Popular Science Monthly/Volume 51/August 1897/The Racial Geography of Europe: France VII

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search





AUGUST, 1897.



(Lowell Institute Lectures, 1896.)



WHY is Belgium entitled to a separate national existence among the states of modern Europe? Ireland and even Wales have tenfold stronger claims to political independence on the score both of race and religion. One half of this little state is topographically like Holland; the other is not to be distinguished in climate, geography, or soil from Alsace Lorraine—that shuttlecock among nations, Belgium is father to no national speech. The Flemings can not hold common converse with their fellow-countrymen, the Wallons; for the first speak a corrupted Dutch, the second an archaic French language. Nor are the people more highly individualized in the anthropological sense. In fact, in a study of races Belgium is not to be considered apart from either northern France or southwestern Germany. It is closely allied to both. Of course, even despite the lack of all these elements of nationality, there is still a reason for the separate political existence of the Belgians, There must have been, for the sense of nationality is very intense among them. There is no sign of its abatement at the present time. It has made them a dominant power in Africa and elsewhere abroad. Their nationality is a geographical as well as an historical product. We shall deal with that presently. In the meantime we must consider the Belgians together with the whole population of northern France. It is befitting to do so; for Cæsar informs us that the Belgæ in his time controlled the whole region. Roman Gaul, properly speaking, extended only as far north as the Seine and the Marne. In Cæsar's time the frontier of Belgium—the land of the Belgæ—lay near Paris. Has its recession to the north produced any appreciable change upon the people? Certainly not in any physical sense, as we shall attempt to point out.

The northern third of France and half of Belgium are to-day more Teutonic than the south of Germany. This is clearly attested by the maps which show the distribution of each of the physical characteristics of race. It should not occasion surprise when we remember the incessant downpour of Teutonic tribes during the whole historic period. It was a constant procession, of Goths—from all points of the compass—of Franks, Burgundians, and others. France was entirely overrun by the Franks, with the exception of Brittany, by the middle of the sixth century. All through the middle ages this part of Europe was not only ethnically Teutonic: it was German in language and customs as well. The very name of the country is Teutonic. It has the same origin as Franconia in southern Germany. In 812 the Council of Tours, away down south, ordained that every bishop should preach both in the Romance and the Teutonic languages. The Franks preserved their German speech four hundred years after the conquest.[1] Charlemagne was a German; his courtiers were all Germans; he lived and governed from outside the limits of modern France. The Abbé Sieyès uttered an ethnological truism when, in the course of the French Revolution, he cried out against the French aristocracy: "Let us send them back to their German marshes whence they came!" Even to-day the current of migration between France and Germany sets strongly to the south, as it has ever done in virtue of economic laws deeper than national prejudice or hostile legislation.[2]

The movement of population racially has been strongly influenced by the geography of the country. Were it not for the peculiar conformation of this part of Europe, there would be no geographical excuse for the existence of Belgium as a separate political entity, as we have said; and northern France would be far more thoroughly Teutonized than it is to-day. In order to make this clear, we must recall the topography of the district for a moment. From the Alps in western Switzerland a spur of mountainous country of very indifferent fertility, known as the Ardennes plateau, extends far out to the northwest, its axis lying along the Franco-German frontier, as our map of the geography of France shows. This area is triangular in shape, with its apex PSM V51 D446 Physical geography of france.jpg touching Switzerland, the Rhine forming its eastern edge, and its base lying east and west across Belgium a little north of Brussels. This base is the geographical boundary between Flanders and the rugged uplands. Near the southern point, this Ardennes plateau rises into the Vosges Mountains. The major part of it consists of an elevated table-land, of little use in agriculture. Its uplands are heavily forested; its valleys are deep and very narrow. This plateau is divided from the main body of the Alps by a low pass about twenty-five miles wide, known as the Gap of Belfort. This has always formed the main pathway of communication between the valleys of the Seine, the Rhone, and the Rhine, from the time of Attila to that of the Emperor William I. It is the strategic key to central Europe. The only other routes from France to Germany cut straight across the difficult Ardennes plateau, following either the valleys of the Meuse or the Moselle shown on our map. These valleys are both extremely fertile, but narrow and easy of defense. Sedancommands the one and Metz the other. This depression at Belfort has played quite a unique part in the natural history of Europe as well as in its military campaigns. It is the only route by which southern flora and fauna could penetrate to the north, since they could not traverse the Alpine highlands. The parallel is continued by the constant counter-migration of southern culture over the same way, evinced in archeeology and history. It is not surprising that in anthropology this Gap of Belfort should be equally important.[3]

This Ardennes plateau is the core of a considerable population, which is primarily of the Alpine racial type. It is an anthropological table-land of broad-headedness, surrounded on every side except the south, where it touches the Alps, by more dolichocephalic populations. Turn for a moment to our map on page 440. Notice the wing of dark tint extending up to Luxemburg from Belfort. Observe how it is eroded on the east along the Rhine Valley, and toward Paris in the fertile plains of the Isle de France. In the recesses of the Vosges Mountains the cephalic index rises 87; in the valleys of the Meuse and the Moselle it falls to 83.[4] The Germanic tribes in their ceaseless wanderings are the cause of that phenomenon beyond question. It is evident that for Teutonism to enter France, it must pass through the Gap of Belfort, around north through Flanders, or follow the valleys above mentioned. All three of these it has certainly done in the anthropological sense. It has overflowed along each of these channels, traversing the Alpine racial barrier. It has done even more. Its influence is manifest even in the nooks and byways. For the people of the whole region are well above the average French in stature. They are quite Teutonic in this respect. But the invaders have not been able to efface that most persistent trait of the primitive population—the broad, round head. Here, as in the Black Forest, just across the Rhine, this physical characteristic remains as a witness of priority of title to the land.

In Belgium itself, lying on the northwestern edge of the Ardennes plateau, the contrast between the upland and the plain is so distinct, and it coincides so closely with the racial boundary between the Flemings and the Walloons, that it merits special attention. Language here follows closely in the footsteps

PSM V51 D451 Geology and elevation of belgium.png
of race. As our three maps of the country show in detail, the Walloons in the uplands are broader-headed than the Flemings. They are distinctly shorter in stature.[5] Our map shows how much more infrequent blond types are among them than among the Flemings. It is curious to notice this Teutonism of Flanders and the Low Countries. It denotes the utter extermination of all traces of the Spaniards, despite their whilom political activities, Belgium is sharply divided, therefore, into two halves, following the topographical boundary of the plateau exactly, except in the department of Hainault, where Walloons are found in the plains. The two halves of Belgium thus indicated differ in
PSM V51 D452 Cephalic indexes of walloons and flemish of belgium.png

politics, language, and in many social customs. One, Flanders, is cultivated largely by tenant farmers, the other tilled by peasant

PSM V51 D452 Blonde types of belgium.png

proprietors. So clearly drawn is the line of division that many interesting sociological problems may best be investigated here. These, for the moment, we pass by. For us, at this time, the significance of the division is, to put it in Dr. Beddoe's words, that "the Walloons and their hilly, wooded country are a Belgic cliff against which the tide of advancing Germanism has beaten with small effect, while it has swept with comparatively little resistance over the lowlands of Flanders and Alsace, and penetrated into Normandy and Lorraine." Had it not been for this geographical area of isolation, political boundaries would have been very different from those of to-day. Belgium is a piece of pie-shaped stop-gap between France and Germany. Being internationally neutralized in the military sense, it covers the main line of contact between the two powerful neighbors—the plains of Flanders. This is, in the eyes of the natural scientist, its main excuse for separate existence as a political entity. The Franco-German hatred is nothing but a family quarrel after all from our point of view. It is a reality, nevertheless, for historians. The only country whose population is really homogeneous is the tiny kingdom of Luxemburg in the very center of the plateau, scarcely more than a dot on the map. It deserves its independence for a like reason with Belgium. Were Alsace-Lorraine also a neutralized and separate kingdom, the prices of European government bonds would be considerably higher than they are to-day.


Let us now return to France again. We have still to cover the most interesting part of all in many ways. Cæsar's third division of Gaul, from the Loire River southwest to the Pyrenees, was inhabited, as he tells us, by the Aquitani. Strabo adds that these people were akin to the Iberians of Spain, both in customs and race. Detailed study, however, reveals a population far less homogeneous than these statements of the ancients imply.

A glance at the map of the physical geography of France, on page 435, shows that this southwestern section is centered in the broad, fertile valley of the Garonne. From Bordeaux in every direction spreads one of the most productive regions in France, favored alike in soil and in climate. Ascending the river valley, it narrows gradually until we reach a low pass, leading over toward the Mediterranean. This little axis of fertility, along which will run the projected canal to unite the two seacoasts of France, divides the plateaux of Auvergne from the highlands which lie along the Pyrenees. In this latter region fertility decreases as we approach the Spanish frontier in proportion to the increase in altitude, although most of the region is fairly capable of supporting a considerable population. The only extensive area which is extremely unfavorable in character is the seacoast department of Landes, along the Bay of Biscay south of Bordeaux. This region is a vast sandy plain, but little raised above the sea level. It is a flat district underlaid by an impermeable clay subsoil, which is, except in midsummer, a great fen covered with rank marsh grasses. Without artificial drainage, it is unfit for cultivation, so that it remains to-day one of the most sparsely populated sections of the country. As a whole, then, the southwest of France presents the extremes of economic attractiveness, at the same time being devoid of those geographical barriers which elsewhere have strongly influenced the movements of races.

The first impression conveyed by the general map of the cephalic index for all France, in respect of this particular region above described, is that here at last all correspondence between the nature of the country and the character of the population ceases. A wedge of the broad-headed Alpine stock centering in the uplands of Auvergne pushes its way toward the southwest to

PSM V51 D454 Cephalic index of france and belgium.png

the base of the Pyrenees. This Alpine offshoot extends uninterruptedly from the sterile plateau of Auvergne, straight across the fertile plains of the Garonne and deep into the swamps and fens of Landes. While the geographical trend of the country is from southeast to northwest parallel to the Garonne, the population seems to be striped at right angles to it—namely, in the direction of the Paris-Bordeaux axis of fertility. At the northwest appears the lower edge of the broad-headedness of the area of Brittany; then succeeds a belt of long heads from Paris to Bordeaux, to the

PSM V51 D455 Mediterranean type from montpellier of cephalic index of 79.png
PSM V51 D455 French alpine type from aveyron cephalic index 86.png
Mediterranean Type.Montpellier. Cephalic Index, 79·6. Alpine Type.Aveyron. Cephalic Index, 86.

south of which comes the main feature—a central strip of the Alpine type pushing its way to the extreme southwest, as we have said. The portrait herewith is a good example of the last-named round-headed type, which forms the bulk of the population. We are confronted by a racial distribution which appears to be utterly at variance with all the laws which elsewhere in France determine the ethnic character of its population.

One point is certain: either conditions have changed wonderfully since Strabo's time, or else the old geographer was far from being a discriminating anthropologist, when he described the people of Aquitaine as uniformly Iberians, both in race and in customs. A large element among them is as far removed from the Spaniards in race as it is possible in Europe to be. There is, as our map shows, a strip all along the Mediterranean which is Iberically narrow-headed and oval-faced, of a type illustrated in our portrait. Especially is this true in the department of Pyrenées-Orientales, shown on our map by the banded white area. This is the only part of France where the Catalan language is spoken to-day, as we took occasion to point out in our first article. This population in Roussillon is truly Iberian both in race and language; all the other peoples of Aquitaine differ from the Spaniards in both respects.[6]

Turn back for a moment to the map of head form on page 440, and notice the curious light-tinted area in the heart of this south western region. It seems to be confined to four departments, lying between Limoges on the northeast and Bordeaux at the southwest.

PSM V51 D456 Cephalic index of southwest france.png

This little island or sink, if you please, of long-headedness has for years been a puzzle to anthropologists. It is a veritable outcrop of dolichocephaly close to the great body of broad-headedness which centers in Auvergne. It lies, to be sure, at the southwestern extremity of that axis of fertility from Paris to Bordeaux which we described in our last paper. In conformity with the law of differentiation of populations which holds all through the north, a long-headed people is found in the plains. The trouble is that the people are altogether too extreme. The general law is out-proved by it. The remoteness of this spot from any other great center of long-headedness constitutes the main point of interest. Such a trait ought to have been derived either from the north or the south of Europe. Teutonic intermixture is not a competent explanation for two reasons. In the first place,

the heads are often more Teutonic in form than those of the peoples of direct Germanic descent along the Belgian frontier; nay, more, in some cantons the people outdo the purest Scandinavians in this respect. This region is also separated from all Teutonic centers across country by several hundred miles of broader-headed peoples. That disposes of the theory of colonization from the north across France. Could the Teutons have come around by sea, then, following the litus Saxonicum described in our last paper? Obviously not so; for, as we shall see, the deepest pit of long-headedness lies far inland, about the city of Périgueux. If this be due to immigrants, they certainly could not have come in ships. Is it possible, then, that the people of these departments could have come from the south, an offshoot of the Mediterranean type? If so, they must have come over the Pyrenees or else across the low pass down the course of the Garonne. In either case a great dike of brachycephaly must have been heaped up behind them, cutting off all connection with their base of racial supplies. And then, after all, we do not place too much reliance in any case upon theories of such wholesale bodily migration that populous departments among the largest in France are completely settled in a moment. Human beings in masses do not, as my friend Major Livermore has put it, play leap-frog across the map in that way, save under great provocation or temptation. We look for PSM V51 D457 Races of historic gaul.png slow-moving causes, not cataclysms, just as the geologists have long since learned to do.

We may gain an idea of the reality of this curious phenomenon if we turn to our second map, in which the same region is charted in great detail. The head form is here given by cantons, small administrative divisions intermediate between the department and the commune or township. The location of the capital cities of Limoges and Périgueux, on both maps, will enable the reader to orient himself at once. The "key" shows the boundaries of the departments. It is clear that a series of concentric circles of increasing long-headedness—that is, of light tints upon the map—point to a specific area where an extreme human type is prevalent.

History offers no clew to the situation. The country in question, in Caesar's time, was occupied by a number of tribes of whose racial affinity we know nothing. On the west dwelt the Santones by the present city of Saintes (ancient Saintonge). The city of Périgueux, which gave its name to the ancient province of Périgord, marks the territory of the Petrocorii of Roman times. The province of Limousin to the northeast of it was the home of the Lemovices, with their capital at the modern city of Limoges. Around the ancient city at Bordeaux lay the Bituriges and their allies the Medulli (Médoc). Along the east lay the Arvergni, whence the name Auvergne; together with a number of minor tribes, such as the Cadurci, giving name to the district of Quercy to-day. Unless the population has shifted extensively, contrary to all ethnological experience, the people whose physical origin is so puzzling to us included the tribes of the Lemovices and especially the Petrocorii. For these two covered the main body of narrow-headedness shown upon our map, extending over two thirds of the department of Dordogne, and up into Haute-Vienne and Charente beyond the city of Angoulême. It appears as if we had to do with two tribes whose racial origin was profoundly different from that of all their neighbors. The frontier on the southeast, between the Petrocorii and the Arverni, seems to-day to have been the sharpest of all. In places there is a sudden drop of over five units in cephalic index at the boundary lines. This means a change of type almost as great as that indicated between our two portraits on a preceding page. This is especially marked at the frontiers of the two modern departments of Corrèze and Dordogne, as our "key" map shows. This racial boundary finds no parallel in distinctness elsewhere in France, save between the Bretons and Normans. In this present case, the people are distinct because the modern boundaries coincide exactly with the ancient ecclesiastical and political ones. For centuries the Arverni in Corrèze have turned their backs upon the Petrocorii in Périgord on fête days, market days, at the paying of taxes, or examination of conscripts. This they did as serfs in the middle ages, and they do it to-day as freemen when they go to the polls to vote. Each has looked to its capital city for all social inspiration and support. The result has been an absence of intercourse, with its attendant consequences. Artificial selection has sharpened the contrasts imposed in the first instance by differences of physical descent. It is one of those rare cases where political boundaries are competent to perpetuate and even to accentuate natural peculiarities due to race.

Let us now concentrate our attention upon these two peoples clustering about the modern cities of Périgueux and Limoges respectively—separated alike from all their neighbors by their long-headedness. Closer inspection at once reveals that each of these two cities is to-day the kernel of a distinct subcenter of dolichocephaly; for two very light-colored areas surround each city, the two being separated by a narrow strip of darker tint upon our map. Along this latter line the cephalic index rises appreciably. Thus, for example, while only 78 about Limoges, and 76 or 77 in Dordogne, it rises on this boundary line to 80 and 81. In other words, a bridge of relative broad headedness cuts across the map, setting apart the descendants of the Lemovices, at Limoges, from those of their contemporaries, the Petrocorii, about Périgueux. This means that we have to do with two distinct spots of long-headedness—a small one about Limoges, and a major

PSM V51 D459 Stature in limousin.png

one extending all about Périgueux and Angouléme. There can be no doubt about this division. The boundary is a purely natural one, and deserves a moment's attention.

This frontier between Haute-Vienne and Dordogne lies along the crest of the so-called "hills of Limousin," made familiar to us already in another connection. It marks the watershed between the two great river systems of western France, the Garonne and the Loire. Our stature map of Limousin indicates the courses of these streams. Here is a true parting of the waters; for the Charente flows directly to the sea on the west; the affluents of the Loire run to the north; and the Vézère, part of the system of the Garonne, to the south. These hills of Limousin are the western outposts of the granitic area of Auvergne; and just here the country changes abruptly to a calcareous formation along the south and west. The district is accounted the very poorest in all France. Its soil is worthless even for grazing; the water is bad, and the climate harsh and rigorous.

These hills of Limousin, as we pointed out in a preceding paper, are, so to speak, a veritable watershed of stature as well. The bridge of relative broad-headedness we have described as lying along this line is but one among several peculiarities. The people of these hills are among the shortest in all Europe. Imagine a community whose members are so dwarfed and stunted by misery that their average stature is only about five feet two inches! Many cantons exist in which over thirty per cent of the men are under five feet three inches tall; and a few where two thirds of them all are below this height, with nearly ten per cent shorter than four feet eleven inches. With women shorter than this by several inches, the result is frightful. Around this area we find concentric circles of increasing stature as the river course are descended and the material prosperity of the people becomes greater. Within it the regular diet of boiled chestnuts and bad water, with a little rye or barley; the miserable huts unlighted by windows, huddled together in the deep and damp valleys; and the extreme poverty and ignorance, have produced a population in which nearly a third of the men are physically unfit for military service. This geographical barrier, potent enough to produce so degenerate a population, lies, as we have said, exactly along the boundary between the descendants of the Lemovices about Limoges and the Petrocorii about Périgueux. To make it plain beyond question, we have marked the stunted area upon our map of cephalic index. The correspondence is exact. It also shows beyond doubt that this short stature is a product of environment and not of race; for our degenerate area overlies all types of head form alike, whether Alpine or other.

Here, then, is an anthropological as well as a geographical boundary, separating our long-headed tribes from one another. Without going into details, let it suffice to say that complexions change as well. To the north and east about Limoges the blond characteristics rise to an absolute majority, especially among the women; in the contrary direction, about Périgueux, the proportion of brunettes increases considerably. In short, the general association of characteristics is such as to prove that among the Lemovices there is a considerable infusion of Teutonic blood. They are the extreme vanguard of the Germanic invaders who have come in from the northeast. That accounts at once for their long-headedness. Similar to them are the populations west of Bordeaux in Médoc (vide key map). They also are remnants of the same blond, tall, long-headed type; but they have come around by sea. They are part of the Saxon hordes which have touched all along the coast of Brittany. These last people, settled in the beautiful Médoc and Bordelais wine country, protected by their peninsular position, are among the tallest peasantry of the southwest. They are, without doubt, the legitimate descendants of the Medulli and of the Nitiobriges Cubi and Vivisci of early times. But between these two colonies of the Teutons, about Limoges and in Médoc respectively, lies the one whose origin we have not yet traced. The Petrocorii about Périgueux, who were they? If they also are of Teutonic descent, why are they not blond? This they most certainly are not, for a noticeable feature of the population

PSM V51 D461 Alpine type of landes with cephalic index 90.png
Alpine Type. Landes. Cephalic Index, 90·4.

of Dordogne is the high proportion of black hair, rising in some cantons to twenty-seven per cent. This is very remarkable in itself, as even in Italy and Spain really black hair is much less frequent. This characteristic for a time gave color to the theory that this great area of dolichocephaly was due to the relics of the Saracen army of Abder-Rhaman, shattered by Charles Martel at the battle of Tours. It is not improbable that some Berber blood was thereby infused into the peasantry; but this explanation does not suffice to account for other peculiarities, which a detailed investigation reveals.[7]

The most curious and significant trait of these long-headed people in Dordogne remains to be mentioned. A harmonic long and narrow head ought normally to be accompanied by an elongated oval visage. In the Teutonic race especially, the cheek bones are not prominent, so that an even smooth outline of the face results. In the Dordogne population, on the other hand, the faces in many cases are almost as broad as in the normal Alpine round-headed type. In other words, they are strongly disharmonic.

PSM V51 D462 Cro magnon type from dordogne cephalic index 78.png
Cro-Magnon Type. Dordogne. Cephalic Index, 78±.

To make this clear, compare the two heads shown in our illustrations.[8] Notice at once how the Cro-Magnon head is developed posteriorly as compared with the Alpine type. This is particularly noticeable in our second portrait on the next page. Observe also how in the front view the cranium narrows at the top like a sugar loaf, at the very place where the Alpine type is most broad. Yet despite this long head, the face is proportioned much more like the broad-visaged Alpine type than after the model of the young woman's face on page 441. Hers is a truly normal and harmonic dolichocephalic type.

In our Dordogne peasant there are many other minor features which need not concern us here. The skull is very low-vaulted; the brow-ridges are prominent; the nose is well formed, and less broad at the nostrils than in the Alpine type. These, coupled with the prominent cheek bones and the powerful masseter muscles, give a peculiarly rugged cast to the countenance. It is not, however, repellent; but more often open and kindly in appearance. The men are in no wise peculiar in stature. They are of medium height, rather stocky than otherwise. In this latter respect they show the same susceptibility to environment as all their neighbors: they are tall in fertile places and stunted in the less prosperous districts. Lying mainly south of the dwarfed areas of Limousin, they are intermediate between its miserable people and their taller neighbors in the vine country about Bordeaux. Let it be clearly understood that they are not a degenerate type at all. The peasants are keen and alert; often contrasting favorably with the rather heavy-minded Alpine type about them.

The people we have described above agree in physical characteristics with but one other type of men known to anthropologists. This is the celebrated Cro-Magnon race, long ago identified by archaeologists as having inhabited the southwest of Europe in prehistoric times. As early as 1858 human remains began to be discovered by Lartet and others in this region. Workmen on a railway in the valley of the Vézère, shown on our map, unearthed near the little village of Les Eyziès the complete skeletons of six individuals—three men, two women, and a child. This was the celebrated cave of Cro-Magnon. In the next few years many other similar archæological discoveries in the same neighborhood were made. A peasant in the upper Garonne Valley, near Saint-Gaudens, found a large human bone in a rabbit hole. On excavating, the remains of seventeen individuals were found

PSM V51 D463 Cro magnon type from dordogne cephalic index 77.png
Cro-Magnon Type. Dordogne. Cephalic Index, 77±.

buried together in the cave of Aurignac. At Laugerie Basse, again in the Vézère Valley, a rich find was made. In the cave of Baumes-Chaudes, just across in Lozère, thirty-five human crania with portions of skeletons were unearthed. These were the classical discoveries; the evidence of their remains has been completely verified since then from all over Europe. In no district, however, are the relics of this type so plentiful as here in Dordogne. Eight sepulchral caves have been discovered within as many miles of the village of Les Eyziès alone in the Vézère valley. Because of this geographical concentration of a peculiar type in this region, it has become known by the name of the Cro-Magnon race, since in the cave of this name the most perfect specimens were found.

The geographical evidence that here in Dordogne we have to do with the real Cro-Magnon race is fully sustained by a comparison of the physical characteristics of the crania here discovered in these caves in the valley of the Vézère with the peculiar living type we have above described. The original Cro-Magnon race was extremely dolichocephalic; as long-headed, in fact, as the modern African negroes or the Australians.[9] The cranial indices varied from 70 to 73, corresponding to a cephalic index on the living head between 72 and 75. This was and is the starting point for the theory that the Mediterranean populations are an offshoot and development from the African negro. The only other part of Europe where so low an index has been located in the living population is in Corsica, where it descends almost to this level. The people of Dordogne do not to-day range quite as long-headed as this, the average for the extreme commune of Champagnac being 76. This difference need not concern us, however, for within the whole population are a large proportion with indexes far below this figure. Close proximity to the very brachycephalic Alpine type, just over the line in Corrèze, would account for a great deal larger difference even than this. Probability of direct descent becomes almost certainty when we add that the Cro-Magnon head was strongly disharmonic, and very low-skulled. The modern population does not equal its progenitors in this last respect, but it approaches it so distinctly as to show a former tendency in this direction. The skull was elongated at the back in the same way—a distinguishing trait which appears prominently upon comparison of the profile view of a modern Cro-Magnon type with that of its Alpine neighbors, as we have already observed. The brows were strongly developed, the eye orbits were low, the chin prominent. The noted anthropologist, De Quatrefages, prophesied what one of these types ought to look like in the flesh. I give his description in his own words, that its agreement with the facial type above represented may be noted: "The eye depressed beneath the orbital vault; the nose straight rather than arched, the lips somewhat thick, the maxillary (jaw and cheek) bones strongly developed, the complexion very brown, the hair very dark and growing low on the forehead—a whole which, without being attractive, was in no way repulsive."[10]

The prehistoric antiquity of the Cro-Magnon type in this region is attested in two distinct ways. In the first place, the people possessed no knowledge of the metals; they were in the same stage of culture as, perhaps even lower than, the American aborigines at the coming of Columbus. Their implements were fashioned entirely of stone, although it was often cunningly chipped and even polished. They were ignorant of the arts, either of agriculture or the domestication of animals, in both of which they were far below the culture of the native tribes of Africa at the present day. Additional proof of their antiquity was offered by the animal remains found intermingled with the human bones. The climate must have been very different from that of the present, for many of the fauna then living in the region, such as the reindeer, are now confined to the cold regions of northern Europe. To be sure, the great mammals, such as the mammoth, mastodon, the cave bear, and hyena, had already become extinct. They were contemporaneous with a still more ancient and uncultured type of man, whose remains occur in a lower geological stratum. This Cro-Magnon race is not of glacial antiquity, yet the distribution of mammals was markedly different from that of to-day. Thus of nineteen species found in the Cro-Magnon cave, ten no longer existed in southern Europe. They had migrated with the change of climate toward the north. The men alone seem to have remained in or near their early settlements, through all the changes of time and the vicissitudes of history. It is perhaps the most striking instance known of a persistency of population unchanged through thousands of years.

It should not be understood that this Cro-Magnon type was originally restricted to this little region alone. Its geographical extension was once very wide.[11] The classical skull of Engis, in Belgium, so well described by Huxley in Man's Place in Nature, was of this type. It has been located in places all the way from Tagolsheim and Bollwiller in Alsace to the Atlantic on the west. Ranke asserts that it occurs to-day in the hills of Thuringia, and was a prevalent type there in the past. Its extension to the south and west was equally wide. It was the type common among the extinct Guanches of the Canary Islands. Dr. Collignon has identified it in northern Africa. From all these places it has now disappeared more or less completely. Only in two or three other localities does it still form an appreciable element in the living population. There is one outcrop of it in a small spot in Landes, farther to the southwest, and another away up in Brittany, in that peculiar population at Lannion which we left in our last article with a promise to return to it. On the island of Oloron off the west coast there seems to be a third survival. A very ancient type has also been described by Virchow in the islands off northern Holland, which is quite likely of similar descent.

In all these cases of survival above mentioned, geographical isolation readily accounts for the phenomenon. Is that also a competent explanation for this clearest case of all in our population in Dordogne? Why should these peasants be of such direct prehistoric descent as to put every ruling house in Europe to shame? Has the population persisted simply by virtue of numbers, this having been the main center of its dispersion in prehistoric times? Or is it because of peculiarly favorable circumstances of environment? It certainly is not due to isolation alone, for this region has been overrun with all sorts of invaders, during historic times at least, from the Romans to the Saracens and the English. Nor is it due to economic unattractiveness; for, be it firmly fixed in mind, the Cro-Magnon type is not localized in the sterile Limousin hills, with their miserable stunted population. It is found to-day just to the southwest of them in a fairly open, fertile country, especially in the vicinity of Bordeaux. These peasants are not degenerate; they are, in fact, of goodly height, as indeed they should be to conform to the Cro-Magnon type. In order to determine the particular cause of this persistence of an ancient race, we must broaden our horizon once more, after this detailed analysis of Dordogne, and consider the whole southwest from the Mediterranean to Brittany as a unit. It is not impossible that the explanation for the peculiar anomalies in the distribution of the Alpine stock hereabouts may at the same time offer a clew to the problem of the Cro-Magnon type beside it.

The main question before us, postponed until the conclusion of our study of the Dordogne population, is this: Why has the Alpine race in the southwest of France, in direct opposition to the rule for all the rest of Gaul, spread itself out in such a peculiar way clear across the Garonne Valley and up to the Pyrenees? It lies at right angles with the river valley instead of along it. In other words, why is not the Alpine type isolated in the unattractive area of Auvergne instead of overflowing the fertile plains of Aquitaine? The answer is, I think, simple. Here in this uttermost part of France is a last outlet for expansion of the Alpine race repressed on every side by an aggressive alien population.

It has merely expanded along the line of least resistance. The Alpine type in Auvergne, increasing in numbers faster than the meager means of support offered by Nature, has by force of numbers pushed its way irresistibly out across Aquitaine, crowding its former possessors to one side. Certainly this is true in the Pyrenees, for here at the base of the mountains the population changes suddenly, as we shall see in our next paper on the Basques. On the other side at the north lies, as we have just seen, a second primitive population, less changed from the prehistoric type than any other in Europe. This Cro-Magnon race has been preserved apparently by the dike of the Limousin hills with their miserable population; for these hills have cut across the Paris-Bordeaux axis of fertility and have stopped the Teutonic race at the city of Limoges from expanding farther in this direction—that is to say, economic attraction having come to an end, immigration ceased with it. The intrusive Teutonic race has therefore been debarred from this main avenue of approach by land into Aquitaine. The competition has been narrowed down to the Alpine and Cro-Magnon types alone. Hence the former, overflowing its source in Auvergne, has spread in a generally southwestern direction with slight opposition. It could not extend itself to the southeast, for the Mediterranean type was strongly intrenched along the sea coast, and was in fact pushing its way over the low pass into Aquitaine from that direction. The case is not dissimilar to that of Burgundy, for in both instances a bridge of Alpine broad-headedness cuts straight across a river valley open to a narrow-headed invasion at both ends. It is not improbable that in both this bridge is a last remnant of broad-headedness which would have covered the whole valley had it not been invaded from both sides by other competitors.

Enough has been said to show the complexity of the racial relations hereabouts. We have identified the oldest living race in this part of the world. The most primitive language in Europe—the Basque—is spoken near by. It will form the subject of the next paper.


In his journeyings in the Zambesi country, Africa, Captain A. St. H. Gibbons found an ancient and interesting custom prevailing at Nalolo of investing the eldest surviving sister of the ruling king with the prerogatives of a queen, without whose advice and sanction her brother can not give effect to any important measure in the government of the state. In minor local matters she in her own district reigns supreme, holds the power of life and death over her subjects, and is at liberty to wed or depose a husband at will. The present Makwai, or queen, from whom six husbands have been removed in ways not natural, is described by the author as having a mixed character, being unscrupulous and very polite.
  1. For many details, and a map of German place names in northern France, consult that remarkable book of Canon Isaac Taylor, Names and Places, pp. 94 seq. It is a work which should be made familiar to every would-be teacher of history and geography.
  2. The standard authorities upon Belgium are E. Houzé, Ethnogénie de la Belgique, Bruxelles, 1882; and L. Vanderkindere, L'Ethnologie de la Belgique, Bruxelles, 1879. R. Böckh, in Zeits. f. allg. Erdkunde, Berlin, iii, 1854, p. 80, has mapped the linguistic boundary. Cf. also H. Vandenhoven, La Lungue Flamande, Bruxelles, 1844. The last investigation is by K. Brämer, in Kirchhoff's Forschungen zur deut. Land- u. Volkskunde, ii, 1887, Heft 2. The boundary of the Flemish language on the south in Fiance is mapped by R. Andrée in Globus, xxxvi, 1879, pp. 6-10 and 25-29. Vide also G. Lagneau, Ethnogénie des Populations du Nord de la France, Rev. d'Anth., 1874, pp. 577-612.
  3. W. Marshall, Tierverbreitung, in Kirchoff's Anleitung zur dent. Landes-u. Volksforschung, p. 256. Montelius, Verbindungen zwischen Skandinavien und dem oestlichen Europa, Archiv für Anth., 1891, pp. 1-21.
  4. The authority upon this region is Dr. R. Collignon. Vide his Anthropologie de la Lorraine, Nancy, 1886; especially, the map opposite page 9, showing the influence of the river valleys: L'Anthropologie, I, 1890, p. 211 seq.; and Bull. Soc. d'Anth., Paris, 1887, p. 306; ibid., 1883, p. 463. Auerbach gives a fine description of the geographical features in Revue de Geographic, Paris, 1890–’91.
  5. Quetelet long ago showed this. Vide Titeca, Bull. Soc. d'Anthropologie de Bruxelles, vi, 1887, p. 109. Houzé has mapped the stature in ibid., vi, 1887, p. 278.
  6. The prime authority upon this part of France is again Dr. Collignon. Vide Mem. Soe. d'Anth., Paris, series 3, i, fasc. 3 and 4. Condensed statement of his views is given in Annales de Géographie, Paris, 1896, pp. 150-166. Our maps are adapted from this latter source. (J. Lagneau, Ethnogénie des Populations du Sud-ouest de la France, in Revue d'Anth., 1872, pp. 606-628, gives much interesting historical material.
  7. G. Lagneau. On the Saracens in France. Memoirs of the Anthropological Society, London, vol. iii, pp. 157 seq.
  8. For the Cro-Magnon portraits on this and the following pages I am indebted to Dr. Collignon himself. These are the first, I think, ever published, either here or in Europe.
  9. Quatrefages and Hamy, Crania Ethnica, p. 46 seq. See also Quatrefages, The Human Species, in Appletons' International Scientific Series. The best collection of material in small compass, with references, is given by Salmon in Revue Mensuelle de l'École d'Anthropologie, V, 1895, pp. 155 and 214 seq. Bertrand, in La Gaule avant les Gaulois, Paris, 1891, has mapped these finds of the reindeer period. The correspondence with our modern population is very close.
  10. For description of modern representatives of this type, vide Quatrefages, in Bulletins Sociétè d'Anthropologie, 1876, pp.408–417.
  11. Dr. Verneau. La Raee Cro-Magnon, in Revue d'Anthropologie, 1886, p. 10 seq.