The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Germanic peoples

This article is about modern Germanic peoples. For the history of Germanic peoples before the middle ages, see Germanic tribes.

Germanic peoples are ethnic groups of Germanic origin, the linguistic, cultural, and racial descendents of the old Germanic tribes.


The list of present day Germanic peoples includes:

and their cultural descendents around the world, including large groups in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Assimilated Germanics

Not every genetic descendent of the old Germanic tribes considers themselves to be Germanic, for the simple reason that all people around the world tend to identify themselves more by their culture then by the combination of their genes.

From the Migrations Period and forth, Germanic peoples are often referred to as quick to assimilate into foreign cultures. Established examples include the Romanized Norsemen in Normandie, and the societal elite in medieval Russia among whom many were the descendents of Slavified Norsemen (a theory, however, contested by some Slavic scholars in the former Soviet Union, who name it the Normanist theory).

The island of Great Britain is similarly considered an example of assimilation, where Norsemen and other Germanics have assimilated with Celts; but where also a Romanizing influence has been considerable.

Scotland is a country of mixed Germanic and Celtic culture; while the Scottish Highlands and Galloway are more Celtic and akin to Celtic Ireland in its culture and Scottish Gaelic language, the Scottish Lowlands share their culture and language closely with its neighbour to the south and other Germanic peoples, speaking the Scots language. The Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, though a part of Scotland, are Scandinavian in culture, though they no longer speak their native language Norn.

Ireland is also a country of mixed Germanic and Celtic culture, but for different reasons than Scotland. As with Scotland, Ireland had much Scandinavian settlement, both in Viking and Anglo-Norman colonies. Through centuries of British dominance, many parts of Ireland gradually developed a character that was more British than native Celtic, particularly in Ulster and Leinster.

France saw a great deal of Germanic settlement, and even its namesake the Franks were a Germanic people. And entire regions of France (such as Alsace, Burgundy and Normandy) were settled heavily by Germanic peoples, contributing to their unique regional cultures and dialects. But most of the languages spoken in France today are Romance languages, while the people have a heavy Gallic substratum that predates Latin and Germanic settlement.

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