Anglo-Saxons arrived in the British Isles around the 5th century. Before this, they mainly inhabited the north-eastern sections of Western Europe. Before the Anglo Saxons’ arrival in Britain, the Celtic tribes known as Britons inhabited Britain.
These tribes had been living in the British Isles since the Iron Age and were subsequently displaced by the Anglo Saxons beginning in the 5th century.
Julius Caesar famously invaded Britain in 54 B.C. From then onward, further expeditions by the Romans expanded the Roman sphere of governance and power in Britain.
In 43 A.D., the Roman Empire firmly extended its rule to Britain, then known as Britannia among the Romans. It would remain under Roman rule for many centuries.
The Romans named the region Britannia primarily because it was occupied by the Celtic tribe of Bretons. Bretons were the main Celtic tribe in the area although Britain was also inhabited by many other Celtic tribes at the time.
The Britons refer to a number of Celtic tribes who are regarded as the original inhabitants of Britain.
These tribes migrated to the British Isles in the Iron Age. By the early medieval ages, the original Celtic Britons had fragmented into a number of regional groups including the Welsh and the Bretons.
At the time of the Roman invasion of Britannia, a part of these tribes came under direct Roman rule. Others who were located north of the famous Hadrian’s Wall mostly retained their independence and lands.
Towards the 5th century, Roman control over Britannia began to dwindle. At the same time, the onslaught of Anglo Saxons from continental Europe posed a new risk for the Britons.
Beginning in the 5th century, Germanic tribes of Angles and Saxons began to arrive in the British Isles in multiple waves.
Initially, the Britons were able to decisively defeat these new invaders and retain their lands. But with time, Roman rule over Britannia ended and Anglo Saxons began to arrive in larger numbers.
The Anglo Saxons were successful in defeating the local Britons, and establish settlements that grew into kingdoms over time.
By the High Middle Ages, Anglo Saxons inhabited a large portion of the British Isles and had seven kingdoms in England.
The Anglo Saxons continued to inhabit most of the British Isles for several centuries. Then from the 8th century onward, they had to face the threat of Viking invasions.
At one point, it seemed imminent that the Vikings would altogether replace the Anglo-Saxons. However, the threat was averted and Anglo-Saxons were able to retain their rule.
Then in 1066, a Norman army under William the Conqueror landed in England. Normans defeated the Anglo Saxons and effectively displaced them as the rulers of England.
Many notable Anglo-Saxon families were forced to flee Britain although the rank-and-file of the Anglo-Saxon society became a part of the new order under the Normans.