Livonia in 1534

Livonia in 1534.

Latvian regions and latvians cultural zones

Latvia's historic cultural regions and zones.


Lithuania's ethnoregonal sub-regions.

This is an attempt to find out the ethnic origins of the Baltic peoples, whether they are the ones of Finnic (Estonians, etc.) or Balt (Latvians, etc.) origins. The time frame is from the time the first humans lived in the region to the rule of the Medieval Teutonic Knights.The literature on this subject is not extensive and it is hard to know what is fact since so many sources rely on legends, old manuscripts and interpretation of ancient artefacts. It is also likely that medieval invaders' accounts were significantly biased towards the aims of groups like the Teutonic Knights whilst modern accounts are possibly still influence by Soviet pseudoscience and alike.

The Baltic DNA has become mixed over the years, with the Balts and Finnics being blended with Slavs, Sweeds, Vikings, Roma, Jewish merchants, Baltic Germans etc.

Baltic history and archaeologyEdit

Baltic Tribes c 1200

The approximate. Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 AD/CE. The Eastern Balts are shown in brown tints while the Western Balts are shown in green.

Prussian clans 13th century

Prussian and Lituanian Minor clans in the 13th century.

The Balts are members of the Baltic branch of the Indo - European family. Most members of the Balts, and so is their languages the Baltic languages, perished, except for Lithuanian and Latvian, and some other small tribes (Latgalian, Samogitian). Perhaps the Balts once ranged through Belarus down to Kiev, east to the Urals, even to Middle Poland and Southern Sweden and Finland. However, the Germanic and Slavic ranges have increased rapidly and limited the Balts to what they are today.


The first people who are known to have settled in today's Lithuania came after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC. When the Proto-Indo-Europeans arrived in the 3rd to 2nd millennium BC they apparently mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes. The first written mention of a Lithuanian nation is to be found in a medieval German manuscript, the Annals of Quedlinburg, in an entry dated 9 March 1009.


The Latvians we see today are Indo - Europeans, which has the same origins as the Lithuanians.


Old PrussiaEdit

There is patchy nomicultural indications that the pre-Baltic settlers in East Prussia generally named their settlements after the local streams, lakes, seas, or forests by which they settled. The subsiquent clans and tribals then took the name of the place they had settled in. For example, the name "Barta", is "the home of the Barti" and is related to the name of the Bartis River in Lithuania.

The variouse tribal names of the Prussian tribes apparently are reflected in the theme of the local landscape and were based on a respect for water, an logical theme since the land dotted with thousands of lakes, streams, and swamps (the Masurian Lake District). To the south, the terrain runs into the Pripet Marshes at the headwaters of the Dnieper River; these have been an effective barrier over the millennia.This dificult to navigate landscape and the Lithuania/Old Prussian fighting sprit helped preserve the Baltic language group as the most ancient in Europe (other old languages include Abanian, Basque, Irish, Welsh and Lapp).

Poland's Konrad I, Duke of Masovia , appealed to the Knights to defend his borders and subdue the neighbouring pagan Baltic Prussians in 1226. He allowing the Teutonic Knights use of Chełmno Land (Culmerland) as a base for their campaign.

Finn history and archaeologyEdit

Finnic languages, the languages of the Finnics, were members of the Finno - Ugric family. Estonians and the nearly extinct Livonians are related to Finns, and, much further, Hungarian. It's unknown why the Hungarians are situated in Middle Europe, far away from other Finno - Ugrics. There are other groups of Finno - Ugrics around the world, like the Sámi people in Northern Scandinavia, the Mordvins in Russia and others in different areas of Russia.
755px-Fenno-Ugrian people

Finno - Ugric peoples


Archaeological evidence sugests, the area now comprising Finland was first settled at the latest around 8,500 BCE during the Finnish part of the Stone Age as the ice sheet of the last ice age receded. The first known human evidence dates from about 8,500 BCE and are of the post-glacial era. They are now known as the Suomusjärvi culture and the Kunda culture. The Fishing net of Antrea, one of the oldest fishing nets ever excavated, dates from about 8,300 BCE. The artifacts of the first settlers in Finland left behind present characteristics that are shared with those found in Estonia, Russia and Norway.

The Bronze Age of 1,500 to 500 BCE and the Iron Age of 500 BCE to 1,200 CE were seen extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fenno-Scandian and Baltic regions.

The Estonian language, however, is not spoken throughout the nation. Some area speaks South Estonian, originally a dialect, but developed into a distinct language in the 17th century.

Northern LatviaEdit

Northern Latvia is home to the Livonians, who speak Livonian, a language that is nearly extinct, and has no more than 40 living native speakers. The people of the Livonian Coast had much closer ties to the inhabitants of the Estonian island of Saaremaa, across the Gulf of Riga to the north. In their isolated fishing villages, these Livonians kept to themselves for centuries. It was not until the 20th century that the outside world come to know of their quiet existence.


Various Iron Age artefacts and tools made by Kunda culture have been found in Ingria. From about the 750s onwards, Lake Ladoga became a important loction along the former Varangian trade route to Eastern Europe. A Scandinavian Varangian aristocracy developed who would ultimately end up ruling over Novgorod and Kievan Rus'. In about the 860s, war broke out between both the local Finnic and Slavic tribes, after the Slavic chieftain Vadim the Bold rebelled against Varangian rule. Later the Varangian noble, Rurik resoved the issue.


They are a long-standing tribe akin to Estonians and Finns that once streched from the borders of southern Finland to the eastern borders of Estonia, Moscow, Ingria and out towards the Samoydic Permyaks in the Ural mountains. They now only have a few enclaves of them left in Ingia, Estonia a western Russia. From archaeological studies and the tracing of old place names that they probably lived at least in the valleys of the rivers Sheksna, Suda, Syas, Olonets Karelia, Ingria and Lake Onega. Various tomb findings prove that they had contact with Staraya Ladoga, western Finnland area and Meryans and among other Volga Finnic tribes and after the 12th century their history is connected with the Novgorod Republic and under other Russian principalities. Later on the Vepsians inhabited also Western and Eastern shores of Onega. According to early Russian chronicles, they are called "Весь" ('Ves’') and in some Arabic sources they are called 'Wisu'. It is assumed that the Bjarmians were also at least partly Vepsians. From the onwards contact was being made with the Russian tribes.

History and archaeology elsewhereEdit

Southern Finland Archaeological evidence suggests, the area now comprising Finland was first settled at the latest around 8,500 BCE during the Finnish part of the Stone Age as the ice sheet of the last ice age receded. The first known human evidence dates from about 8,500 BCE and are of the post-glacial era. They are now known as the Suomusjärvi culture and the Kunda culture. The anine Fishing net of Antrea, one of the oldest fishing nets ever excavated, dates from about 8,300 BCE. The artifacts the of the first settlers left behind present characteristics that are shared with those found in Estonia, Russia and Norway.

The earliest people were hunter-gatherers, using stone tools. Finland's first pottery came from around 5,300 BCE and are part of the neolithic Comb Ceramic Cultures. The first pottery appeared in 5,200 BCE when the Comb Ceramic culture was introduced.

The arrival of the Corded Ware Culture in southern coastal Finland between 3,000–2,500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture.

The Finnish part of the Bronze Age began a while after 1,500 BCE and lasted to 500BCE. The coastal regions of Finland were a part of the Nordic Bronze Culture, while the inland regions were influenced by the bronze-using cultures of Northern and Eastern Russia.

The Bronze Age of 1,500 to 500 BCE and the Iron Age of 500 BCE to 1,200 CE saw extensive contacts with other cultures in the Finno-Scandian and Baltic regions. In the early European Iron Age, Tacitus mentions "Fenni2 in his work Germania, a word similar to "Finns", however, it is unclear if these have anything to do with the actual proto-Finnish people. The first Scandinavian documents who actualy mention a "land of the Finns" are two rune stones at Söderby, Sweden, with the inscription "finlont" and at Gotland with the inscription "finlandi" dating from the 11th century.

Interestingly, the Finns are closest to Cro-Magnons in terms of anthropological measurements.

Haplogroup DNA resultsEdit


The DNA has become mixed over the years, with the Balts and Finnics being blended with Slavs, Swedes, Vikings, Roma, Jewish merchants, Baltic Germans and so on.

In terms of human genetics, the Haplo group l is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup, who is a subgroup of haplogroup IJ, which itself a derivative of Haplogroup IJK. Y-DNA Haplogroup I is now a predominantly European haplogroup. It represents nearly 20% of the population of Europe and can be found in the majority of present-day European populations as well as among some populations of the Near East, the Caucasus, Northeast Africa and Central Siberia. Europe's highest concentrations are in Parts of Moldova, parts of Kosovo, Serbia, Serpska, Herzagovina, Scandinavia, Estonia, parts of European Russia and parts of Germany. The Baltic nations probably attained this from settlers from the Swedish Empire and the Vikings. Many Estonians are still of the blue-eye/blond haired Euro-Aryan stock.

The Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup N1c1 sub-clade reaches levels of about 60% among Finns and roughly 40% among Lithuanians.

The Latvians or Letts (latvieši; laett) have the paternal DNA Haplogroup N1c1 as the most frequent one at 45% of those tested, which also occurs heavily in Finland, northern Siberia and the rest of the Baltic states.

The R1 haplogroup is common among European people and in some other places. It probably came to the Baltic states via the Slavic and German invasions.  In the Baltic countries R1a frequencies decrease from Lithuania (45%) to Estonia (around 30 %).

The Old Prussians were of similar Baltic origin as the Latvians and Lithuanians and their language the most ancient, is now extinct. Their country was split under Communist conquerors and is now submerged under several neighboring countries. DNA Haplogroup testing has recently shown evidence of some Baltic people stlll living in the former territory around the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, but they are probably decendents of Cold War immigrants, anti-Bolshevik exiles and World War II refugees from Latvia and Lithuania. Klaipėda Region is now inhabited mostly by Lithuanians and Kaliningrad Oblast its now mostly inhabited by Russians.

Research on the N Y-chromosome, the most common haplogroups of the Finns being N1c (58%), I (29%), R1a (7.5%) and R1b (3.5%). Haplogroup N1c, which is found only in a few countries in Europe (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Lappland and parts of Russia), is a subgroup of the haplogroup N (Y-DNA) distributed across northern Eurasia and estimated in a recent study to be 10,000–20,000 years old and suggested to have entered Europe about 12,000–14,000 years ago from Asia. Genetic Haplogroup tests do indicate a small quantity of non-Finnic Baltic DNA in southern Finland, most of which is opposite Ingria and Estonia. It is doubtful that many Balts emigrated to Finland in Mediaeval times and only a few did since the Bolsheviks came to power, since there has been a historically low population in the Baltic states, which indicates that there was an ancient presence in Finland which was bread in to by Finns when they entered Finland

According to an earlier study conducted by four scientists, including Cavalli-Sforza LL:

Principal coordinate analysis shows that Lapps/Sami are almost exactly intermediate between people located geographically near the Ural mountains and speaking Uralic languages, and central and northern Europeans. Hungarians and Finns are definitely closer to Europeans. An analysis of genetic admixture between Uralic and European ancestors shows that Lapps/Sami are slightly more than 50% European, Hungarians are 87% European, and Finns are 90% European. There is basic agreement between these conclusions and historical data on Hungary. Less is known about Finns and very little about Lapps/Sami.

In the history of human genetics, Haplogroup G2c (formerly labelled G5) is the Y-chromosome associated with the Ashkenazi Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and other isolated groups elsewhere in Europe. Lithuania contains patches of this DNA and not just in known Jewish communities, so indicating a degree of cross breading with non-Jews. The testing of the general population of Lithuania based on testing of SNPs is lacking, but an approximation based on the STR markers of 157 samples from Vilnius in the YHRD database indicates 1.3% (n=2) are G using the Athey haplogroup predictor. One additional sample is borderline for being G.

Mitochondrial DNAEdit

In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup U is a human mitochondrial DNA is found among Lithuanian Romani, Polish Romani in general and Finns, amongst others. The mtDNA Haplogroup U5 and its subclades U5a and U5b form the highest population concentrations in the far north of Europe, in Sami, Finns and Estonians, but it is spread widely at lower levels throughout Europe. This distribution, and the age of the haplogroup, indicate individuals from this haplogroup were part of the initial expansion tracking the retreat of ice sheets from Europe about 10,000 BCE, moving north out of Eastern Europe and European Russia.

Haplogroup U1 (named 'Una' by Bryan Sykes) is mostly located in the Middle East, and low frequency results in patches of Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean. U1a in is found from India to Europe and parts of Tuscany , but is extremely rare among the northern and Atlantic fringes of Europe including the British Isles and Scandinavia. In India U1a has been found in the Kerala region. U1b has a similar spread but is rarer than U1a, some examples being found among Jewish diaspora. U1a and U1b appear in equal frequency in eastern Europe.

Haplogroup T and Haplogroup R (mtDNA) is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup is also present in the Baltic states.

Both Haplotypes in other placesEdit

Recent Haplogroup testing had revealed a higher than expected amounts of Finnic DNA in Pskov Oblast. The area was one of the known front lines between the Slavic and Finnic people in the times of people like Rurik. Slightly higher than expected amount of Finnic and Germanic DNA were found in Mogilev Oblast, Vitebsk Region and Grodno Region.

Also seeEdit

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