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January 07, 2003

The Moors and Spain

The Moors of Al-Andalus intermarried heavily with the native Spaniards (Mozarabs), not to mention their Slavic slaves. But there have been suggestions that the possible genetic imprint on southern Spain by the Muslim conquests was minor (as marginal as the Visigothic legacy). The following study from The Human Races Archive (which you should visit at least once a week if you have an interest in archaeogenetics and its affiliated fields) might seem to negate that position:

The highest frequency of haplotype 5 (68.9%) was previously observed in Berbers from Morocco, and it has been established that this haplotype is a characteristic Berber haplotype in North Africa. The relative frequencies of haplotype 5 distribution show a geographical gradient of decreasing frequency according to latitude in Iberia: 40.8% in Andalusia, 36.2% in Portugal, 12.1% in Catalonia, and 11.3% in the Basque Country; such a cline of decreasing frequency of haplotype 5 from the south to the north in Iberia clearly establishes a gene flow from North Africa towards Iberia.

Of course, another reasonable explaination is that southern Iberia and northern Africa have always been closely affiliated racially (just as there are swarthy Andalusians-there are red-haired Berbers). No wonder Antonio Banderas could play an Arab in The 13th Warrior.

Posted by razib at 03:37 AM

look this site:


"bidirectional gene flow across the Strait of Gibraltar has been detected: the genetic contribution of European Y chromosomes to the NW African gene pool is estimated at 4%, and NW African populations may have contributed 7% of Iberian Y chromosomes."

"The Islamic rule of Spain, which began in A.D. 711 and lasted almost 8 centuries, left only a minor contribution to the current Iberian Y-chromosome pool. The high-resolution analysis of the Y chromosome allows us to separate successive migratory components and to precisely quantify each historical layer."

The contribution from "Moors" (berbers and islamic spaniards) to the Spanish gene pool was very little and Banderas is swarthy due to the action of the sunbeams.

On the other hand, there were not many visible and genetic differences among the Berber invaders and Spaniards.

Posted by: Juan ascaņo at January 7, 2003 05:39 AM

The modern Berbers I've met are much darker than most white Spaniards. To my mind they look more like gypsies or middle-eastern Arabs.

Posted by: duende at January 7, 2003 09:59 AM

Somebody tell me why so many Muslims look at the conquest of Spain with a sense of pride (extolling all the scientific achievements, tolerance of other faiths...etc) yet the Crusades were always looked at as totally evil. Is there a great difference between the two?

Instead of conquest of Spain, I could have substituted conquest of India, conquest of Pakistan, conquest of North Africa, conquest of Turkey...

Also, maybe Juan could answer, were the Moors more "Black" featured or more "Caucasoid" featured like most Algerians.

Finally, what is the general sentiment of Spaniards to Muslims today- or let me guess, like so many in the EU they are too busy having fun to preoccupy themsleves with this stuff? Is it like Imam Ocasio who seems to be very sympathetic to the Moors:

Posted by: -R at January 7, 2003 05:20 PM

"R" the "moors" were not negroid-i believe they are called "harratin" in north africa and they exist in oases in the sahara fringe. many of the moors were converts from christianity. also, many of these "moriscos" later converted back to christianity.

Posted by: razib at January 7, 2003 05:28 PM

(Flashing back to the Christopher Walken - Dennis Hopper scene in True Romance...)

Posted by: jimbo at January 7, 2003 05:34 PM

A bunch of bullcrap!

Posted by: Darkstar at January 26, 2003 06:18 PM

Harratin are predominantly negroid. Berbers are mixed as well, but are predominantly Caucasoid. The ancient population of the Sahara was Negroid, as their rock art clearly shows. The Moors were Berber/Arab with Negroid admixture. Some had Negroid features, most did not - similar to the populations of Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Posted by: harratin at February 4, 2003 04:00 PM

The Moors are an extant ethnic group in North Western Africa. The Moors are a seperate group from the Haratin, though they may share an affinity. It seems that the Moors today do have a predominant "black" African presence amongst their group. From my evalution, the Moors are definitely an amalgamation of berber, "black" African, and Hassaniya Arab (of Yemen origin). The Moors themselves trace their ancestry to the Hassaniya Arabs of Yemen. Although the Hassaniya have had a major influence on the Moors, the Moors are probably more berber and "black" than they are Arab.

Posted by: cerebellum_solutions_llc at February 21, 2003 01:15 PM