Roman soldiers

Britain has a long history of people migrating into the UK. The Romans and the Anglo-Saxons were some of the first people to make the UK their home. Read more about these people, develop your reading skills and prepare for the Life in the UK test.

Romans and Anglo-Saxons​

Julius Caesar led a Roman invasion of Britain in 55 BC. This was unsuccessful and for nearly 100 years Britain remained separate from the Roman Empire. In AD 43 the Emperor Claudius led the Roman army in a new invasion. This time, there was resistance from some of the British tribes but the Romans were successful in occupying almost all of Britain. One of the tribal leaders who fought against the Romans was Boudicca, the queen of the Iceni in what is now eastern England. She is still remembered today and there is a statue of her on Westminster Bridge in London, near the Houses of Parliament.

Areas of what is now Scotland were never conquered by the Romans, and the Emperor Hadrian built a wall in the north of England to keep out the Picts (ancestors of the Scottish people). Included in the wall were a number of forts. Parts of Hadrian's Wall, including the forts of Housesteads and Vindolanda, can still be seen. It is a popular area for walkers and is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.

The Romans remained in Britain for 400 years. They built roads and public buildings, created a structure of law, and introduced new plants and animals. It was during the 3rd and 4th centuries AD that the first Christian communities began to appear in Britain.

The Anglo-Saxons

The Roman army left Britain in AD 410 to defend other parts of the Roman Empire and never returned. Britain was again invaded by tribes from northern Europe: the Jutes, the Angles and the Saxons. The languages they spoke are the basis of modern-day English. Battles were fought against these invaders but, by about AD 600, Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were established in Britain. These kingdoms were mainly in what is now England. The burial place of one of the kings was at Sutton Hoo in modern Suffolk. This king was buried with treasure and armour, all placed in a ship which was then covered by a mound of earth. Parts of the west of Britain, including much of what is now Wales, and Scotland, remained free of Anglo-Saxon rule.

The Anglo-Saxons were not Christians when they first came to Britain but, during this period, missionaries came to Britain to preach about Christianity. Missionaries from Ireland spread the religion in the north. The most famous of these were St. Patrick, who would become the patron saint of Ireland and St Columba, who founded a monastery on the island of Iona, off the coast of what is now Scotland. St. Augustine led missionaries from Rome, who spread Christianity in the south. St. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

This text is taken from Life in the United Kingdom, a Guide for New Residents, 3rd edition, Page 17

© Crown Copyright 2013

Tasks

Task 1 - comprehension

Task 2 - reorder sentences

Task 3 - summary

Life in the UK test - make sure you know

Before you take the Life in the UK test, check that you understand:

  • When the Romans ruled Britain
  • The impact of the Romans on British society
  • Some of the roots of the modern English language
  • Who invaded Britain after the Romans

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Comments

Think about another country you know well.

  • Has it been invaded before? Who by?
  • Did the invaders change many things in that country? 

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You can find out more about the Life in the UK test, and about applying for British Citizenship here:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/britishcitizenship/