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Thread: The Baltic Question: Are Balts Related to Germanics and to What Degree?

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    The Baltic Question: Are Balts Related to Germanics and to What Degree?

    Hello there

    I´ve a question regarding the Baltics (especially regarding the baltic population of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania who make up the "Baltikum") and I hope some of the experts can help me out.

    The baltic countries:


    How are these tribes related both with Germanics and Slavs? As far as I know the Baltics are no slavs, but some of the baltic countries have a big russian minority within themselves because of means of "russification" used by the USSR during their domination-time after the 2nd WorldWar.
    Their culture is distinct from the slavic culture (the culture is very Northern European), and they don´t speak a slavic language but a more "latin"-orientated language with Germanic elements.

    The history of Latvia for example is closely connected with the German land.

    "At the end of the 12th century, Latvia was more often visited by traders from western Europe who set out on trading journeys along Latvia's longest river, the Daugava, to Russia. At the very end of the 12th century, German traders arrived and with them came preachers of the Christian faith who attempted to convert the pagan Baltic tribes to the Christian faith. The Balts did not willingly convert to the new and different beliefs and practices, and particularly opposed the ritual of baptism. News of this reached the Pope in Rome and it was decided that Crusaders would be sent into Latvia to influence the situation.

    In the 1200s, a confederation of feudal nations called Livonia developed under German rule. The Germans founded Riga in 1201, and gradually it became the largest city in the southern part of the Baltic Sea. With the arrival of the German Crusaders, the development of separate tribal realms of the ancient Latvians came to an end.

    In the 13th century, the Livonian Confederation developed under the Germanic authorities consisting of Latvia and Estonia.
    In 1282, Rīga and later Cēsis, Limbaži, Koknese and Valmiera were included in the Northern German Trading Organisation, or the Hanseatic League (Hansa). From this time, Riga became an important point in west-east trading. Rīga, being the centre of the eastern Baltic region, formed close cultural contacts with Western Europe.
    "
    -wikipedia

    Many baltic cities are known under German names because of this:


    "In 1943 and 1944 two divisions of Waffen SS were formed from Latvian volunteers to help Germany against the Red Army. In 1944 when the Soviet military advances reached the area heavy fighting took place in Latvia between German and Soviet troops which ended with another German defeat. During the course of the war, both occupying forces conscripted Latvians into their armies, in this way increasing the loss of the nation's "live resources". In 1944, part of the Latvian territory once more came under Soviet control. The Soviets immediately began to reinstate the Soviet system. After the German surrender it become clear that Soviet forces were there to stay, and pro-independence partisans (Forest Brothers), soon to be joined by German collaborators, began their fight against another occupier - the Soviet Union."

    -----------

    What do you think of the Baltics? Our nearest brothers and sisters in Europe (besides the celtics)? Or are they more slavs? Do you think they are particularly Germanic?

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valkyrie View Post
    "In 1943 and 1944 two divisions of Waffen SS were formed from Latvian volunteers to help Germany against the Red Army.
    I am wodnering why you put this in bold. The Waffen SS had Indian and Muslim divisions as well.

    What do you think of the Baltics? Our nearest brothers and sisters in Europe (besides the celtics)? Or are they more slavs? Do you think they are particularly Germanic?
    They are obviously not Germanic since they do not speak a Germanic language. I believe I have heard Baltics and Slavs linkened to one another in a Balto-Slavic group, like we have the Celto-Germanic.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagna View Post
    I am wodnering why you put this in bold. The Waffen SS had Indian and Muslim divisions as well.
    Just for information purpose, I was stating the German-Baltic connections.

    An interesting side-fact is that the Latvian justice punished some well-known partisans severely who killed German soldiers during WW2 - in the early 1990ies, decades after the war! One´d think the opposite would be case.

    They are obviously not Germanic since they do not speak a Germanic language. I believe I have heard Baltics and Slavs linkened to one another in a Balto-Slavic group, like we have the Celto-Germanic.
    Thanks so far. I´ve read that the Baltics are quite fed up with Russians and Polands because of their former attemps to russify/slavify the Balticum.
    The political relationship between baltic states and Russia are quite worse, and the baltic population of the baltic countries shows signs of antipathy towards the Russian minority.

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valkyrie View Post
    Thanks so far. I´ve read that the Baltics are quite fed up with Russians and Polands because of their former attemps to russify/slavify the Balticum.
    The political relationship between baltic states and Russia are quite worse.
    Indeed. Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians are not really fans of Russians, I believe. However, this does not necessarily have to do with meta-ethnic kinship/ancestry. Serbs and Croats hate each other with passion, yet they are both Slavs.


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    I believe, and not surprisingly so, that they cluster, genetically speaking, between the Slavs to their east & south, the Finns to their north and the Germans to their west.

    Go figure.

    They're just like any other central and northern European group, really--descendents of the groups that took refuge to the south during the last glacial maximum and as the climate warmed and the glaciers retreated northward, the people followed and colonized.

    Paternally speaking, R1A is the most common Y-chromosome haplogroup amongst he Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_R1a_(Y-DNA)

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    Culturally I would say the Estonians & Latvians are very close to other Northern Europeans. Not surprising since they were ruled by Germans & Scandinavians for much of their history & both adopted the Lutheran faith. Lithuanuans seem to lean closer to the Slavs, especially the Poles with whom they were united in a commonweath for several centuries & they tend to be Catholic as a result of that union.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    Culturally I would say the Estonians & Latvians are very close to other Northern Europeans. Not surprising since they were ruled by Germans & Scandinavians for much of their history & both adopted the Lutheran faith.
    Indeed. Though there is no geographic border between Estonia and Latvia, there is a three-fold southwards frequency drop of hg I1a*-M253, which is particularly frequent all over Scandinavia. Its moderate presence in Estonia is probably due to the long-term presence of Swedish settlements in Estonian islands and in the northwestern coastal areas.

    The Y chromosomes of Finno-Ugric- and Baltic-speaking populations have distinct genetic histories. One of the main players in Y chromosomal variation in Northern Eurasian populations is hg N3. This haplogroup is frequent among Finno-Ugric-speaking and many Siberian populations, but present only at very low frequencies in Western Europe. Analyses of the mtDNA hg profiles in different European populations show that the frequency of hg U4 is significantly higher in Eastern than in Western European populations. The frequency of sub-hg U4 in Latvians is among the highest in Europe. In the central part of Latvia – Semigalia – U4 was found in 14.9 % of all mtDNA variants, which is close to the frequency of occurrence of U4 observed in the Volga-Uralic region.

    The genetic proximity of the Baltic-speaking populations with the Volga-Finnic Mari, most likely reflects simply an ancient, largely common heritage of Eastern European populations, rather than a specific link between the two populations.

    The maternal lineages of Baltic-speaking populations, Latvians and Lithuanians, and of their Slavonic-speaking and Finno-Ugric-speaking neighbours, in particular Estonians, form a close cluster. This cluster also includes Germans, as well as Germanic-speaking Scandinavians, suggesting a recent shared maternal ancestry as well as pre-historic and historic time gene flows across linguistic borders.

    Most of the lineages shared between Latvians and Lithuanians are also present in neighbouring populations, in many cases among both Finno-Ugric- and Slavonic speakers. Hg H sub-hg H11, shared by Baltic-speakers, has been found in different Eastern European and Central Asian populations.

    Source: "Mitochondrial DNA Portrait of Latvians: Towards the Understanding of the Genetic Structure of Baltic-Speaking Populations" in Annals of Human Genetics, 2006.

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    A Lithuanian I work with told me that her language is close enough to the Indo side of the Indo-European language group that Indian visitors can almost understand it.
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    I do not think "culture" is necessarily important, as the culture of the "Baltikum" could have been adopted by another people who were not present at the creation of "Baltic culture". I think it is quite evident though, that overall they exhibit a lot of "Germanic" traits.

    They should breed more though! The Ruskies are going to outnumber them in their own lands one day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysium View Post
    I do not think "culture" is necessarily important, as the culture of the "Baltikum" could have been adopted by another people who were not present at the creation of "Baltic culture". I think it is quite evident though, that overall they exhibit a lot of "Germanic" traits.

    They should breed more though! The Ruskies are going to outnumber them in their own lands one day.
    Agreed. Maybe someone should post examples of how they are different (physically) from germanics if its even possible.

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