Was there a "Celtic genocide" in England?

This, plus strong if informal cultural pressure to assimilate to being English.

Remember the process of anglicization took hundreds of years. There have always been Celtic speakers in England: in Cornwall until a few hundred years ago, in villages along the border with Wales until the 20th century, and also in the cities through immigration. It looks like a Celtic language was spoken in N. England / Southern Scotland into the 12th or 13th century, well over half a millennium following the English invasion / conquest / friendly takeover / whatever you want to call it.

The Anglo-Saxons probably wouldn’t have objected to the concept of genocide, since they were a pretty ethnocentric bunch and a warrior aristocracy besides, but they also didn’t practice it. If they did, they weren’t very good at it.

As far as place-names, note that even today there are Celtic / English place-name pairs that are unrelated: Old Welsh Ty Gogofog / Nottingham, modern Abertawe / Swansea, Abergwaun / Fishguard, Caer Grawnt / Cambridge, and others that look unrecognizable because they are loan translations or distant cognates: Rhydychen / Oxford, Caer / Chester. So the lack of Celtic place-names could mean a period of bilingualism rather than replacement.

We accept that our data do not prove conclusively that an Anglo-Saxon mass migration event took place. :slight_smile:

At any rate that study has been challenged on a couple of grounds, including deliberate policies of intermarriage by the Germanic rulers and uncertainty over just what the pre-Anglo-Saxon population looked like genetically in the first place. The pre-Roman Conquest continental Belgae in Britain, Saxon foederati settlement in the late empire - there is a lot of uncertainty just how similar folk would have been genetically back then.

Is there a Celtic population in the British Isles that never really felt the Viking influence?

As far as settlement? There wasn’t much in Wales, though there may have been a couple of brief establishments in Anglesey ( which is basically a Norse name ), ironically a stronghold of the Welsh language today. But in terms of raiding pretty much every corner got hit.

If that’s the case, wouldn’t the Welsh bear a resemblance to the Celtic people in Britain prior to the Angles and the Saxons?

This is one of the issues on which the pendulum of consensus thinking has swung back and forth a few times over recend decades.

The original notion was that there was an invasion and a massacre. Then, the pendulum swung in favor of a gradual assimilation by the locals into Anglo-Saxon culture.

Recently, I think, the pendulum has swung back somewhat to thinking it was likely a massacre after all, or as good as - based on new types of evidence, such as genetic studies.

The fact is, there is no definitive answer yet, because the events took place in a true dark age - a time when writing (and, apparently, urbanism) almost died out. The accounts of that period are all dubious or much later, or both.

While the genetic evidence covering the past 2000 years in England may be unclear, there is very clear evidence that the Y-chromosomes of Britain and Ireland were almost completely replaced by unknown events probably sometime during 3000 BC-100 BC. (Some of these events probably involved “genocides” by Celts, not against them. I’d Google for cites but we’ve been here before.)

Perhaps. Or maybe they just resembled the Celtic people in Wales prior to the Angles and Saxons :).

Are the events unknown? I thought it was taken for granted that this was the result of the Indo-European invasion, with the Celts being the leading edge?

How would they be known? It’s all prehistoric. The Indo-European languages can be reconstructed, but the indigenous languages cannot. Archaeology helps, but it’s far from a complete picture.

Okay. I agree, not known for sure. But this would be the main speculation, no? The Celtic Y DNA would be Indo_European, and the original Y DNA would be non_Indo, showing links to the Basques and/or Sardinians.

Well… no. “Celtic” is a language family. One of the contemporary theories is that Celtic spread through providing an economic and / or social advantage, much as English is spreading today, rather than by an invasion of Celtic speakers. In that case, they wouldn’t have Indo-European Y-chromosomes.

Whether correct or incorrect, that hypothesis doesn’t preclude an invasion by somebody else. So it could be that the indigenous Y-chromosome was wiped out in 2000 BC, and Celtic began to be spoken in 1000 BC.

Besides, just because the Basques are still around doesn’t mean that all pre-Indo-European peoples of Europe were related to them.

So there are a lot of different possibilities, and no solid way to choose between them as yet.

On a purely technical note, doesn’t this thread really belong in General Questions?

The Basques have a very high concentration of the R1b-L11 (“Western Indo-European”?) haplogroup. Presumably their ancestors had their manhood almost completely replaced at some point.

Any model in which “Indo-Europeans” came overland from the east may have to account that one of the most advanced copper-age cultures was in southern Spain. Some speculate these copper workers came via sea from the Eastern Mediterranean.

DNA analysis of ancient skeletons may be a way to get clarity. But despite the recent analysis of a 24,000-year old Siberian boy, few European skeletons older than 5000 years have had Y-chromosome analyzed; none of these were R1b-L11.

Well and good, but that doesn’t mean that the people of pre-IE Britain had any connection to them.

That’s the basis of the spread-like-English theory above, though; the advanced cultures of southern Spain were the impetus for other people to adopt their language. Those people may or may not have been genetically related, though.

Of course it’s a language family, part of the larger Indo-European family. The original speakers of proto-Celtic were Indo-Europeans.

Language transmission without at least some genetic transmission is rare. Language transmission is often though not always a result of conquest/invasion.

No it is not (or: cite?). There are millions of people who speak an Indo-European language because they have immigrated (or been brought as slaves) to an Indo-European-speaking country like America. They are no less Indo-European for their non-Indo-European ancestry. There are even more millions who have learned English as a second language for economic reasons. Why should ancient people be any different, especially if you remember that people can be multilingual?

In the ancient world, we have abundant examples of language shift for political reasons. The genetic connection may be subsequent to the shift, rather than causal. The question is whether Celtic was a result of language shift in an originally non-Indo-European substrate group (no or minimal genetic transmission, Hypothesis A) or a branch of the Indo-European family that physically brought a speech community into Western Europe (Hypothesis B).

Genetics aside, I wonder if the lack of Celtic place names isn’t more a function of who was in charge when towns and cities were named?

I mean, plenty of rivers have names of Celtic origin, but it seems that most English town names are either Roman, Saxon or Dane in origin, probably because most of the towns were founded during those time periods.

There wasn’t a post-Roman, pre-Saxon time when the Celts ran around founding cities, and prior to the Romans, there weren’t really any major cities.

“London” may be Celtic, but may be pre-Celtic.

“York” and “Dover” are certainly British Celtic. “Gloucester” and “Leicester” are part Celtic, as are many of the -cesters and -chesters, and “Bath” probably is as well. The “Exe-” in “Exeter” is Celtic, as is the “Edin-” in “Edinburgh.” County names Devon and Kent are Celtic. There are Celtic names attested for Nottingham, Cambridge, and Manchester.

In other words, I think the dearth of Celtic place-names has been over-emphasized. There are quite a lot in England and in Scotland (not even counting Gaelic ones) for areas that haven’t been in the control of Celtic-speakers for a thousand years.

York comes from the Viking Yorvik.

Actually, -c(h)ester denotes a Roman origin as it comes from castrum, which means camp.