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The English people are an
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
and
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term " unit of observation ...

nation
native to
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
, who speak the
English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on the (not to be confused with ), to the area of later named after them: . Living languages mos ...
and share a common history and culture. The English identity is of
early medieval The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
origin, when they were known in
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
as the ''Angelcynn'' ('race or tribe of the
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli; german: Angeln) were one of the main Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally ...

Angles
'). Their
ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος 'nation' and 'name') is a name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given ...
is derived from the Angles, one of the
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and early medieval Germanic languages and are thus equated at lea ...

Germanic peoples
who migrated to
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
around the 5th century AD. The English largely descend from two main historical population groups the tribes who settled in southern Britain following the withdrawal of the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
(including
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli; german: Angeln) were one of the main Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally ...

Angles
,
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languag ...

Saxons
,
Jutes The Jutes (), Iuti, or Iutæ ( da, Jyde, non, Jótar, ang, Ēotas) were one of the Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscand ...
and
Frisians The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group indigenous to the coastal regions of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. They inhabit an area known as Frisia Frisia (, ; ; ) is a cultural region in Germany and the Netherlands, along the sout ...

Frisians
), and the partially Romanised
Britons The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed ...
already living there.Martiniano, R., Caffell, A., Holst, M. et al. Genomic signals of migration and continuity in Britain before the Anglo-Saxons. Nat Commun 7, 10326 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10326 Collectively known as the
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However ...
, they founded what was to become the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (: ''Regnum Anglorum'', "Kingdom of the English") was a on the island of from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with to form the . The Kingdom of England was among ...

Kingdom of England
by the early 10th century, in response to the invasion and minor settlement of
Danes Danes ( da, danskere, ) are a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East ...
that began in the late 9th century. This was followed by the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and ...
and limited settlement of
Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited En ...
in England in the later 11th century.Campbell. ''The Anglo-Saxon State''. p. 10Higham, Nicholas J., and Martin J. Ryan. ''The Anglo-Saxon World''. Yale University Press, 2013. pp. 7–19 Some definitions of English people include, while others exclude, people descended from later migration into England. England is the largest and most populous country of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
. In the
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Acts of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legisl ...
, the Kingdom of England and the
Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
merged to become the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
. Over the years, English customs and identity have become fairly closely aligned with British customs and identity in general.


English nationality

England itself has no devolved government. The 1990s witnessed a rise in English self-awareness. This is linked to the expressions of national self-awareness of the other British nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland which take their most solid form in the new
devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government A central government is the government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), st ...
political arrangements within the United Kingdom and the waning of a shared British national identity with the growing distance between the end of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
and the present. Many recent immigrants to England have assumed a solely British identity, while others have developed dual or mixed identities. Use of the word "English" to describe Britons from
ethnic minorities A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are lesser in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, ...
in England is complicated by most non-white people in England identifying as British rather than English. In their 2004 Annual Population Survey, the
Office for National Statistics The Office for National Statistics (ONS; cy, Swyddfa Ystadegau Gwladol) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority cy, Y Bwrdd Ystadegau , seal = , logo = UK Statistics Authority logo.svg , formed = , jurisdiction = United Ki ...
compared the ''ethnic'' identities of British people with their perceived
national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one or more states or to one or more nations A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language A language is a structured system of communication us ...
. They found that while 58% of
white people White is a of people and a specifier, generally used for people of origin; although the definition can vary depending on context, nationality, and point of view. In the US, this term has at times been expanded to encompass persons of , , , ...
in England described their nationality as "English", non-white people were more likely to describe themselves as "British".


Relationship to Britishness

It is unclear how many British people consider themselves English. The words "English" and "British" may be used interchangeably, especially outside the UK. In his study of English identity, Krishan Kumar describes a common slip of the tongue in which people say "English, I mean British". He notes that this slip is normally made only by the English themselves and by foreigners: "Non-English members of the United Kingdom rarely say 'British' when they mean 'English'". Kumar suggests that although this blurring is a sign of England's dominant position with the UK, it is also "problematic for the English ..when it comes to conceiving of their national identity. It tells of the difficulty that most English people have of distinguishing themselves, in a collective way, from the other inhabitants of the British Isles". In 1965, the historian
A. J. P. Taylor Alan John Percivale Taylor (25 March 1906 – 7 September 1990) was a British historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a pers ...
wrote,
When the ''
Oxford History of England The ''Oxford History of England'' (1934–65) was a notable book series on the history of the United Kingdom. Published by Oxford University Press, it was originally intended to span from Roman Britain to the outbreak of the First World War in four ...
'' was launched a generation ago, "England" was still an all-embracing word. It meant indiscriminately England and Wales; Great Britain; the United Kingdom; and even the British Empire. Foreigners used it as the name of a Great Power and indeed continue to do so.
Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law (; 16 September 1858 – 30 October 1923) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second hig ...
, by origin a Scotch Canadian, was not ashamed to describe himself as "Prime Minister of England" ..Now terms have become more rigorous. The use of "England" except for a geographic area brings protests, especially from the
Scotch Scotch most commonly refers to: * Scotch (adjective), a largely obsolescent adjective meaning "of or from Scotland" **Scotch, old-fashioned name for the indigenous languages of the Scottish people: ***Scots language ("Broad Scotch") *** Scottish Ga ...
.
However, although Taylor believed this blurring effect was dying out, in his book ''The Isles'' (1999),
Norman Davies Ivor Norman Richard Davies (born 8 June 1939) is a Welsh-Polish historian known for his publications on the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation a ...
lists numerous examples in history books of "British" still being used to mean "English" and vice versa. In December 2010,
Matthew Parris Matthew Francis Parris (born 7 August 1949) is a British political writer and broadcaster, formerly a Conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The cen ...
in ''
The Spectator ''The Spectator'' is a weekly British magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first published in July 1828, making it the oldest weekly magazine in the world. It is owned by David and Frederick Barclay, Frederick Barclay, ...
'', analysing the use of "English" over "British", argued that English identity, rather than growing, had existed all along but has recently been unmasked from behind a veneer of Britishness.


Historical and genetic origins


Replacement of Neolithic farmers by Bell Beaker populations

Recent genetic studies have suggested that Britain's Neolithic population was largely replaced by a population from North Continental Europe characterised by the
Bell Beaker culture The Bell Beaker culture (or, in short, Beaker culture) is an archaeological culture named after the inverted-bell beaker drinking vessel used at the very beginning of the European Bronze Age. Arising from around 2800 BC, it lasted in Britain u ...

Bell Beaker culture
around 2400 BC, associated with the
Yamnaya The Yamnaya culture (/ˈjamnaja/), from Russian Я́мная культу́ра, or Yamnaya Horizon, (mistakenly) Yamna culture, (translated) Pit Grave culture, or Ochre Grave culture, was a late Copper Age to early Bronze Age The Bronze ...
people from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. This population lacked genetic affinity to some other Bell Beaker populations, such as the Iberian Bell Beakers, but appeared to be an offshoot of the
Corded Ware#REDIRECT Corded Ware culture The Corded Ware culture comprises a broad archaeological horizon of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention ra ...
single grave people, as developed in western Europe. It is currently unknown whether these Beaker peoples went on to develop Celtic languages in the
British Isles The British Isles are a in the North off the north-western coast of , consisting of the islands of , , the , the and over six thousand smaller islands."British Isles", ' They have a total area of and a combined population of almost 72&nb ...

British Isles
, or whether later Celtic migrations introduced Celtic languages to Britain. The close genetic affinity of these Beaker people to Continental North Europeans means that British and Irish populations cluster genetically very closely with other Northwest European populations, regardless of how much Anglo-Saxon and Viking ancestry was introduced during the 1st millennium.


Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans

The influence of later invasions and migrations on the English population has been debated, as studies that sampled only modern DNA have produced uncertain results and have thus been subject to a large variety of interpretations.Oppenheimer, Stephen (2006). The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story: Constable and Robinson, London. . More recently, however, ancient DNA has been used to provide a clearer picture of the genetic effects of these movements of people. One 2016 study, using Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon era DNA found at grave sites in Cambridgeshire, calculated that ten modern day eastern English samples had 38% Anglo-Saxon ancestry on average, while ten Welsh and Scottish samples each had 30% Anglo-Saxon ancestry, with a large statistical spread in all cases. However, the authors noted that the similarity observed between the various sample groups was likely to be due to more recent internal migration. Another 2016 study conducted using evidence from burials found in northern England, found that a significant genetic difference was present in bodies from the Iron Age and the Roman period on the one hand, and the Anglo-Saxon period on the other. Samples from modern-day Wales were found to be similar to those from the Iron Age and Roman burials, while samples from much of modern England, East Anglia in particular, were closer to the Anglo-Saxon-era burial. This was found to demonstrate a "profound impact" from the Anglo-Saxon migrations on the modern English gene pool, though no specific percentages were given in the study. A third study combined the ancient data from both of the preceding studies and compared it to a large number of modern samples from across Britain and Ireland. This study found that modern southern, central and eastern English populations were of "a predominantly Anglo-Saxon-like ancestry" while those from northern and southwestern England had a greater degree of indigenous origin. A major 2020 study, which used DNA from Viking-era burials in various regions across Europe, found that modern English samples showed nearly equal contributions from a native British "North Atlantic" population and a Danish-like population. While much of the latter signature was attributed to the earlier settlement of the Anglo-Saxons, it was calculated that up to 6% of it could have come from Danish Vikings, with a further 4% contribution from a Norwegian-like source representing the Norwegian Vikings. The study also found an average 18% admixture from a source further south in Europe, which was interpreted as reflecting the legacy of French migration under the Normans.


History of English people


Early Middle Ages

The first people to be called "English" were the
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However ...
, a group of closely related
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
tribes that began migrating to eastern and southern Great Britain, from southern Denmark and northern Germany, in the 5th century AD, after the Romans had withdrawn from Britain. The Anglo-Saxons gave their name to England ("Engla land", meaning "Land of the Angles") and to the English. The Anglo-Saxons arrived in a land that was already populated by people commonly referred to as the " Romano-British"—the descendants of the native Brittonic-speaking population that lived in the area of Britain under Roman rule during the 1st–5th centuries AD. The multi-ethnic nature of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it included large territorial holdings around the in , , and ruled by . From the t ...

Roman Empire
meant that small numbers of other peoples may have also been present in England before the Anglo-Saxons arrived. There is archaeological evidence, for example, of an early North African presence in a Roman garrison at
Aballava Aballava or Aballaba (with the modern name of Burgh by Sands) was a Ancient Rome, Roman castra, fort on Hadrian's Wall, between Petriana (Stanwix) to the east and Coggabata (Drumburgh) to the west. It is about one and a half miles south of the Sol ...

Aballava
, now
Burgh-by-Sands Burgh by Sands ( "Brough") is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts ...
, in Cumbria: a 4th-century inscription says that the Roman military unit "Numerus Maurorum Aurelianorum" ("unit of Aurelian Moors") from Mauretania (Morocco) was stationed there. Although the Roman Empire incorporated peoples from far and wide, genetic studies suggest the Romans did not significantly mix into the British population. The exact nature of the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons and their relationship with the Romano-British is a matter of debate. The traditional view is that a mass invasion by various Anglo-Saxon tribes largely displaced the indigenous British population in southern and eastern Great Britain (modern-day England with the exception of
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...

Cornwall
). This is supported by the writings of
Gildas Gildas (Breton Breton most often refers to: *anything associated with Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, cover ...
, who gives the only contemporary historical account of the period, and describes the slaughter and starvation of native Britons by invading tribes ('' aduentus Saxonum''). Furthermore, the English language contains no more than a handful of words borrowed from
Brittonic Brittonic or Brythonic may refer to: *Common Brittonic, or Brythonic, the Celtic language anciently spoken in Great Britain *Brittonic languages, a branch of the Celtic languages descended from Common Brittonic *Celtic Britons, Britons (Celtic peop ...
sources. This view was later re-evaluated by some archaeologists and historians, with a more small-scale migration being posited, possibly based around an elite of male warriors that took over the rule of the country and gradually acculturated the people living there. Within this theory, two processes leading to Anglo-Saxonisation have been proposed. One is similar to culture changes observed in Russia, North Africa and parts of the Islamic world, where a politically and socially powerful minority culture becomes, over a rather short period, adopted by a settled majority. This process is usually termed "elite dominance".Ward-Perkins, Bryan. "Why did the Anglo-Saxons not become more British?." The English Historical Review 115.462 (2000): 513–533. The second process is explained through incentives, such as the
Wergild Weregild (also spelled wergild, wergeld (in archaic/historical usage of English), weregeld, etc.), also known as man price (Blood money (restitution), blood money), was a precept in some archaic legal codes whereby a monetary value was established ...
outlined in the law code of Ine of Wessex which produced an incentive to become Anglo-Saxon or at least English speaking. Historian Malcolm Todd writes, "It is much more likely that a large proportion of the British population remained in place and was progressively dominated by a Germanic aristocracy, in some cases marrying into it and leaving Celtic names in the, admittedly very dubious, early lists of Anglo-Saxon dynasties. But how we identify the surviving Britons in areas of predominantly Anglo-Saxon settlement, either archaeologically or linguistically, is still one of the deepest problems of early English history." An emerging view is that the degree of population replacement by the Anglo-Saxons, and thus the degree of survival of the Romano-Britons, varied across England, and that as such the overall settlement of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons cannot be described by any one process in particular. Large-scale migration and population shift seems to be most applicable in the cases of eastern regions such as East Anglia and Lincolnshire, while in parts of Northumbria, much of the native population likely remained in place as the incomers took over as elites.Härke, Heinrich. "Anglo-Saxon Immigration and Ethnogenesis." ''Medieval Archaeology'' 55.1 (2011): 1–28. In a study of place names in northeastern England and southern Scotland, Bethany Fox found that the migrants settled in large numbers in river valleys, such as those of the Tyne and the Tweed, with the Britons moving to the less fertile hill country and becoming acculturated over a longer period. Fox describes the process by which English came to dominate this region as "a synthesis of mass-migration and elite-takeover models."


Vikings and the Danelaw

From about 800 AD waves of
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
Viking assaults on the coastlines of the
British Isles The British Isles are a in the North off the north-western coast of , consisting of the islands of , , the , the and over six thousand smaller islands."British Isles", ' They have a total area of and a combined population of almost 72&nb ...

British Isles
were gradually followed by a succession of Danish settlers in England. At first, the Vikings were very much considered a separate people from the English. This separation was enshrined when
Alfred the Great Alfred the Great (848/49 – 26 October 899) was king of the West Saxons This is a list of monarchs of Wessex until 886 AD. For later monarchs, see the List of English monarchs. While the details of the later monarchs are confirmed by a numbe ...

Alfred the Great
signed the
Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum The Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum is a 9th century peace agreement between Alfred Alfred may refer to: Arts and entertainment *''Alfred J. Kwak'', Dutch-German-Japanese anime television series *Alfred (Arne opera), ''Alfred'' (Arne opera), a 1740 ...
to establish the Danelaw, a division of England between English and Danish rule, with the Danes occupying northern and eastern England. However, Alfred's successors subsequently won military victories against the Danes, incorporating much of the Danelaw into the nascent kingdom of England. Danish invasions continued into the 11th century, and there were both English and Danish kings in the period following the unification of England (for example,
Æthelred II Æthelred (; ang, Æþelræd ) or Ethelred () is an Old English personal name (a compound of ''wiktionary:æþele, æþele'' and ''wiktionary:ræd, ræd'', meaning "noble counsel" or "well-advised") and may refer to: Anglo-Saxon England * Æthelr ...

Æthelred II
(978–1013 and 1014–1016) was English but
Cnut Cnut (; ang, Cnut cyning; non, Knútr inn ríki ; or , no, Knut den mektige, sv, Knut den Store. died 12 November 1035), also known as Cnut the Great and Canute, was King of the English This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of Engl ...
(1016–1035) was Danish). Gradually, the Danes in England came to be seen as 'English'. They had a noticeable impact on the English language: many English words, such as ''anger'', ''ball'', ''egg'', ''got'', ''knife'', ''take'', and ''they'', are of Old Norse origin, and place names that end in ''-thwaite'' and ''-by'' are Scandinavian in origin.


English unification

The English population was not politically unified until the 10th century. Before then, there were a number of
petty kingdom A petty kingdom is a kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category i ...
s which gradually coalesced into a
heptarchy The Heptarchy is a collective name applied to the seven king King is the title given to a male in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is , which title is also given to the of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiqui ...

heptarchy
of seven states, the most powerful of which were
Mercia Mercia (, ang, Miercna rīċe; la, Merciorum regnum) was one of the kingdoms of the . The name is a of the or (West Saxon dialect; in the Mercian dialect itself), meaning "border people" (see ). Mercia dominated what would later become ...

Mercia
and
Wessex Wessex (; ang, Westseaxna rīċe , 'the Kingdom of the West Saxons') was an Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, kingdom in the south of Great Britain, from 519 until England was Kingdom of England, unified by Æthelstan in 927. The Anglo-Sa ...

Wessex
. The English
nation state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (news ...
began to form when the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms united against Danish Viking invasions, which began around 800 AD. Over the following century and a half England was for the most part a politically unified entity, and remained permanently so after 959. The nation of England was formed in 937 by
Æthelstan Æthelstan or Athelstan (; ang, Æðelstān ; on, Aðalsteinn; meaning "noble stone"; 894 – 27 October 939) was List of monarchs of Wessex, King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 and List of English monarchs, King of the English from 927 ...
of Wessex after the
Battle of Brunanburh The Battle of Brunanburh was fought in 937 between Æthelstan Æthelstan or Athelstan (; ang, Æðelstān ; on, Aðalsteinn; meaning "noble stone"; 894 – 27 October 939) was List of monarchs of Wessex, King of the Anglo-Saxons from ...
, as Wessex grew from a relatively small kingdom in the South West to become the founder of the Kingdom of the English, incorporating all
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a who inhabited . They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the coastlands of . However, the of the Anglo-Saxons occurred within Britain, and the ide ...
kingdoms and the Danelaw. A. L. Rowse, ''The Story of Britain'', Artus 1979


Norman and Angevin rule

The
Norman conquest of England The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to ...
during 1066 brought Anglo-Saxon and Danish rule of England to an end, as the new
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...

Norman
elite almost universally replaced the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and church leaders. After the conquest, "English" normally included all natives of England, whether they were of Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian or Celtic ancestry, to distinguish them from the Norman invaders, who were regarded as "Norman" even if born in England, for a generation or two after the Conquest. The Norman dynasty ruled England for 87 years until the death of in 1154, when the succession passed to
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...

Henry II
,
House of Plantagenet The House of Plantagenet () was a royal house A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university ...
(based in France), and England became part of the
Angevin Empire The Angevin Empire (; french: link=no, Empire Plantagenêt) describes the possessions of the Angevin kings of England The Angevins (; "from Anjou Anjou (, ; ; la, Andegavia) was a French province straddling the lower Loire River. Its cap ...

Angevin Empire
until 1214. Various contemporary sources suggest that within 50 years of the invasion most of the Normans outside the royal court had switched to English, with
Anglo-NormanAnglo-Norman may refer to: *Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Bretons, Flemish people, F ...
remaining the prestige language of government and law largely out of social inertia. For example, Orderic Vitalis, a historian born in 1075 and the son of a Norman knight, said that he learned French only as a second language. Anglo-Norman continued to be used by the Plantagenet kings until
Edward I Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots ( la, Malleus Scotorum), was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England ...

Edward I
came to the throne. Over time the English language became more important even in the court, and the Normans were gradually assimilated, until, by the 14th century, both rulers and subjects regarded themselves as English and spoke the English language. Despite the assimilation of the Normans, the distinction between 'English' and 'French' survived in official documents long after it had fallen out of common use, in particular in the legal phrase '' Presentment of Englishry'' (a rule by which a
hundred 100 or one hundred (Roman numerals, Roman numeral: C) is the natural number following 99 (number), 99 and preceding 101 (number), 101. In medieval contexts, it may be described as the short hundred or five 20 (number), score in order to differenti ...
had to prove an unidentified murdered body found on their soil to be that of an Englishman, rather than a Norman, if they wanted to avoid a fine). This law was abolished in 1340.


United Kingdom

Since the 18th century, England has been one part of a wider political entity covering all or part of the British Isles, which today is called the United Kingdom.
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
was
annexed upCivilians and coalition military forces wave Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian flags as they celebrate the reversal of the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq (28 February 1991). Annexation (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging t ...
by England by the
Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 ( cy, Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542) were parliamentary measures by which Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is ...
, which incorporated Wales into the English state. A new British identity was subsequently developed when
James VI of Scotland James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of gover ...
became
James I of England James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of gover ...

James I of England
as well, and expressed the desire to be known as the monarch of Britain. In 1707, England formed a union with
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...
by passing an
Act of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to make Wales a part of the Kingdom of England (These laws are often referred to in the plural as the "Acts of Un ...
in March 1707 that ratified the
Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other L ...

Treaty of Union
. The
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereig ...
had previously passed its own Act of Union, so the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
was born on 1 May 1707. In 1801, another
Act of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to make Wales a part of the Kingdom of England (These laws are often referred to in the plural as the "Acts of Un ...
formed a union between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the po ...

Kingdom of Ireland
, creating the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
. In 1922, about two-thirds of the Irish population (those who lived in 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland), left the United Kingdom to form the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
. The remainder became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, although this name was not introduced until 1927, after some years in which the term "United Kingdom" had been little used. Throughout the history of the UK, the English have been dominant in population and in political weight. As a consequence, notions of 'Englishness' and 'Britishness' are often very similar. At the same time, after the Union of 1707, the English, along with the other peoples of the British Isles, have been encouraged to think of themselves as British rather than to identify themselves with the constituent nations.


Immigration and assimilation

England has been the destination of varied numbers of migrants at different periods from the 17th century onwards. While some members of these groups seek to practise a form of pluralism, attempting to maintain a separate ethnic identity, others have assimilated and intermarried with the English. Since
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
's resettlement of the Jews in 1656, there have been waves of
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
immigration from
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
in the 19th century and from Germany in the 20th. After the French king
Louis XIV , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

Louis XIV
declared
Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose comin ...
illegal in 1685 in the
Edict of Fontainebleau The Edict of Fontainebleau in the Archives Nationales The Edict of Fontainebleau (22 October 1685) was an edict An edict is a decree or announcement of a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrela ...

Edict of Fontainebleau
, an estimated 50,000 Protestant
Huguenot The Huguenots ( , also , ) were a Religious denomination, religious group of French people, French Protestantism, Protestants who held to the Reformed, or Calvinist, tradition of Protestantism. The term, which may be derived from the name of a ...

Huguenot
s fled to England. Due to sustained and sometimes mass emigration of the
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
, current estimates indicate that around 6 million people in the UK have at least one grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland. There has been a small
black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption Absorption may refer to: Chemistry and biology *Absorption (chemistry), diffusion of particles of gas or liquid into liquid or solid materials *Absorption (skin), a rout ...
presence in England since the 16th century due to the
slave trade Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...

slave trade
,
Black Presence
', Asian and Black History in Britain, 1500–1850: UK government website. Retrieved 21 July 2006.
and a small
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
presence since at least the 17th century because of the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
and
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

British Raj
.
Black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption Absorption may refer to: Chemistry and biology *Absorption (chemistry), diffusion of particles of gas or liquid into liquid or solid materials *Absorption (skin), a rout ...
and
Asian Asian may refer to: * Items from or related to the continent of Asia: ** Asian people, people in or descending from Asia ** Asian culture, the culture of the people from Asia ** Asian cuisine, food based on the style of food of the people from Asi ...

Asian
populations have only grown throughout the UK generally, as immigration from the British Empire and the subsequent
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
was encouraged due to labour shortages during post World War II rebuilding. However, these groups are often still considered to be ethnic minorities and research has shown that black and Asian people in the UK are more likely to identify as British rather than with one of the state's four constituent nations, including England. A nationally representative survey published in June 2021 found that a majority of respondents thought that being English was not dependent on race. 77% of white respondents in England agreed that "Being English is open to people of different ethnic backgrounds who identify as English", whereas 14% were of the view that "Only people who are white count as truly English". Amongst ethnic minority respondents, the equivalent figures were 68% and 19%. Research has found that the proportion of people who consider being white to be a necessary component of Englishness has declined over time.


Current national and political identity

The 1990s witnessed a resurgence of English national identity. Survey data shows a rise in the number of people in England describing their national identity as English and a fall in the number describing themselves as British. Today, black and minority ethnic people of England still generally identify as British rather than English to a greater extent than their white counterparts; however, groups such as the
Campaign for an English Parliament The Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) is a pressure group which seeks the establishment of a devolved English parliament. The CEP is the main organisation associated with an English Parliament. It was formed as a non-denominational lobbyi ...
(CEP) suggest the emergence of a broader civic and multi-ethnic English nationhood. Scholars and journalists have noted a rise in English self-consciousness, with increased use of the English flag, particularly at football matches where the Union flag was previously more commonly flown by fans. This perceived rise in English self-consciousness has generally been attributed to the devolution in the late 1990s of some powers to the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales. In policy areas for which the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have responsibility, the UK Parliament votes on laws that consequently only apply to England. Because the Westminster Parliament is composed of MPs from throughout the United Kingdom, this has given rise to the "West Lothian question", a reference to the situation in which MPs representing constituencies outside England can vote on matters affecting only England, but MPs cannot vote on the same matters in relation to the other parts of the UK. Consequently, groups such as the CEP have called for the creation of a Devolved English parliament, devolved English Parliament, claiming that there is now a discriminatory democratic deficit against the English. The establishment of an English parliament has also been backed by a number of Scottish and Welsh nationalists. Writer Paul Johnson (writer), Paul Johnson has suggested that like most dominant groups, the English have only demonstrated interest in their ethnic self-definition when they were feeling oppressed. John Curtice argues that "In the early years of devolution...there was little sign" of an English backlash against devolution for Scotland and Wales, but that more recently survey data shows tentative signs of "a form of English nationalism...beginning to emerge among the general public". Michael Kenny, Richard English and Richard Hayton, meanwhile, argue that the resurgence in English nationalism predates devolution, being observable in the early 1990s, but that this resurgence does not necessarily have negative implications for the perception of the UK as a political union. Others question whether devolution has led to a rise in English national identity at all, arguing that survey data fails to portray the complex nature of national identities, with many people considering themselves both English ''and'' British. Recent surveys of public opinion on the establishment of an English parliament have given widely varying conclusions. In the first five years of devolution for Scotland and Wales, support in England for the establishment of an English parliament was low at between 16 and 19%, according to successive British Social Attitudes Surveys. A report, also based on the British Social Attitudes Survey, published in December 2010 suggests that only 29% of people in England support the establishment of an English parliament, though this figure had risen from 17% in 2007. One 2007 poll carried out for BBC TV, BBC ''Newsnight'', however, found that 61 per cent would support such a parliament being established. Krishan Kumar notes that support for measures to ensure that only English MPs can vote on legislation that applies only to England is generally higher than that for the establishment of an English parliament, although support for both varies depending on the timing of the opinion poll and the wording of the question. Electoral support for English nationalist parties is also low, even though there is public support for many of the policies they espouse. The English Democrats gained just 64,826 votes in the Results breakdown of the 2010 United Kingdom general election, 2010 UK general election, accounting for 0.3 per cent of all votes cast in England. Kumar argued in 2010 that "despite devolution and occasional bursts of English nationalism – more an expression of exasperation with the Scots or Northern Irish – the English remain on the whole satisfied with current constitutional arrangements".


English diaspora

From the earliest times English people have left England to settle in other parts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but it is not possible to identify their numbers, as British censuses have historically not invited respondents to identify themselves as English. However, the census does record place of birth, revealing that 8.08% of Scotland's population, 3.66% of the population of Northern Ireland and 20% of the Welsh population were born in England. Similarly, the census of the Republic of Ireland does not collect information on ethnicity, but it does record that there are over 200,000 people living in Ireland who were born in England and Wales. English ethnic descent and emigrant communities are found primarily in the Western World, and in some places, settled in significant numbers. Substantial populations descended from English colonists and immigrants exist in the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.


United States

In the 2016 American Community Survey, English Americans were 7.4% of the United States population, behind the German Americans (13.9%) and Irish Americans (10.0%). However, demography, demographers regard this as a serious undercount, as the index of inconsistency is high, and many, if not most, people from English stock have a tendency (since the introduction of a new 'American' category in the 2000 census) to identify as simply American ethnicity, Americans or if of mixed European ancestry, identify with a more recent and differentiated ethnic group. Prior to this, in the 2000 United States Census, 2000 census, 24,509,692 Americans described their ancestry as wholly or partly English. In addition, 1,035,133 recorded British ancestry. This was a numerical decrease from the census in 1990 United States Census, 1990 where 32,651,788 people or 13.1% of the population self-identified with English ancestry. In 1980 United States Census, 1980, over 49 million (49,598,035) Americans claimed English ancestry, at the time around 26.34% of the total population and largest reported group which, even today, would make them the largest ethnic group in the United States. Scotch-Irish American, Scots-Irish Americans are descendants of Lowland Scotland, Lowland Scots and Northern England English, Northern English (specifically: County Durham, Cumberland, Northumberland and Westmorland) settlers who colonised Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century. Americans of English heritage are often seen, and identify, as simply "American" due to the many historic cultural ties between England and the U.S. and their influence on the country's population. Relative to ethnic groups of other European origins, this may be due to the early establishment of English settlements; as well as to non-English groups having emigrated in order to establish significant communities.


Canada

In the Canada 2016 Census, 'English' was the most common ethnic origin (ethnic origin refers to the ethnic or cultural group(s) to which the respondent's ancestors belong) recorded by respondents; 6,320,085 people or 18.3% of the population self-identified themselves as wholly or partly English. On the other hand, people identifying as Canadian but not English may have previously identified as English before the option of identifying as Canadian was available.


Australia

From the beginning of the History of Australia (1788-1850), colonial era until the mid-20th century, the vast majority of settlers to Australia were from the
British Isles The British Isles are a in the North off the north-western coast of , consisting of the islands of , , the , the and over six thousand smaller islands."British Isles", ' They have a total area of and a combined population of almost 72&nb ...

British Isles
, with the English being the dominant group. Among the leading ancestries, increases in Australian, Irish and German ancestries and decreases in English, Scottish and Welsh ancestries appear to reflect such shifts in perception or reporting. These reporting shifts at least partly resulted from changes in the design of the census question, in particular the introduction of a tick box format in 2001. English Australians have more often come from the Southern England, south than the Northern England, north of England. Australians of English descent, are both the single largest ethnic group in Australia and the largest 'ancestry' identity in the Australian census. In the 2016 Australian census, 2016 census, 7.8 million or 36.1% of the population identified as "English" or a combination including English, a numerical increase from 7.2 million over the 2011 census figure. The census also documented 907,572 residents or 3.9% of Australia as being born in England, and are the largest overseas-born population.


New Zealand

From 1840, the English comprised the largest single group among New Zealand's overseas-born, consistently being over 50 percent of the total population. Despite this, after the early 1850s, the English-born slowly fell from being a majority of the colonial population. In the 1851 New Zealand census, 1851 census, 50.5% of the total population were born in England, this proportion fell to 36.5% (1861) and 24.3% by 1881. In the most recent Census in 2013 New Zealand census, 2013, there were 215,589 English-born representing 21.5% of all overseas-born residents or 5 percent of the total population and is still the most-common birthplace outside New Zealand.


Argentina

English settlers arrived in Buenos Aires in 1806 (then a Spanish colony) in small numbers, mostly as businessmen, when Argentina was an emerging nation and the settlers were welcomed for the stability they brought to commercial life. As the 19th century progressed, more English families arrived, and many bought land to develop the potential of the Argentine pampas for the large-scale growing of crops. The English founded banks, developed the export trade in crops and animal products and imported the luxuries that the growing Argentine middle classes sought. As well as those who went to Argentina as industrialists and major landowners, others went as Railroad engineer, railway engineers, civil engineers and to work in banking and commerce. Others went to become whalers, missionaries and simply to seek out a future. English families sent second and younger sons, or what were described as the black sheep of the family, to Argentina to make their fortunes in cattle and wheat. English settlers introduced Association football, football to Argentina. Some English families owned Plantation, sugar plantations.


Culture

The culture of England is sometimes difficult to separate clearly from the culture of the United Kingdom, so influential has English culture been on the cultures of the British Isles and, on the other hand, given the extent to which other cultures have influenced life in England.


Religion

The established church, established religion of the realm is the Church of England, whose titular head is Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II although the worldwide Anglican Communion is overseen by the General Synod of its bishops under the authority of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Parliament. 26 of the church's 42 bishops are Lords Spiritual, representing the church in the House of Lords. In 2010, the Church of England counted 25 million baptised members out of the 41 million Christians in Great Britain's population of about 60 million; around the same time, it also claimed to baptise one in eight newborn children. Generally, anyone in England may marry or be buried at their local Church of England, parish church, whether or not they have been baptised in the church. Actual attendance has declined steadily since 1890, with around one million, or 10% of the baptised population attending Sunday services on a regular basis (defined as once a month or more) and three million -roughly 15%- joining Christmas Eve and Christmas services. Saint George is recognised as the patron saint of England, and the flag of England consists of Saint George cross, his cross. Before Edward III of England, Edward III, the patron saint was Edmund the Martyr, St Edmund; and Saint Alban, St Alban is also honoured as England's protomartyr, first martyr. A survey carried out in the end of 2008 by Ipsos MORI on behalf of CAFOD, The Catholic Agency For Overseas Development found the population of England and Wales to be 47.0% affiliated with the Church of England, which is also the state church, 9.6% with the Roman Catholicism in England, Roman Catholic Church and 8.7% were other Christians, mainly Free church Protestantism, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox Christians. 4.8% were Muslim, 3.4% were members of other religions, 5.3% were agnostics, 6.8% were atheists and 15.0% were not sure about their religious affiliation or refused to answer to the question. Religious observance of St George's Day (23 April) changes when it is too close to Easter. According to the Church of England's calendar, when St George's Day falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is moved to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter.


Language

English people traditionally speak the English language, a member of the West Germanic languages, West Germanic language family. The modern English language evolved from Middle English language, Middle English (the form of language in use by the English people from the 12th to the 15th century); Middle English was influenced lexically by Norman-French, Old French and Latin. In the Middle English period Latin was the language of administration and the nobility spoke Norman French. Middle English was itself derived from the Old English language, Old English of the Anglo-Saxon period; in the Northern and Eastern parts of England the language of Danish settlers had influenced the language, a fact still evident in Northern English dialects. There were once many different dialects of modern English in England, which were recorded in projects such as the ''English Dialect Dictionary'' (late 19th century) and the Survey of English Dialects (mid 20th century), but many of these have passed out of common usage as Standard English has become more widespread through education, the media and socio-economic pressures. Cornish language, Cornish, a Celtic languages, Celtic language, is one of three existing Brittonic languages; its usage has been revived in
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...

Cornwall
. Historically, another Brittonic Celtic language, Cumbric language, Cumbric, was spoken in Cumbria in North West England, but it died out in the 11th century although traces of it can still be found in the Cumbrian dialect. Early Modern English began in the late 15th century with the introduction of the printing press to London and the Great Vowel Shift. Through the worldwide influence of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
, English spread around the world from the 17th to mid-20th centuries. Through newspapers, books, the telegraph, the telephone, phonograph records, radio, satellite television, broadcasters (such as the BBC) and the Internet, as well as the emergence of the United States as a global superpower, Modern English has become the international auxiliary language, international language of business, science, communication, sports, aviation, and diplomacy.


Literature

English literature begins with Anglo-Saxon literature, which was written in
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
and produced epic works such as Beowulf and the fragmentary The Battle of Maldon, The Seafarer (poem), The Seafarer and The Wanderer (Old English poem), The Wanderer. For many years, Latin and French language, French were the preferred literary languages of England, but in the medieval period there was a flourishing of literature in Middle English; Geoffrey Chaucer is the most famous writer of this period. The Elizabethan era is sometimes described as the golden age of English literature with writers such as William Shakespeare, Thomas Nashe, Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson. Other famous English writers include Jane Austen, Arnold Bennett, Rupert Brooke, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, George Orwell and the Lake Poets. Due to the expansion of English into a world language during the British Empire, literature is now written in English across the world. In 2003 the BBC carried out a UK survey entitled ''The Big Read'' in order to find the "nation's best-loved novel" of all time, with works by English novelists J. R. R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, Philip Pullman, Douglas Adams and J. K. Rowling making up the top five on the list.BBC – The Big Read – Top 100 Books
Retrieved 2010-27-11.


See also

* English diaspora * British people * List of English people * Old English (Ireland) * Celts, Celtic peoples * Culture of England * English art * Architecture of England * English folklore * English nationalism * Manx people * Genetic history of Europe * European ethnic groups * Immigration to the United Kingdom (1922-present day) * Population of England  (historical estimates) * ''100% English''  (Channel 4 TV programme, 2006) * Social history of the United Kingdom (1945–present) Language: * Anglicisation * English language * English-speaking world *
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
* Middle English * Early Modern English * Cumbric language * Cornish language * Brittonic languages, Brythonic language Diaspora: * British diaspora in Africa * Anglo-Burmese * Anglo-Métis, Metis people * Anglo-Indian * Anglo-Irish * Anglo-Scot * English American * English Argentine * English Australian * English Brazilian * English Chilean * English Canadian * New Zealand European


Notes


References


Citations


Sources


Expert Links: English Family History and Genealogy
Useful for tracking down historical inhabitants of England. * * * * * * * Sanfins, Nuno: "England and its people" (1973) and "England's Evolution"(2003) ; Diaspora * Bueltmann, Tanja, David T. Gleeson, and Donald M. MacRaild, eds. ''Locating the English Diaspora, 1500–2010'' (Liverpool University Press, 2012) 246 pp.


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:English People English people, Ethnic groups in England Ethnic groups in the United Kingdom