- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
91

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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NOSONOVSKI PESOK AND THE SAMOYEDES
91
first provide themselves with a new culture in order
to maintain themselves there, such migrations become
an impossibility, even if a people of hunters had some
qualifications for subsisting by fishing and hunting
along great rivers like the Obi and Yenisei.
Nor can it be denied that there has been a strong
tendency to derive most races from Central Asia and
make them migrate from there fan-wise in all directions.
Why precisely the middle of Asia should be the cradle
of so many races is not quite clear to me. As to where
the cradle of mankind stood, wc know nothing at all.
All wc know is that the time when man appeared on
the earth and spread over it and began to divide into
different races lies so many hundreds of thousands of
years behind us that it has no bearing on the questions
of the origin and diffusion of races now living.
Then there is another thing which people are often
apt to forget, and that is that the customary division
of peoples into races such as Finno-Ugrians, Samoyedes,
Turks and Tatars, Mongols, Tunguses and Manchus,
and so on, rests entirely upon language, and can have
little to do with the mutual kinships and origin of
these peoples. A people, by becoming subject to, or
coming into close contact with another, may easily
adopt this people’s language and culture, although
there was originally no relationship at all between
them.
Of this we have abundant examples. One near
home is that of our own Reindeer Lapps. They speak
a language which is nearly related to Finnish dialects,
such as Finnish and Karelian, though in their origin
they are certainly entirely different from these peoples.
Another example is the Bulgarians, who were originally
a Finnish people and spoke Finnish as late as the ninth
century, but who, in the course of their migration

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