Mitochondrial DNA sequences and Y chromosome haplotypes were characterized in Pasiegos, a human isolate from Cantabria, and compared with those of other Cantabrian and neighbouring Northern Spain populations. Cantabria appears to be a genetically heterogeneous community. Whereas Lebaniegos do not differ from their eastern Basque and western Asturian and Galician neighbours, Pasiegos and other non-Lebaniego Cantabrians show significant differences with all of them. Pasiegos are peculiar for their high frequencies of Y chromosomal markers (E-M81) with North African assignation, and Y chromosomal (R-SRY2627) and mtDNA (V, I, U5) markers related to northern European populations. This dual geographic contribution is more in agreement with the complex demographic history of this isolate, as opposed to recent drift effects. The high incidence in Cantabrians with pre-V and V mtDNA haplotypes, considered as a signal of Postglacial recolonization in Europe from south-western refugees, points to such refugees as a better candidate population than Basques for this expansion. However, this does not discount a conjoint recolonization.