HOW THE TERMS “CAUCASIAN” AND “MONGOLIAN”BECAME POPULARIZED: Blumenbach Presented Slaves as Case Studies to Illustrate his “Environmentalist” Theory of Human Polytypic Variation. (Part 3 of 3)

End Notes:

  1. The observation that some species are are polytypic (showing a diverse spectrum of traits) can be traced to Mayr’s (1964, 111) studies of birds and Dobzhansky’s (1947, 70) studies of Eurasian ladybugs. Dobzhansky (1962, 221) asserted that “mankind is a polytypic species”.
  1. It can be problematic to use the words “racist” and “antiracist” when discussing Blumenbach’s work since these terms originated in the 1930s, long after he died (OED 1989 Vol. 13, 74-75). However, the term “white supremacy” appears as far back as 1825, and “superior race” was used during the late 18th century (Winn 1825, 8; Winterbotham 1796, 111). Thus, in this paper, the term “race supremacist” will be used.
  1. Blumenbach (1795a, xxviii-xxx; 1794, 193) noted that his five principle racial varieties did not include 1.) Cossacks and Kyrgyz, 2.) Egyptians and Romani, and 3.) “Eskimotae”. He regarded these three populations as what might now be described as genetic bridges. As far back as 1850, Bachman noted that the “theory of Blumenbach” was “to a considerable extent arbitrary” such that Blumenbach “himself gives us so many exceptions to the rule, that in a vast number of instances we are at a loss under which of his five varieties we can place many tribes, and a vast number of individuals” (Bachman 1850, 231).
  1. Livingstone’s (1962, 279) contention that “there are no races, only clines”, was endorsed by Dobzhansky. Skull anatomist C. Loren Brace, wrote that “there is a spectrum of variation” in humans that is “rarely taken into account in appraisals of human evolution in general” (Brace and Hunt 1990, 341).
  1. These 11 specimens are quite clearly illustrated in Decades I-III in Figures 3, 5, 9, 15, 20, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, and 30.
  1. The first unearthed Neanderthal fossil discovered in 1865 is now known as the Neanderthal “type specimen” or “holotype” (Kring et al. 1999, 581; Serre and Pääbo 2008, 212).


Ackermann, Rudolph. 1842. The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics. London: R. Ackermann.

Appiah, Kwame and Henry Gates, eds. 2010. Encyclopedia of Africa: Two-Volume Set. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Armistead, Wilson. 1848. A Tribute for the Negro. London: William Irwin.

Augstine, Hanna [Franziska]. 1999a. James Cowles Prichard’s Anthropology. Amsterdam: Editions Rodolpi B. V.

Augstine, Hanna [Franziska]. 1999b. “From the Land of the Bible to the Caucasus and Beyond: the Shifting Ideas of the Geographic Origin of Humankind,” Race, Science and Medicine, 1700-1960. Bernard Harris and Waltraud Ernst, eds., New York: Routledge.

Bachman, John. 1850. The Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race. Charleston, SC: C. Canning.

Bendyshe, Thomas, ed. 1865. Anthropological Treatises of Blumenbach and Hunter. London: Longman, et al.

Bindman, David. 2002. Ape to Apollo. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1776. De generis humani varietate nativa, nativa liber. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1779. Handbuch der naturgeschichte. Göttingen: Johann Dieterich.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1781. De generis humani varietate nativa, 2nd Ed. Göttingen: Vandenhoek.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1787. “Einige naturhistorische Bemerkungen bey Gelegenheit einer Schweizerreise,” Magazin für das Neueste aus der Physik und Naturgeschichte 6: 1-12. Gotha: Ettinger.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1789, 1792, 1795, 1800, 1808, 1820, and 1828. Decas… collectionis suae craniorum diversarum gentium illustrate, Vols. 1-7. Göttingen: Johann Christian Dieterich.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1789. “Über Menschen-Racen und Schweine-Racen,” Magazin für das Neueste aus der Physik und Naturgeschichte Gotha: Ettinger 6: 1-13.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1794. “Observations on some Egyptian mummies opened in London,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 84:177-195.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1795. De generis humani varietate nativa, 3rd Ed. Göttingen: Vandenhoek et Ruprecht.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1796. Abbildungen naturhistorischer Gegenstände, 1tes Heft, Nro 1-10. Göttingen: Johann Christian Dieterich.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1799a. Translation Anon. “Comparison between the Human Race and that of Swine, [from] Magazin für das Neueste aus der Physik, Vol. V,Philosophical Magazine. 3:284-290. London: Richardson et al.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1799b. Translation Anon. “Observations on the bodily Conformation and mental Capacities of the Negroes; from Magazin für das neuste (sic) aus der Physik, Vol. IV,Philosophical Magazine. 3:144-147. London: Richardson et al.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1806. Beyträge zur naturgeschichte, Erster Theil, Zweyte Ausgabe. Göttingen: Heinrich Dieterich.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1810. Abbildungen naturhistorischer Gegenstände, Nro 1-100. Göttingen: Heinrich Dieterich.

Blumenbach, Johann. 1811. Beiträge zur naturgeschichte, Part 2. Göttingen: Dieterich.

Boxer, Charles. 1957. The Dutch in Brazil. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brace, C. Loring and Kevin Hunt. 1990. “A nonracial craniofacial perspective on human variation: A(ustralia) to Z(uni),” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 82:341-360.

Buffon, (Georges-Louis Leclerc). 1749. L’Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, Tome 3. Paris: L’Imprimerie Royale.

Buffon, (Georges-Louis Leclerc). 1753. L’Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, Tome 4. Paris: L’Imprimerie Royale.

Buffon, (Georges-Louis Leclerc). 1812a. William Smellie, trans., Natural History, General and Particular, Vol. 3. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies.

Buffon, (Georges-Louis Leclerc). 1812b. William Smellie, trans., Natural History, General and Particular, Vol. 4. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies.

Burmeister, Hermann. 1849. Die Labyrinthodonten aus dem bunten Sandstein von Bernburg. Berlin: Verlag von G. Reimer.

Channing, Walter. 1851. New and Old. Boston (Assumed): No Publisher Listed.

Chardin, Jean. 1686. Journal du Voiage du Chevalier Chardin. Amsterdam: Wolters and Haring.

Chardin, John (Jean). 1724, 2010. Sir John Chradin’s Travels in Persia. New York:Cosimo.

Connaughton, Richard. 2007. Omai: The Prince Who Never Was. London: Timewell Press Limited.

Cook, Della. 2006. “The Old Physical Anthropology and the New World,” Jane Buikstra and Lane Beck, eds., Bioarcheology: The Contextual Analysis of Human Remains. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Curtin, Phillip. 1964. The Image of Africa: British Ideas and Action, 1780-1850, Vol. 1. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Dain, Bruce. 2002. A Hideous Monster of the Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

De Fischer, Joannes. 1743. Dissertatio osteologica de modo quo ossa de vicinis acconimodant partibus. Leiden, Netherlands: Conrad and George Wishoff.

Debrunner, Hans. 1979. Presence and Prestige, Africans in Europe. Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien.

Delon, Michel, ed. 2013. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Demel, Walter. 2011. “Review: Michael Keevak, Becoming Yellow,” East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine 34:231-233.

Demel, Walter. 2012. “Constructing Racial Theories in East Asians as a Transnational “Western” Enterprise, 1750-1850,” Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel, eds., Race and Racism in Modern East Asia, Vol. 2. Leiden: Brill.

Dobzhansky, Theodisius. 1947. Genetics and the Origin of Species. New York: Columbia University Press.

Dobzhansky, Theodisius. 1962. Mankind Evolving. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Dougherty, Frank. 2012. The Correspondence of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Vol.4, 1791-1795. Göttingen: Norbert Klatt Verlag.

Douglas, Bronwen. 2008. “Climate to crania: science and the racialization of human difference,” Bronwen Douglas and Chris Ballard, eds., Foreign Bodies: Oceania and the Science of Race 1750-1940. Canberra, Australia: ANU E Press.

Dow, Alexander. 1803. The History of Hindostan, Translated from the Persian, Vol. 3, London: B. McMillan.

Dyson, Stephen. 2008. In Pursuit of Ancient Pasts: A History of Classical Archaeology in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Ebers, John. 1799. The New and Complete Dictionary of the German and English Languages, Vol. 3. Leipzig: Breitkopf and Haertel.

Engelstein, Stefani. 2008. Anxious Anatomy. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Fernald, James. ed. 1921. The Comprehensive Standard Dictionary of the English Language.  New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company.

Figal, Sara [Eigen]. 2005. “Self, Race and Species: J. F. Blumenbach’s Atlas Experiment,” The German Quarterly. Vol. 3:277-298.

Finkelmann, Paul, ed., 2006. Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895. New York: Oxford University Press.

Forbes, Jack. 1993. Africans and Native Americans. Urbana, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Gentis, Andrew. 2010. Exile, Murder and Madness in Siberia, 1823-61. New York: Palgrave Macillan.

Georgi, Johann. 1777. Beschreibung aller Nationen des russischen Reichs. St. Petersburg, Russia: Carl Willhelm Müller

Georgi, Johann. 1780. Russia: or a Compleat (sic) Historical Account of all the Nations, Vol 3. London: J. Nichols.

Georgi, Johann. 1780. Russia: Or, a Compleat (sic) Historical Account of All the Nations which Compose that Empire, Vol. 2, London: Nichols, et al.

Goethe, Johann. 1909. Goethes Sämtliche Werke, Vol. 31, Munchen: G. Muller.

Gould, Stephen. 1996. The Mismeasure of Man; Revised and Expanded. New York: Norton.

Grégoire, Henri. 1808. De la Littérature des Négres. Paris: Chez Maradan.

Henke, Holger. 2001. The West Indian Americans. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Johnson, Samuel. 1768. A Dictionary of the English Language, Dublin: Jones.

Keevak, Michael. 2011. Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Kelsay, Isabel. 1984. Joseph Brant, 1743-1807, Man of Two Worlds. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press)

Kring, Mattias, et al. 1999. “DNA sequence of the mitochondrial hypervariable region II from the Neanderthal type specimen.” Proceedings of the National Academies of Science USA. 99:5581-5585.

Kroke, Claudia. 2010. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach: Bibliographie seiner Schriften. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen.

Kuryla, Peter. 2015. “Nell Irvin Painter talks with Chapter 16 about The History of White People”. Chapter 16, A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby. (February 10, 2015)

Lafleur, Gérard, 1993 “The Passing of a Nation: The Carib Indians of the Lesser Antilles.” In Amerindians Africans Americans. Kingston, Jamaica: Canoe Press University of the West Indies.

Lewis, Bernard. 1982. The Muslim Discovery of Europe, New York: Norton.

Lieber, Francis, et al. eds. 1857. Encyclopædia Americana, Vol. 5, Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea.

Livingstone, Frank and Theodosius Dobzhansky. 1962. “On the Non-Existence of Human Races,” Current Anthropology. 3:279-281.

Mayr, Ernst. 1964. Systematics and the Origin of Species. New York: Dover.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED). 1989. John Simpson and Edmund Weiner eds. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.

Painter, Nell. 2010. The History of White People. New York: Norton.

Rodriguez, Junius. 1997. The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery, Vol. 1: A-K. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Sarkar, Jagadish. 1979. The Life of Mir Jumla, the General of Aurangzeb.  New Delhi: Rajesh Publications.

Schiebinger, Londa. 1993. Nature’s Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science. Boston: Beacon Press.

Serre, D. and Svante Pääbo. 2008. “The fate of European Neanderthals.” In Katerina Harvati and Terry Harrison, eds. Neanderthals Revisited. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Spencer, Frank, ed. 1997. The History of Physical Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing.

Stokes, Jaime, ed. 2009. Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East. New York: Infobase Publishing.

Sussman, Robert. 2014. The Myth of Race. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Tiedemann, Friedrich. 1836. “On the Brain of the Negro, Compared with That of the European and the Orang-Outang,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 126:497-527.

Vermeulen, Hans. 2015. Before Boas: The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Vogüé, Marie-Eugène-Melchior, de. 1891. The Tsar and His People: Or, Social Life in Russia. New York: Harper and Brothers.

Wagner, Rudoph. 1865. “Die anthropologische Sammlung des Physiologischen Instituts,”  Nachrichten von der Georg-Augusts-Universität zu Göttingen 14:233-242.

Wilson, Daniel. 1860. “Notice of a Skull brought from Kertch, in the Crimea,” The Canadian Journal.5: 324.

Winn, T. S. 1825. A Speedy End to Slavery in Our West India Colonies. London: W. Phillips.

Winterbotham, William. 1796. An Historical… View of the United States, Vol. 1. New York: Tiebout and O’Brian.

Yalçınkaya, Mehmet, 2010. The First Permanent Ottoman Embassy in Europe: The Embassy of Yusef Agah Efendi to London (1793-1797). Istanbul: Isis Press.

Zammito, John. 2006. “Policing Polygeneticism in Germany, 1775: (Kames,) Kant, and Blumenbach,” The German Invention of Race. Sara Eigen and Mark Larrimore, eds. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.


The author would like to thank Nicolaas Rupke of Washington and Lee University, Wolfgang Böker of the University of Göttingen’s Blumenbach Online Project, and Ann E. Michael of De Sales University for their encouragement. Thanks also to Robert E. Shillenn of Shillenn, Ltd., Silver Springs, MD who provided input on translations for selected Latin, German, French, and Russian texts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *