it was Only in 13. Century, discovered by Europeans in the Atlantic ocean, the Canary Islands off the African coast, and wondered about the already-living people. Although you could have to overcome about 120 km between the easternmost Canary island of Fuerteventura and the African coast with boats, the islanders, apparently, no shipping. They lived on the in sight of each other, seven Islands of the archipelago are largely isolated and had even developed their own languages and cultural characteristics.

The mystery of why the Ur-Canary people mastered the great Crossing, but then the sea is avoided, is unclear. You could build any oceangoing ships, because the necessary metal ores were absent on the volcanic Islands? Now the secret is, after all, the origin of the Ur-Canarian solved: A team of researchers, Rosa Fregel, Universidad de La Laguna in Tenerife has analyzed the genomes of 48 people, the Remains of which archaeologists had dug up in various places in the Islands. Accordingly, the North African Berbers are the closest Relatives of the Ur-Canary people, the researchers write in the journal “Plos One”.

The genetic influence of Europeans is great

The suspicion is that the Ur-Canary people could come from North Africa, is not only due to the geographical proximity to the Hand. Also their written language is only used today by the Tuareg in the Western Sahara. To Berbers, these nomads, between Morocco, the Central Sahara and Libya in the North-West of Africa life. A number of place-names in the Canary Islands is derived from Berber languages such as Tamazight.

From the genome of the people living today on the archipelago, however, no safe conclusions as to the origin of the Ur-drag Canary people. Too strong is the genetic influence of the Europeans since the Spanish conquest of the Canary Islands, between 1403 and in 1496 the Islands come. “Therefore, we have studied the genetic material in the Remains of the people who lived before that time on the archipelago,” says Rosa Fregel.

The oldest traces of human settlement are found on the Eastern Islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The first people arrived, at the earliest, about 1900 years ago, at the latest, prior to about 1700 years. Only the Romans had there a short time before a temporary base. Gran Canaria seems to be only 1600 or 1500 years settled was, the more Western of Tenerife, even as recently as 1300 to 1100 years.

The Ur-Canary people were probably twice over the water

Isolated genetic analyses had already pointed out before on the North Africa as the origin of the Ur-Canary people. However, the DNA molecules are after centuries in the warm, subtropical climate, in any easy-to-scan state. First, newer methods to deliver reliable results.

so Far, Fregels Team has examined only mitochondrial genetic material – short DNA pieces from the energy-supplying organelles, which are only inherited from mothers. But already, the researchers can identify the Berbers from the North West of Africa as the ancestors of the Ur-Canary people. Apparently, they came twice on the water before, at the earliest, 1900 years ago, and in front of about 800 to 1000 years.

The old genetic tracks reveal more about the history of the Canary people. So lived on the large and relatively water Islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria similar to the smaller island of La Palma people with a large diversity in the genome. The genes of the inhabitants of the more barren Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote and the smaller Islands of La Gomera and El Hierro are arm variants.

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“Either there originally, only a few people or in the meantime, the population was decimated on the Islands significantly,” says Rosa Fregel. Reasons could be that many of the Ur-perished Canary people in the conquest of the Islands by the Spaniards as slaves were sold. The rest of the mixed with the new arrivals, their culture disappeared and over the generations the majority of the original Canarian genome.