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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/521

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THE INFLUENCE OF RACE IN HISTORY.

disappear without leaving any traces. Such has been the lot of all conquering peoples which, though strong in arms, have been weak in numbers. Those only have escaped obliteration which, like the Aryans in India, formerly, and the English, also in India, to-day, have observed a rigid system of castes, preventing the mixture of conquerors and conquered. Except where the rule of caste has operated, the general result has been to see the conquering people absorbed, after a few generations, by the conquered. It has not disappeared, however, without having left traces of its work in civilization behind it. Egypt, conquered by the Arabs, quickly absorbed its conquerors; but they left the most important elements of civilization—religion, language, and arts—there. A like phenomenon took place in Europe among the peoples called Latin. The French, Italians, and Spaniards have, in reality, no traces of Latin blood in their veins; but the institutions of the Romans were so strong, their organization was so perfect, their influence in civilization so great, that the countries occupied by them for centuries have remained Latin in language, institutions, and peculiar genius.

It is not, however, by reason of its strength that one people imposes its civilization upon another; very often the conquered people leads the conquerors in this line. The Franks finally triumphed over the Gallo-Roman society, but they were in a short time morally conquered by it. They were also physically overcome, for they had plunged into a population more numerous than themselves. This conquest of the conquerors by the conquered is to be seen in a still higher degree among the Mussulman peoples. It was precisely when the political power of the Arabs had wholly disappeared, that their religion, language, and arts were spread most extensively.

But when races too dissimilar are brought in contact by the chance of invasions and conquest, fusion is impossible by any force, and the only result that can be produced is the extermination of the weaker race. This disappearance of the inferior people in the face of a superior race does not always take place by means of a systematic and sanguinary extermination; the simple action of presence, to use a chemical term, is sufficient to bring on destruction. When the superior people has established itself in a barbarous country, with its complicated mode of life and its numerous means of subsistence, it monopolizes and masters the living forces of the country much more easily and speedily than the former occupants. The latter, formerly masters of all the resources of the land, come at last to only toilsomely gleaning what their conquerors have left.

When two different races become mingled, notwithstanding a great inequality of civilization, the result is disastrous rather to