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The Human Colonisation of England
Humans first arrived in England around 10,000 years ago after the last ice age. It is believed that their journey began in Northeast Spain in an area now known today as the Basque Country and took them North across western France and into Britain. These first humans were undoubtedly followed by others but how many, and when, remains a mystery, although genetic studies may eventually shed light on this.
In about 500BC Celtic culture arrived from Central Europe and Brythonic was the spoken language during this time. Although society in England at this time was tribal it enjoyed trading links with the Romans who successfully invaded Britain in 43 AD. In 410 AD Britain was left exposed by the withdrawal of Roman army and was subsequently invaded by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes from north-western continental Europe. By the 7th century England had coalesced into a dozen kingdoms including Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Sussex. In the 9th century the Vikings arrived and conquered the north and east of England, overthrowing the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. The Vikings were followed by their distant relatives the Normans, who conquered in England in 1066 AD after arriving with their French, Flemish and Breton comrades. It was under the Normans that Surnames came into use in England.