After Rome abandoned its province of Britannia, people in Britain needed help to defend themselves. At first Angles, Saxons and Jutes were paid for their assistance. When Brits could no longer compensate these people, the foreign raiders and invaders became settlers. This map, online via the BBC, depicts their origination points.


According to Venerable Bede, the Angles came from "Angulus" - near today’s Danish-German border. (The modern northern-German area of Schleswig-Holstein still has a district called Angeln.)

The Saxons came from the coast between the Elbe and Weser River valleys. A third group of foreigners who would soon populate Rome’s former province - the Jutes - resided north of the Angles in Jutland (modern Denmark).

At first, the Britons were able to pay their foreign defenders. But as more and more Anglo-Saxons descended on Britain, compensating them became increasingly difficult.

Soon the immigrants “took” what was not theirs. Then, as word about good-land-for-the-taking reached tribesmen still living in their own lands, hoards of uninvited “barbarians” reached Britain’s shores.

Their intent was not to help the Britons resist Picts and Scots. Their intent was to settle the land themselves. Some of their early settlements, based on archeological evidence, incorporate towns which are still important today.

Largely undefended, remaining Romans and native Britons fled to modern Wales and Cornwall. It wasn’t the first time Saxons had invaded their land. That had happened as early as 409 A.D. But this time, with no Roman legions to protect them, resistance proved extremely difficult.

Saxons attacked the southern part of Britain from northern Germany, as did Angles and Jutes. When so much of the south was occupied by Angles, the area was called Angle-land  from which the country - England - later took its name.

The same Celtic tribes (with their very long history in Ireland and the United Kingdom) - who'd caused Britons to seek help in the first place - continued to inhabit the northern part of Britain. Fierce as they were, they remained independent during this time frame.

The Picts (Rome’s old nemesis) and the Scots (originally from Ireland) were the two main northern tribes. They ultimately united under one king (Kenneth MacAlpin) to form Scotland (Kingdom of Alba) in 843 A.D., although the islands and highlands were not part of that early country.

William Shakespeare, parenthetically, later wrote an imaginary tale about a real king of Scotland who reigned at the end of those Dark Ages. His actual name?  Macbeth.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Sep 01, 2017

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"THE ANGLO-SAXON INVASIONS" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2004. Jan 21, 2020.
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