There are archaeological evidences that indicate that southern England was colonized by humans long before the rest of the British Isles this period is referred as the prehistory.
Bones and flint tools found in Norfolk and Suffolk show that homo erectus lived in what is now England around 700,000 years ago. At this time, England was linked to mainland Europe by a large land bridge. The current position of the English Channel was a large river flowing westwards and fed by tributaries that would later become the Thames and the Seine.
The evidences show that the first people who arrived to England were hunter-gatherers, who arrived from mainland Europe around 8,000 BC. It was not until about 4000 BC that a party of ‘young farmers’ arrived from southern Europe.
Following the ‘young farmers’ other visitors from Europe came, Belgae, Celts and Gauls arrived starting the trend for the multi-cultural Britain of today. The Celts brought iron working to the British Isles. The artistic style of these Iron Age people, twisting and bending animal, plant and human forms, are common across Europe.
When the Romans invaded in AD 43, they found a highly developed, tribal-based island culture in Britain, but they had to abandon the land to protect its empire. The Anglo-Saxons were the next group to lay claim to the land, followed by the Vikings. In 1066 the Norman conquest brought great change to England.
In the middle ages there were difficult times, the war with France, political and religious revolts, and recurring bouts of the Black Plague took their toll on the people. Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the Tudor family gained control of the monarchy and began a dynasty that included the much-married Henry VIII and ended with the 45-year reign of Elizabeth I. The Elizabethan period was a golden age. Over the years, England continued to expand its reach around the globe, reaching its height of power during the reign of another great queen, Victoria, who ruled for 64 prosperous years in the 19th century.
The 20th century was a troubled time for the British: Two costly wars and the loss of empire took their toll on the economy and the national psyche. Many Britons still cling to their relationship with the U.S., despite powerful social and economic trends that lead toward closer integration with continental Europe. Increased autonomy for Scotland and Wales are inspiring still further changes. While no one is predicting the complete dissolution of the U.K., the coming years will bring a sea of change in how the U.K. governs itself and how it presents itself to the world.
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