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The first inhabitants

The first settlers are known as Celtic people. Their religion is called Druidism and the priests were called Druids. Some scholars say that Stonehenge may belong to that period and people may be using it to celebrate their rites.

In 55 B.C Julius Caesar invaded Britain. Later a more permanent conquest was carried out by the Emperor Claudius in 410 A.D.During their conquest of Britain, the Romans built Hadrian’s wall to protect Roman Britain. They also imported wine, built roads, towns and villas. As soon as the Roman legions left, Britain was unprotected and waves of foreign tribes started to invade the country. The invaders were Germanic tribes known as Angles, Saxon and Jutes. Although they all have different dialect, by the end of the 9th century Old English was their language.

The Anglo-Saxons were compelled to resist to new invasions from the Vikings, whom they called Danes.

Alfred of Wessex (also known as Alfred the Great) was king of west Saxons in England. He saved his kingdom from the Danish invaders, creating the conditions for a new flowering of Anglo-Saxons culture. With King Alfred, Wessex became the new centre of learning in Britain. In its main town, Exeter, monks at the cathedral began to re-copy damaged Anglo-Saxon manuscript and compile an important collection of Anglo-Saxon lyrics, known as the Exeter Book, a work that testifies to the important role of the church in Anglo-Saxon literature. Alfred also started another important literary work, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, the first history of the country, which was written in Old English.
In 597, the Christianity religion emerged to Britain, with the arrival of missionaries like St. Augustine that led the creations of monasteries. These center of learning played a crucial role in establishing Old English as a literary language. Between 7th and 11th centuries, monks, scribes and Christian scholars set about transcribing the oral poetry of the Anglo-Saxons. They introduced elements of Christian belief and occasional references to the Bible.
One of these ecclesiastics, the Venerable Bede, wrote The Ecclesiastical History of The English People in Latin, and earned the title of ‘Father of English History’. The work tells the story of Britain’s conversion to Christianity and also the work of the first known English poet, Caedmon. King Alfred then, set about translating it into the Wessex dialect of Old English.

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