Who were the Anglo-Saxons?

The word “Anglo-Saxons” have come to mean anyone who is English or of English descent. But the Anglo-Saxons were actually a people who lived long ago. The Romans had conquered Britain and occupied it for about 400 years. Then The roman soldiers were called back Italy.

Britain was left undefended - at first, the Britons managed to carry on the Roman way of life, but by 450 A.D., wandering tribes began to settle in the part of England we now call East Anglia. The Britons found that the newcomers were merciless people, whose songs were all songs of war. They belonged chiefly to three German tribes, the Anglo-Saxons, the Saxons and the Jutes. All of them lived on or near the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic.

These newcomers were fair-haired, tall, and very courageous. Before the end of the sixth century, they had destroyed the Roman power in Britain and had founded seven kingdoms here. At first each of these kingdoms had its own ruler, but in 829 they were united under an overlord.

One of his successors was Alfred the Great, who reigned from 871 to 900. In 1066, the ruler of the Anglo-Saxons kings in Britain was brought to an end by the Norman conquest. Old English, or Anglo-Saxons, the language they spoke, was a mixture of the tongues spoken by the Angles, the Jutes, and the Saxons.

Present-day English grew out of Anglo-Saxon, but there is little resemblance between them, except to language experts. Anglo-Saxons must be studied like any foreign language.    

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