History of the Peoples


This site regards to the origin of the peoples beginning with the ancient cultures and civilizations, and of the People of Israel and her uniqueness among the nations, taking account of the most ancient genealogies and the peoples that trace back their origins to them, as well as their appearance and disappearance in history.

Many of the facts exposed in this site are based on biblical sources, supported by archaeological proofs.

In Bereshyit (Genesis), chapter 10, we find the list of Noach's offspring, from whom all peoples come. It is evident that there are not all names included in such list, as it is not an exhaustive analysis on ethnic origins of all peoples, but only those that were related in any way to Israelites – that is why we have a detailed information about Semitic peoples and few about Yaphetic ones. What is interesting to notice is that such list is arranged in a way that we can classify all peoples as follows:

1. peoples of the North (Yaphetic)

2. peoples of the South (Hamitic)

3. Semitic peoples, in the middle

Such classification goes beyond the traditional thought that Yephet referred to Indo-Europeans and Ham to Africans, as it would not be thoroughly correct.
This research intends also to outline the development of Semitic peoples from their reduced original land to their expansion and subsequent "Semitization" of surrounding peoples that originally belonged to the Southern (Hamitic) stock.

The origin of peoples according to the Table of Nations is often misinterpreted in a shallow manner, usually as a consequence of the obsolete definition of "human races" which was held by centuries as the key for ethnic classification and still influences some poorly educated social or religious environments. The traditional interpretation was to consider the three Noachic forefathers, Shem, Cham and Japheth, as the ancestors of the Semites, the Black people and the Indo-Europeans respectively. Such classification is not only utterly erroneous but also leaves aside any people which does not fit into these three groups. That is why we have divided them into "Semites", "Peoples of the South" and "Peoples of the North", according to their original geographic distribution and not by alleged skin colour or other physical description, which would be incorrect and misleading. Actually, being Mesopotamia the Semites' homeland and taking this land as reference, we can trace a line from East to West and would find that in ancient times all the Hamitic peoples dwelled in the south and the Japhetic peoples in the north of such imaginary line.
Therefore, to consider that Hamitic is equivalent to Black people is a great misconception, in the same way as identifying Japhetic with Indo-European (mainly because Indo-European is a disputable linguistic definition and not an ethnic one). As a matter of fact, of all Hamitic peoples only most of the Kushites –not all of them– may fit the general description of "Black" people. Egyptians were certainly dark skinned, but they would not be considered Black, as well as Hamitic Canaanites, Hamitic Arabs, North Africans, etc. Concerning the Japhetic group, we have preferred the general definition of Eurasian peoples.
On the other side, there is still the tendency to associate ethnicity and language, an equation that is not accurate as many peoples, even in ancient times, adopted the language of other ethnically unrelated peoples, either by assimilation, resettlement, domination or other reasons. We have many well-known examples of peoples replaced or assimilated by others of completely different origin and language: Sumerians by Akkadians, Hattians by Hittites, Hurrians by Mitanni, then Hittites and Mitanni by Assyrians, etc. Compounds of mixed background peoples sharing a relative small geographical area shared a common language, as it was the case of Canaanites (a general designation that included peoples of different origins) and Philistines, which used a Semitic language even before both groups were overthrown by the Israelites. Usually non-written languages died with the peoples that spoke them, and in many cases the only information we have of such peoples comes from external sources.