What Everyone Must Know About Origin of Human Races

Any discussion of origin of human races is handicapped by four points of obscurity, firstly there exists no very clear idea in the mind of many as to what constitutes race, secondly, the marks of differentiation which serve to set one race off from another are often vaguely presented, thirdly there seems to be no very reliable knowledge concerning the number and the origin of races, and finally, geographical location is not invariably clearly defined. The resolution of these points is attended with difficulties, nevertheless, a certain compromise between facts and semi-established facts is requisite to the treatment of the subject of race.

What Is The Definition of Race?

Race may in philosophical terms be described as a moving reality, a being and a becoming or as Topinard says, “an abstract conception, a notion of continuity in discontinuity, of unity in diversity.”

A continuity in discontinuity because a certain set of elements must persist generation after generation in spite of the changes wrought by the passage of years, in order to produce type, which is essentially race in unit. That a certain set of elements is seldom found combined in one individual bespeaks the rarity of an ideally perfect individual type. Types are necessarily composed of elements, physical and psycho-physical, morphological and physiological, and it is upon these elements or traits that the distinguishing marks of races are founded.

Hair, eyes, skin, head and stature are primary; functions of nutrition, reproduction, natural conditions, climate, moisture, temperature, food supply et cetera are secondary and presuppose the relation of individuals to their habitat. The hair by its nature or by its colour blond or brunette, the eyes pigmented light, intermediate or dark, the stature, tall, short, or medium, and the cephalic index—the relational breadth of the head to its length—all serve as test marks of race. These physical characteristics in forming the basis for classification of all mankind in great stocks, or varieties, or races, divide men into colour classifications as, for instance, Deniker’s division of white, yellow, reddish brown and black skinned strains.

Furthermore, hair may be straight, slank, wavy, spiral, frizzy, curly, wooly or fleece-like. It may be long or short. The colour may range from pale blond through the ruddy shades to jet black. The correlations of body height and head index added to colour defines racial characteristics more narrowly. Head index of all body characteristics the least changed under the mutable conditions of environment gives the final stamp to racial distinctions in its dolichocephalic and brachycephalic classifications.

Hair, skin, eyes, stature and head index are characteristics common to all men, and on these points Europe, Africa, Asia and America can be classified. Over these continents are distributed the white, yellow, red, and black skinned races—black in Africa, red in America, yellow in Asia and white in Europe. Restricting to the continent of Europe, Asia and Africa cannot be ignored. Sergi in classifying races principally according to cephalic index, recognizes the Mediterranean district as the center of dispersion of the European races, and consequently divides mankind into the Eurafrican and the Eurasian accordingly as the races have made their home in Africa and Europe, or Asia and Europe.

Subordinately Eurafrican stock is divided into two varieties, Mediterranean and Nordic. Eurafrican and Eurasian varieties are designated by Ripley Teutonic and Alpine Mediterranean. The Teutonic type is white skinned, blond haired, blue-eyed, narrow of head and tall of stature; the Alpine type is white skinned, brown haired, bluish-gray eyed, round of head and mediumly tall; and the Mediterranean type is olive skinned, dark haired, dark eyed, long of head and mediumly tall.

Anthropologically What Has been The Origin of Human Races.

With location is raised the question of racial origin. Was there originally one or were there multiple races? The monogenists taking the orthodox stand declare with Quatrefages that all races have proceeded from one race, “the Biblical Adam and Eve,” and that evident dissimilarities today are merely the result of climate and environment. The polygenists, on the other hand, see in the short duration of time of the period of development the impossibility of such drastic changes taking place, and declare that for that reason many original races must have existed. Agassiz, an extreme advocate, has admitted eight centers of origin, which he has determined according to the flora and fauna of the earth.

However originating, whether at one or at many points upon the globe, there remains no doubt, at least in the minds of evolutionists, that man is but the successor to the ape in biological development. It is only needed to recall the ape-like skull of the Neanderthal man to realize the close kinship between the animal and human world which must have prevailed throughout the paleolithic and neolithic ages.

That the cooling of the earth and the appearance of fauna and flora was followed by the advent of man is undoubted. But as to whether the original men were dolichocephalic or brachycephalic, and when the crossing and recrossing of races occurred are matters of utmost obscurity. Inferior and superior races must have battled for survival, but the resulting composition is very much a matter of guess work. Retzius believes that the brachycephalic type preceded the dolichocephalic, Topinard the opposite. The existence of long burrows with dolichocephalic skulls and flint instruments establishes the fact that men had lived and worked with tools.

The knowledge of the art of fire making was known in the metal age, when hunting and fishing were practiced. Life was, no doubt, wholly nomadic. That wars and invasions took place in the stone age is believed. Histories of Egypt, Persia, India and China point to the circumstance that civilized centers were surrounded by nomadic tribes, a fact which is supported by the assumption that barbaric invasions occurred very early. Blue eyed, light haired barbarians poured into Egypt before 1500 B. C. The Huns and Gauls are later instances.

In fact from the time of the very earliest geological periods these movements of mankind must have taken place, caused by the sinking or rising of areas of the earth’s surface, by the increasing inclemency of one locality from lack of water supply, for instance, and the increasing clemency of another locality. Down the broad rivers human beings must have proceeded, eastwards and westwards, to plains or valleys that were fertile. Such displacements of peoples entailed, of course, a redistribution and substitution of immigrants for aborigines, and implies the evolving of social institution and the expression of man’s ethnological characteristic

Ethnologically origin of human races.

Race is an anthropological term; nation, on the other hand, is distinctly ethnological. The beginnings of culture emphasize ethnological considerations, and in this connection the Aryan, homo

Europaeus, is given large credit for the peopling of Europe. The contented opinion that because most of the tongues of Europe possess Sanskrit origins, and that the myths of Europe re-embody the myths of central Asia, a necessary connection must exist between Europe and Asia has been broken down of late by the establishment of the fact that Europe has known a long continued racial continuity. That the influx from Asia, if it did occur, must have been social and industrial and therefore purely linguistic, is the opinion of most of the debaters of this question to-day. Indeed, linguistic connection is often startingly evident in ethno-anthropological matters—witness, the names of some of the nations of the present, England from Angles, a Germanic tribe north of the Elbe, France from the Franks, and Russia from the Rossi, a Scandinavian family which ruled at Moscow in remote ages.

Early life at the close of the neolithic age when dolichocephalic races occupied Scandinavia and north Germany, Spain and Italy, and brachycephalic Belgium, Switzerland and Russia, was characterized by the very rudiments of human activity. Hunting and fishing must have been followed by agriculture and all these occupations demanded tools. This demand set man’s inventive energy to work to grapple with the making of tools, fire, and the bow and arrow. Decorating, weaving, the making of pottery and the domestication of animals were gradually learned. No division of labour could have occurred until after the formation of the state, however, for division of labour is dependent upon organization and the centralization of a directive agency. The simplest and most isolated industry must have preceded the institution of trade, but that the associative element of trade must soon have begun to make itself felt is proven by the early occurrence of fairs.

The purpose of the fairs and markets was to call attention to the blessings of prosperity and to offer an opportunity for the disposal of livestock, metals and the produce of agriculture. Amber trade took place in Scandinavia at an early date, and Tyre makes mention of her trade in lambs. Religious festivals offered an early occasion for fairs. Scattered members of a clan or tribe were accustomed to come together for worship of a common deity. The harvest of the corn crop presented an occasion for celebrating a wooing, and so grew up many a custom among primitive peoples.

The oats is regarded in some countries as an autumn symbol of courtship as the myrtle is the springtime symbol in others. Forcible wooing, death and mourning customs, and the mutilation of the body are all connected with very early periods. The making of homes presupposed some sort of marital condition necessary for the rearing of children, consequently promiscuous marriages, polygyny, polyandry, and monogamy have variously characterized primitive family life. The importance of the family was indeed not to be gainsaid in early days, for to it can be traced the rudiments of state organization in such forms as the patriarchal family. In the patronymic grouping can also be detected the early beginnings of religious observances.

The worship of an ancestor antedated the rise of a priestly cult. With settled life religion, associated in the mind of a savage with nature wonder, took its first definable form. A worship of the unseen, spirits and ghosts, and propitiation of the same, a belief in dreams and a regard for omens, together with a general fear of the supernatural characterized primitive man’s religion. To outward expression of the inner consciousness of religion can be traced the rise of the priestly cast, the sway of medicine men and the early form of terpsichorean art.

Slower to evolve but betokening a higher degree of specialization than industry or religion in primitive life is politics. The establishment of a state marks a climax in the transition of society from primitive to civilized form. It is the note of difference between tribal and civil society, where conditions of increasing wealth and population demand systematic cultivation of agriculture and organized social life. Restlessness and lawlessness have to be overcome by the force of the state; a machine of government is organized and later towns grow up, considerations of citizenship and economic relations make their appearance.

Upon economic relations are based science, commerce and invention and these relations become eventual factors for differentiating kinds of states. The duties and the purposes of the state have enlarged its functions till they have come to include broad activities. Aristotle said of the Greek state: “it is only an outward expression of the common aspirations and beliefs of its members.” Because it emphasizes the trait common to all members, the state represents the very foundation of society, like-mindedness.

Historically. Ancient states as Egypt, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome illustrated the maturity of social organization, but modern European nations springing from the foundations of the ancient world are even more illustrative of the crystallizing forces of social organization as well as concrete expressions of racial development. From the time when Roman conquests included theoretically all land from far China to the British Isles, and the idea of the Holy Roman Empire was instrumental in forming the Western and Eastern Empires, as well as Russian, Persian, and Turkish dominion, till the birth of modern nations all Europe showed, through the surging tide of flux and reflux of peoples, the formulating impulse of social organization based on racial differentiation.

Conquest and repulse, racial and social mixing, and the imposition of one state of civilization or barbarity upon another characterized those ages, when the advent of Mahomet caused the Saracens to stretch their conques-tial tide from Arabia westward through Africa, Spain and France, and eastward to Constantinople, and those early centuries when the hordes of the yellow race, the Mongols, Magyars and Tartars of the tenth and thirteenth centuries poured into Europe. The disruption of Charlemagne’s power and the birth of France, the Norman conquest and the birth of England are examples of inter-racial conflict which produced two nations destined to become dominantly typical of their respective racial strains.

Thus have the nations shifted and re-shifted till to-day instead of great unbroken areas containing unmixed racial types as in the ancient ages, we have distinct national wholes, and added to physical type we have national and distinct ethnological types. England, the result of the Saxon Norman conquest, Russia of successive repulses of Mongolic hordes, and European conflicts, France of wars from the time of Charlemagne to Bismarck, and Italy of countless vicissitudes since the days of the Holy Roman Empire to the war of 1870 are all examples of units which express race, customs and statehood. Types of races include all people, but Teutonic, Alpine and Mediterranean types may be well represented in a few of the prominent world powers of Europe. England by virtue of long continued national life can well serve to represent the Teutonic type, France the Slavic or Alpine type and Italy the Mediterranean or south European peoples.

The Concept of Human Race Sociologically.

The old law of conflict, savage tribe exerting its will on another savage tribe, is thus illustrated in this subordination of one nation by an-other, of rising and falling powers, of destinies that waxed and waned. In primitive form the subordination is physical, in the civilized it is ethnological, for language and customs are imposed instead of brute force. It is always annihilation of one form for the preservation of another, which is evolution in process.

That a nation resembles an individual in being formed of certain elements is undoubted. Social, psycho-physical and physical traits are present in each aggregate whole. One is a unit as the other is a unit. Individuals are units marked off and differentiated from each other by racial and national barriers, possessing, hower, common intellectual, emotional, moral and physical faculties, therefore, participating in culture and civilization as a whole and expressing art, religion and literature; and it is the study of these individuals as units, or representatives of race-units, defined by ethnological, historical and sociological distinctions, which is to constitute the subject to be handled.

Given physical traits such as elements of head, hair, skin, eyes and stature, the question arises does a particular cast of sociological setting accompany a certain anthropological type? Having a type of such and such dimensions, possessing such and such physical characteristics, is there a likelihood that this type will manifest itself in thought, word and deed and all their far reaching consequences, which also may be considered type? In other words does anthropometric type equal sociologic type, and vice versa? Upon the answer to this query depends the great validity of socio-anthropometry.

by Abdullah Sam
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