The Stone Age
The first men and women came to Britain over two and a half million years ago. As the climate got warmer at the end of the second ice age, tribes of hunters and gatherers of food, who used simple stone tools and weapons, made their way into Britain. It was normal for them to move from place to place so they could find new resources.
These people left no literature, but they did leave many burial chambers, monuments and artifacts. Stone circles, Neolithic tombs and tools have been found all over the British Isles from the tip of Cornwall in the south to the very north od Scotland.
Britain used to be joined to the European land mass by a land bridge. It is believed that Stone Age men migrated to Britain across the land bridge. Britain become an island separate from the rest of Europe about 8500 years ago, when melting ice formed the English Channel.
Stonehenge – one of the most well-know stone circles, build approximately the same time as the Great Pyramid.
The Romans came to Britain nearly 2000 years ago. They changed the country.
The Roman Empire made its mark on Britain, and even today, the ruins of Roman buildings, forts, roads, and baths can be found all over Britain. Britain was the part of the Roman Empire for almost 400 years! By the time Roman armies left around 410 AD, they had established medical practice, a language of administration and law and had created great public buildings and roads. Many English words are derived from the latin language of the Romans (http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/generalinfo/qt/LatinEnglish2.htm).
The Saxons left their homelands in northern Germany, Denmark and northern Holland and rowed across the North Sea in wooden boats.
The Anglo-Saxon ruled Britain but never conquered Cornwall and Wales in the west, or Scotland in the north. The divided the country into kingdoms. There are also many words that are of Anglo-Saxon origin (http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/A695478).
About the year 800, bands of fierce raiders began to attack our coasts. They were the Vikings. They came across the North Sea, just as the Anglo-Saxons had done 400 years earlier.
In time, like the Anglo-Saxons, they made their home here. They drove the Saxons out of part of the country and took it for themselves.
King Alfred, Saxon king of Wessex, fought them in a great battle, but he could not drive them right away and had to let them have part of the country, called Danelaw. There are also a great number of Viking word in English (http://www.vikingrune.com/2009/10/viking-words-in-english/).
The Norman invasion of England in 1066 is described through the images of the Bayeux Tapestry. King Edward III of England (called “The Confessor” because he build Westminster Abbey) died on January 5th, 1066, after a reign of 23 years. Leaving no heirs, Edward’s passing ignited a three-way rivalry for the crown that culminated in the Battle of Hastings and the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon rule of England. (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/french-phrases.html)
How Did English Evolve
British History Timeline
Ages of English Timeline
English language History
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