Are Romanians white?

Romanians are one of the most diverse population in Europe, hence they combine all colours of European-Caucasian people. This genetic diversity is not to be confused. It is not a result of relatively recent (past 2000 years) influx of migrants combined with locals, but mostly a proof of the existence of a genetic hub on the Romanian territory and surrounding countries (Balkans, Hungary, Austria and part of West Ukraine). Main genetic markers of Romanian population are similar to those in the rest of Europe. The difference is that Romania and surrounding countries have a balanced proportion of them (around 15–20% each), while the other areas in Europe have one or two main markers in higher (50–80%)proportion than the rest. The main five European markers are: I, E1b1, R1a, R1b and J2. There are also N genetic markers in North East Europe, but they are not of European origin per se. They came with recent (1000–1200 years ago) migrations from central Asia and Siberia and are present mostly in Finland and North-West of Russia.

Y-Dna I is split in I1 (North) and I2 (South) and they belong to the old proto-European population that lived in Europe long before Caucasian Indo-European migrations of 6400 years ago. Haplogroup I (I1, I2) derives from an even older IJ group of people that migrated to Europe, from South of Caspic Sea (today’s Iran), some 50,000 years ago. They could be the first homo sapiens (Cro-Magnon) that arrived to Europe.

I-M170 is one of the most numerous haplogroups among European males. Subclades can be found in most present-day European populations, with peaks in some Northern European and South East European countries. Consequently, I-M170 represents up to one-fifth of the male population of Europe, being the continent’s second major Y-DNA haplogroup (behind Haplogroup R). The haplogroup reaches its maximum frequency in the Balkans (with the highest concentration in present-day Herzegovina). It may be associated with unusually tall males, since those in the Dinaric Alps have been reported to be the tallest in the world, with an average male height of the range 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)-182 cm (6 ft 0 in) in the cantons of Bosnia, 184 cm (6 ft 0 in) in Sarajevo, 182 cm (6 ft 0 in)-186 cm (6 ft 1 in) in the cantons of Herzegovina. (from Wikipedia)

E1b1b is also a pre-Caucasian group of genes that came through Anatolia (Turkey today) from Middle East and North Africa. It seems the agriculture was introduced to Europe by E1b1b people:

The newer R1a, R1b and J2 were brought by Caucasians 6400 years ago with their massive migration to Europe. It seems Caucasians (R1a, R1b, J2) stopped for around 1500 years in the so called “Old Europe” area (Balkans, Romania, Hungary, Austria and South-West Ukraine), mixing with the older proto-European populations (I and E1b1b).

Conform Kurgan hypothesis, Indo-Europeans migrated in all directions from the Caucasus north region, especially between 4000 BC to 1000 BC. Two main directions were West, towards European continent and East, towards India of today

The Western branch reached and settled in Central Europe, Carpathian basin and Balkans, by 2500 BC and in West Europe, by 1000 BC.

Now, Romania seems to be inhabited by Caucasians, speaking an Indo-European language, since at least 2500 BC (4500 years ago).

Being at a cross-roads between East European steppes (Ukraine), Pontic area (Turkey and Balkans) , Baltics (Poland, Lithuania) and West Europe (Germany. Austria), Romanian territory of today was a migration hub and melting pot of all Caucasians moving back and forth for around 3000 years (between 4000 BC and 1000 BC). If you look at the genetic map of Y-DNA (males, who travelled most) you may find all main European genes of today populations in Europe. Caucasians brought three main genetic groups to Europe: R1a, R1b and J2. J1 is a close marker to J2, even though in less numbers than J2 and will be presented mostly for comparison.

West Europeans have as main gene R1b, Celtic. They are the Western branch of Indo-Europeans (Caucasians). Romanians have similar (15–20%) R1b genes proportion to Scandinavians and Central Europeans (Sweden, West Poland, Austria, Czech, Hungary and Balkans)

East Europeans have more R1a, from the ancient Slavic people. Romanians have similar proportion (15–20%) of R1a genes as other Balkan, German and Scandinavian people

A very old Neolithic marker, in a less significant proportion (8–15%), present in Hungarian-Romanian-Bulgarian population is J2. It can be found in similar numbers in: Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, part of Sweden, Austria, as well. One fourth of the Vlach people (isolated communities of Romance language speakers in the Balkans) belong to J2, considerably more than the average of Macedonia and northern Greece where they live. Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. This is the case of the Hattians, the Hurrians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians (and their Carthaginian offshoot). Interesting is the fact that the highest concentration (30–40%) of J2 marker is in Caucasus mountains

Another very old Y-Dna marker in Europe is Neolithic J1. It comes from the goat herders who were almost certainly not homogenous tribes consisting exclusively of J1 lineages, but in all likelihood a blend of J1 and T1 lineages. So much is evident from the presence of both J1 and T1 in north-east Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus and the mountainous parts of southern Europe.

Frequencies of Haplogroup J1 in Europe and West Asia tend to vary considerably from one regional community to the next. The highest local percentages in Europe are found in Greece, plus the Balkans, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal but hardly ever exceeds 5% of the population. However Italy, France and Spain also have areas where J1 appears completely absent. Even in northern Europe, where the nation-wide frequencies are below 0.5%, very localized pockets of J1 have been observed in Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Larger sample sizes are needed to get a clearer picture of the distribution of J1 in Europe.

This is a small percentage marker (1–5%) in European population and, again, Romania and surrounding countries have similar numbers, same as West and East Europe, as well.

Now, about other older populations of Europe before Kurgan (4500 BC). North and South Europeans have I1-I2: Scandinavian, Sardinian, Dalmatian. I1 and I2 are two close genetic groups representing ancient populations from the North and South of Europe before the Indo-Europeans. They are the ones Indo-Europeans kind of overwhelmed all over Europe, during migrations, 6400 years ago. They are in higher proportion on the extremes North (Scandinavia) and South (Sardinia) of Europe.

First let’s take the whole I male DNA marker that represents the male population before the Caucasians migrated to Europe. It seems the highest percentage of over 50% is present in Scandinavia, Sardinia and Dalmatian coast. Interesting though is the Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, most of Ukraine, parts of Austria and Hungary come a close second, with 30–40% of men. These are the men Y-Dna genes that exist in Europe since 10,000 BC or earlier.

Other genetic group, South-Mediterranean Europeans have E1b1b, of North African origin. They were early migrations of agricultural and cattle grower people coming through Anatolia, but original from North Africa. Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Etruscans had a strong E1b1b marker. Romanians have similar proportion (10–15%) of E1b1b genes with most West Europeans (same as France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany), most Central Europeans (Czech, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria) and Ukraine. This is less than South Balkan and South Italian people (they have more, which is normal)

Whilst each area of Europe has only one, or two, main genetic groups, Romania and surrounding countries have around 15–20% of each of the five main branches, in a fairly balanced proportion. Similar genetic proportions exist in the neighbouring countries, such as: Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Slovakia and part of Ukraine.

On the mother side though, things are even more clear, as women traveled/migrated less in the past; J, U5, HV0, V and K markers (MtDNA) are dominant among Europeans and, again, Romanians have the average percentages of all. Interesting is the 39.2–37.2% for H, 10.1–10.5% for J and 7.4–7.2% for U5, 6.9–7.9% for K markers that account for around 65% of European MtDNA genome, Hungarians and Romanians seem to be the closest.

It seems female markers are pretty similar all over the continent, with definitely fewer variations than the male ones. That seems logical, as women traveled and moved around very little compared to men, thousands of years ago. Most of those markers are ancient, long before Caucasian migrations; however, that does not mean that Caucasians did not bring similar female (MtDna) markers themselves.

Coming back to the question about Romanians being part of the so called “white race”, they are, in fact, the most complete Caucasians, proven by their balanced genetic mixture of all European male populations of today (from North, West, South and East). On the female side, Romanian women are totally similar to any other European women, from any corner of Europe.

This was ancient Dacia during Burebista who unified most tribes:

This is a map of Romanian political formations during 800s to 1200s:

Look at today’s genetic map of Europe. It reflects the proto-European populations (I1, I2, E1b1b) and the Caucasian invaders of 6400 years ago (R1a, R1b and J2), in over 95% proportion. Some exception is the N genes (Uralo-Finic-Siberian origin), mostly present in some Baltic states and Russia. That shows clearly that whatever migrations happened after 4400 BC were insignificant for population genetics of the Balkan region and Central Europe and account for less than 5% for all combined:


From this map Romanians would have 22–23% R1a (East Caucasian), 22–23% R1b (West Caucasian), 20% J2 (South Caucasian), 20% I2 (Paleo-proto-European), 12–13% E1b1b (Mediterranean) and 2–3% G marker (12,000 years ago migrations from Fertile Crescent) which makes it to 99% Caucasian and Proto-European genes.


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