I read that red hair originates in Scandanavia, and not in Britain. That before the Viking conquests of Britain and Ireland in the 8th-10th centuries those islands were populated mainly by dark-haired people. The Vikings mated with the indigenous women of Britain and Ireland (and other lands they conquered), and so that's why we find red heads in Britain and Ireland today. Is this true?

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    And where did you read that?
    – Semaphore
    May 2, 2015 at 22:36
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    No, it is not true. The highest density of red hair in the world is in the British isles. I am not going to post a detailed answer here fully explaining the situation, because the truth is surprising and I would get 20 downvotes of the "where is your proof" variety. However, the short answer to your question is no. May 3, 2015 at 0:17
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    There is DNA evidence that British and Irish Y chromosomes (tracing a male line) are often similar to those from Germany and Scandinavia and the mitochondrial DNA (tracing a female line) are more distinctly "Islander" (Celtic?). This provides evidence of male Angles/Saxons/Jutes/Vikings mating with native women and bringing relatively few of their own women along. I do not know of any DNA studies that correlate this to hair color, but it could be useful to prove or disprove this common story that I have also read. I wonder who started it, Bede? another eyewitness? a Victorian?
    – Mike
    May 3, 2015 at 4:19
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    While this might (technically) be history, it's more genetics. The kind of discussion needed might be easier obtained in Biology.
    – CGCampbell
    May 3, 2015 at 11:17
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    Looking at the map here, the highest concentration appears to be in the same areas of the British Isles that were historically the most Celtic (Wales, Scotland, and Ireland) and where Celtic languages still exist. They also report on that page Roman records of red-haired Celts. Muddying things a bit, the highest concentrations in mainland Europe are from precisely the areas from which the Anglo-Saxon migrations originated (and the one area that still has a large Celtic element).
    – T.E.D.
    May 4, 2015 at 10:31


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