It is believed that the British Isles have been populated for about 50000 years. We can guess it only by some relics, especially of archeological character. The only tribe we have some knowledge of is the Iberians. They are believed to have populated the British Isles in 3000 BC. They were a small dark-haired race who were a small civilized enough for that period and as it is clear from the relics which have survived. They were peaceful. The next wave who we know of is Celts who are believed to have reached the British Isles in 700 BC. It was the time of so-called Great Migration. They are believed to have come in 3 waves in 2 large groups. The Celts were very war-like people, very movable and great conquers. They lived under the tribal system in clans. They spoke the Celtic tribal tongues which are believed to have been the remote ancestors of some tongues on the British Isles now, e.g. Welsh. At the very end of the 1st millennium BC Julius Caesar got greatly interested in British Isles which were independent. He arranged 2 main raids there:
- 54 – 55 BC;
- 56 BC.
It was not the massive occupation at that time. The real occupation by the Romans began under the Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. About 25000 well-trained legionnaires landed there. They conquered the best part of the British Isles to be the Roman province. They moved the native population further to the west and to the north (Wales, Scotland). In spite of the fact of occupation it was beneficial for the British Isles, because the Roman culture and civilization were higher than those of the Celts. They built splendid roads, water supply and a number of fortresses which later turned into towns. The word ‘London’ goes back to the Latin word ‘Londinium’ which was the original name given by Romans to the place where the fortress and later the town were built. The word ‘England’ goes back to the old combination of 2 words ‘anglo’ and ‘landa’. The word ‘Britain’ goes back to the name of one of the most numerous Celtic tribe. There were 3 main Celtic tribes:
Roman occupation lasted for about 400 years. At the beginning of the 5th century Barbarian tribes began to attack the Roman Empire, so that the Roman troops which were settled in British Isles had to be called back to defend the Roman Empire from the Barbarians. At the same time the Francs occupied Gane which couldn’t but result in the British Isles be cut from the Roman Empire. The result was the weakening of the Roman power in the British Isles (mid 5th century 449).
A large group of the Germanic tribes moved from the territory of central Europe partly through Gane, partly through the sea to the British Isles.
They came in 3 tribes:
1. the Angles, which formed 3 kingdoms:
2. the Saxons, which formed 3 kingdoms too:
3. the Jutes.
Since they lived under the tribal system the territory wasn’t a uniform state. It was called the period of Heptarchy. The Old English Period was the period of constant struggles between these kingdoms for supremacy. At first, Northumbria and Mercia were the most powerful kingdoms, but later the supremacy moved to Wessex, when it was headed by king Alfred the Great.
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