Mudcat Café message #1479369 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #64952   Message #1479369
Posted By: GUEST,Galician
06-May-05 - 10:05 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From Carlos Aradas, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain

Right, I have heard enough crap about the Armada and the "Black Irish" being descendants from "Spaniards." It seems to me that certain people should get informed on what they write about before spreading generalised misconceptions even more.

Even without knowing much about history or genetics, several genral-knowledge, commonsensical realities make very improbable the myth of Armada survivors having had any impact on the current Irish population:

1) Spanish people are mostly dark-haired, OK, so far so good. But, jet-black hair (the colour attributed to the black Irish) is only found in a small percentage of the population (10-15%), the rest being various shades of brown. Moreover, 17% of Spaniards have fair/blond hair. Blondism being recessive, the percentage of Spanish people carrying "blond genes" would approach half of the population according to basic Mendelian rules (the chances of their off-spring being fair-haired are not negligible especially if mixing with Northern Europeans). Basically, that means that for the Black Irish to be descendants of Spanish sailors:

- All of their forefathers would have to fall into the 10-15% Spaniards with jet-black hair. Highly improbable bearing in mind that many of them were noblemen who claimed "purity of blood." (Nothing wrong with having Jewish or Arab blood, but they were probably right...)

- They would have survived in great numbers and decided to stay in Ireland leaving their Estates, family and friends behind for good, even knowing that Spanish possessions in Europe (Flanders) were at easy reach.

- They would have been welcomed by the Irish population, who would have offered them their daughters gladly.

- They would have escaped English persecution.

- They would have married jet-black haired women exclusively and their descendants (for over 400 years) never mixed with any blond/red-haired natives.

I mean, folks, get real!


The Herald, September 10 2004
CELTIC nations such as Scotland and Ireland have more in common with the Portuguese and Spanish than with the Celts of central Europe, according to a new academic report.
Historians have long believed that the British Isles were swamped by a massive invasion of Iron Age Celts from central Europe around 500BC.
However, geneticists at Trinity College in Dublin now claim that the Scots and Irish have more in common with the people of north-western Spain.
Dr Daniel Bradley, genetics lecturer at Trinity College, said a new study into Celtic origins revealed close affinities with the people of Galicia.
He said: "It's well-known that there are cultural relations between the areas but now this shows there is much more. We think the links are much older than that of the Iron Age because it also shows affinities with the Basque region, which isn't a Celtic region."
He added: "The links point towards other Celtic nations, in particular Scotland, but they also point to Spain."
Historians believed the Celts, originally Indo-European, invaded the Atlantic islands in a massive migration 2500 years ago.
But using DNA samples from people living in Celtic nations and other parts of Europe, geneticists at the university have drawn new parallels.
Dr Bradley said it was possible migrants moved from the Iberian peninsula to Ireland as far back as 6000 years ago up until 3000 years ago.
"I don't agree with the idea of a massive Iron Age invasion that took over the Atlantic islands. You can regard the ocean, rather than a barrier, as a communication route," Dr Bradley said.
Archaeologists have also been questioning the links between the Celts of eastern France and southern Germany and the people of the British Isles and the new research appears to prove their theories.
The Dublin study found that people in areas traditionally known as Celtic, such as Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany and Cornwall, had strong links with each other and had more in common with people from the Iberian peninsula.
It also found people in Ireland have more in common with Scots than any other nation.
"What we would propose is that this commonality among the Atlantic facade is much older, 6000 years ago or earlier," Dr Bradley added.
There are also close links between Scotland and Ireland dating back much further than the plantations of the 1600s when many Scots moved to Northern Ireland in search of fertile farming lands, the research showed.
However, the researchers could not determine whether fair skin, freckles, red hair and fiery tempers truly are Celtic traits.
Stephen Oppenheimer, professor of clinical socio-medical sciences at Oxford, said that the Celts of western Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall were descended from an ancient people living on the Atlantic coast when Britain was still attached to mainland Europe, while the English were more closely related to the Germanic peoples of the interior.
He said: "The English are the odd ones out because they are the ones more linked to continental Europe. The Scots, the Irish, the Welsh and the Cornish are all very similar in their genetic pattern to the Basque."

The study headed by Dr Bradley was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Nesta outra ligação um patriota irlandês recolhe informes científicos sobre o irmão Povo Irlandês:


In fact, it seems likely that few, if any, survivors of the Armada took up residence in Ireland. For one thing, there weren't many survivors. Perhaps as many as 17 Spanish ships ran aground or sank off the Irish coast in the fall of 1588, as the crippled Armada made its roundabout way home after its defeat in the English Channel. The records of the period are incomplete, but it's possible that as many as 6,000 Spanish soldiers and sailors were dumped into the sea. Of these, 2,000 or more simply drowned. One contemporary account claimed that 1,100 bodies washed up on a five-mile stretch of beach.

Between 3,000 and 3,500 of the remainder were killed or captured by the English or their Irish minions. The English had fewer than 2,000 troops to maintain their hold on Ireland, so they resorted to the expedient of not taking any prisoners. In one instance, several hundred Spaniards were induced to surrender with the promise of honorable treatment, only to be methodically butchered the next morning.

The richest or most prominent of the survivors were held for ransom, or for public spectacle (the English always were a class act). Only a few hundred of the castaways managed to make it to Scotland and to the Continent with the help of sympathetic Irishmen, themselves no great lovers of the English, who at the time were attempting to consolidate their grip on their miserable neighbor.

Frankly, there was little to induce the shipwrecked soldiers and sailors to stay. The Spanish considered the Irish to be savages-- evidently they'd been to a few Notre Dame games--and they thought the island was a cold and forbidding place. One Captain Francisco de Cuellar, who managed to make it to Spanish-held Antwerp, relates in a letter how an Irish chieftain, impressed by de Cuellar's bravery, offered him his daughter's hand in marriage. The Spaniard's response was to sneak away in the middle of the night.

A few Spaniards stuck around for a while, of course; several were on hand to help a combined force of Scotch and Irish defeat an English army at Ballyshannon in northwest Ireland in 1597. But it's fair to say the Armada's castoffs didn't make much of a dent on the ethnic makeup of the country.