Carleton S. Coon, The Races of Europe
(Chapter XIII, section 2)

The White Race and the New World

Since the recession of the last glacier, the principal movement of the white race has been northward and westward, until the center of popula-tion and of civilization has shifted from Africa and Asia to southern Europe, and from southern Europe to the northwest. From roughly 3000 B.C. until 1492 A.D., the various branches of the Mediterranean race which had followed the rain belts into Europe were busy expanding in the countries which they had settled, and in assimilating the stray remnants of the older hunting population, which they had absorbed.

Before 1492 A.D., for at least five centuries, the racial history of many parts of Europe consisted of an internal genetic adjustment, in the process of which the Mediterranean strains, so much more numerous at the time of their settlement in Europe than the total of the aborigines, were to a certain extent bred out and replaced by a reemergence of the old types, and to a larger extent recombined genetically with the old types in re-emergence to produce something new. Even within the Mediterranean stock, different strains in one population have showed differential survival values and often one has reemerged at the expense of others.

In 1492 A.D., the maximum survival of Mediterraneans (in the widest sense) in Europe in the face of these reëmergences was to be found in peripheral countries; Spain, Portugal, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, and parts of Norway. It was precisely these countries, especially Spain, Portugal, England, and the Netherlands, which furnished the materials for the initial peopling by Europeans of the New World, and to the New World in the sense of the two Americas were soon to be added South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Mediterraneans who peopled the New World were of two principal varieties, Nordics and small, or Ibero-Insular (in Deniker's sense), Mediterraneans. The Nordics went to North America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, the Mediterraneans proper to Central and South America. Wherever the Nordics went, they found lands occupied by scattered tribes of hunters and gatherers, or of riverside agriculturalists who were too few to offer them successful resistance. The wars with the Blackfeet and the Sioux were long and bloody, but the Blackfeet and the Sioux have lost their racial hold on their land as completely as have the Arunta. Dispossession and gradual extinction has been the fate of those who opposed the English and the Dutch, whether their opponents were Bushmen or Tasmanians or Beothuks.

The Spanish, on the other hand, went mostly to countries where a dense native population lived close to the soil, and where mighty empires had already arisen; their colonization was largely a matter of conquest and subjugation, and in all the American countries of Spanish settlement, excepting Argentina and Chile, the Indian farmer has reemerged, and the Spaniard forms but an upper crust. The Portuguese, carving out, in Brazil, a vast empire of river and forest, found but little land suitable for the habitation of whites, and into this they brought black men from Africa whose descendants are now the chief possessors of the soil.

The expansion of the Mediterraneans, using the word in the larger sense, into the New World, was an extension of their earlier expansion into Europe. North America became, by the nineteenth century, the greatest Nordic reservoir in the world. But the century which saw the erection of this reservoir also witnessed the beginnings of its change in character; the tide of immigration brought with it members of all the other races cat Europe. The people who came to America, from the time of the Pilgrim Fathers to the imposition of the laws restricting immigration, were selected; none were fully representative of the countries from which they came. In America they were subjected to environmental forces of a new and stimulating nature, so that changes in growth such as their ancestors had not felt for centuries produced strange, gangling creatures of their children, In America we have before our eyes the rapid action of race-building forces; if we wish to understand the principles which have motivated the racial history of the Old World, it behooves us to pay careful attention to the New.