A 5th-Century Apartheid May Explain Britons' Genes





Long before Adolf Hitler dreamed of doing it, Germans colonized Britain and probably instituted a South Africa style apartheid regime there, scientists have concluded.

Archaeologists and historians have long believed that no more than 200,000 Anglo-Saxons from Germany invaded Britain during a 300-year period starting in the 5th century. But given that there were 2 million native Britons at the time, biologists have puzzled over how -- in less than 15 generations -- 50 percent of the English gene pool has acquired Anglo-Saxon Y chromosomes.

Now researchers at University College London and other institutions have concluded that the only way to square those facts is by visualizing an apartheid regime, in which the invaders restricted intermarriage and instituted a brutal system of exploitation such that Anglo-Saxon offspring were far more likely to survive into adulthood than the children of local Britons, who were then called Welshmen. Legal texts from the time support the idea: Anglo-Saxon lives were valued two to five times as much as the lives of Welshmen.



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