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A Melungeon is any member of a particular set of populations in the United States, concerning whom a rich variety of theories exist regarding their ethnic, linguistic, cultural and geographic connections.

The term Melungeon is often seen as a 'test' of the nature and notion of nationhood, as it encompasses so many of the aspects which characterise both distinctly non-national and national entities, in particular that of a diaspora without a unitary homeland.

The extent to which any of these aspects constitute a unique or specific race or ethnicity is controversial, because members of this group are considered to be ethnically mixed rather than exhibiting characteristics which can be incontrovertibly classified as being of a single racial phenotype. The Melungeons currently inhabit the south-eastern United States as well as southern Ohio and Indiana. "Melungeon" is the term applied to those group members living in:

Potentially related populations also include: Among the Native Americans, connections exist within: Each of these groupings of Melungeons has a particular history and culture, but historical evidence shows relationships between them and indicates a common origin.

Table of contents
1 Origin
2 Language
3 External links


Melungeons claim to be of the following origin:

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origins are confirmed by contemporary genetic and medical evidence. A 1990 gene frequency study (Guthrie, Tennessee Anthropologist, Spring 1990) utilizing 177 Melungeon blood samples showed no significant differences between eastern Tennessee and south-western Virginia Melungeons and populations in: Physical traits such as sexdactyly, "Indian toes" and the Anatolian bump are common in the Melungeon bloodline and hark back to the ancestral populations in Turkey, the Americas, etc.

The Melungeon population have been determined to suffer from the following genetic conditions (genetic ailments are often seen as a defining characteristic of racial specificity):


The number of Melungeon and Native American terms which have been preliminarily linked with Ottoman period Turkish and Arabic words with identical pronunciations and meaning (and thus 'reinforce the Melungeon construct') is at least 1000. The origin of "Melungeon" as a term is highly controversial.

External links