Ethnic Groups of Europe

An Encyclopedia

by Jeffrey E. Cole, Editor


Europe is the second smallest continent in the world, its land area comprising only two percent of the earth's total surface. Even so, Europe is home to over 730 million people, all members of interrelated yet distinct populations. From Spaniards and Icelanders in the west to Nogai and Saami in the east, Europe is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups.

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Cover image for Ethnic Groups of Europe

May 2011


Pages 442
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Culture

This comprehensive survey of ethnic groups of Europe reveals the dynamic process of ethnic identity and the relationship of ethnic groups to modern states.

Part of a five-volume series on ethnic groups around the world, Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia provides detailed descriptions of more than 100 European ethnic and national groups. Each entry provides an overview of the group as well as in-depth information on the group's origins and early history, cultural life, and recent developments. Among the information presented for each group are global and national population figures and accounts of geographical distribution, diaspora populations, the group's historic homeland, predominant religions and languages, and related groups. The entries also highlight places, people, and events of particular importance to each group, and sidebars introduce related topics of interest.

Throughout the text, special attention is focused on the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism. An explanation of the methodology used for selecting the ethnic groups in the encyclopedia is also provided, as is an introductory essay on the topic of ethnicity in Europe.


  • Includes an introduction describing the concept and practice of ethnicity in Europe, past and present
  • Contains contributions from 80 distinguished international scholars, including some of the foremost experts on particular groups


  • Describes over 100 ethnic groups of Europe, including subnational minorities, indigenous peoples, distinctive regional populations, and nationalities
  • Offers both convenient summaries and detailed descriptions of each group's history, religion, language, cultural life, and contemporary situation
  • Includes sidebars that describe related places, events, and groups
  • Features excellent coverage on the many minority groups of European Russia which are often absent from English-language studies, including the Abazin, Avars, Balkars, Kumyks, Kabards, Maris, and Udmurts
Series Description

Ethnic Groups of the World

These books provide essential, encyclopedic guides to some of the most important ethnic groups and regions of the world.

In today's increasingly global environment, students need to be familiar with a range of cultures and ethnic identities other than their own. This series sets out to explore ethnic identity—one of the most important issues of the 21st century. The books in the Ethnic Groups of the World series provide concise, one-stop reference sources that comprise rigorously researched, up-to-date content that will broaden readers' outlooks far beyond the confines of North America.

Combining extensive historical and cultural background with detailed descriptions of modern-day life, readers will learn about current demographic trends and major population centers, parallels with other groups, typical ways of life, and relations with neighbors. The titles within the Ethnic Groups of the World series are appropriate for high school and undergraduate students as well as for subject experts needing a concise, single-volume refresher.


  • Provides students with accessible information to make cross-cultural comparisons, promoting meaningful classroom discussion and further research
  • Describes ethnic groups through anthropological, cultural, economic, political, religious, and social lenses, enabling readers to more fully appreciate the characteristics of an ethnic identity
  • Contains contributions from international scholars and recognized experts who have lived in the regions they describe
  • Examines the historic origins of each group to shed light on the complex modern-day relationships with other ethnic identities or neighboring nations
  • Includes helpful features such as sidebars focusing on related topics of interest, engaging photographs, brief biographies of key individuals, and bibliographies for conducting further research
Author Info

Jeffrey E. Cole is professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Connecticut College, New London, CT. His published works include The New Racism in Europe: A Sicilian Ethnography and Dirty Work: Immigrants in Domestic Service, Agriculture, and Prostitution in Sicily. Cole has received grants and awards from the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren, the Fulbright program, and the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation.



"Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice

"[T]his volume fills a niche and is an excellent addition to public and academic libraries."—Booklist

"An impressive work of academic excellence, Ethnic Groups of Europe should be a part of every high school, university, and community library reference collection."—Midwest Book Review

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