Ethnic groups in Europe
Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87 distinct "peoples of Europe", of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans.
There is no precise or universally accepted definition of the terms "ethnic group" or "nationality". In the context of European ethnography in particular, the terms ethnic group, people (without nation state), nationality, national minority, ethnic minority, linguistic community, linguistic group and linguistic minority are used as mostly synonymous, although preference may vary in usage with respect to the situation specific to the individual countries of Europe.
There are eight peoples of Europe (defined by their language) with more than 30 million members residing in Europe:
- the Russians (ca. 95 million residing in Europe),
- the Germans (ca. 82 million),
- the French (ca. 65 million)
- the Italians (ca. 56 - 61 million)[note 1]
- the British (55 - 61 million)[note 2]
- the Spanish (ca. 47 million),
- the Ukrainians (ca. 41 million),
- the Poles (ca. 38 million).
These eight groups between themselves account for some 465 million or about 65% of European population.
About 20-25 million residents (3%) are members of diasporas of non-European origin. The population of the European Union, with some five hundred million residents, accounts for two thirds of the European population.
Both Spain and the UK are special cases, in that the designation of nationality, Spanish and British, may controversially take ethnic aspects, subsuming various regional ethnic groups, see nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain and native populations of the United Kingdom. Switzerland is a similar case, but the linguistic subgroups of the Swiss are not usually discussed in terms of ethnicity, and Switzerland is considered a "multi-lingual state" rather than a "multi-ethnic state".
Of the total population of Europe of some 730 million (as of 2005), over 80% or some 600 million fall within three large branches of Indo-European languages, viz., Slavic, Latin (Romance) and Germanic. The largest groups that do not fall within either of these, or the so-called separate groups, are the Greeks and Armenians (about 12 million each) and the Albanians (about 8 million). Beside the Indo-European languages there are two other major language families on the European continent: Turkic languages and Uralic languages. The Semitic languages that dominate the coast of the northern Africa as well as the Near East are preserved on the Malta islands, a Mediterranean archipelago. The Basque language is a linguistic isolate unrelated to any other languages inside or outside of Europe.
|Family||Branch||People||Sub-groups and minority languages||approx. number (millions)||notes|
|Indo-Europeans||Slavic, East||Russians||Pomors, Cossacks[dubious ]||95||82 in European Russia, 8.3 in Ukraine, 0.7 in Belarus, 1 in the Baltic States, 0.3 in Moldova and Transnistria; up to 0.5 in the Russian communities throughout the EU, especially in Germany|
|Indo-Europeans||Slavic, East||Ukrainians||Rusyns[dubious ], Boykos, Hutsuls, Lemkos, Poleszuks||41||37.5 million in Ukraine; 2 million in European Russia|
|Indo-Europeans||Slavic, South||Bulgarians||Pomaks||012||Total speakers worldwide|
|Indo-Europeans||Slavic, South||Croats||Bunjevci, Šokci||08.0|
|Indo-Europeans||Latin (Romance) Europe||*190|
|Indo-Europeans||Latin, Western||Francophonie||French, Walloons, Romands, Provencals, Occitans, Aranese||72|
|Indo-Europeans||Latin||Italians||Catalan, Corsican, Friulan, Gallo-Italic, Sardinian, Italo-Dalmatian as Sicilian||59|
|Indo-Europeans||Latin, Western||Spaniards||Castilians; non-Castilian ethno-linguistic groups: Andalusians, Asturians, Aragonese, Galicians, Catalans||40|
|Indo-Europeans||Latin, Eastern||Romanians (Vlachs)||Daco-Romanians, Moldovans, Megleno-Romanians, Istro-Romanians, Aromanians, Morlachs, Moravian Vlachs||24-26|
|Indo-Europeans||Latin, Western||Rhaeto-Romanics||Romansh, Friulians, Ladins||0.6|
|Indo-Europeans||Latin, Western||Gibraltarians||0.03||(Speak English mainly as first language) Also summed under White British|
|Indo-Europeans||Germanic, West, Continental||German-speaking Europe||Germans, Austrians, Alemannic Swiss, Luxembourgers, Alsatians, Lorrainers, South Tyroleans, German-speaking Belgians, North Schleswigers||89|
|Indo-Europeans||Germanic, West, North Sea||English||45||also subsumed under British or White British.|
|Indo-Europeans||Germanic, West, Continental||Dutch people||Netherlandic, Flemish people||23|
|Indo-Europeans||Germanic, North||Scandinavians||Norwegians, Swedes, Finland Swedes, Gotlanders, Danes, Faroese, Icelanders||22|
|Indo-Europeans||Germanic, West, North Sea||Frisians||00.5|
|Indo-Europeans||Celtic Europe||*002-22||approx. 2 million speakers of Celtic languages, but depending on the definition, some 20 million may be considered "Celtic"|
|Indo-Europeans||Celtic, Goidelic||Irish||Gaeltacht||06||All but 10 - 20,000 speak English as a first language. Some living in Northern Ireland can also subsumed under British or White British.|
|Indo-Europeans||Celtic, Goidelic||Scots||Gàidhealtachd||06||also subsumed under British or White British.|
|Indo-Europeans||Celtic, Brythonic||Welsh||03||UK, does not include Welsh in USA and elsewhere, also subsumed under British or White British.|
|Indo-Europeans||Celtic, Brythonic||Bretons||04.3[note 3][note 4]||Bretagne and Loire-Atlantique provinces of France, does not include Bretons in Canada and elsewhere, also subsumed under French.|
|Indo-Europeans||Celtic, Brythonic||Cornish||00.5||UK, does not include Cornish in Australia and elsewhere, also subsumed under British or White British.|
|Indo-Europeans||Celtic, Goidelic||Manx||0.04||also subsumed under British or White British.|
|Indo-Europeans||Greek||Greeks||Pontic Greeks||13||Total speakers worldwide|
|Indo-Europeans||Armenian||Armenians||Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Classical Armenian (Grapar)||6-10 million||Total speakers worldwide, Armenian Diaspora + Armenians in Armenia|
|Indo-Europeans||Albanian||Albanians||07.6||Total speakers worldwide|
|Indo-Europeans||Lithuanians||Samogitians, Prussian Lithuanians||03.1|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Oghuz||Turks||Chepni, Yorouks, Bulgarian Turks, Turks of Western Thrace||9 (excluding Turkey)
19 (including European Turkey)
|approx. 9 million (not including Turkey), 10 million in Eastern Thrace (European Turkey); overall there is a total of 55-60 million Turks in Turkey. (see Turks in Europe)|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Oghuz||Azerbaijanis||9.16||in European Azerbaijan only|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Kipchak||Kazakhs||1||in European Kazakhstan only|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Kipchak||Volga Tatars||4.5||in European Russia only|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Oghur||Chuvash||01.5||in European Russia only|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Kipchak||Bashkirs||01.4||in European Russia only|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Kipchak||Kumyks||00.4|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Kipchak||Karachay-Balkars||Karachays, Balkars||00.3|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Kipchak / Oghuz||Crimeans||Tat Tatars, Yaliboyu Tatars, Noğay Tatars||0.25|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Oghuz||Gagauz||0.15|
|Turkic peoples||Turkic, Kipchak||Nogais||0.09|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Ugric||Hungarians||Hungarians, Székelys, Csangos||13.5|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Finno-Lappic||Finns||Karelians, Sweden Finns, Ingrian Finns, Kven people||06|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Finno-Lappic||Estonians||Setos, Võros||01|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Volgaic||Mordvins||Erzya/Shoksha, Moksha, Teryukhan, Qaratay||0.85|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Permic||Udmurts||0.7|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Volgaic||Mari||0.6|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Permic||Komi||Komi-Izhemtsy, Komi-Permyaks||0.4|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Finno-Lappic||Sami||0.1|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Finno-Lappic||Veps||0.008|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Finno-Lappic||Izhorians||0.001|
|Finno-Ugric peoples||Finnic, Finno-Lappic||Livonians||0.0001|
|Northern Caucasian||Caucasian||*05||depends on what part of the Caucasus is considered European, see below.|
|Caucasian||Northeast Caucasian||Tsakhur people||0.01|
|Semitic||Semitic, Hebrew||Jews||1.3||also subsumed under various "Other", see below.|
Europe has a population of about 2 million ethnic Jews (mostly also counted as part of the ethno-linguistic group of their respective home countries):
- Ashkenazi Jews (about 1.4 million, mostly German and French).
- Sephardi Jews (about 0.3 million, mostly French and Italian).
- Mizrahi Jews (about 0.3 million, mostly French).
- Italian Jews (some 50,000, mostly Italian).
- Romaniotes (some 6,000, mostly Greek).
- Karaites (less than 4,000 in Poland and Lithuania).
- Abkhazians: approx. 100,000
- Armenians: approx. 4.6 -6.3 million
- Georgians: approx. 4 million 
- Kabardians, Cherkesses and Adyghes: approx. 600,000
- Nokhches (Chechens and Ingushes): approx. 1.8 million
- Ossetians: approx. 600,000
- Peoples of the Mountain Dagestan (Avars, Dargins, Lezgins, Laks etc.): approx. 2 million
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
Pan and Pfeil (2002) distinguish 33 peoples which form the majority population in at least one[note 5] sovereign state geographically situated in Europe.[note 6] These majorities range from nearly homogeneous populations as in Albania or Poland, to comparatively slight majorities as in Latvia or Belgium. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are multiethnic states in which no group forms a majority.
|Country||Majority||%||Regional majorities||Other minorities[note 7]|
|Albania||Albanians||92%||Greeks ~6%, other 2% (Vlachs, Romani, Serbs, Macedonians, Bulgarians and Turks).|
|Armenia||Armenians||98%||Yazidis 1.2%, Russians 0.4%, Assyrians 0.1%, Ukrainians 0.05%, Kurds 0.04%, Greeks 0.03%, others: 0.1% (2001 census)|
|Austria||Austrians||91.1%||South Slavs 4% (includes Burgenland Croats, Carinthian Slovenes, Croats, Slovenes, Serbs and Bosniaks), Turks 1.6%, Germans 0.9%, and other or unspecified 2.4%. (2001 census)|
|Belarus||Belarusians||81.2%||Russians 11.4%, Poles 3.9%, Ukrainians 2.4%, and other 1.1%. (1999 census)|
|Belgium||Flemings||58%||Walloons 31%, Germans 1%||mixed or other (i.e. Luxembourgers, Eastern or Southern Europeans, Africans and Asians, and Latin Americans) 10%.|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Bosniaks||Bosniak 48%, Serbs 37.1% Croats 14.3%||other 0.6%.(2000)|
|Bulgaria||Bulgarians||84%||Turks 9%||Roma 5%, Others 2% (including Russian, Armenian, Tatar, and Vlach). (2001 census)|
|Croatia||Croats||89.6%||Serbs 4.5%, other 5.9% (including Bosniak, Hungarian, Slovene, Czech, Dalmatian Italians, Austrian-German, Romanian and Romani). (2001 census)|
|Czech Republic||Czechs||90.4%||Moravians 3.7%||Slovaks 1.9%, and other 4%. (2001 census)|
|Denmark||Danes||90%||Faroese||other Scandinavian, Germans, Frisians, other European, Greenlandic people and others.|
|Estonia||Estonians||67.9%||Estonian Swedes||Baltic Russians 25.6%, Ukrainians 2.1%, Belarusians 1.3%, Finns 0.9%, and other (Baltic Germans) 2.2%. (2000 census)|
|Finland||Finns||93.4%||Swedes 5.6%, Sami 0.1%||Russians 0.5%, Estonians 0.3%, Romani 0.1% and Turks 0.05%. (2006)|
|France||French||84%||(includes sometimes considered as "regional groups" like Bretons, Corsicans, Occitans, Alsatians, Normans, Picards, Savoyards, Basques, Catalans and Flemings).||other European 7%, North African 7%, Sub-Saharan African, Indochinese, Asian, Latin American and Pacific Islander. French with recent immigrant background (at least one great-grandparent) 33%.|
|Germany||Germans||81%-91% ||includes Bavarians, Swabians, Saxons, Frisians, Sorbs, Silesians, Saarland Germans, Polish-Germans and Schleswig-Holstein Danes).||Germans without immigrant background 81%; Germans with immigrant background (including ethnic German repatriates and people of partial immigrant background) 10%; Foreigners 9%: Turks 2.1%, others 6.7% and non-European descent about 2 to 5%).|
|Greece||Greeks||93%||includes linguistic minorities 3%||Albanians 4%, and other (i.e. Aromanians/Megleno-Romanians, Cretan Turks and Macedonian/Greek Slavic 3%. (2001 census)[note 8]|
|Hungary||Hungarians||92.3%||Romani 1.9%, Germans 1.2%, other (i.e. Croats, Romanians, Bulgarians, Turks and Ruthenians) or unknown 4.6%. (2001 census)|
|Iceland||Icelanders||94%||other (non-native/immigrants - mainly Polish, Russian, Greek, Portuguese and Filipino) 6%.|
|Ireland||Irish||87.4%||Protestant Irish or Anglo-Irish||other white (large numbers of Latvian, Polish and Ukrainian migration) 7.5%, Asian 1.3%, black 1.1%, mixed 1.1%, and unspecified (i.e. Ulster Scots and Irish Travellers) 1.6%. (2006 census)|
|Italy||Italians||92.5%||includes Sicilians, Sardinians, Lombards and other subgroups plus German-speakers in South Tyrol and French-speaking minority of Val d'Aosta.||other European (mostly Romanians, Albanians, followed by Ukrainians, a recognised Slovene minority, Polish, Greek, British, French and Macedonian) 4%, North African Arab 1%, and others (i.e. Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Black African and Latin American) 2.5%.|
|Kosovo||Albanians||88%||Serbs 7%||other 5% (Bosniak, Gorani, Romani, Turk, Ashkali and Egyptians, and Macedonian).|
|Latvia||Latvians||62.1%||Baltic Russians 26.9%||Belarusian 3.3%, Ukrainian 2.2%, Polish 2.2%, Lithuanian 1.2%, Livonian (Finno-Estonian) 0.1% and other 2.0%. (2011)|
|Lithuania||Lithuanians||83.5%||Poles 6.74%, Russians 6.31%, Belorussians 1.23%, other (Lipka Tatars) 2.27% and Jews (Karaites and Yiddish-speaking) 0.01%. (2001 census)|
|Macedonia||Macedonians||64.2%||Albanians 25.2%, Turks 3.9%||Romani 2.7%, Serbs 1.8%, and other (i.e. Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians and Croats) 2.2%. (2002 census)|
|Malta||Maltese||95.3%||Sporadic number of Maltese of Italian ancestry 4.5%.|
|Moldova||Moldovans||75.8%||Ukrainians 8.4%, Gagauz 4.4%||Russians 5.9%, Romanians 2.1%, Bulgarians 1.9%, and other 1.3%. (2004 census)|
|Montenegro||—||Montenegrins 44.98%, Serbs 28.73%||Bosniaks 8.65%, Albanians 4.91%, and other (Croats, Greeks, Romani and Macedonians) 12,73%. (2011 census)|
|Netherlands||Dutch||80.7%||Frisians 3%||other European Union nationals 5%, Indonesians 2.4%, Turks 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccans 2%, Netherlands Antilles & Aruban 0.8%, other 4.8% and Frisian-speaking dominant 0.01%. (2008 est.)|
|Norway||Norwegians||85-87% [note 9]||Sami 1.2 - 2.5%[note 10]||Poles 1.4%. A variety of other ethnicities with background from 219 countries that together make up approximately 12% (Swedes, Pakistanis, Somalis, Iraqi Arabs and Kurds, Vietnamese, Germans, Lithuanians) (2012)|
|Poland||Poles||96.7%||Germans 0.4%, Belarusians 0.1%, Ukrainians 0.1%, other and unspecified (i.e. Silesians, Prussian Lithuanians and Kashubians) 2.7%, and about 5,000 Polish Jews reported to reside in the country. (2002 census)|
|Portugal||Portuguese||92%||other 8% - European Union (i.e. Spanish, British, German, French, Romanians, Bulgarians and Hungarians) and non-EU nationals (i.e. Ukrainians, Moldavians, Russians, Serbs and Croats); Africans from Portuguese-speaking Africa, Brazilians, Chinese, Indians, Portuguese Gypsies and local Portuguese Mirandese speakers (i.e. Mirandese language).|
|Romania||Romanians||89.5%||Hungarians 6.6%, Romani 2.5%, Germans 0.3%||Ukrainians 0.3%, Russians 0.2%, Turks 0.2%, other 0.4% and Jewish 0.1%. (2002 census)|
|Russia||Russians||79.8%||Tatars 3.8%, Kalmyks, Chechens, Circassians, Ossetians and others||Ukrainians 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1% and other or unspecified (Kazakhs, Nogais, Mordvins, Komi, Azerbaijanis and Armenians) 12.1%, and a total of 102 other nationalities. (2002 census, includes Asian Russia).|
|Serbia[note 11]||Serbs||82.9%||Hungarians 3.9%, Romani 1.4%, Yugoslavs 1.1%, Bosniaks 1.8%, Montenegrin 0.9%, and other 8%. i.e. Macedonians, Slovaks, Romanians, Croats, Ruthenes, Germans and other. (2002 census, includes Kosovo).|
|Slovakia||Slovaks||85.8%||Hungarians 9.7%||Romani 1.7%, Ruthenian/Ukrainian 1%, other and unspecified 1.8%. (2001 census)|
|Slovenia||Slovenes||83.1%||Serbs 2%, Croats 1.8%, Bosniaks 1.1%, other (Dalmatian Italians, ethnic Germans, Hungarians and Romanians) and/or unspecified 12%. (2002 census)|
|Spain||Spaniards||89%||Various nationalities or sub-ethnicities of the Spanish people, including Castilians and Leonese, Catalans/Valencians, Galicians and Basques.||Gypsies, Jews, immigrant peoples (Latin Americans, Romanians, North Africans, sub-Saharan Africans, Chinese, Filipinos, Levant Arabs, and others).|
|Sweden||Swedes||88%||Finns (Tornedalians), Sami people||foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns (Sweden-Finns), Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Russians, Syriacs, Greeks, Turks, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Thais, Koreans and Chileans.|
|Switzerland||Swiss||79%||regional linguistic subgroups, including the Alamannic German-speakers, the Romand French-speakers, the Italian-speakers and Romansh people (see Romansh language).||Balkans (Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks or Albanians) 6%, Italians 4%, Portuguese 2%, Germans 1.5%, Turks 1%, Spanish 1% and Ukrainians 0.5%.|
|Turkey||Turks||75%||Kurds 18%||Arabs, Zaza, Laz, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Assyrians, Albanians, Bulgarians, Croats, Bosniaks 7%|
|Ukraine||Ukrainians||77.8%||Russians 17.3%||Belarusians 0.6%, Moldovans 0.5%, Crimean Tatars 0.5%, Bulgarians 0.4%, Hungarians 0.3%, Romanians 0.3%, Poles 0.3%, Jews 0.2%, Armenians 0.1% and other 1.8%. (2001 census)|
|United Kingdom||White British||>85%[note 12]||(consisting of English: c 75-80% Scottish: 8.0%, Welsh: 4.5%, Northern Irish: 2.8%, also Cornish, Manx, Romani and Channel Islanders). Included are the inhabitants of Gibraltar.||Black British, Asian British often consists of South Asian and East Indian peoples, Chinese British, various other Commonwealth Citizens and other Europeans.|
The Basques are assumed to descend from the populations of the Atlantic Bronze Age directly. The Indo-European groups of Europe (the Centum groups plus Balto-Slavic and Albanian) are assumed to have developed in situ by admixture of early Indo-European groups arriving in Europe by the Bronze Age (Corded ware, Beaker people). The Sami peoples are indigenous to northeastern Europe, while the other Finnic Peoples arrived later during the Bronze Age. Reconstructed languages of Iron Age Europe include Proto-Celtic, Proto-Italic and Proto-Germanic, all of these Indo-European languages of the centum group, and Proto-Slavic and Proto-Baltic, of the satem group. A group of Tyrrhenian languages appears to have included Etruscan, Rhaetian and perhaps also Eteocretan and Eteocypriot. A pre-Roman stage of Proto-Basque can only be reconstructed with great uncertainty.
Regarding the European Bronze Age, the only secure reconstruction is that of Proto-Greek (ca. 2000 BC). A Proto-Italo-Celtic ancestor of both Italic and Celtic (assumed for the Bell beaker period), and a Proto-Balto-Slavic language (assumed for roughly the Corded Ware horizon) has been postulated with less confidence. Old European hydronymy has been taken as indicating an early (Bronze Age) Indo-European predecessor of the later centum languages.
- Aegean: Greek tribes, Pelasgians/Tyrrhenians and Anatolians.
- Balkans: Illyrians (List of ancient tribes in Illyria), Dacians and Thracians.
- Italian peninsula: Italic peoples, Etruscans, Adriatic Veneti, Ligurians and Phoenician colonies.
- Western/Central Europe: Celts (list of peoples of Gaul, List of Celtic tribes), Rhaetians and Swabians, Vistula Veneti, Lugii and Balts.
- Iberian peninsula: Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula (Iberians, Lusitani, Aquitani, Celtiberians) and Basques.
- British Isles: Celtic tribes in Britain and Ireland and Picts/Priteni.
- Northern Europe: Finnic peoples, Germanic peoples (list of Germanic peoples).
- Southern Europe: Sicani.
- Eastern Europe: Scythians, Sarmatians.
Ethno-linguistic groups that arrived from outside Europe during historical times are:
- Phoenician colonies in the Mediterranean, from about 1200 BC to the fall of Carthage after the Third Punic War in 146 BC.
- Iranian influence: Achaemenid control of Thrace (512-343 BC) and the Bosporan Kingdom, Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans, Ossetes.
- the Jewish diaspora reached Europe in the Roman Empire period, the Jewish community in Italy dating to around AD 70 and records of Jews settling Central Europe (Gaul) from the 5th century (see History of the Jews in Europe).[unreliable source?]
- The Hunnic Empire (5th century), converged with the Barbarian invasions, contributing to the formation of the First Bulgarian Empire
- Avar Khaganate (c.560s-800), converged with the Slavic migrations, fused into the South Slavic states from the 9th century.
- the Bulgars (or proto-Bulgarians), a semi-nomadic people, originally from Central Asia, eventually absorbed by the Slavs.
- the Magyars (Hungarians), a Ugric people, and the Turkic Pechenegs and Khazars, arrived in Europe in about the 8th century.
- the Arabs conquered Cyprus, Crete, Sicily, southern Italy, Malta, Hispania and, in the early 11th century, Emirate of Sicily (831-1072) and Al-Andalus (711-1492)
- the Berber dynasties of the Almoravides and the Almohads ruled much of Spain and Portugal.
- exodus of Maghreb Christians
- the western Kipchaks known as Cumans entered the lands of present-day Ukraine in the 11th century.
- the Mongol/Tatar invasions (1223–1480), and Ottoman control of the Balkans (1389–1878). These medieval incursions account for the presence of European Turks and Tatars.
- the Romani people (Gypsies) arrived during the Late Middle Ages
- the Mongol Kalmyks arrived in Kalmykia in the 17th century.
History of European ethnography
The earliest accounts of European ethnography date to Classical Antiquity. Herodotus described the Scythians and Thraco-Illyrians. Dicaearchus gave a description of Greece itself besides accounts of western and northern Europe. His work survives only fragmentarily, but was received by Polybius and others.
The 4th century Tabula Peutingeriana records the names of numerous peoples and tribes. Ethnographers of Late Antiquity such as Agathias of Myrina Ammianus Marcellinus, Jordanes or Theophylact Simocatta give early accounts of the Slavs, the Franks, the Alamanni and the Goths.
Book IX of Isidore's Etymologiae (7th century) treats de linguis, gentibus, regnis, militia, civibus (of languages, peoples, realms, armies and cities). Ahmad ibn Fadlan in the 10th century gives an account of the Bolghar and the Rus' peoples. William Rubruck, while most notable for his account of the Mongols, in his account of his journey to Asia also gives accounts of the Tatars and the Alans. Saxo Grammaticus and Adam of Bremen give an account of pre-Christian Scandinavia. The Chronicon Slavorum (12th century) gives an account of the northwestern Slavic tribes.
Gottfried Hensel in his 1741 Synopsis Universae Philologiae published what is probably the earliest ethno-linguistic map of Europe, showing the beginning of the pater noster in the various European languages and scripts. In the 19th century, ethnicity was discussed in terms of scientific racism, and the ethnic groups of Europe were grouped into a number of "races", Mediterranean, Alpine and Nordic, all part of a larger "Caucasian" group.
The beginnings of ethnic geography as an academic subdiscipline lie in the period following World War I, in the context of nationalism, and in the 1930s exploitation for the purposes of fascist and Nazi propaganda so that it was only in the 1960s that ethnic geography began to thrive as a bona fide academic subdiscipline.
The origins of modern ethnography are often traced to the work of Bronisław Malinowski who emphasized the importance of fieldwork. The emergence of population genetics further undermined the categorisation of Europeans into clearly defined racial groups. A 2007 study on the genetic history of Europe found that the most important genetic differentiation in Europe occurs on a line from the north to the south-east (northern Europe to the Balkans), with another east-west axis of differentiation across Europe, separating the "indigenous" Basques and Sami from other European populations. Despite these stratifications it noted the unusually high degree of European homogeneity: "there is low apparent diversity in Europe with the entire continent-wide samples only marginally more dispersed than single population samples elsewhere in the world."
The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of Europeans.
The member states of the Council of Europe in 1995 signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The broad aims of the Convention are to ensure that the signatory states respect the rights of national minorities, undertaking to combat discrimination, promote equality, preserve and develop the culture and identity of national minorities, guarantee certain freedoms in relation to access to the media, minority languages and education and encourage the participation of national minorities in public life. The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities defines a national minority implicitly to include minorities possessing a territorial identity and a distinct cultural heritage. By 2008, 39 member states have signed and ratified the Convention, with the notable exception of France.
Most of Europe's indigenous peoples, or ethnic groups known to have the earliest known historical connection to a particular region, have gone extinct or been absorbed by (or, perhaps, contributed to) the dominant cultures. Those that survive are largely confined to remote areas. Groups that have been identified as indigenous include the Sami of northern Scandinavia, the Basques of northern Spain and southern France, and a many of the western indigenous peoples of Russia. Groups in Russia include Finno-Ugric peoples such as the Komi and Mordvins of the western Ural Mountains, Samoyedic peoples such as the Nenets people of northern Russia.
Ethnic minorities of non-European origin
Europe is also where a multiplicity of cultures, nationalities, and ethnic groups not indigenous to Europe reside. The majority of them are recently arrived immigrants in the 20th century, usually from former colonies of the British, French, and Spanish empires.
Populations of non-European origin in Europe (approx. 22 - 29+ million, or approx. 3% to 4%+ [depending on definition of non-European origin], out of a total population of approx. 728 million):
- Western Asians
- Ashkenazi Jews: approx. 1.4 million, mostly in Germany and France. Only a few communities remain in Europe, as the vast majority have been wiped out by the Nazi genocide during WWII. In recent years, most have either immigrated to America or made aliyah to the re-established state of Israel.
- Sephardi Jews: approx. 0.3 million, mostly in France and Italy.
- Mizrahi Jews: approx. 0.3 million, mostly in France.
- Italqim: approx. 50,000, mostly in Italy.
- Romaniotes: approx. 6,000, mostly in Greece.
- Karaites: less than 4,000, mostly in Poland and Lithuania.
- Kurds: approx. 2.5 million, mostly in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Turkey.
- Iraqi diaspora: mostly in the UK, Germany and Sweden.
- Lebanese diaspora: especially in France, Netherlands, Germany, Cyprus and the UK.
- Syrian diaspora: includes Assyrian, Syriac and Chaldean Christian minorities. Largest number of Syrians live in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
- North Africans (Arabs and Berbers): approx. 5 million, mostly in France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden. The bulk of North African migrants are Moroccans, although France also has a large number of Algerians.
- Horn Africans: approx. 200,000 Somalis, mostly in the UK, Netherlands and Scandinavia.
- Sub-Saharan Africans (many ethnicities including Afro-Caribbeans and others by descent): approx. 5 million but rapidly growing, mostly in the UK and France, with smaller numbers in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Portugal and elsewhere.
- Latin Americans: approx. 2.2 million, mainly in Spain and to a lesser extent Italy and the UK. See also Latin American Britons (80,000 Latin American born in 2001).
- Brazilians: around 70,000 in Portugal and Italy each, and 50,000 in Germany.
- Chilean refugees escaping the Augusto Pinochet regime of the 1970s formed communities in France, Sweden, the UK, former East Germany and the Netherlands.
- Venezuelans: around 520,000 mostly in Spain (200,000), Italy (150,000), Portugal (100,000), France (30,000), Germany (20,000), UK (15,000), Ireland (5,000) and the Netherlands (1,000).
- South Asians (many ethnicities, not including Romani): approx. 3 - 4 million, mostly in the UK but reside in smaller numbers in Germany and France.
- Romani (Gypsies) (who have been in Europe for several centuries, and thus whose non-European origins are distant): approx. 4 or 10 million (although estimates vary widely), dispersed throughout Europe but with large numbers concentrated in the Balkans area, they are of ancestral South Asian origin.
- Indians: approx. 2 million, mostly in the UK, also in Germany and smaller numbers in Ireland.
- Pakistanis: approx. 1,000,000, mostly in the UK, but also in Norway and Sweden.
- Tamils: approx. 250,000, predominantly in the UK.
- Bangladeshi residing in Europe estimated at over 500,000, the bulk live in the UK.
- Afghans, about 100,000 to 200,000, most happen to live in the UK, but Germany and Sweden are destinations for Afghan immigrants since the 1960s.
- East Asians
- Chinese: approx. 1.7 million, mostly in France, Russia, the UK, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
- Filipinos: above 1 million, mostly in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
- Japanese: mostly in the UK and a sizable community in Düsseldorf, Germany.
- Koreans: 100,000 estimated (excludes a possible 100,000 more in Russia), mainly in the UK, France and Germany. See also Koryo-saram.
- Southeast Asians of multiple nationalities, ca. total 1 million, such as Indonesians in the Netherlands, Thais in the UK and Sweden, Vietnamese in France and former East Germany, and Cambodians in France. See also Vietnamese people in the Czech Republic.
- Mongolians are a sizable community in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
- North Americans
- U.S. and Canadian expatriates: American British and Canadian British, Canadiens and Acadians in France, as well Americans/Canadians of European ancestry residing elsewhere in Europe.
- African Americans (i.e. African American British) who are Americans of black/African ancestry reside in other countries. In the 1920s, African-American entertainers established a colony in Paris and descendants of World War II/Cold War-era black American soldiers stationed in France, Germany and Italy are well known.
- U.S. and Canadian expatriates: American British and Canadian British, Canadiens and Acadians in France, as well Americans/Canadians of European ancestry residing elsewhere in Europe.
- Pacific Islanders: A small population of Tahitians of Polynesian origin in mainland France, Fijians in the United Kingdom from Fiji and Māori in the United Kingdom of the Māori people of New Zealand.
- Amerindians and Inuit, a scant few in the European continent of American Indian ancestry (often Latin Americans in Spain, France and the UK; Inuit in Denmark), but most may be children or grandchildren of U.S. soldiers from American Indian tribes by intermarriage with local European women. In Germany, the Native American Association of Germany founded in 1994 as a socio-cultural organization estimates 50,000 North American Indians (descendants) live in the country.
Medieval notions of a relation of the peoples of Europe are expressed in terms of genealogy of mythical founders of the individual groups. The Europeans were considered the descendants of Japheth from early times, corresponding to the division of the known world into three continents, the descendants of Shem peopling Asia and those of Ham peopling Africa. Identification of Europeans as "Japhetites" is also reflected in early suggestions for terming the Indo-European languages "Japhetic".
- The first man that dwelt in Europe was Alanus, with his three sons, Hisicion, Armenon, and Neugio. Hisicion had four sons, Francus, Romanus, Alamanus, and Bruttus. Armenon had five sons, Gothus, Valagothus, Cibidus, Burgundus, and Longobardus. Neugio had three sons, Vandalus, Saxo, and Boganus.
- From Hisicion arose four nations—the Franks, the Latins, the Germans, and Britons; from Armenon, the Gothi, Valagothi, Cibidi, Burgundi, and Longobardi; from Neugio, the Bogari, Vandali, Saxones, and Tarincgi. The whole of Europe was subdivided into these tribes.
The text goes then on to list the genealogy of Alanus, connecting him to Japheth via eighteen generations.
European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage". Due to the great number of perspectives which can be taken on the subject, it is impossible to form a single, all-embracing conception of European culture. Nonetheless, there are core elements which are generally agreed upon as forming the cultural foundation of modern Europe. One list of these elements given by K. Bochmann includes:
- A common cultural and spiritual heritage derived from Greco-Roman antiquity, Christianity, the Renaissance and its Humanism, the political thinking of the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution, and the developments of Modernity, including all types of socialism;
- A rich and dynamic material culture that has been extended to the other continents as the result of industrialization and colonialism during the "Great Divergence";
- A specific conception of the individual expressed by the existence of, and respect for, a legality that guarantees human rights and the liberty of the individual;
- A plurality of states with different political orders, which are condemned to live together in one way or another;
- Respect for peoples, states and nations outside Europe.
Berting says that these points fit with "Europe's most positive realisations". The concept of European culture is generally linked to the classical definition of the Western world. In this definition, Western culture is the set of literary, scientific, political, artistic and philosophical principles which set it apart from other civilizations. Much of this set of traditions and knowledge is collected in the Western canon. The term has come to apply to countries whose history has been strongly marked by European immigration or settlement during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the Americas, and Australasia, and is not restricted to Europe.
Since the High Middle Ages, most of Europe used to be dominated by Christianity. There are three major denominations, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox, with Protestantism restricted mostly to Northern Europe, and Orthodoxy to Slavic regions, Romania, Greece and Georgia. Also The Armenian Apostolic Church, part of the Oriental Church, is in Europe - another branch of Christianity (world's oldest National Church). Part of the Catholicism, while centered in the Latin parts, has a significant following also in Germanic and Slavic regions, Hungary, and Ireland (with some in Great Britain).
Islam has some tradition in the Balkans (the European dominions of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th to 19th centuries). Muslims represent majority of the population of Albania, Kosovo and a purality of 47% in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with significant minorities present in all over Europe. European Russia has the largest Muslim community, including the Tatars of the Middle Volga and multiple groups in the Caucasus, including Chechens, Avars, Ingush and others. With 20th-century migrations, Muslims in Western Europe have become a noticeable minority.
Judaism has a long history in Europe, but is a small minority religion, with France (1%) the only European country with a Jewish population in excess of 0.5%. (With millions of Jews killed during WW2, the Holocaust has contributed to the small population percentages.) The Jewish population of Europe is composed primarily of two groups, the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi. Ancestors of Ashkenazi Jews likely migrated to the middle of Europe at least as early as the 8th century, while Sephardi Jews established themselves in Spain and Portugal at least one thousand years before that. Jews originated in the Levant thousands of years ago and spread around the Mediterranean and into Europe. Jewish European history was notably affected by the Holocaust and emigration (including Aliyah, as well as emigration to America) in the 20th century.
In modern times, significant secularization has taken place, notably in laicist France in the 19th century and in the 20th century such as Estonia and German Democratic Republic. Currently, distribution of theism in Europe is very heterogeneous, with more than 95% in Poland, and less than 20% in the Czech Republic and Estonia. The 2005 Eurobarometer poll found that 52% of EU citizens believe in God.
"Pan-European identity" or "Europatriotism" is an emerging sense of personal identification with Europe, or the European Union as a result of the gradual process European integration taking place over the last quarter of the 20th century, and especially in the period after the end of the Cold War, since the 1990s. The foundation of the OSCE followng the 1990s Paris Charter has facilitated this process on a political level during the 1990s and 2000s.
From the later 20th century, 'Europe' has come to be widely used as a synonym for the European Union even though there are millions of people living on the European continent in non-EU states. The prefix pan implies that the identity applies throughout Europe, and especially in an EU context, and 'pan-European' is often contrasted with national identity.
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- Demography of Europe
- Emigration from Europe
- Ethnic groups in the Middle East
- Federal Union of European Nationalities
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
- Genetic history of Europe
- Immigration to Europe
- Languages of Europe
- List of ethnic groups
- Nomadic peoples of Europe
- Peoples of the Caucasus
- White people
- including Corsicans
- or Britons, includes English, Scottish, Welsh
- Legal population of the administrative region of Brittany in 2007
- Legal population of Loire-Atlantique in 2007
- Ethnic groups which form the majority in two states are the Romanians (in Romania and Moldova), and the Albanians (in Albania and the partly recognized Republic of Kosovo). Also to note is that Luxembourg has a common ethnonational group, the Luxembourgers of partial Germanic, Celtic and Latin (French) and transplanted Slavic origins. There are two official languages: French and German in the relatively small country, but the informal everyday language of its people is Letzebeurgesch. Closely related groups holding majorities in separate states are German speakers (Germans, Austrians, Luxembourgers, Swiss German speakers), the Serbo-Croats in the states of Former Yugoslavia, the Dutch/Flemish, the Russians/Belarusians and the Bulgarians/Macedonians.
- including the European portions of Russia, not including Turkey, Georgia and Kazakhstan, excluding microstates with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants: Andorra, Holy See, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino.
- percentages from the CIA Factbook unless indicated otherwise.
- note: percents represent citizenship, since Greece does not collect data on ethnicity
- There is no legal or generally accepted definitons of who is of Norwegian ethnicity in Norway. 87 % of population have at least one parent who is born in Norway.
- In Norway, there is no clear legal definition of who is Sami. Therefore, exact numbers are not possible.
- Excluding Kosovo
- In the 2001 census in England and Wales, white residents could identify themselves as White Irish or White British though no separate White English or White Welsh options were offered. In Scotland, white residents could identify themselves as White Scottish or Other White British. In the census of Northern Ireland, White Irish and White British were combined into a single "White" ethnic group on the census forms.
- Christoph Pan, Beate Sibylle Pfeil,Minderheitenrechte in Europa. Handbuch der europäischen Volksgruppen (2002). Living-diversity.eu, English translation 2004.
- Pan and Pfeil (2004), "Problems with Terminology", pp. xvii-xx.
- Pan and Pfeil (2004) give 122 million for Europe and Asia taken together.
- Germans in Germany; Pan and Pfeil (2004) give 89 million for all German-speaking groups.
- Recensement officiel de l'Insee INSEE.fr; Pan and Pfeil (2004) give 55 million for the French-speaking groups, excluding the Occitans.
- Pan and Pfeil give 31 million, excluding Catalans, Valencians, Basques and Galicians
- Pan, Christoph; Pfeil, Beate S. (2003). "The Peoples of Europe by Demographic Size, Table 1". National Minorities in Europe: Handbook. Wien: Braumueller. p. 11f. ISBN 978-3-7003-1443-1. (a breakdown by country of these 87 groups is given in Table 5, pp. 17-31.)
- unless otherwise indicated, population figures are those of Pan and Pfeil (2004)
- Russian Census 2002: Population by ethnicity in four European Federal districts (Russian)
- Ukrainian Census 2001
- Belorusan Census 2009
- Statistics Estonia: Population by ethnicity
-  (Latvian)
- Statistics Lithuania: Population by ethnicity
- Transnistrian Statistical Annual 2010 (Russian)
- Moldovan Census 2004
- Ausländische Bevölkerung am 31.12.2010
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- CIA Factbook, United Kingdom Census 2001
- Pan and Pfeil (2004) give 3.8 million. High estimates range up to 10 million.
- CIA Factbook 4.9% of UK population of 63 million
- Population by region of France in 2008 - Insee
- Legal population of Loire-Atlantique in 2008 - Insee
- English county population statistics
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- Gheg 4,156,090 + Tosk 3,035,000 + Arbereshe 260,000 + Arvanitika 150,000 = 7,601,090. (Ethnologue, 2005)
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- (Spanish) Classification of population according to cultural identity
- Soviet Census 1989 (Russian)
- Ethnologue: Armenian
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- Persons of danish origin: 4 985 415. Total population: 5 511 451 Statistics Denmark
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- "Immigration is hardly a recent development in French history, as Gérard Noiriel amply demonstrates in his history of French immigration, The French Melting Pot. Noiriel estimates that one third of the population currently living in France is of "foreign" descent", Marie-Christine Weidmann-Koop, "France at the dawn of the twenty-first century, trends and transformations", Summa Publications, Inc., 2000, P.160
- " In present day France, one-third of the population has grandparents that were born outside of France", Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong: What makes the French so French", Robson Books Ltd, 2004, p.8
- Germans and foreigners with an immigrant background
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- Karl Friedrich Vollgraff, Erster Versuch einer Begründung sowohl der allgemeinen Ethnologie durch die Anthropologie, wis auch der Staats und rechts-philosophie durch die Ethnologie oder Nationalität der Völker (1851), p. 257.
- A. Kumar, Encyclopaedia of Teaching of Geography (2002), p. 74 ff.; the tripartite subdivision of "Caucasians" into Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean groups persisted among some scientists into the 1960s, notably in Carleton Coon's book The Origin of Races (1962).
- Andrew Barry, Political Machines (2001), p. 56
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- Christoph Pan, Beate Sibylle Pfeil,Minderheitenrechte in Europa. Handbuch der europäischen Volksgruppen (2002). Living-diversity.eu
- "Youths bring violence from a war-torn land". Telegraph.
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- ab Hisitione autem ortae sunt quattuor gentes Franci, Latini, Albani et Britti. ab Armenone autem quinque: Gothi, Valagothi, Gebidi, Burgundi, Longobardi. a Neguio vero quattuor Boguarii, Vandali, Saxones et Turingi. trans. J. A. Giles. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1848.
- Cf. Berting (2006:51).
- Cederman (2001:2) remarks: "Given the absence of an explicit legal definition and the plethora of competing identities, it is indeed hard to avoid the conclusion that Europe is an essentially contested concept." Cf. also Davies (1996:15); Berting (2006:51).
- Cf. Jordan-Bychkov (2008:13), Davies (1996:15), Berting (2006:51-56).
- K. Bochmann (1990) L'idée d'Europe jusqu'au XXè siècle, quoted in Berting (2006:52). Cf. Davies (1996:15): "No two lists of the main constituents of European civilization would ever coincide. But many items have always featured prominently: from the roots of the Christian world in Greece, Rome and Judaism to modern phenomena such as the Enlightenment, modernization, romanticism, nationalism, liberalism, imperialism, totalitarianism."
- Berting 2006, p. 52
- Berting 2006, p. 51
- Duran (1995:81)
- This is particularly the case among proponents of the so-called confederalist or neo-functionalist position on European integration. Eder and Spohn (2005:3) note: "The evolutionary thesis of the making of a European identity often goes with the assumption of a simultaneous decline of national identities. This substitution thesis reiterates the well-known confederalist/neo-functionalist position in the debate on European integration, arguing for an increasing replacement of the nation-state by European institutions, against the intergovernmentalist/realist position, insisting on the continuing primacy of the nation-state."
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