Melanesians; the world’s black people with blonde hair

Melanesians; the world’s black people with blonde hair
  • PublishedNovember 26, 2020

The Melanesians are one of the few groups with blonde hair outside Europe. They can be found on an island in the south pacific that has been there for thousands of years. That is, long before the blacks that went to the Americas as slaves.

Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji, from the western end of the Pacific Ocean. The name “Melanesia” was first used by Jules Dumont d’Urville in 1832. A sign of an ethnic and geographical grouping of islands different from Polynesia and Micronesia.

Melanesian Children

Until recently, the indigenous Melanesian people practiced cannibalism, head-hunting, abduction, and slavery, just like the Asmat tribe. Consequently, due to contact with Europeans, the population is now predominantly Christian. Nevertheless, more than 90% of the population lives in rural areas.

The indigenous Melanesian population of the islands has the darkest skin outside of Africa. In addition, between 5% and 10% of the population has bright blonde hair.


Several different theories have been brought forward about how they got their blond hair. Some say it’s the sun and salt whitening, the high intake of fish, or the genetic heritage of mixed-breeding with the Americans / Europeans who founded them in the islands.

The Melanesians have blonde hair because of the native TYRP1 gene which partly has blonde hair and melanin. However, it differs from Caucasians because it does not exist in their genes. It is a recessive gene that’s more prevalent in children than in adults – as the individual grows, the hair becomes darker.

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