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About Europe

The People of Europe

The people of Europe are a composition of many diverse ethno-linguistic groups. You can find today’s largest groups on our ➾ Demographics page. Visiting many areas you can see traditional customs observed through special events and in museums. The languages, clothing and cuisines can still be experienced. All of this diverse ethnicity can make Europe one of the best places to travel.

Over the centuries and even the millennia, groups of people have migrated, evolved and in some disappeared all together. Groups of people descended in pre-historic times into the Neolithic and Bronze ages with evidence like Stonehenge and others still existing. Historical populations where noted by Greco-Roman history during the Iron age in these areas.

  • Aegean: Greek tribes, Pelasgians, and Anatolians.
  • Balkans: Illyrians, Dacians, and Thracians.
  • Italian peninsula: Camunni, Rhaetians, Lepontii, Adriatic Veneti, Ligurians, Etruscans, Italic peoples and Greek colonies.
  • Western/Central Europe: Celts (list of peoples of Gaul, List of Celtic tribes), Rhaetians and Swabians, Vistula Veneti, Lugii and Balts.
  • Iberian peninsula: Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula (Iberians, Lusitani, Aquitani, Celtiberians) Basques and Phoenicians (Carthaginians).
  • Sardinia: ancient Sardinians (also known as Nuragic people), comprising the Corsi, Balares and Ilienses tribes.
  • West European Isles: Celtic tribes in Britain and Ireland and Picts/Priteni.
  • Northern Europe: Finnic peoples, Germanic peoples; the Normans conquered and colonized South Italy and Sicily (Norman conquest of southern Italy).
  • Southern Europe: Sicani.
  • Eastern Europe: Scythians, Sarmatians.

After the fall of the Roman empire there was a large migration of peoples to Europe. Ethno-linguistic groups that arrived from outside Europe during historical times are: 

  • Phoenician colonies in the Mediterranean (including regions in Spain, France, Malta, Italy and the Aegean).
  • Assyrian conquest of Cyprus, Southern Caucasus (including parts of modern Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan) and Cilicia.
  • Iranian influence: Achaemenid control of Thrace (512–343 BC) and the Bosporan Kingdom, Cimmerians(possible Iranians), Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans, Ossetes.
  • The Jewish diaspora reached Europe in the Roman Empire period. Early Jewish communities in Italy, Central Europe (Gaul).
  • The Hunnic Empire (5th century), converged with the Barbarian invasions, contributing to the formation of the First Bulgarian Empire
  • The Bulgars (or Proto-Bulgarians), a semi-nomadic people, originally from Central Asia, eventually absorbed by the Slavs.
  • The Magyars (Hungarians), a Ugric people, and the Turkic Pechenegs and Khazars, arrived in Europe in about the 8th century (see Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin).
  • Arabs conquered Cyprus, Crete, Sicily, some places along the coast of southern Italy, Malta, Greek Empire, Hispania.
  • Berber dynasties of the Almoravides and the Almohads ruled much of Spain and Portugal.
  • Exodus of Maghreb Christians
  • Kipchaks known as Cumans entered the lands of present-day Ukraine in the 11th century.
  • Mongol/Tatar invasions (1223–1480), and
  • Ottoman control of the Balkans (1389–1878).
  • Romani people (Gypsies) arrived during the Late Middle Ages

Ethnic make up by country breaks down along the lines below. Note majority people may be composed of several ethnic groups. Since WWII Europe’s negative population and growth and the migration of people from other countries outside Europe have shifted the face of Europe’s culture slightly.

🇦🇱 Albania

Majority: Albanians 82.5%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Greeks 2%, others 2%

🇦🇹 Austria

Majority: Austrian-Germans 85%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Yugoslavs 5.2%, Turks 2.2%, Hungarians 1%, others 6.6%

🇧🇾 Belarus

Majority: Belarusian83.5%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Russians 8.3% , Poles 3.1%, Ukrainians 1.7%, others 3.2%

🇧🇪 Belgium

Majority: Flemings 58%
Regional Majority: Walloons 38%, Germans 1%
Minorities: Luxembourgers, Eastern or Southern Europeans, Africans and Asians and Latin Americans 10%

🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina

Majority: Bosniaks 51.11%
Regional Majority: Serbs 30.78%, Croats 15.43%
Minorities: other 2.73%

🇧🇬 Bulgaria

Majority: Bulagrians 84.8%
Regional Majority: Turks 8.8%
Minorities: Roma 4.9%, others 1.5% (includes Russians, Armenians, Tartars & Vlach)

🇭🇷 Croatia

Majority: Croats 90.4%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Serbs 4.4%, others 5.2% (including Bosniaks, Hungarians, Slovenes, Czechs, Dalmatian Italians, Austrian-Germans, Romanians and Romani)

🇩🇰 Denmark

Majority: Danes 88.7%
Regional Majority: Faroese
Minorities: other Scandinavian, Germans, Frisians, other European, Greenlandic Inuit and others

🇪🇪 Estonia

Majority: Estonians 68.7%
Regional Majority: Russians 24.9%
Minorities: Ukrainians 1.8%, Belarusians 0.9%, Finns 0.6% and others 3.6%

🇫🇮 Finland

Majority: Finns 89%
Regional Majority: Swedes 5.3%
Minorities: Russians 1.3% and Estonians 0.8%

🇫🇷 France

Majority: French 86%
Regional Majority: Bretons, Corsicans, Occitans, Alsatians, Arpitans, Basques, Catalans and Flemings
Minorities: other European 7%, North African 7%, Sub-Saharan African, Indochinese, Asian, Latin American and Pacific Islander

🇩🇪 Germany

Majority: Germans 80.8%
Regional Majority: Frisians and Sorbians
Minorities: other Europeans 11.7%, West Asians, Turks 3.4%, Arabs, other Asians 1.3%, Africans 0.6% and Americans 0.5%

🇬🇷 Greece

89.8%
Regional Majority: Muslim minority, Armenians and Jews
Minorities: Albanians 4%, Romani 1.5-2.3%, Aromanians 1.8%, Macedonians/Bulgarians 0.9-1.8%, Cretan Turks est. 1% and Arvanites 0.9%

🇭🇺 Hungary

Majority: Hungarians 85.6%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Romani 3.2%, Germans 1.9%, others (i.e. Romanians, Slovaks, Croats, Serbs, Slovenes and Ruthenians) or not stated 14.1%

🇮🇸 Iceland

Majority: Icelanders 91%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Poles 4% and others 5% (examples are Filipinos, Greeks, Portuguese people and Russians

🇮🇪 Ireland

Majority: Irish 82.2%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: other white (large numbers of Britons, Latvians, Poles and Ukrainians) 9.5%, Asians 2.1%, blacks 1.2%, Irish Travellers 0.7% and others/not stated 4.3%

🇮🇹 Italy

Majority: Italians 92.8%
Regional Majority: Aosta Valley French, Friulians, South Tirol Germans, Sardinians, and Sicilians.
Minorities: North Africans 1%, Romanians 1%, Asians (non-Chinese) 0.8%, Albanians 0.8%, Sub-Saharan Africans 0.5%, Latin Americans 0.5%, Chinese 0.3%, Ukrainians 0.3% and others 1%. Arbëreshë, Italiot Greeks, Catalans, Occitans, Ladins, Croats, Romani and Italian Jews.

🇱🇻 Latvia

Majority: Latvians 62.%
Regional Majority: Latgalians, and Russians 25.4%
Minorities: Belarusian 3.3%, Ukrainians 2.2%, Poles 2.1%, Lithuanians 1.1% and others/unspecified 4.8%

🇱🇹 Lithuania

Majority: Lithuanians 86.7%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Poles 5.6%, Russians 4.8%, Belarusians 1.3%, Ukrainians 0.7% and others 0.9%

🇲🇹 Malta

Majority: Maltese 95.2%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: non-Maltese 4.8%

🇲🇩 Moldova

Majority: Moldovans 75.1%
Regional Majority: Gagauzs 4.6%, Bulgarians 1.9%, and Romani
Minorities: Romanians 7%, Ukrainians 6.6%, Russians 4.1%, and others 0.8%

🇲🇪 Montenegro

Majority: Montenegrins 45%
Regional Majority: Serbs 28.7% and Sandžak Muslims
Minorities: Bosniaks and Muslims by nationality 11.9%, Albanians 4.9%, Croats 0.9%, Romani 0.8%, Macedonians 0.1% and others 4.9%

🇳🇱 Netherlands

Majority: Dutch 77.4%
Regional Majority: Frisians
Minorities: other Europeans 9.9%, Turks 2.3%, Moroccans 2.3%, Indonesians2.1%, Surinamese 2%, Caribbeans 0.9%, Americans 0.2% and others 2.9%

🇲🇰 North Macedonia

Majority: Macedonians 64%
Regional Majority: Albanians 25.2%, Turks 4%
Minorities: Romani 2.7%, Serbs 1.8%, and other (i.e. Bosniaks, Aromanians, Croats, Montenegrins and Bulgarians) 2.2%

🇳🇴 Norway

Majority: Norwegians 85 – 87%
Regional Majority: Sami 1.2 – 2.5%
Minorities: Poles 1.4%. approximately 12% (Swedes, Pakistanis, Somalis, Iraqis and Kurds, Vietnamese, Germans, Lithuanians, Russians and Indians

🇵🇱 Poland

Majority: Poles 98%
Regional Majority: Frisians
Minorities: others or not started 2%

🇵🇹 Portugal

Majority: Portuguese 96.3%
Regional Majority: Mirandese
Minorities: others 3.7% like Afro-Portuguese, Chinese people, Latin Americans, Ukrainians and ex-Yugoslavs

🇷🇴 Romania

Majority: Romanians 83.4%
Regional Majority: Hungarians 6.1%
Minorities: Romani 3.0%, Germans 0.2%, Ukrainians 0.2%, Turks 0.2%, Russians 0.1%  and Chinese 0.1%

🇷🇺 Russia

Majority: Russians 80.9%
Regional Majority: Tatars 3.9%, Bashkirs 1.2%, Chuvash1%, Chechens 1%, Ossetians 0.4%, Kabardians 0.4%, Ingush 0.3%, Kalmyks 0.1%
Minorities: Ukrainians 1.4%, Armenians 0.9%, Avars 0.7%, Mordvins 0.5% and others.

🇷🇸 Serbia

Majority:  Serbian 83.3%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities:Hungarians 3.5%, Romani 2.1%, Bosniaks and Muslims by nationality 2.3%, Croats 0.8%, Slovaks 0.7%, Montenegrins 0.5%, Vlachs 0.5%, Romanians 0.4%, Yugoslavs 0.3%, Macedonians0.3%, Bulgarians 0.3% and others/unspecified 5.1%.

🇸🇰 Slovakia

Majority:  Slovaks 80.7%
Regional Majority: Hungarians 8.5%
Minorities:Romani 2.0%, Czechs 0.6%, Rusyns 0.6%, Ukrainians 0.1% and others/unspecified 7.5%

🇸🇮 Slovenia

Majority:  Slovenes 83.1%
Regional Majority: none
Minorities: Serbs 2%, Croats 1.8%, Bosniaks 1.1%, others (Dalmatian Italians, Germans, Hungarians and Romanians) and/or unspecified 12%

🇪🇸 Spain

Majority: Spaniards 89%
Regional Majority: Included Castilians and Leonese, Catalans/Valencians, Galicians, Asturians, Basques and Canarians
Minorities: Gypsies, Jews, Latin Americans, Romanians, North Africans, sub-Saharan Africans, Chinese, Filipinos, Levant Arabs, British

🇸🇪 Sweden

Majority: Swedes 88%
Regional Majority: Finns (Tornedalians), Sami people and Kvens
Minorities: Finns (Sweden Finns), Yugoslavs (Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks), Danes, Norwegians, Russians, Arabs (Lebanese and Syrians), Syriacs, Greeks, Turks, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Thais, Koreans and Chileans

🇨🇭 Switzerland

Majority: German Speakers 63%
Regional Majority: French-speakers 22,7%, Italian-speakers 8.4% and Romansh people 0.6
Minorities: others 5.9%

🇹🇷 Turkey

Majority: Turks 73%%
Regional Majority: Kurds 12%
Minorities: others 15%: Zazas, Laz, Jews, Greeks, Georgians, Circassians, Bulgarians, Bosniaks, Assyrians, Armenians, Arabs, Albaniansand Romanians

🇺🇦 Ukraine

Majority: Ukrainians 77.8%
Regional Majority: Russians 17.3%
Minorities: Belarusians 0.6%, Moldovans 0.5%, Crimean Tatars 0.5%, Bulgarians 0.4%, Hungarians 0.3%, Romanians 0.3%, Poles0.3%, Jews 0.2%, Armenians 0.1%, Urums 0.1% and others 1.8%

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

Majority: White British 87.1%
Regional Majority: (consisting of English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish (could also be counted as Irish), also Cornish, Manx and Channel Islanders). Included are the inhabitants of Gibraltar
Minorities: Black British 3%, British Asians 6.9% and others 3%