Sem (Asea), Cham (Africa), and Iafeth (Europa) continental divisions, according to their populations, by the descendants of the respective children of Noah.
Noah was the tenth generation from Adam. And of course, his three sons were born prior to the flood. There were a further ten generations from the Flood to Abraham. A post-deluvian genealogy, from Noah to Jacob, can be found at The World after the Flood was a changed world and another, the Ages of Patriarchs (both at Worldwideflood.org). According to the account in Genesis 10, Noah begat three sons and 16 grandsons:
- Japheth — forefather of the Japhetic peoples who went north into Eurasia
- Shem — forefather of the Semitic peoples, monotheists who remained locally, the Hebrews and Arabs
- Ham — forefather of the Hamitic peoples who migrated south into the north and north-east of Africa
[A map of the descendants of the sons of Noah is available at Bible History Online.]
After scattering of the nations from Nimrod’s Babylon, the tribe of Arphaxad came to retain the wetland (and its arid surrounds) of southern Mesopotamia. Abram, of Ur, is from part of the Ubaid and Sumerian culture of lower Mesopotamia, among the reed marshes of the fertile plain, that is later incorporated into the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire.
The history of man can pragmatically be reduced to the phrase: when God gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And so the Madan (“dweller in the plains”) people built mudhif. And they also built boats of marsh reed, then of mud, and later also of bitumen.
Irrigation channels were employed to harness the water of the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris. The vessels and homes they built were more and more elaborate, as the community began cultivating more than it needed. It then began to trade the surplus along the western bank of the Persian Gulf.
Abram, son of a Chaldean icon merchant, leaves Ur for Haran. Ishmael, Abraham’s eldest son, was of a Mizraite named Hagar. His younger brother, Isaac, was born of a Hebrew woman named Sara. Isaac was the son of the Covenant that G-d had made with Abram. Rachel, Isaac’s Hebrew wife, had twin boys — Esau, father of Edom, and Jacob, later named “Israel” (because he wrestled with G-d). Jacob sired what became known as the “twelve tribes of Israel”: through his wife, her eldest sister, and both their respective slaves (see Catholic-resources.org).
According to the History of Nations:
There is literally no pure race on Earth. The nations contain elements of at least two people and in some cases a multiplicity of peoples. We are all, of every tribe and nation, destined to become sons of God in the tribes of Israel.
That said, Pilgrim Bobby feels that the physical tribes of Israel are, on the whole, mostly a pure race keeping themselves set apart according to the Almighty’s instruction. But, yes, in that they are alone.