Gene scientists have found proof that the Welsh are the “real” English, despite the fact that the English have always been prejudiced towards them. The people who think of themselves as English are actually descended from Anglo-Saxons who invaded Britain following the Roman withdrawal in the fifth century. Between 50% and 100% of the population at that time was wiped out, but natural land barriers protected people who lived in the area now known as Wales.

Dr. Mark Thomas, of the Center for Genetic anthropology at University College in London, compared DNA from U.K. men with DNA from an area in the Netherlands where Anglo-Saxons are thought to have originated and found the English subjects had genes that were almost identical to the Dutch. But there were clear differences between the Dutch and the Welsh.

The researchers looked for genetic markers on the Y-chromosome, which is passed almost unchanged from father to son. They studied men who live in the seven market towns mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and also studied 313 male volunteers whose paternal grandfathers had lived in the area. They compared their DNA with samples from Norway and Friesland, which is now a northern province of the Netherlands.

The English and Frisians had almost identical genetic make-up, but the English and Welsh were very different. The most likely explanation for this is the Anglo-Saxon invasion in the past, which wiped out the Celtic population of England, but did not reach Wales. This mean the Welsh are the true indigenous Britons.

“It appears England is made up of an ethnic cleansing event from people coming across from the continent after the Romans left,” says Thomas. “Our findings completely overturn the modern view of the origins of the English.”

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