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Ancestry DNA Shows Genetic Link Between Wales and Spain

According to a major new study from AncestryDNA, most of us are a lot less Welsh than we think. Research into the genetic makeup of Brits has shown that the average UK resident is in fact only 36.94 percent British, with some particularly interesting ancestry found among those living in Wales. 

Looking at the nation’s ethnicity stretching back 500 years, the study into our history covered 26 different global regions, with most of us found to have not only British DNA, but Irish, French, German, and – in the case of Welsh people – strong ties to the Iberian Peninsula.

Diverse DNA

Looking into our ancestry can be fascinating – a fact that companies like AncestryDNA capitalise on. Giving us the chance to gaze back through our family tree and uncover a history we could never guess at, more than 26 million people have taken at-home DNA tests to help them trace their heritage.

For those who haven’t submitted a sample of their own, however, it might be easier to get an idea of your long-ago lineage than you imagine, thanks to a new study conducted by the DNA behemoth.

Published in 2018, the results reveal some interesting facts about our heritage, with the average UK resident being just under 37 percent British, 21.59 percent Irish, and 19.91 percent Western European (aka having French or German ancestry).

While these statistics apply to all Brits, the research indicated that there were some interesting variations between the genetic makeup of English, Scots, Welsh, and Northern Irish populations, with English residents, for example, having the highest percentage of Scandinavian and Western European ancestry, and Scots tending to have Finnish and Northwest Russian heritage.

Interestingly, in the case of Welsh people, many had a strong genetic link to the Iberian Peninsula. With the highest proportion of ancestry from Spain and Portugal (three percent) out of any group in the UK, it is believed that this may go some way toward explaining the dark hair and eyes and Mediterranean complexions that are frequently seen among those who hail from Wales.

Strong links to Spain

Grey and rainy Wales may seem a far cry from the sunny shores and spotless beaches of Spain, but it seems that many residents feel an equal pull to both of these beautiful but very different countries.

This is indicated by the fact that Spain is the number one travel destination for Welsh locals holidaying abroad, with visitors who visit the country pumping around £300 million into the Spanish economy each year. Drawn by the balmy weather, wonderful cuisine, and low-cost flights, holidaymakers often take advantage of the cheap vehicle rental – to hire cars from Malaga airport costs as little as one euro per day, to explore the place that, for many, is seen as a home away from home.

With our genetic diversity now proven to be so interesting and multifaceted, it seems there has never been a better excuse to book a holiday to somewhere hot! Why not go back to your roots this summer by sipping sangria and soaking up some Spanish sunshine? Who knows, maybe you might find a long-lost family member somewhere on Spanish shores.