Aryan race

Hypothetical racial grouping / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Aryan race is an obsolete historical race concept that emerged in the late-19th century to describe people of Proto-Indo-European heritage as a racial grouping.[1][2] The terminology derives from the historical usage of Aryan, used by modern Indo-Iranians as an epithet of "noble". Anthropological, historical, and archaeological evidence does not support the validity of this concept.[3][4]

The concept derives from the notion that the original speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language were distinct progenitors of a superior specimen of humankind,[5][6] and that their descendants up to the present day constitute either a distinctive race or a sub-race of the Caucasian race, alongside the Semitic race and the Hamitic race.[7] This taxonomic approach to categorizing human population groups is now considered to be misguided and biologically meaningless due to the close genetic similarity and complex interrelationships between these groups.[8][9][10]

The term was adopted by various racist and antisemitic writers during the 19th century, including Arthur de Gobineau, Richard Wagner, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain,[11] whose scientific racism influenced later Nazi racial ideology.[12] By the 1930s, the concept had been associated with both Nazism and Nordicism,[13] and used to support the white supremacist ideology of Aryanism that portrayed the Aryan race as a "master race",[14] with non-Aryans regarded as racially inferior (Untermensch, lit.'subhuman') and an existential threat that was to be exterminated.[15] In Nazi Germany, these ideas formed an essential part of the state ideology that led to the Holocaust.[16][17]