The notion of "white people" or a "white race" as a large group of populations contrasting with non-white or "colored" originates in the 17th century. Pragmatic description of populations as "white" in reference to their skin color predates this notion and is found in Greco-Roman ethnography and other ancient sources. Europeans, the Mingrelians and Kabardinski". Blumenbach is known for arguing that physical characteristics like skin color, cranial profile, etc., were correlated with group character and aptitude.Craniometry and phrenology would attempt to make physical appearance correspond with racial categories. The fairness and relatively high brows of Caucasians were held to be apt physical expressions of a loftier mentality and a more generous spirit. The epicanthic folds around the eyes of Mongolians and their slightly sallow outer epidermal layer bespoke their supposedly crafty, literal-minded nature.
Later in life, Blumenbach encountered in Switzerland "eine zum Verlieben schöne Négresse" ("a Negress so beautiful to fall in love with"). Further anatomical study led him to the conclusion that 'individual Africans differ as much, or even more, from other individual Africans as Europeans differ from Europeans'. Furthermore he concluded that Africans were not inferior to the rest of mankind 'concerning healthy faculties of understanding, excellent natural talents and mental capacities'. These later ideas were far less influential than his earlier assertions with regard to the perceived relative qualities of the different races, which opened the way to secular and scientific racism.
In a 1775 work, Von den verschiedenen Rassen der Menschen ("Of [About] The Different Races of Humans"), German philosopherImmanuel Kant used the term weiß (white) to refer to "the white one [race] of northern Europe" (p. 267).
19th and 20th century: the "Caucasian race"
Huxley's map of racial categories from On the Geographical Distribution of the