There are frequent disputes among some concerned with human biodiversity regarding the nature of the “white” racial type, given that there are multiple subraces which exist in Europe. There is a common approach (usually made for political convenience) to assume that the differences between these groups are insignificant. I would argue that this is generally a false assumption from an empirical standpoint, though all these groups are broadly classifiable as racially Caucasoid.
The Cro-Magnoid Type
The Cro-Magnoids (including the “Baltids” of Northeastern Europe) are likely one of the earliest Caucasoid phenotypes; they are often characterized in contrast to later Neolithic phenotypes by a robust skeletal build, a more brachycephalic cranium, and robust facial features. There tends to be variable skin and hair pigmentation, but eye color is usually light. This combination of physical traits is currently sometimes found in Balts, Northern Slavs, Estonians, Finns, Germans, the western Irish, Icelanders, and western Norwegians. It seems to have an antecedent in the Loschbour specimen from Luxembourg in the Mesolithic, c. 6000 BC which had robust features, and most likely light eyes, and dark hair and skin based on genomic testing (link). The populations in which modern Cro-Magnoids exist not surprisingly possess large quantities of the “WHG” (West European Hunter Gatherer) ancestry similar to that of the Mesolithic Loschbour specimen (shown below). It should be noted that throughout most of its present range, the Cro-Magnoid subracial type occurs alongside Nordics which emerged in the late Neolithic through Early Bronze Age. (Cro-Magnoid hunter-gatherers are also one population ancestral to Nordics). Oftentimes the Cro-Magnoids and Nordics are blended; this is common in most Germanic peoples.
The genetic research of Iosif Lazaridis (here, here) indicates that European Mediterraneans derive most of their genetic ancestry from a series of Near Eastern migrations into Europe, especially that of early Neolithic Anatolian cereal grain farmers. This early Neolithic ancestry may be the original source of the more dolichocephalic cranium, gracile build, and often neotenous facial features common to both Nordics and Mediterraneans. The lifestyle, social, and dietary changes of the Neolithic revolution may have been what selected for these new phenotypes in the first place. Most Mediterraneans living south of the Alps, Balkans and the Pyrenees, with the exception of Sardinians, also possess a significant genetic contribution from Bronze and Iron Age incursions from the Near East of the Phoenicians, Sea Peoples, Etruscans (possibly from Lydia), and possibly the Pelasgians (if they happened to be of Bronze-Age Near Eastern descent).
The first map below shows a rough approximation of total Near Eastern admixture in Europe, including both Anatolian Neolithic admixture and later Bronze and Iron Age incursions using data from this study. The second map shows only the admixture from the more recent Near Eastern incursions during the Bronze and Iron Ages:
(Note: it is likely that the data calculated for the map directly above possesses positive error. For more realistic values on post-Neolithic Near Eastern admixture, see this Eurogenes post. If you choose to read it, “England_Roman_outlier” is a specimen of Levantine ancestry, visible on PCAs (possibly a slave brought to England by the Romans))
The abundance of Near-Eastern ancestry in Mediterraneans compared to other Europeans is evident in the phenotypes of a slightly olive complexion, dark wavy hair, and dark eyes. Amphorae and busts from ancient Greece would seem to indicate that the majority of the population and some prominent aristocrats, particularly in Athens (such as Pericles), were of a predominantly Mediterranean phenotype, having dark wavy or curly hair which is much less common in Northern Europe.
The Mediterranean subrace, however, is not limited to Europe, or even the Mediterranean basin (this is indicated by the Lazaridis study on early farmers). Indo-Iranians of a Mediterranean racial type are largely descended from Iranian Neolithic farmers from the Zagros mountains. Arabs gain most of their Caucasoid ancestry from the pre-Neolithic Natufian culture of the Levant. The ancient Egyptians, whom we now know were Mediterranean Caucasoids, appear to derive their ancestry from both the Anatolian Neolithic and also the Natufian culture (given their genetic proximity to modern Levantines and Arabs) (link). All of the prehistoric cultures which gave rise to peoples of a Mediterranean subrace, do however share significant admixture containing a combination of European hunter-gatherer and “basal Eurasian” DNA. This “basal rich” admixture, as it is called on the blog Eurogenes, might be considered proto-Mediterranean; it most likely emerged in Northern Africa or the Middle East, though it is distinct from the Sub-Saharan African genetic admixture. While this basal rich admixture is most abundant in racially Mediterranean populations, it is, in fact, ubiquitous in all extant Caucasoid populations.
The Nordic subrace possesses a clear geographic range including the British Isles, Northern France, the Low Countries, Northern Germany, and the shores of the Baltic Sea, extending to some degree into Russia. The genetic research of Allentoft and Lazaridis indicates that Nordic populations possess most of their ancestry from three earlier Caucasoid groups: Anatolian cereal farmers, Pontic Steppe pastoralists (most likely Indo-European), and European hunter-gatherers, which began combining in the Northern European Corded Ware Culture in the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age c. 3000-2300 BC.
The very light skin pigmentation often found in Nordic populations was most likely a result of a need to effectively synthesize vitamin D using sunlight at high latitudes. The high degree of lactose tolerance, a neotenous trait found particularly in Western European Nordics is a result of the bovine pastoral economies of the Corded Ware and to a larger degree succeeding cultures which depended on milk as a dietary staple. The light pigmentation of the hair and eyes found in Nordic populations are also neotenous traits in Caucasoids. Nordics possess a gracile skeletal build and cranium bordering between mesocephalic and dolichocephalic tending towards facial neoteny (as with Mediterraneans, these skeletal features likely originate in Neolithic farmer ancestry). This unique combination of phenotypes in pigmentation, skeletal features, and elsewhere, makes the Nordic subrace distinct from other Caucasoids. It may have arisen partially through a sexual selection for generally neotenous traits.
Note how the distributions of the Nordic phenotypes below are similar to that of the Corded Ware Culture, where the Nordic subrace most likely began to emerge:
Culturally and genetically succeeding the Corded Ware people were those of the Nordic Bronze Age (Germanic), Atlantic Bronze Age (pre-Celtic?), Unetice culture (Italo-Celtic?), and Sintashta culture (Indo-Iranian, also where the earliest chariots appear). Genomes which have been collected from these cultures cluster together with each other on a genetic principal component analysis (here, here) and also cluster with modern Germanic, Celtic, and some Baltic and Northern Slavic ethnic groups (many Balto-Slavic peoples also have strong genetic influence from earlier hunter-gatherers, i.e. Cro-Magnoids). It is also apparent from these analyses, and even physical appearances, that modern Indo-Iranians, particularly in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, have some Nordic European ancestry in addition to their mostly Iranian Neolithic/Mediterranean ancestry. This is due to the Andronovo expansion of early Indo-Iranian speakers from Northeastern Europe into Central Asia c. 1500 BC. This expansion played an important role in the spread of Indo-European language culture into Central and Southern Asia.
Nordic phenotypes also occur sometimes in the Mediterranean and the Balkans. The Celtiberians, Myceneans, and early Italic tribes who introduced Indo-European languages into the Mediterranean from the north would have carried Nordic traits with them. Classical literature would seem to substantiate this. Many Greek mythological figures such as Menelaus, Achilles, Apollo, Aphrodite, and Athena are all described as having light pigmentation. Certain Roman patricians such as Augustus and Marcus Junius Brutus (the younger) possessed Nordic facial features. Augustus and many other Roman emperors also possessed, according to records, light pigmentation of the hair and eyes (link). Later, the Visigoths, Suebi, and Ostrogoths would add to the Nordic component in the Balkans, Italy, and Iberia. This would remain visible in the aristocracy of Spain for 1000 years after these invasions; Queen Isabella de Castille, born in 1451, possessed strikingly Nordic traits compared to the average Iberian, and even her own husband.
Brachycephaly (broad-headedness) is most exaggerated in Caucasoid populations inhabiting mountainous areas, hence the label “Alpine” is sometimes applied to this phenotype. When Neolithic mesocephalic and dolichocephalic populations interbred with Mesolithic hunter-gatherer populations, they may have acquired brachycephaly as an adaptation which proliferated in high altitudes (possibly to prevent high-altitude cerebral edema, but this is merely an educated guess). One example of this may be the brachycephalic people of the Neolithic Bell Beaker culture which became widespread in Central and Western Europe c. 2500 BC. This phenomenon of selection for brachycephaly in higher altitudes could be the reason why the round skull shape is still so commonly found in and around the more mountainous areas of Europe such as the Massif Central in France, the Alps, the Apennines, the Carpathians and the Balkans.
The “Alpine” phenotype is also present in the contemporary populations of the Caucasus region and the Armenian plateau, giving rise to a subrace sometimes referred to as “Armenoid”. These populations appear to be descended, based on genetic analysis, from the Neolithic and Paleolithic inhabitants of Anatolia and the Caucasus. In addition to this, given that the region encompassing the Armenian plateau and Anatolia is where animal domestication and bronze metallurgy began in the Neolithic, it is probable that many of the first animal herders and bronze smelters possessed an Alpine phenotype. These early herders and bronze smelters would have expanded the distribution of their Alpine phenotype as they migrated into Southeastern Europe and into Mesopotamia where the earliest civilizations arose.
This expansion out of Armenia and the Caucasus seems to be related to the distribution of Y-haplogroup J2 (edit: especially the J2b M102 subclade) and autosomal admixture from the hunter-gatherers of the Caucasus and Late Neolithic (Chalcolithic) Iranians. It may be responsible for the brachycephaly observed today specifically in Southeastern Europe, where there is little admixture from the European Mesolithic. This would be in contrast to France and Central Europe where there is more Mesolithic European ancestry, and that is the likely source of the brachycephalic (Alpine) phenotype.
It is probable that the brachycephalic Bell Beaker people of Central Europe (given that they possessed significant Anatolian Neolithic and Corded Ware-like ancestries) were the beginning of a heavy combination of Alpines with Nordics and Mediterraneans resulting in the “Dinaric” subrace. This Dinaric subrace most likely expanded to its present distribution first within the Bell-beaker culture itself, then by means of the Illyrians, Halstatt Celts and proto-Italic peoples who migrated out of Central Europe starting c. 1200 BC (It is also interesting to note that the Y-chromosomal haplogroup which is most associated with continental Celts and early Italic tribes, R-U152, was also found in a Bavarian Bell Beaker individual, RISE563). These expansions played an important role in spreading bronze, and later iron metallurgy throughout the European continent. The Slavic peoples of Central Europe may have also played a role in the expansion of the Dinaric subrace later beginning around 500 AD.
Conclusion: What is White?
Returning to the main dilemma which many are facing; one might like to ask the question of what is white? All commonly called “whites” are racially Caucasoid. In most formal discussions, “White” is often equated with Caucasoid, and can thus include both Middle Eastern and European ethnic groups. In more common or “folk” parlance, white usually refers to Caucasoids with a fair skin phenotype common in populations with an abundance of Nordic racial ancestry. It is difficult to simply equate the term “white” with pre-multicultural European descent because of the multitude of Caucasoid subraces already present in Europe prior to recent multiculturalism, some of which extend outside Europe into the Middle East. Hence, when speaking accurately with regards to genetic ancestry, “White” should either refer to “Caucasoid” or to racially Nordic Caucasoids. If the former option is chosen, Europeans may be considered “white-Europeans” or “European whites”. What all extant Europeans share is significant ancestry from Anatolian Neolithic farmers, and this gives rise to a certain degree of pan-European clustering on genetic principal component analyses.
Without getting into details, there are a variety of European ethnic groups in the US today belonging to different European subraces. The best way for ethnic nationalists to sort this out from a natural law standpoint is to use free association to allow various European American ethnic groups to coalesce in certain territories as they desire and to gain power regionally and thus avoid ethnic conflict.
Addendum: Non-Caucasoid Admixture in Majority Caucasoids
To address this topic I will use the Eurogenes K7 admixture calculator which uses Caucasoid admixtures sourced from ancient populations prior to the Neolithic, Bronze age, Iron age, and Medieval population movements. When viewing the spreadsheet, the populations ancestral to all modern Caucasoids are labeled “Villabruna-related”, “Ancient_North_Eurasia” and “Basal-rich”. East Asian ancestry is called “East Eurasian”, and Sub-Saharan African ancestry is referred to as “Sub-Saharan”; the “Southeast Asian” and “Oceanian” ancestry groups are predominate in Australoid populations.
Modern Semitic populations in Arabia and the Levant have little to no Australoid admixture and trace Sub-Saharan African admixture at around 1-3 % as well as some occasional East Asian admixture at ~0.5%. The Druze, Samaritans, and Lebanese Christians lack this additional East Asian and Sub-Saharan African Admixture. Most modern Indic and Iranic populations, except for some Kurds and Zoroastrian Iranians, possess some East Asian admixture (~1-9%), and Australoid admixture (~0.4-9%). Middle Eastern Islamic populations almost as a rule possess more non-Caucasoid admixture than Middle Eastern populations which have remained non-Muslim. This may be due to the conversion of Central Asian Turkic peoples and Sub-Saharan Africans to Islam. Ironically, some modern linguistic Turks, living in Trabzon, possess no more Sub-Saharan African, or East Asian ancestry compared to most Europeans.
Europeans, in general, do not possess much Sub-Saharan African ancestry, almost invariably under 0.2% in most of Europe (usually fluctuating greatly below this level in the same populations; an indication of calculator “noise”). In Europe, Sub-Saharan African admixture reaches maxima of 0.2-0.5 % in Sicily, and 0.5-1% in Portugal. 96 % of European Americans possess less than 1% Sub-Saharan African Admixture according to 23 & Me (link). East Asian admixtures are present at .5-2% in West Russian, Ukrainian, and Eastern Baltic Populations. Russians in Kargopol are ~4-6 % East Asian. Finns have roughly 6-7% East Asian admixture; the Saami possess about 20% East Asian admixture. Other European populations have between 0.01 to 0.5 % East Asian admixture, often possessing almost this entire percentage range within the same populations, possibly indicating calculator noise at this level. Australoid ancestry fluctuates erratically in the European continent between 0.0 % and 0.8 %, possibly a sign calculator noise, or of certain populations possessing minimally less genetic drift away from the ancestral Eurasian population dwelling in India 70,000 years ago.
Generally, below a certain level, trace genetic admixtures are able to be considered “noise” or erroneous defects caused by the imperfection of the genetic model used to calculate admixture percentages. However, it seems likely that millennia of proximity with neighboring Uralic populations has led to the small peak in East Asian admixture among the Eastern Slavs and Balts, and that admixture from invading Moors gave a very small amount of Sub-Saharan African admixture to Portugal and Sicily which is not present elsewhere in Europe. In time, these trace admixtures may be selected out of the populations which possess them just as Neanderthal ancestry in humans has decreased from 3-6% 40,000 years ago to 2% in the present day (study).