English as “pure Germans”?

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In the 19th century there was the idea that the English were descended from Anglo-Saxons who drove the Welsh to the “Celtic Fringe.” But looking at some English people, it seems clear to me that they are a hybrid population, at least speaking from the perspective of one who has a keen eye for the Germanic physique. Victorians must have known this too on some level . . .

Keira Knightly….

Kate Beckinsale….

…or, a more typically Germanic actress, Naomi Watts:

Ain’t diversity great?

Here is a real German, Eva Habermann:

Ok, more Keira….

17 Comments

  1. Kate Beckinsale is part-Burmese. I don’t know about Keira Knightley. Very tasty though!

    The other up-and-coming new English actress is Romola Garai. She looks an archetypal English rose, but the name is Hungarian. (Maybe her father or grandfather came over during the Hungarian uprising – thousands did.)

    From Census statistics it can be shown that at least 10% of present-day English ancestry comes from recent ‘Celtic’ immigrants (mainly Irish).

    On the question of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ ancestry, see my post from a month or two ago about ‘Celts and Anglo-Saxons’.

  2. she’s only 1/8 burmese, that’s not really that much. isn’t ian duncan smith 1/8 japanese??? yeah, that garai chick, a friend of mine think she’s hot, saw her in daniel deronda. much prefer keira-she’s even legal! (barely)

  3. btw, she looks better with darker hair….

  4. Razib: ” (…) speaking from the perspective of one who has a keen eye for the Germanic physique”

    “Germanic” ( I suppose you meant “Nordic”) types are even rarer in the USA than in The UK. You need to take a tour in Europe (Netherlands, Northern Germany and around the Baltic, both shores) to become a qualified expert! ;-)

    Of course, the North European strain in GB comes primarily from the Germanic and Danish Invasions.
    The core gene pool would appear to be central european, and thus “alpine”.
    One thing that struck me in England was that people were both shorter and darker as you went north! Same thing as you travel from the East to the West. The Welsh look distinctly “alpine”. I suppose Britain (at least south of the Adrian Wall, was inhabited by similar populations until the Germanic Invasions, and they remained the main component in the British gene pool to this day.

  5. “Germanic” ( I suppose you meant “Nordic”) types are even rarer in the USA than in The UK. You need to take a tour in Europe (Netherlands, Northern Germany and around the Baltic, both shores) to become a qualified expert! ;-)

    see godless’ post on American ancestry. go look at the maps-note the interesting trend that the majority of the inhabitants of the upper midwest hail from germany & scandinavia-so no, i don’t have to leave the comforts of the USA ;) (the pacific northwest, where i live, is probably #2 on the list-finns settled astoria, oregon, norwegians all around the seattle area, germans are the #1 ethnic group by origin). you should stick to talking about spain my friend ;) watch too much american T.V. or don’t leave the environs of the bi-coastal cities and you forget that most americans are still northern european in heritage….

  6. Razib: ” you should stick to talking about spain my friend ;) watch too much american T.V. and you forget that most americans are still northern european in heritage…. “

    I knew there was a sizable scandinavian population in the Mid-West, but I didn´t know about the ethnic make-up of Imbler. ;-)
    Still, many Euro-americans have mixed european ancestry from many parts of Europe, and many claim native-american (Indian) ancestry as well.
    My point is you need to make a field-trip in Nordic Lands. (I warn you, the food is horrible, and so is the weather. The locals are boring!)

    By the way, I don´t have a TV set! ;-)

  7. yes-i’ll take up your advise someday-don’t tell my g/f though ;)

    as far the “mutt” nature of most americans-true, but most of the “mutts” are mixed between say scottish/english or german/scandinavian/english, etc. it isn’t a random mix-for instance, because most lutherans in the us are german or scandinavian in origin, these two groups will intermarry a fair amount in the upper midwest. you don’t often get swedish-italians!

  8. i like the first picture of keira btw. though the 4th is “cute” too….

  9. The daughter of actor Will Knightley and playwright ‘Sharman MacDonald’ .

    Born in London, so she must be English.

    You’re a sharp one, razib.

  10. You could find Germans who look as unGermanic as the English in your sample and English who look as Germanic your non random sample proves nothing lots of Germans aren’t blonde and pale and yet’s not talk about the half-Burmeerese

  11. 1) i was using this post as an excuse to post pics of keira
    2) tom, you’re a genius, I bow before your explications of the obvious
    3) kate beckinsale is 1/8 burmese, not i guess 1/2 is close enough to 1/8 in your world….

  12. Further to previous post

    1) even if someone’s only 1/8 Burmese it means she’s not “pure” English and so one can’t generalize about the English’s racial composition from that.

    2) The fact one may accept as you clearly do and I think i do that a) Pale blondes are particulary attractive generally and b) Pale blondes are disproportionatly of Germanic stock doesn ot mean c) all Germanic stock are pale blondes.

  13. “Eva Habermann:” would appera not to be a natural blonde, moreover her skin colour may refletial non Genetic factors as may the skin colour of the “English” in your sample

  14. wow tom, can you recommend a good statistics book???

  15. Since razib has ignored my post and failed to correct the blog entry, I’ll spell it out more clearly: Keira Knightley is half-Scottish. Maybe razib ought to stick to commenting on ethnic variation in Pakistan.

  16. 1) i was using this post as an excuse to post pics of keira

    duh.

  17. Razib: off to the Midwest? Really? Lots of natural blondes. Uma Thurman would have been average-looking where I grew up. On the other hand, you would get tired of a farm girl very quickly, unless you really did want to settle down, raise semi-blond children, and remodel your house over and over again until the day you die. (Note: Farm girls want to get OFF the farm, in case you were dreaming of growing corn and hogs).

    One of the demographically unique things about the upper Midwest is the relative absence of British and Irish. Scandinavians and Germans are dominant, with a moderate number of Slavs. This isn’t too significant genetically, but politically it is. Many Minnesotan political leaders were direct descendants of Swedish, Finnish, or Norwegian political leaders back in Europe — probably Germany too, but I don’t know any particular examples. The American Communist Party had an extraordinary Finnish component (losers of a civil war).

    Godless: The socialist Farmer-Labor party split on WWII. On the one hand, the only Congressman to vote to support the Spanish Republic against Franco was from the FLP. On the other hand, German agents worked out of the isolationist Minnesota FLP Congressman Lundeen’s office right up until the war. That’s quite a split. (This relates to something you said awhile back.)

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