My Rhead & Lyons Ancestors

My aunt, Beverly Rhead Michael, had a DNA test done through Ancestry.com not too long ago. I'm really glad she had it done as it includes the Lyons side of the family while the one I had done included the Burton side. Yes, technically my DNA also includes the Lyons side of the family, but I have Burton DNA while my aunt does not. My father and my aunt are brother and sister so her genetic ethnicity would also be my father's.



Beverly Rhead Michael's Personal Genetic Ethnicity

Ancestry.com states that genetic ethnicity reveals where your ancestors lived hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of years ago. This may update over time as new genetic signatures are discovered. Aunt Bev's original genetic ethnicity results showed the following:

Scandinavian - 75%
Southern European - 19%
Persian/Turkish/Caucasus - 6%

Ancestry.com has indeed updated Aunt Bev's results. Since she and my dad are siblings, I'm looking at the Rhead/Lyons genetic ethnicity. The new results now show the following:

Europe West - 30%
Ireland - 26%
Scandinavia - 14%
Iberian Peninsula - 10%
Italy/Greece - 10%
Europe East - 7%
Great Britain - 2%
Caucasus - 1%


About Europe West Ethnicity

Primarily located in: Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein
Also located in: England, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic

1000 BC Population Origins
Germanic peoples moved out of southern Scandinavia, Denmark and adjacent lands between the Elbe and Oder after 1000 BC. The first wave moved westward and southward (pushing the resident Celts west to the Rhine by about 200 BC) and moving into southern Germany up to the Roman province of Gaul by 100 BC, where they were stopped by Gaius Marius and Julius Caesar.

What is now France made up the bulk of the region known to the Romans as Gaul or Celtica. Roman writers noted the presence of three main ethno-linguistic groups in the area: the Gauls, the Aquitani, and the Belgae. The Gauls, the largest and best attested group, were a Celtic people speaking what is known as the Gaulish language.

50 BC - 400 AD Roman Empire Expansion
The Celtic domination of Western Europe lasted only a few centuries. In time the Romans made Italy, Gaul, and much of Britain into Roman provinces. The Roman Empire in 117 AD covered much of the Europe West region.

During Roman rule, the Gauls become well integrated into the empire, and many generals and even emperors were born in Gaul or from Gaulish families.

The Romans and the Germanic tribes were often in conflict during this period. Seven large German-speaking tribes – the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Burgundians, Lombards, Saxons and Franks – moved west and took part in the Decline of the Roman Empire and transformation of the old Western Roman Empire.

400 - 800 AD Growth of the Frankish Kingdom
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Franks created an empire under the Merovingian kings and subjugated the other Germanic tribes. The Merovingian kings of the Germanic Franks conquered northern Gaul in 486 AD. A succession of Frankish kings (Merovingian, Clovis, Clothar, Pepin, and Charlemagne) led campaigns (over several centuries) which greatly expanded Frankish control over western Europe.

Charlemagne's kingdom reached from the Pyrenees, over almost all of today's France (except Brittany, which the Franks never conquered), eastwards to most of today's Germany, including northern Italy and today's Austria. On Christmas Day, 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as "Emperor of the Romans."

843 AD The Kingdom is divided
After Charlemagne's son's death, his grandsons disputed the kingdom, and after a 3 year war, divided the Frankish empire into three parts--one for each son: Charles the Bald received the western portion, which later became France. Lothair received the central portion of the empire which later became, from north to south: the Low Countries, Lorraine, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, and the Kingdom of Italy (which covered only the northern half of the Italian Peninsula), collectively called Middle Francia. Louis the German received the eastern portion. Louis was guaranteed the kingship of all lands to the east of the Rhine and to the north and east of Italy, which was called East Francia which eventually became the high medieval kingdom of Germany, the largest component of the Holy Roman Empire.

Today
Today the West Europe DNA signature is detected most commonly in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, but is also detected in smaller portions in many neighboring regions.

About Ireland Ethnicity

Primarily located in: Ireland, Wales, Scotland
Also located in: France, England

People of Prehistoric Ireland
The Ireland region's peoples are believed to have originated in central Europe. By around 500 BC, this group's ancestors were living in northeastern France, southwestern Germany, and Bohemia.

400 BC Population Expansion
Between 400 BC and 275 BC Celtic tribes (Gauls) expanded from central Europe across much of western Europe including the Iberian peninsula, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Anciently modern France was referred to by the Romans as Gaul.

During the 9th century Vikings started to establish trading posts. Swedish Vikings are known to have established trade as far away as Baghdad. They established trading posts along the Volga river, and were involved in trade and served as mercenaries in Byzantium.

50 BC Population Contraction
The Celtic domination of Western Europe lasted about four centuries. In time the Romans made Italy, Gaul, and much of Britain into Roman provinces. The Carthaginians overpowered the Celts in Spain, and German tribes drove the Celts out of the Rhine Valley.

Anglo-Saxon invasion
The Roman presence largely wiped out most traces of Celtic culture in Britain--even replacing the language with their own. Following the Roman conquest, Germanic tribes invaded and settled in Great Britain. These invasions pushed the Celts to Brittany in France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

Viking Invasions (800 - 1200 AD)
During the ninth century VIkings with their longships established several trade port cities such as Dublin in western Ireland. Vikings controlled this area of Ireland for nearly 300 years. Viking power diminished after heavy losses at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Norman Invasion (1200 - 1500 AD)
Ireland during the 12th century consisted of a number of small warring kingdoms. When Diarmait Mac Murchada, one of the petty kings, was deposed by the Irish High King, he turned to Henry II the Norman ruler of England to restore him to power. With the support of Henry II and Norman mercenaries Diarmait regained control of Leinster, but died shortly after regaining power. In 1171 Henry II landed with a large army to seize control of Ireland and made his son John “Lord of Ireland”. When John became the King of England, Ireland became part of the English Kingdom.

The Great Plague of the 14th century devastated the Norman and English leadership in Ireland. This destruction of outside authority promoted a renewal of Irish political power, culture and language.

Early Modern Ireland
Over a seventy year period beginning in 1537 the English monarchy reconquered Ireland and attempted to force acceptance of protestantism among the Irish people. When forced conversion to protestantism failed, the British crown replaced the Irish landowners with thousands of protestant colonists/planters from England and Scotland. England also sold as slaves Irish prisoners and undesirables to Caribbean plantations.

The Great Famines
Two famines decimated Ireland forcing Irish farmers to leave Ireland. The first famine (1740-41) was caused by severe winter weather led to the deaths of 400,000 people and to 150,00 Irish leaving Ireland. The second Great Famine (1845-52) was caused by potato blight and killing 1 million people from starvation and another million people forced to emigrate from Ireland.

Today
Today the Ireland DNA signature is detected most commonly in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, but is also detected in smaller portions in many neighboring regions.

About Scandinavia Ethnicity

Primarily located in: Sweden, Norway, Denmark
Also located in: Great Britain, Scotland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium

Migrations into this Region
As the glaciers retreated from Northern Europe, roaming groups of hunter-gatherers from Southern Europe followed reindeer herds inland and marine resources along the Scandinavian coast. Neolithic farmers eventually settled the region beginning about 6,000 years ago.

Though the Scandinavia region is known for its medieval Vikings, it wasn't just the Vikings who had an irrepressible urge for adventure. In the days of the mighty Roman Empire, the Goths, originally from Sweden, wandered south and settled in what is now eastern Germany. In the year 410, they invaded and sacked Rome, setting the stage for the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Ostrogoths established the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Age of Vikings
While the Vikings were feared by the coastal towns of medieval Europe as seaborne raiders and violent pillagers, they were also well-travelled merchants and ambitious explorers. They raided the Mediterranean coast of Africa, settled areas as far south as the Black Sea, and traded with the Byzantine Empire. From 793 until 1066 AD the Vikings plund

ered, explored, established trading posts, and settled much of Europe, Iceland, Greenland, and the northern part of North America (Vinland). The Vikings’ long boats allowed them to travel over open ocean, to travel up shallow rivers, and light enough to carry across land if necessary.

The first waves of Vikings appeared along coastal cities and up navigable rivers where they plundered villages, churches, monasteries, and abbeys. The Vikings appeared without warning, pillaged villages and then quickly disappeared carrying their plunder back to Scandinavia.

During the 9th century Vikings started to establish trading posts. Swedish Vikings are known to have established trade as far away as Baghdad. They established trading posts along the Volga river, and were involved in trade and served as mercenaries in Byzantium.

Viking Settlement
During the 9th century the Vikings established settlements in France, Scotland, England, Ireland, Russia, and Iceland. Swedish Vikings (called Rus) settled in Eastern Europe and by 859 settled along the Volga River for trade purposes. Over time they were assimilated into the Slavic culture.

In 851 the Vikings began settling on the coast of western France. In 911 the French king allowed Vikings to settle in upper Normandy under the condition they would help protect France from other Vikings. William the Conqueror asserted control over all of Normandy by 1050.

During the ninth century VIkings established several trade port cities such as Dublin in western Ireland. They controlled this area of Ireland for much of the next 300 years.

Danish Vikings also invaded and settled in northern and eastern England starting in 876 and eventually controlled a third of England (the Danelaw) for nearly 80 years. Later Cnut the Great asserted control over England and parts of Norway and Sweden from 1016 to 1035. The Scandinavian/Norman leader William the Conqueror led an conquered England in 1066.

Norwegian Vikings colonized northern Scotland, Orkneys, Hebrides, Isle of Man, Faroes Isles, Iceland, and Greenland during the 9th-10th centuries. Viking control of northern Scotland ended in 1231.

Later Colonization
Between 1560 and 1660 Sweden expanded it borders to several Baltic States, (e.g. Estland, Livonia, Ingria, and Karelia).

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Denmark established colonies in the Gold Coast of west Africa, the Caribbean (St. Thomas and St. John), and many small colonies in India.

Approximately 80,000 Norwegians emigrated to the Netherlands during the 17th and 18th centuries. Many young men worked on Dutch merchant ships and in the Dutch navy. Young women moved to Amsterdam to work as maids.

Today
In the more recent past, the Scandinavian nations have embraced a new identity. Considering their neutrality during the World Wars, high quality of life, and relatively egalitarian societies, they are known more for their peaceful ways than their ancient Viking lineage might suggest.

About Iberian Peninsula Ethnicity

Primarily located in: Spain, Portugal
Also located in: France, Morocco, Algeria, Italy

People of Prehistoric Iberia
The peninsula of Iberia was inhabited by in the first millennium BC by invading Celts (from central Europe) who intermarried with the local populations. In the southern part of the peninsula a group of phoenicians-Carthaginians created settlements which grew in power until the Roman invasion.

Romanization
Romans invaded Iberia in the 2nd century BC as part of the Second Punic War in which Hannibal led the Carthaginian armies over the alps against the Roman Empire. While Hannibal is generally considered one of the great military commanders of all time, he ultimately did not succeed against the rising power of the Roman Empire. Iberia served as Hannibal's main source of manpower during the war. The Second Punic War ended Carthaginian influence in Iberia. The Roman conquest transformed most of the region into Latin-speaking provinces. The majority of the local languages (with the exception of Basque) evolved into the modern Spanish and Portuguese languages of the Iberian peninsula.

Germanic Visigoth Kingdom
The Visigoth Kingdom occupied the Iberian Peninsula and also southern France for about 200-300 years following the collapse of the Roman empire in about 400 AD. By the end of the 6th century AD Visigoth control of Iberia was largely secured (with the exception of the independent Suebi and Basque peoples). The Visigoths converted to Catholicism in around 589 AD, and were ethnically not very distinct from the indigenous Hispano-Romano population.

Islamic Rule
The Islamic Moors (mainly Berbers but also Arabs) from North Africa invaded the Iberian Peninsula in about 700 AD and ended the Visigoth Kingdom. The Moors conquered pretty much the entire Iberian Peninsula with the exception of the far north (where the Visigoths took refuge). The duration of Muslim rule varied from only a few decades in the north to nearly 800 years in the south. After the break up of Muslim unity in the 11th century BC, the Moors were driven southward in a long process now named the reconquista, which ended with the final expulsion of muslims (and also many Jews) from Iberia in the year 1492--a notable year due to the explorer Christopher Columbus who sailed from Spain to the new world in that year.

During the process of Reconquista, Spain and Portugal became legally distinct countries. Portugal and Spain's land-based boundaries have been remarkably stable, having remained unchanged since the 13th century.

Spain and Portugal experienced periods of great strength and influence during the Age of Discovery. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II of Spain funded the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492, initiating an era of global colonization and great wealth and influence. Today, as a result, Spanish is the second most spoken language on Earth. Portugal kept pace with its neighbor, establishing its own colonies around the world, most notably Brazil.

Today
In the modern era, Spain and Portugal saw tumultuous transitions from monarchies to authoritarian dictatorships to modern republics. While their modern day borders may be much smaller than in the days of their powerful empires, their legacy still reaches around the globe. Today the Iberia DNA signature is detected most commonly in Spain and Portugal, and also to a lesser degree in Italy and France, and is also detected in smaller portions in many neighboring regions including continental North Africa.

About Italy/Greece Ethnicity

Primarily located in: Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia
Also located in: France, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Romania, Turkey, Slovenia, Algeria, Tunisia

Prehistoric Italy/Greece
Ancient Greece was settled by four different Greek speaking groups. The Ionians and Aeolians migration into Greece in the 16th century BC established the Mycenaean Greece of Homer's writings (The Iliad and The Odyssee). The Dorians invaded greece around 1100 BC leading to collapse of the Mycenaean civilization. These three Greek speaking groups settled in Greece, the western coastline of modern Turkey and the islands of the Aegean Sea.

During prehistoric times the main settlements in Italy were Etruscan, Italic in the central Italy (which under Rome became the dominant group), and Greek (Magna Graecia) in the southern part of Italy and Sicily.

Italy/Greece Colonies
Greece established colonies around the Mediterranean world from approximately 750 BC until the 500 BC. These colonies were established as small city-states. Most colonies were established as trading outposts, other colonies were created when cities were defeated and the inhabitants looked for new land. Over 30 Greek city-states colonized 90 colonies from the the Black Sea and Turkey to Southern Spain in the west and Egypt and Libya on the south. Greek Cities spread as far north as Ukraine and Russia.

The Macedonian king, Philip II, united the Greek city states in 338 BC. After Philip’s assassination, Alexander succeeded his father as King of Macedonia and carried out his plans to invade Persia. He lead the Macedonian armies in conquest of the Near East, part of India, and Egypt. After Alexander’s death the conquered territories were divided between his generals and remained under Greek rule.

As Alexander the Great conquered much of the Near East he established 11 new cities (usually named after Alexander) throughout his new empire and resettled many other cities. Greek colonists came from all across the Greek world to establish these new cities in Asia and Africa. Important Greek colonies included Seleucia, Antioch and Alexandria.

As the Roman Republic expanded they established colonies of Roman citizens to maintain control of newly conquered lands. During the 2nd century BC these colonies helped to provide land for the Roman Plebs and eventually a way to provide land to veteran soldiers. During the Roman Empire with an ever expanding army Rome rewarded soldiers who served for years in the military with land in Roman colonies throughout the empire.

In 27 BC, Octavian (Augustus Caesar) took control of all the Roman Republic. The only real attempt to expand the Roman empire was the conquest of Britain in the first century AD. Most Romans departed from Britain by 410 AD.

Invasion of the Barbarians
During the late Roman empire Constantine the Great established Constantinople as the eastern capital of the Roman Empire. This new city became the center of Hellenism and with the fall of the Western Roman Empire became the capital of the Byzantine empire. After the division of the Roman empire there was a series of invasions into the western empire by Goths, Huns, Visigoths, and Heruli. In 476 BC Odoacer deposed the last Roman emperor Romulus Augustulus. Odoacer was soon murdered by the Ostrogoth ruler Theodoric. While taking control of Rome, there was never a major settlement of the invading barbarians of Italy.

From 610-867 a series of attacks were made on the Byzantine empire by Persian, Lombards, Avars, Slavs, Arabs, Normans, Franks, Goths, and Bulgars. The Slavs were the most effective at establishing permanent settlements in Greece. At the same time a large number of Sephardic Jews emigrated from Spain to Greece.

During the 8th and 9th century the empire slowly freed Greece from these invaders and there was a migration from Sicily and Asia Minor of Greek speaking people to Greece. Ottoman Empire (1453 - 1821).

In 1453 the arab Ottomans conquered the Byzantine Empire with Greece. Many of the Greek scholars fled and migrated to Christian Western Europe. Ottoman colonies were established in several areas in Greece.

Italy in the Middle Ages
During the 12th and 13th centuries the city states of Italy developed trading and banking institutions. They developed trading relationships with the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic powers around the Mediterranean. This resurgence of financial power in Italy allowed them to create Italian colonies as far away as the Black Sea.

Italy/Greece Ethnicity Today
The Alpine mountains on the northern border of Italy has prevented major immigration of other ethnic groups to Italy. Today the Italy/Greek DNA signature is detected most commonly in Italy, Greece, the Balkan region, northern Africa, and Asia Minor.

About Europe East Ethnicity

Primarily located in: Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Also located in: Germany, Russia, Montenegro, Macedonia

About the Europe East Region
The Europe East region stretches from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Mediterranean in the south. It consists primarily of former "Eastern Bloc" nations that were either aligned with or occupied by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—as well as Belarus and Ukraine were annexed directly into the USSR, while Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were satellite states as members of the Warsaw Pact. Also part of the region are the nations of the former Yugoslavia—Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia.

The area is considered by many ethnologists to be the homeland of the Slavic people. Most of the nations in the region speak a Slavic language, which spread north and east into Russia and south toward the Balkans in the 5th and 6th centuries.

In the 1400s, the Ottoman Turks conquered the remnants of the Byzantine Empire and throughout the 1500s expanded deep into Eastern Europe, occupying the entire southern region up to Hungary, Romania, and parts of Ukraine. As a result, there are scattered communities of Muslims in the southern countries, although Christianity is prevalent throughout the region.

Migrations into this region
After the Last Glacial Period 15,000 years ago, populations expanded onto the eastern European plain from the Balkans and Blacks Sea as ice and tundra retreated. These Eastern Europeans were the first of the Neolithic farming culture that entered the Balkans about 9,000 years ago from the Near East. In fact, individuals from southeastern Europe have inherited a higher proportion of Near Eastern ancestry than other European individuals. About 2,000-3,000 years ago, the ancestors of Magyars migrated from the Ural Mountains in Russia toward present-day Hungary. Although they contribute their unique language to the region, their genetic impact may have been small.

About Great Britain Ethnicity

Primarily located in: England, Scotland, Wales
Also located in: Ireland, France, Germany

About this region
The people of the region have been witness to sweeping political changes and amazing technological progress through the centuries, from the Glorious Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. But despite their penchant for reform and progress, they have always found a way to preserve the past. From royal families to prime ministers, ancient languages to international diversity, from thousand-year-old cathedrals to glass skyscrapers, their culture is a fascinating blend of old and new.

Population History
Great Britain's Iron Age inhabitants are known as the Britons, a group speaking a Celtic language. The Celts from central Europe were among the first to arrive in the Great Britain region -- about 2500 years ago. Then, as with nearly everywhere else, the Romans came and pushed the Celts to the fringes of the Island. The Romans conquered most of the island (up to Hadrian's Wall, in northern England) and this became the Ancient Roman province of Britannia. Most Romans departed from Britain by around the year 410, but the legacy of the Roman Empire was felt for centuries in Britain.

Germanic Tribes Invade
After the Romans withdrew from the area, tribes from northern Germany and Denmark (the Angles, Saxons and Jutes) came to conquer much of what is now England. English, a Germanic language brought by the Angles, is obviously the primary language spoken. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes came from modern-day Denmark and northern Germany. When the Romans left the island, The Anglo-Saxon invaders found their opportunity to not only conquer, but also to settle and inhabit the region. These Germanic invaders displaced the local populations so completely that ultimately, the population of south-east Britain came to be referred to, after the Angles, as the English people.

Danelaw and the Viking Invasion
During the 9th century the Scandinavian adventurers and settlers (called the "Vikings") established settlements in France, Scotland, England, Ireland, Russia, and Iceland. The first Viking raids of western France began in 790 AD. In 851 the Vikings began settling on the coast of western France, with Viking leaders formally recognized by the French king as ruling upper Normandy by 911 and in control of all of Normandy in 1050 under William the Conqueror.

Danish vikings invaded and settled in northern and eastern England starting in 876 and they eventually controlled a third of England for nearly 80 years. Later Cnut the Great reasserted control over England and parts of Norway and Sweden from 1016 to 1035.

Vikings plundered and later settled Normandy in the Northern France from the late 8th century until William the Conqueror exerted control over all of Normandy. William the Conqueror crossed the English Channel with his Norman, Breton, and French army defeating Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. In 1067 William exerted control of Scotland and Wales.

Migrations from this region
Religious and political upheaval in 17th and 18th century England played a critical role in establishing and defining early American history. Called the Great Migration, religious dissidents including the Pilgrims, Quakers, and Puritans left England seeking religious freedom and a new way of life. Although the migration was not large in overall numbers, it laid the foundation for American culture, including the concepts of church-state separation and religious tolerance.

Today
Today the Great Britain DNA signature is detected most commonly in England, and also to a lesser degree in Scotland and Wales, and is also detected in smaller portions in many neighboring regions including continental Europe.

About Caucasus Ethnicity

Primarily located in: Iran, Georgia, Armenia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Azerbijan
Also found in: Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Palestine

About the Caucasus Region
The Caucasus region extends from the Anatolian Peninsula and the nation of Turkey, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, along the Caucasus Mountains, which form its northern boundary against Southwestern Russia. Here the nations of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are nestled in the highlands between the Black and Caspian Seas. Turning southeast, it encompasses Iran, all the way to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.

It has been the homeland of some of the world's most famous civilizations and empires. Cyrus the Great expanded his territories from his home in Iran to create the powerful Persian Empire, the largest in the world to that point. Known for his religious and cultural tolerance, he freed the Jews from slavery to the Babylonians. His descendants, Darius and Xerxes, famously battled the Greeks at Thermopylae, Salamis, and Marathon during the Greco-Persian wars.

Turkey, in particular, has historically been at the crossroads of Eastern and Western cultures, beginning with the famous Trojan war as told by Homer, when Mycenaean Greeks laid siege to the ancient Lydian city of Troy, which was most likely part of the Hittite Empire. The Roman Empire, ruling from Constantinople, spread Christianity and Greco-Roman culture throughout Anatolia. The arrival of the Turkic peoples from central Asia brought with them the Turkish language and Islam. Their eventual conquest of the Byzantine Empire and its territories in the "Holy Lands" of the Levant were the catalyst of the first Crusades.

Much of the Caucasus region is Muslim, with Shia Islam being the official state religion of Iran, while the Sunni branch is more predominant in the Caucasus groups of the north, such as the Nogay (also Norgai), Adyghe, and Chechens. Modern day Turkey is a secular nation, but the vast majority of the population is Muslim, including the Kurds of the southeast. Georgia and Armenia have a long history of Christianity, being two of the earliest nations to adopt it. Along with Azerbaijan, they were once part of the Soviet Union, and since its dissolution, border disputes have continued to create a tense atmosphere.

Migrations into this region
About 45,000 years ago, the modern humans first occupied the Caucasus Mountains and surrounding region from a source in the Near East and continued to serve as a region for migrations throughout history. This was particularly evident during the Neolithic period when farming spread to the Caucasus Mountains and later when Jewish populations also moved north into the region. Additional evidence suggests that 800 years ago, Mongols also invaded the Caucasus area leaving descendants in populations like the Nogay, who carry the 'Genghis Khan' genetic signature.

Migrations from this region
Despite their intermediate position between Eastern Europe and the Near East, Caucasian populations seem to have rarely been a thoroughfare for migration. Although the Caucasus Mountains have long been a proposed route for the early agriculturalists to settle to Eastern Europe 8,000 years ago, current genetic data indicate Caucasians and Eastern Europeans have remained relatively isolated.