The contrast between the accomplishments of the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries and their achievements in more recent centuries is striking. Is this just one of those seemingly random changes that abound in history, or is there some explanation for it?
We know that the Portuguese who went overseas in those centuries often mated with women in the lands that they conquered. The offspring of such matings were sometimes brought back to Portugal, and the tendency there was to accept them as Portuguese. However, since the aboriginal populations of the overseas regions that the Portuguese were colonizing had, on average, substantially lower intelligence than the Portuguese themselves, the effect of this process was to lower the average intelligence of succeeding generations of Portuguese. Furthermore, since Portugal had started with a small population, and their overseas empire was extensive, and the process continued for centuries, the overall effect was substantial.
The effect is quite noticeable today, both in the physical appearance of the Portuguese (who are, on average, substantially darker than English or Germans)8 and, more importantly, in their intelligence. IQs are, on average, somewhat lower in Portugal than they are in England, Germany, Poland, or Scandinavia, although still much higher than in most tropical countries.9
In the Spanish colonies, too, the tendency was to accept and assimilate mestizos (white-Indian hybrids) rather than categorize them as Indians for social purposes. Therefore, the same process that affected the Portuguese gene pool also affected the Spanish, although to a lesser extent since Spain had started with a much larger population than Portugal.
Why did not the same process result in a lowering of average IQs in England? Part of the reason is that Englishmen were more likely than Portuguese to bring their families with them when they went overseas. Another reason is that the English usually derided the hybrids as "half-breeds," and refused to accept them socially as a part of the English nation. (In like fashion, in English-speaking countries mulattos are socially categorized as blacks, although from a biological viewpoint it would be just as accurate to categorize them as whites.)
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