Anglo Saxons were distinct Germanic tribes of Angles and Saxons who inhabited northern Europe during the reign of the Roman Empire. They later emigrated to Britain and having subdued the local populations, established their own kingdoms in the region.
Over time, this led to the birth of an Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and a consolidated kingdom uniting all the Anglo-Saxon territories. From their arrival in England in 5th century to the Norman Conquest in 11th century, Anglo Saxons remained the dominant power in the region.
Emigration from Northern Europe
By the beginning of the 5th century, the Huns and Slavs were migrating to Eastern European territories. This put pressure on the Germanic tribes in Northern Europe who were forced to emigrate, failing to stop the onslaught of these tribes. This was what triggered the movement of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes from northern Europe to England.
This was also a time when Roman forces from Britain withdrew, leaving the region open to attacks from outside. So Angles and Saxons were able to land a vast number of populations on British shores without any hindrance.
Establishment in England
Following the arrival of earliest Angles and Saxons, they were asked by the local Briton population to help guard them against the Picts and Scots who inhabited the northern part of British Isles. The Briton ruler of Kent was among the first to invite them to his lands. In time, Anglo-Saxons successfully warded off the Celtic threat from the north, then went on to take over the Kent territory itself.
More Anglo-Saxon population followed in waves during the 6th and 7th century, leading to the establishing of Saxon and Angle kingdoms in all regions of Britain. By the 8th century, there were a total of 7 kingdoms of the Angles and Saxons.
Unified England under Anglo-Saxons
With the emergence of individual Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England, the struggle began for expansion of power and unification of the region into a single kingdom. Northumbrian rulers were among the first to succeed in establishing hegemony over most of England in the 7th century. In the 8th century, Mercian rulers effectively ruled over entire England.
The unified England was more firmly consolidated when Saxon rulers of Wessex succeeded in subduing all English territories in the 9th century.
Viking Threat and End of Anglo-Saxon Rule
Vikings began posing a serious threat to Anglo-Saxon rulers of England beginning in the 9th century. By the late 9th century, a large Viking army had successfully taken over many parts of England before its defeat by Alfred the Great.
The 10th century saw a clearer emergence of an Anglo-Saxon identity in the face of Viking threat. Despite this, Danish Vikings continued raiding on English territories. They were successful in removing Anglo-Saxon rule in the 11th century before it was resumed by the mid of the century again. However, the Normans conquered England in 1066, definitively ending the Anglo-Saxon rule from England.
The Anglo-Saxon nobility was effectively replaced by a new Norman-French nobility. Although the Anglo-Saxon rule in England ended, their culture and legacy left a permanent mark on the region.