and the Bretons are about alike in this respect. Knowing from Vandekindere, Virchow (Archiv für Anth., xvi, p. 275), and Schimmer how the Walloons are related to the rest of central Europe, the way is clear. For Spain we have the merest hint from study of the eyes alone (Archiv für Anthropologic, xxii, p. 431). Weisbach (Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, Supplement, 1884) gives data for southeast Europe. In due time the further details of preparation for the map will be published.
  3. For Scotland, vide Report of 1883 of the Anthropometric Committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, p 10. Norway is examined in Revue d' Anthropologie, Series III, vol. iv, p. 293. For Italy, Dr. R. Livi (Anthropometria Militare, Atlas, Plates 6 and 7). Still farther south. Dr. Collignon has studied Tunis in Étude sur l' Ethnographie de la Tunisie, Paris, 1887. See also Revue d' Anthropologie, Series III, vol. iii, p. 3 seq.
  4. Bull. Soc d'Anth., Paris, Series IV, vol. vi, p. 486 seq.
  5. Certain statistical liberties have been taken with this map. For instance, it has been assumed that in the long and narrow administrative districts, extending from the Rhine
  6. Dr. Otto Ammon, in Sammlung gemeinverständlicher wissenschaftliche Vorträge, neue Folge, Series V, Heft 101. clear across to the eastern frontier of Baden, the eastern or upland half was as much broader-headed than the western Rhine half as separate districts lying along the east were above others along the Rhine. In such cases the technical averages have been split up into two others conforming in general with the averages for those districts which really follow the topographical features of the country.
  7. Dr. von Hölder, in Archiv für Anthropologie, vol. ii, p. 50. The indicated "Alpine" and "Teutonic Areas" are mapped from his enumeration of the communes in which he asserted the several types to be most prevalent. As such the results can not be more than roughly approximate. That they accord so fully with the data for Baden gives hope that the true conditions are represented.
  8. For example, Wolfach, in the southern part of the "Alpine area," with the broadest heads in Baden, contains thirty-one per cent of blondes among adults. Ammon, op. cit. In this commune sixty-four per cent of the cephalic indices were above 85.
  9. Mitteilungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Bern, 1880, Heft 979, p. 54 seq.
  10. Anthropometria Militare, p. 63 seq. A review of this work is given by the author in Publications of the American Statistical Association, vol. v, pp. 38 and 101 seq. This law is shown by study of provinces also. There are sixty-nine of these available for comparison. Twelve of these contain no mountains; thirty-two show manifestly greater blondness in both hair and eyes; fifteen show it partially ; in two, mountain and plain are equal; and in the remaining seven the law is reversed. Several of these latter are explainable by local disturbances.
  11. Anthropologie der Naturvölker, vol. i, p. 49 seq.