The Origins of a Nation (5000BC-1066)
I.Early Settlers （5000BC-55BC）
1．The first known settlers of Britain were the Iberians.
2． At about 2000 BC the Beaker Folk arrived from the areas now know as Holland and Rhineland.
3． The Celts began to arrive Britain about 700 BC.
4． The Celts came to Britain in three main waves.
The first wave were the Gaels-came about 600 BC.
The second wave were the Brythons-came about 400 BC.
The third wave were the Belgae-came about 150 BC.
II. Roman Britain (55BC-410AD)
1.British recorded history begins with the Roman invasion. In 55BC and 54BC, Julius Caesar, a Roman general, invaded Britain twice. In AD 43, the Emperor Claudius invaded Britain successfully. For nearly 400 years, Britain was under the Roman occupation, though it was never a total occupation.
2. Roman’s influence on Britain.
The Roman built many towns, road, baths, temples and buildings. They make good use of Britain’s natural resources. They also brought the new religion, Christianity, to Britain.
3.Reasons for limited Roman influence on Britain.
First, the Romans always treated the Britons as a subject people of slave class. Second, never during the 4 centuries did the Romans and Britons intermarry. Third, the Romans had no impact on the language or culture of ordinary Britons.
Summary: This is the second part of Chapter 2 (The Origins of a Nation). It introduced some important events and important people in England from 446 to 1066. These most important events are The Anglos-Saxons’ invasion; The Viking and Danish Invasions and The Norman Conquest.
III. The Anglo-Saxons (446-871)
1． Basis of Modern English race: the Anglo-Saxons.
In the mid-5th century a new wave of invaders, Jutes, Saxons, and Angles came to Britain. They were three Teutonic tribes.
The Jutes, who fished and farmed in Jutland, came to Britain first. A Jutish chief became the King of Kent in 449. Then the Saxons, users of the short-sword from northern Germany, established their kingdom in Essex, Sussex and Wessex from the end of the 5th century to the beginning of the 6th century. In the second half of the 6th century. In the second half of the 6th century, the Angles, who also came from northern Germany and were to give their name to the English people, settled in East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria. These seven principal kingdoms of Kent, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria have been given the name of Heptarchy.
2．The early Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity.
The Anglo-Saxons brought their own Teutonic religion to Britain. Christianity soon disappeared, except among the Celts of Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. In 597, Pope Gregory I sent St. Augustine, the Prior of St. Andrew’s Monastery in Rome, to England to convert the heathen English to Christianity. In 579 St. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. He was remarkably successful in converting the king and the nobility, but the conversion of the common people was largely due to the missionary activities of the monks in the north.
3．The Early Anglo-Saxons make the contributions to the English state.
The Anglo-Saxons laid the foundations of the English state. Firstly, they divided the country into shires, with shire courts and shire reeves, or sheriffs, responsible for administering law. Secondly, they devised the narrow-strip, three-field farming system which continued to the 18th century. Thirdly, they also established the manorial system. Finally, they created the Witan（council or meeting of the wisemen） to advise the king, the basis of the Privy Council which still exists today.
IV．Viking and Danish invasions
1．The invaders were the Norwegians and the Danes. They attacked various parts of England from the end of the 8th century. They became a serious problem in the 9th century, especially between 835 and 878. They even managed to capture York, an important center of Christianity in 867. By the middle of 9th century, the Viking and the Danes were posing a threat to the Saxon kingdom of Wessex.
2．King Alfred (849-899) and his contributions
Alfred was a king of Wessex. He defeated the Danes and reached a friendly agreement with them in 879. The Danes gained control of the north and east, while he ruled the rest. He also converted some leading Danes into Christians.
He founded a strong fleet and is known as “ the father of the British navy”. He reorganized the Saxon army, making it more efficient. He translated a Latin book into English. He also established schools and formulated a legal system. All this earns him the title “Alfred the Great.”
V．The Norman Conquest (1066)
1．Reasons for William’s invasion of England after Edward’s death.
It was said that king Edward had promised the English throne to William, but the Witan chose Harold as king. So William led his army to invade England. In October 1066, during the important battle of Hastings, William defeated Harold and killed him. One Christmas Day, William was crowned king of England, thus beginning the Norman Conquest of England.
2．The Norman Conquest and its consequences