Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/159

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APPLETONS’

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.


DECEMBER, 1897.



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.

XI.—THE BRITISH ISLES.

THE ethnic history of the British Isles turns upon two significant geographical facts, which have rendered their populations decidedly unique among the other states of western Europe.[1] The first of these is their insular position, midway off the coast between the north and south of the continent. That narrow silver streak between Calais and Dover which has insured the political security and material prosperity of England in later times, has always profoundly affected her racial history. A partial bar against invasion by land, the fatal step once taken, it has immediately become an obstacle in the way of retreat. Invasion thus led inevitably to assimilation. Protected sufficiently against disturbance to assure that homogeneity of type which is attendant upon close contact, the islands at the same time could never suffer from the stagnation which utter isolation implies.


  1. For invaluable assistance I am deeply indebted to Dr. John Beddoe, F. R. S., late President of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, of Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts, not only for the loan of rare material for the illustration of this particular paper, but for kindly criticism and interest throughout our whole series. To President E. W. Brabrook, C. B., of the Anthropological Institute, London, also, I would acknowledge most gratefully my obligation. Recognition should be made of the courtesy of Mr. J. A. Webster, secretary, as well. The complete collection of photographs of the Institute has not