Bright Side

Who Are the Descendants of 9 Nations That Changed Human History Forever

Egyptians, Assyrians, Aztecs, Incas — all these nations are associated with ancient times, and many people believe that these nations are gone forever. However, they exist even in our modern times. For example, a direct descendant of Montezuma lives in Mexico, while some residents of Siberia and Altai can be traced back to Genghis Khan.

At Bright Side, we believe that every nation deserves to be called great, but there are those who appear in the pages of history textbooks more often. We decided to find out what their descendants look like today. As a bonus, we will tell you where you can meet people who still have Genghis Khan’s blood in them.

The Quechua are the descendants of the Incas.

The Quechua people used to be the most powerful and highly developed in both Americas before the Spaniards arrived. They founded the state of Tahuantinsuyu on the territory of the Andes, better known as the Inca Empire.

Currently, 10 to 11 million of the Quechua people live in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. Their main occupations are still farming and animal husbandry, they also often work in mines. Many of the Quechua live in a community united by a common territory, blood relationship, and the cult of the common ancestor.

The Nogais

Half of Europe and almost the entire territory of modern Russia were once influenced by the Nogai Horde. Nowadays, the representatives of these people live mainly in the North Caucasus and the South Volga region. The compact settlement of the Nogais on the territory of Dagestan, Stavropol Territory and the Chechen Republic is called Nogai Steppe.

Over the past decades, large Nogai communities have formed in other regions of Russia like Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. Some descendants of the Nogais, who moved there in the 18th and 19th centuries, live in Turkey and Romania.

The Maltese are the descendants of the Phoenicians.

About 4,000 years ago, the Phoenicians were the main navigators and traders of the Mediterranean. They founded many colonies, including the famous Carthage (modern-day Tunisia). They invented writing based on letters.

Some of the direct descendants of these peoples live in Lebanon, which is located on the territory of ancient Phoenicia. But scientists found that there are other possible descendants of these famous peoples. For example, 30% of DNA samples taken from the people who live on the territory of Malta share a genetic marker, known as the J2 haplogroup, with the Phoenician civilization. By the way, it was even suggested that Malta be renamed the Republic of Phoenicia.

The Jasz are the descendants of the Scythians and Sarmatians.

Once the Scythians dominated Asia Minor, the Black Sea region, and the territory of modern Ukraine. They raided the Balkans and held the Greeks at bay, but later they were conquered by the Sarmatians. One of the Sarmatian tribes — the Alans — lived in the territory of the Azov and the Caucasus, from where they raided Crimea, Transcaucasia, Asia Minor, and Media.

The direct descendants of the Alans are Ossetians, who want to return their historic name. However, some heirs of this proud nomadic people now live in Hungary and call themselves the Jasz. In the 13th century, their ancestors settled on the plain to the east of the Danube River. The Jasz lost their language completely in the 18th century, but in recent years a renewed self-awareness among them has been on the rise. Festivals of the Jasz culture are regularly held, and people study the history of their nation and establish close contacts with the Ossetians.

The Bashkir clan Unlar are the descendants of the Huns.

The Huns invaded Europe in the 4th century and initiated the Migration Period. Some scientists believe that the Bashkir clan Unlar are the direct descendants of the Huns. These peoples live mainly in Bashkortostan. The representatives of the Unlar are the descendants of those nomads who couldn’t go to Europe. But later they became related to Genghis Khan himself.

The Copts are the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians.

The Copts are direct descendants of the Ancient Egyptians. They received this name from the Arabs, who invaded Egypt in the 7th century. The Copts kept the calendar from their ancestors. The Coptic calendar has 13 months, 12 with 30 days each and one at the end of the year with 5 days, or 6 days during leap years. The year starts on August 29 according to the Julian Calendar or on August 30 if the following year is a leap year.

The Aztecs

The Nahuas, whose representatives are called the Aztecs, created the strongest empire in Central America, but it was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors, led by conquistador Hernan Cortes. Currently, the descendants of these great peoples are native speakers of the Nahuatl language, and most of them live in the Mexican states of Puebla, Veracruz, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosi, and Guerrero. Besides, the Nuhuas formed communities in New York and California in the US.

By the way, in November 2019, Federico Acosta, a Mexican who turned out to be a descendant of the Aztec emperor Montezuma II, met the Italian Ascanio Pignatelli, whose lineage comes from Hernan Cortes. The descendant of the conquistador brought his apology to Federico, but the latter replied that he had nothing against the Spanish conquerors.


Currently, the descendants of the founders of one of the first civilizations in the world and Babylon live mainly in Iran, Northern Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their communities can also be found in Lebanon, Russia, the USA, Sweden, Georgia, Armenia, Germany, Great Britain, and other countries. The language of modern Assyrians goes back to the Aramaic dialects spoken by people of Western Asia, but many representatives of these peoples can no longer speak it.

The Gagauzes are the descendants of The Pechenegs.

The Gagauzes are a Turkic people, settled mainly in Bessarabia, although representatives of this ethnic group can be found in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, and Greece. The genes of several great peoples of the past, such as Polovtsy, Pechenegs, Volga Bulgars, and Seljuk Turks, can be found in their blood.

Despite their Turkic origins, the Gagauz people don’t look much different from their European neighbors. Most of them ascribe to Christianity, but the cult of the wolf is still of particular importance. The wolf’s head is depicted on the first flag of independent Gagauzia.

Bonus: How Genghis Khan’s descendants were found

The Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Genghis Khan lived about 800 years ago, he had only 5 official sons, but there could be much more unofficial children. According to the calculations of scientists, after only 300 years the Great Khan could have 5 million descendants.

Russian researchers decided to find them through genetic testing. They studied the genes of 1,437 men. Among them were Altai Kazakhs, Teleuts, Khakases, Tuvans, Tajiks, Buryats, Evenks, Mongols, Kalmyks, Kurds, Persians, Russians, and others. Genetic material was taken mainly from male schoolchildren and students.

As it turned out, more than a third of the alleged descendants of Genghis Khan inhabit the territory of historical Mongolia. Among the population of Russia, the Khan’s genes are concentrated in Altai Kazakhs (8.3%). From 1.7% to 3.4% of Genghis Khan’s genetic influence was found in the people of Altai, Buryatia, Tuva, and Kalmykia.