All Europeans can trace their heritage back to just one bloke, say scientists
The family tree of humanity is much more interconnected than we think as scientists believe all Europeans share a common ancestor.
Researchers Peter Ralph and Graham Cooper published a study claiming almost all Europeans can trace their ancestry back to one person – Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor.
Charlemagne, meaning Charles the Great, lived during the 700s and 800s and was one of the most historically significant people in all of European history.
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Known as the ‘Father of Europe,’ Charlemagne united most of central and Western Europe for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire. It is also believed that Charlemagne had at least 18 children with seven different women.
Nowadays people of European descent are most likely related to Charlemagne in some way.
"Because Charlemagne lived before the isopoint and has living descendants, everyone with European ancestry is directly descended from him," reports Scientific American.
One famous example of a descendant of the Holy Roman Emperor is Lord of The Rings actor Sir Christopher Lee. The film star even released a symphonic metal album paying homage to him in 2010.
Some of those who take a DNA test can see their lineage be directly traced back to the common ancestor however, others cannot as bloodlines have been diluted – meaning not all genes are passed from parent to child.
Charlemagne was an 8th-century Frankish king. Among other things, he is most known for uniting most of Europe under his rule by the power of the sword, for helping to restore the Western Roman Empire and becoming its first emperor, and for facilitating a cultural and intellectual renaissance.
Charlemagne was crowned “emperor of the Romans” by Pope Leo III in 800 CE and in doing so restored the Roman Empire in the West for the first time since its dissolution in the 5th century.
The first three decades of Charlemagne’s reign included extensive military campaigning, in particular against the Saxons.
He married at least four times, and three of his legitimate sons lived to adulthood. Charlemagne died in 814 after contracting an infectious lung disease.
He was laid to rest in the Aachen Cathedral in Germany.
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