The indigenous peoples of Europe are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various indigenous groups that reside in the nations of Europe. According to German monograph Minderheitenrechte in Europa co-edited by Pan and Pfeil (2002) there are 87 distinct peoples of Europe, of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national or linguistic minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans.
There is some precise or universally accepted definition of the terms "ethnic group" or "nationality". In the context of European ethnography in particular, the terms ethnic group, people, nationality or ethno-linguistic group, are used as mostly synonymous, although preference may vary in usage with respect to the situation specific to the individual countries of Europe.
There are eight European ethno-linguistic groups with more than 30 million members residing in Europe. These eight groups between themselves account for some 465 million or about 65% of European population:
About 20–25 million residents (3%)[year needed] are members of diasporas of non-European origin. The population of the European Union, with some five hundred million residents, accounts for two thirds of the European population.
Europa Polyglotta, Linguarum Genealogiam exhibens, una cum Literis, Scribendique modis, Omnium Gentium ("multilingual Europe, exhibiting a genealogy of tongues together with the letters and modes of writing of all peoples"), from Synopsis Universae Philologiae (1741).
The beginnings of ethnic geography as an academic subdiscipline lie in the period following World War I, in the context of nationalism, and in the 1930s exploitation for the purposes of fascist and Nazi propaganda so that it was only in the 1960s that ethnic geography began to thrive as a bona fide academic subdiscipline.
The origins of modern ethnography are often traced to the work of Bronisław Malinowski who emphasized the importance of fieldwork.
The emergence of population genetics further undermined the categorisation of Europeans into clearly defined racial groups. A 2007 study on the genetic history of Europe found that the most important genetic differentiation in Europe occurs on a line from the north to the south-east (northern Europe to the Balkans), with another east-west axis of differentiation across Europe, separating the "indigenous" Basques and Sami from other European populations.
Despite these stratifications it noted the unusually high degree of European homogeneity: "there is low apparent diversity in Europe with the entire continent-wide samples only marginally more dispersed than single population samples elsewhere in the world."
The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of Europeans.
The member states of the Council of Europe in 1995 signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The broad aims of the Convention are to ensure that the signatory states respect the rights of national minorities, undertaking to combat discrimination, promote equality, preserve and develop the culture and identity of national minorities, guarantee certain freedoms in relation to access to the media, minority languages and education and encourage the participation of national minorities in public life. The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities defines a national minority implicitly to include minorities possessing a territorial identity and a distinct cultural heritage. By 2008, 39 member states have signed and ratified the Convention, with the notable exception of France.
Many non-European ethnic groups and nationalities have immigrated to Europe over the centuries. Some arrived centuries ago, while others immigrated more recently in the 20th century, often from former colonies of the British, Dutch, French, Portuguese and Spanish empires.
Assyrians: mostly in Sweden and Germany, as well in Russia, Armenia, Denmark and Great Britain (see Assyrian diaspora). Assyrians have been present in Eastern Turkey since the Bronze Age (circa 2000 BCE).
Kurds: approx. 2.5 million, mostly in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Turkey.
Brazilians: around 70,000 in Portugal and Italy each, and 50,000 in Germany.
Chilean refugees escaping the Augusto Pinochet regime of the 1970s formed communities in France, Sweden, the UK, former East Germany and the Netherlands.
Venezuelans: around 520,000 mostly in Spain (200,000), Portugal (100,000), France (30,000), Germany (20,000), UK (15,000), Ireland (5,000), Italy (5,000) and the Netherlands (1,000).
South Asians: approx. 3–4 million, mostly in the UK but reside in smaller numbers in Germany and France.
Romani (Gypsies): approx. 4 or 10 million (although estimates vary widely), dispersed throughout Europe but with large numbers concentrated in the Balkans area, they are of ancestral South Asian and European descent, originating from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent.
Indians: approx. 2 million, mostly in the UK, also in Italy, in Germany and smaller numbers in Ireland.
Pakistanis: approx. 1,000,000, mostly in the UK and in Italy, but also in Norway and Sweden.
Amerindians and Inuit, a scant few in the European continent of American Indian ancestry (often Latin Americans in Spain, France and the UK; Inuit in Denmark), but most may be children or grandchildren of U.S. soldiers from American Indian tribes by intermarriage with local European women. An estimated 60,000 American Indians may live in Germany as of the 2010s.
Medieval notions of a relation of the peoples of Europe are expressed in terms of genealogy of mythical founders of the individual groups.
The Europeans were considered the descendants of Japheth from early times, corresponding to the division of the known world into three continents, the descendants of Shem peopling Asia and those of Ham peopling Africa. Identification of Europeans as "Japhetites" is also reflected in early suggestions for terming the Indo-European languages "Japhetic".
The first man that dwelt in Europe was Alanus, with his three sons, Hisicion, Armenon, and Neugio. Hisicion had four sons, Francus, Romanus, Alamanus, and Bruttus. Armenon had five sons, Gothus, Valagothus, Cibidus, Burgundus, and Longobardus. Neugio had three sons, Vandalus, Saxo, and Boganus.
European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage". Due to the great number of perspectives which can be taken on the subject, it is impossible to form a single, all-embracing conception of European culture. Nonetheless, there are core elements which are generally agreed upon as forming the cultural foundation of modern Europe. One list of these elements given by K. Bochmann includes:
A plurality of states with different political orders, which are condemned to live together in one way or another;
Respect for peoples, states and nations outside Europe.
Berting says that these points fit with "Europe's most positive realisations".
The concept of European culture is generally linked to the classical definition of the Western world. In this definition, Western culture is the set of literary, scientific, political, artistic and philosophical principles which set it apart from other civilizations. Much of this set of traditions and knowledge is collected in the Western canon. The term has come to apply to countries whose history has been strongly marked by European immigration or settlement during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the Americas, and Australasia, and is not restricted to Europe.
Christianity is still the largest religion in Europe; according to a 2011 survey, 76.2% of Europeans considered themselves Christians. Also according to a study on Religiosity in the European Union in 2012, by Eurobarometer, Christianity is the largest religion in the European Union, accounting for 72% of the EU's population.
Judaism has a long history in Europe, but is a small minority religion, with France (1%) the only European country with a Jewish population in excess of 0.5%. The Jewish population of Europe is composed primarily of two groups, the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi. Ancestors of Ashkenazi Jews likely migrated to Central Europe at least as early as the 8th century, while Sephardi Jews established themselves in Spain and Portugal at least one thousand years before that. Jews originated in the Levant where they resided for thousands of years until the 2nd century AD, when they spread around the Mediterranean and into Europe, although small communities were known to exist in Greece as well as the Balkans since at least the 1st century BC. Jewish history was notably affected by the Holocaust and emigration (including Aliyah, as well as emigration to America) in the 20th century.
"Pan-European identity" or "Europatriotism" is an emerging sense of personal identification with Europe, or the European Union as a result of the gradual process of European integration taking place over the last quarter of the 20th century, and especially in the period after the end of the Cold War, since the 1990s. The foundation of the OSCE following the 1990s Paris Charter has facilitated this process on a political level during the 1990s and 2000s.
From the later 20th century, 'Europe' has come to be widely used as a synonym for the European Union even though there are millions of people living on the European continent in non-EU member states. The prefix pan implies that the identity applies throughout Europe, and especially in an EU context, and 'pan-European' is often contrasted with national identity.
European ethnic groups by sovereign state
Pan and Pfeil (2002) distinguish 33 peoples which form the majority population in at least one[l] sovereign state geographically situated in Europe.[m] These majorities range from nearly homogeneous populations as in Armenia and Poland, to comparatively slight majorities as in Latvia or Belgium, or even the marginal majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Montenegro is a multiethnic state in which no group forms a majority.
^Including french citizens in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, UK and Italy.
^Pan and Pfeil (2004) give 55 million for the French-speaking groups, excluding the Occitans. Recensement officiel de l'Insee INSEE.fr give 65 million, to which the following French-speaking people must be added: 40% of the 11 million Belgians and 22.7% of the 8 million Swiss. 2 million regional languages speakers could be deducted, chiefly Alsatian (0.9 million), Occitan (0.8 million), Breton (0.2 million), Basque, Flemish and Catalan repreenting together less than 0.2 million speakers.
^Also known as Britons (Includes English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish people. Consists of 58 million British people in the United Kingdom and ca. 2 million British people resident in other countries in Europe.)
^Also Italian people in France, Germany, UK, Spain, Switzerland and other countries.
^Since 2001 census in England and Wales, white residents could identify themselves as White Irish or White British though no separate White English or White Welsh options were offered. In Scotland, white residents could identify themselves as White Scottish or Other White British. In the census of Northern Ireland, White Irish and White British were combined into a single "White" ethnic group on the census forms.
^Karl Friedrich Vollgraff, Erster Versuch einer Begründung sowohl der allgemeinen Ethnologie durch die Anthropologie, wis auch der Staats und rechts-philosophie durch die Ethnologie oder Nationalität der Völker (1851), p. 257.
^A. Kumar, Encyclopaedia of Teaching of Geography (2002), p. 74 ff.; the tripartite subdivision of "Caucasians" into Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean groups persisted among some scientists into the 1960s, notably in Carleton Coon's book The Origin of Races (1962).
^* "In the broader sense of the term, a Jew is any person belonging to the worldwide group that constitutes, through descent or conversion, a continuation of the ancient Jewish people, who were themselves descendants of the Hebrews of the Old Testament."
"The Jewish people as a whole, initially called Hebrews (ʿIvrim), were known as Israelites (Yisreʾelim) from the time of their entrance into the Holy Land to the end of the Babylonian Exile (538 BC)."
^ab Hisitione autem ortae sunt quattuor gentes Franci, Latini, Albani et Britti. ab Armenone autem quinque: Gothi, Valagothi, Gebidi, Burgundi, Longobardi. a Neguio vero quattuor Boguarii, Vandali, Saxones et Turingi.trans. J. A. Giles. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1848.
^Cederman (2001:2) remarks: "Given the absence of an explicit legal definition and the plethora of competing identities, it is indeed hard to avoid the conclusion that Europe is an essentially contested concept." Cf. also Davies (1996:15); Berting (2006:51).
^K. Bochmann (1990) L'idée d'Europe jusqu'au XXè siècle, quoted in Berting (2006:52). Cf. Davies (1996:15): "No two lists of the main constituents of European civilization would ever coincide. But many items have always featured prominently: from the roots of the Christian world in Greece, Rome and Judaism to modern phenomena such as the Enlightenment, modernization, romanticism, nationalism, liberalism, imperialism, totalitarianism."
^Religions in Global Society - Page 146, Peter Beyer - 2006
^Cambridge University Historical Series, An Essay on Western Civilization in Its Economic Aspects, p.40: Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of western nations since the christian era.
^Caltron J.H Hayas, Christianity and Western Civilization (1953), Stanford University Press, p.2: That certain distinctive features of our Western civilization — the civilization of western Europe and of America— have been shaped chiefly by Judaeo - Graeco - Christianity, Catholic and Protestant.
^Horst Hutter, University of New York, Shaping the Future: Nietzsche's New Regime of the Soul And Its Ascetic Practices (2004), p.111:three mighty founders of Western culture, namely Socrates, Jesus, and Plato.
^Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (2004), p.22: Western civilization is also sometimes described as "Christian" or "Judaeo- Christian" civilization.
^Dawson, Christopher; Glenn Olsen (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). p. 108. ISBN978-0-8132-1683-6.
^Koch, Carl (1994). The Catholic Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission. Early Middle Ages: St. Mary's Press. ISBN978-0-88489-298-4.
^This is particularly the case among proponents of the so-called confederalist or neo-functionalist position on European integration. Eder and Spohn (2005:3) note: "The evolutionary thesis of the making of a European identity often goes with the assumption of a simultaneous decline of national identities. This substitution thesis reiterates the well-known confederalist/neo-functionalist position in the debate on European integration, arguing for an increasing replacement of the nation-state by European institutions, against the intergovernmentalist/realist position, insisting on the continuing primacy of the nation-state."
^"Immigration is hardly a recent development in French history, as Gérard Noiriel amply demonstrates in his history of French immigration, The French Melting Pot. Noiriel estimates that one third of the population currently living in France is of "foreign" descent", Marie-Christine Weidmann-Koop, "France at the dawn of the twenty-first century, trends and transformations", Summa Publications, Inc., 2000, P.160
^" In present day France, one-third of the population has grandparents that were born outside France", Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong: What makes the French so French", Robson Books Ltd, 2004, p.8
^"2016"(PDF). Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
^Pan, Christoph; Pfeil, Beate S. (2003). "The Peoples of Europe by Demographic Size, Table 1". National Minorities in Europe: Handbook. Wien: Braumueller. p. 11f. ISBN978-3-7003-1443-1. (a breakdown by country of these 87 groups is given in Table 5, pp. 17-31.)