Study: 'Medieval apartheid' in Britain

July 19, 2006 at 1:52 PM

LONDON, July 19 (UPI) -- Genetic researchers have said the Anglo-Saxons used "medieval apartheid" to replace the indigenous Celts when they invaded Britain in the fifth century.

A study, conducted by the University College London and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, has found that genes from the small number of Anglo-Saxon immigrants eventually replaced those of the indigenous population, probably by using a form of institutionalized discrimination similar to the apartheid system of 20th-century South Africa, the Times of London reported Wednesday.

"The native Britons were genetically and culturally absorbed by the Anglo-Saxons over a period of as little as a few hundred years," said study leader Mark Thomas.

Thomas said his team used a computer simulation to find the most probable conditions that led to the absorption.

"An initially small invading Anglo-Saxon elite could have established themselves by having more children who survived to adulthood, thanks to their military power and economic advantage. We believe that they also prevented the native British genes getting into the Anglo-Saxon population by restricting intermarriage in a system of apartheid that left the country culturally and genetically Germanized."

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