On the Commixture of the Races of Man as Affecting the Progress of Civilisation

On the Commixture of the Races of Man as Affecting the Progress of Civilisation

Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London
Volume 3 (1865)
pages 98-122

John Crawfurd (1783-1868)


I continue in this paper the subject of the Commixture of Races, beginning my illustrations with the continent of Africa. The narrow strip of land which lies between the Mediterranean and the Great Desert, and which is irrigated from the range of the Atlas, has a fertile soil, with a climate nearly the same as that of Southern Europe. Its aboriginal inhabitants, fair men compared with other African races, speak a language differing from all other known tongues. These people, still numerous in the mountains, are the Berbers or Kabyles. Their race is clearly a peculiar and distinct one, perhaps more European than African or Asiatic.

Notwithstanding the possession of a fine climate and fertile soil, the Berber race, whether under the name of Lybians, Numidians, or Mauritanians, has never, within the bounds of authentic history, attained such a measure of civilisation and power as to have established a powerful united state, capable of maintaining its own independence, of repelling foreign settlement, and of re- sisting foreign invasion and conquest. A commixture with foreign races has, therefore, been in progress for at least thirty centuries. In this long time the native blood has been intermixed with Greek and Phenician through colonisation; with Italian blood through the Roman conquests and an occupation of six hundred years ; with Teutonic blood through the dominion of the Vandals, which was of a century’s duration; with Greek blood again for one hundred and thirty-six years; and, finally, by the con? quest of the Arabs, which may be said to have now lasted for close on seven centuries. To this may be added the Turkish con? quest, without occupation, and the French conquest, which em- braces a large portion of the country, and is likely enough in due time to embrace the whole of it…

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