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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/202

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192
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY.

Lowell Institute Lectures, 1896.
By WILLIAM Z. RIPLEY, Ph. D.,

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY; LECTURER IN ANTHROPO-GEOGRAPHY AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

V.—THE THREE EUROPEAN RACES.

IT may smack of heresy to assert, in face of the teachings of all our text-books on geography and history, that there is no single European or white race of men; and yet that is the plain truth of the matter. No continental group of human beings with greater diversities or extremes of physical type exists. That fact accounts in itself for much of our advance in culture. We have already shown in the preceding papers that entire communities of the tallest and shortest of men as well as the longest and broadest headed ones are here to be found within the confines of Europe. Even in respect of the color of the skin, hair, and eyes, responsible more than all else for the misnomer "white race," the greatest variations occur. To be sure, the several types are to-day all more or less blended together by the unifying influences of civilization; there are few sharp contrasts in Europe such as those between the Eskimo and the American Indian or the Malay and the Papuan in other parts of the world. We have been deceived by this in the past. It is high time for us to correct our ideas on the subject, especially in our school and college teaching.

Instead of a single European type there is indubitable evidence of at least three distinct races, each possessed of a history of its own, and each contributing something to the common product, population, as we see it to-day. If this be established it does away at one fell swoop with most of the current mouthings about Aryans and pre-Aryans; and especially with such appellations as the "Caucasian" or the "Indo-Germanic" race. Supposing for present peace that it be allowed that the ancestors of some peoples of Europe may once have been within sight of either the Caspian Sea or the Himalayas, we have still left two thirds of our European races and population out of account. As yet it is too early to discuss the events in the history of these races; that will claim our attention at a later time. The present task before us is to establish first of all that three such racial types exist in Europe.

The skeptic is already prepared perhaps to admit that what we have said about the several physical characteristics, such as the shape of the head, stature, and the like, may all be true. But he will continue to doubt that these offer evidence of distinct races because ordinary observation may detect such gross inconsisten-