Overview of Migrations to Europe

Europe is defined as land west of the Black Sea and west of the Urals

Paternal line roots and routes

There are three paternal routes from the east into Europe via the Med, the Steppes and farther north from North Asia.

Mediterranean Route

The first Y Hg to enter Europe was E via the Med.

E arose around 50,000ya and split off from the main branch of ancestors somewhere in East Africa.

E made its way up through Egypt to the Levant and became the signature Y Hg of the Levant.

E travelled as far as Greece and today is found in small proportions throughout South-East and West Europe.

E back migrated to North Africa. One branch of the E Hg spread widely throughout Africa and is today found in West, Central and South Africa and in many African Americans.

G arouse in the Caucasus before around 30,000ya and travelled into Anatolia and Greece too, but the proportion of G in today’s populations is very low. G is mainly found today in Georgia.

Next into Europe was I Hg around 25,000ya. I travelled to Greece and Sardinia and up the west side of Europe and back down to the Balkans. The early settlement in south Europe the Gravettian culture 25,000 is believed to derive from the Hg I. I is also associated with the Angles (but not the Saxons) and is relatively high in modern populations of Denmark, Basques, Bosnia and Croatia.

J travelled to Europe only up to 5,000 years after I but appears to have developed an affinity with the aboriginal E population. According to Dienekes the extent to which the two Hgs are found together in modern populations is statistically significant.

J derives from Mesopotamia and the first E J mixing was between the Levant and Mesopotamia. From there, the two Hgs travelled to Anatolia and Greece. J did not travel as far into Europe as E but is found in many countries in South-East Europe in small proportions.

Even the earliest of civilisations or cultures that we know about were already a mixture of Hgs. The earliest West European widespread culture – the Bell Beaker and Megalith cultures were composed of E G and I Hgs. The Minoan civilisation of Crete was EGIJ.

Steppes Route

The Steppes were home to a group of cultures that gained recognition through linguistics in the early 1980s as the Indo-Europeans and were believed to be the origin of the Indo-European language group. This is the Kurgan hypothesis, which focuses on the Pontic-Caspian Steppe above the Black Sea as the main site although different branches of the theory place the Urhmeit or seed culture either in the Balkans or east of the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, the Andronovo culture. The theory fell out of favour in the 1990s but Hg studies in the 2000s have revived the idea that a series of cultures moved from the Steppes into Europe, possibly due to pressure from Turkic tribes moving west from further east on the Steppes. Another theory is that the Indo-European bronze age cultures ran out of copper to smelt and went in search of ore.

Indo-Europeans are thought to represent Y-Hg R1 .

R1 is closely related to R2. And R1 and R2 originated at R*.

R* is found localised in north west India and one school of thought holds that R1 and R2 branched off from south Asia. R2 migrated further into India whilst R1 migrated north to the Steppes.

Or, as others believe, R split on the Steppe. R2 back migrated to south Asia whilst R1 went west.

R1 then split into R1a and R1b however; R1a also back migrated to southwest Asia and became the basis for the cultures preceding Iran, i.e. the Persians, Parthians, Scythians, Cimmerians, Samartians, Ossets and Alans. R1a is found in a high proportion in south Ossetia. Iran’s modern population is about 25% R1a. R1a is also associated with mummies in the Tarim Basin and with modern day Saka tribe’s people in east Iran.

R1a entered Europe from the Steppe and went North West to Scandinavia and is also found in Germany and east Europe.

R1b travelled further west into the UK, Eire, France and south to Spain and Italy.

R is thought to have split off the main paternal line around 40,000ya and resided in the Steppe for some 20,000 years before moving into Europe finally reaching the UK about 5,000ya.

Of the three routes then, R1 arrived last. R1 however seems to have replaced much of the N, I and E G I populations and to some extent gave some Europeans their characteristic look with relatively rectangular heads, long and/or straight noses, deep-set eyes, flat cheek bones and prominent chins.

A comprehensive interpretation of the Indo-European theory of R1

This site is organized and upheld by enthusiasts and bearers of the haplogroup R1a1.  This clade consists of 500 million people and a vast amount of different nationalities.

North Asian Route

The single Hg N came across from the main Asian plateau. N split off from the main paternal line probably around 40,000ya but did not arrive in north Europe until 10,000ya and is associated with the Comb culture of the Baltic, which remained only N for some thousands of years after the cultures further south had become integrated. Modern populations in the Baltic remain high in N comparable with Inuit populations in north East Asia.

N did not migrate into south Europe.


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