The term Hamitic as here applied is derived from the tenth chapter of Genesis, which embodies a very ancient and valuable record of ethnological tradition. This has been very generally misunderstood, through the supposed necessity of making it account for all the races in the world. The most probable view seems to be that it only applies to the three races then known to be inhabiting the shores of the Mediterranean, who radiated from that central sea over the three continents; so that, roughly speaking, the descendants of Shem might be supposed to occupy Asia, those of Ham Africa, and those of Japhet Europe.