(Chapter IX, section 1)
The remaining chapters of this book will be devoted to a rapid survey of the continent of Europe, country by country and people by people, and of the contiguous portions of Asia and Africa occupied by basically white populations. The treatment of the skeletal documents in prehistory and history, and the survey of the living material as a whole, which have preceded this section, will make elaborate introductions unnecessary. Here it is proposed to cover the geography of the white race piecemeal, for the convenience of the reader interested in specific local problems, as well as to examine in further detail the nature of the white human division as a whole.
Every map is two dimensional, and every consecutive written work one dimensional. There is a conflict, therefore, at the start between any geographical material and the medium through which it is to be described and explained. The choice of a starting point is a purely arbitrary affair, and the sequence of areas followed must be equally dogmatic. Perhaps because of our European habit of starting a written page at the upper left hand corner and working down, strip by strip, we shall follow this system, more or less, in our study of the map of Europe.
By following this method we shall first deal with the very northernmost zone, which is, in effect, a more or less unified environmental area. It is at the same time the last portion of the European land-mass to receive permanent settlement, and the last to receive the cultural stimulus of agriculture. For these and other reasons, all of which resolve themselves ultimately into the fact that northwestern Europe was the center of Old World glacial activity during the last age of ice, the far north has played the zoölogical rôle of a marginal area. Its racial history, while complex enough in the absolute sense, is relatively simple and relatively easy to untangle, as has been shown in previous chapters.
Aside from the Russian Slavs whose appearance in the north is of recent historical date, we have, in this zone, to deal with two linguistic groups - the Uralic, with sub-divisions into Finnic, Ugric, and Samoyedic; and the Indo-European, in Scandinavian and Baltic forms. From the standpoint of race in the sense of major world groupings, we are concerned with two - the white and the mongoloid. In the historical sense, we are confronted again with a division between Palaeolithic survivors, and the descendants of the farthest wandering of Mediterranean food-producers. From the standpoint of environmental conditioning in its effect upon the human form, we have reached an area of maximum differentiation. Nortern Europe, especially northwestern Europe, has served not only as a refuge area for archaic humanity, but also as a source from which migrations of vast compass have spread southward into warmer lands at times of environmental distress. Emigrants forced out by the vagaries of its treacherous climate have not only affected in varying measure the rest of Europe, but have likewise played a principal part in the peopling of the New World.